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Summary:

The next generation MiFi device from Novatel Wireless doesn’t just create a 4G hotspot for 10 devices for a few hours; it provides 11 hours of continuous use, has a touchscreen for configuration and doubles as a media server for smart televisions and other DLNA devices.

AT&T Liberate LTE MiFi device

AT&T and Novatel Wireless jointly announced a next-generation mobile hotspot on Thursday: The MiFi 2 will be offered in the future as the AT&T MiFi Liberate. The device differs from older MiFi personal hotspots due to its 2.8-inch touchscreen and up to 11 hours of continuous on a single battery charge. More of the device configuration is handled directly on the MiFi Liberate, which also doubles as a media server.

The Liberate supports AT&T’s fast LTE network and falls back to HSPA+ networks for areas without LTE coverage; AT&T says the personal hotspot will work in more than 200 countries worldwide as a result. Connectivity while out and about is a primary feature of the device, of course, but the advanced functionality includes some smartphone-like qualities as well. From Novatel Wireless:

MiFi 2 also has a new DLNA-certified Media Center which allows users to enjoy and share their movies, music, presentations and photos stored on microSD cards on connected devices. A user can simply upload photos from their camera to MiFi 2 using a microSD card and start showing them on any DLNA-enabled television or compatible devices. For business users, MiFi 2 has a simple process to upload and download stored files from any connected device.

Instead of just a temporary on-ramp to the web then, the new MiFi is evolving into a centralized storage area that leverages Wi-Fi connectivity with smart televisions and other devices in the home. That’s a big step forward for what used to be a credit-card sized device that creates a simple hotspot via cellular networks.

Heck, this MiFi looks more like what you’d get if an Apple Magic Trackpad had a fling with a touchscreen phone. Surprisingly, the new device is still relatively small and not as thick as I would expect for such battery life. But it still appears  pocketable — you can surely toss it in a small bag with other mobile gear — sounds far more useful and can provide a 4G LTE connection for a full work day.

  1. to me this looks like a lot of complexity added to something that should be kept as simple as possible.

    i like battery life, but all i want in a MIFI is a network connection. one that is as fast and cheap as possible.

    the big problem with a 4G mifi is that with the exception of clearwire(who offers unlimited) no one offers a usage cap size that allows for significant amount of high speed data usage without totally breaking the bank.

    if it were not for the high price(of tiered data) a lot of people would actually replace DSL/cable connections with these.

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    1. I agree. I have Clear from a while back – $25 unlimited 4G – NON-CONTRACT.

      I will gladly pay a bit more for AT&T or Verizon hotspot plan since they have far better coverage, even if they limit it to 5Gb. Alas, both charges insane pricing and requires 2 years contract.

      Carrier being greedy.. but what’s new?

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    2. “if it were not for the high price(of tiered data) a lot of people would actually replace DSL/cable connections with these.”

      Yes, that’s exactly why they don’t offer it. The LTE network is pretty damn expensive if you’re going to use it like that, especially if multiple people do it.

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  2. Too big and too heavy. A “pocketable” mobile hotspot for me means something that I can easily fit inside a front shirt pocket. This won’t.

    It’s also far too complicated. Give me something like the Clear Apollo 4G, with a simple but informative LCD display, inexpensive no-contract pricing, and UNLIMITED 4G data.

    Until carriers understand what is wrong and begin to provide unlimited data, mobile hotspots will continue to be nothing but expensive paperweights.

    http://lgponthemove.blogspot.com/2012/02/accessory-corner-clear-apollo-4g-mobile.html

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  3. Michael Schryver Thursday, September 27, 2012

    For this size, why not use a tablet? A dedicated my-fi device needs to be small for me to use it, otherwise I’ll use my tablet as a hotspot.

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