Novatel U720 USB EV-DO modem: just what the UMPC doctor ordered

Novatel_u720_1Finally, we’re starting to see a high-speed wireless modem in a small form factor thanks to the Novatel U720 USB modem spotted on the FCC site by Engadget. Eventually, we will see integrated 3G connectivity in the small slate; until then we can can’t can tether a 3G phone via Bluetooth or USB. Another option is a PC card to USB adapter like the U132 we reviewed. Both solutions are less than desirable as they require the carrying of additional equipment and cables. Bluetooth tethering gets rid of the cable, but caps your throughput around 115 Kbps. The U720, however, provides a potentially better solution with only a small USB device. Again, integrated would be ideal, but this might be the next best thing.

Sprint obviously has plans for this Novatel device based on the label. Three immediate questions:

  • Will Verizon follow suit with a similar offering?
  • Will these USB modems provide support for EV-DO Rev. A?
  • Will the small form factor affect the signal strength and therefore, throughput?
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