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3G notebooks hit market

3G notebooks hit market

Lenovo and Vodafone have released SIM-ready notebooks for wireless internet connectivity, in a move which looks set to be followed by other vendors and another telco.

Some of Lenovo’s Thinkpad T60 and X60 notebooks now come with an inside-the-box SIM card, which users place behind the battery as with a mobile phone. They then select a plan for connection to Vodafone’s 3G network.

Jeremy Foster, head of Vodafone’s business products and services division, says data cards will still have a place in the market, but expects that modems for wireless network connection will increasingly be embedded into notebooks. “It’s one more step along the line of ubiquity. The 3G platform will be available across lots of devices, and laptops are the next natural thing.”

Foster says Vodafone could offer 3G connection through other notebooks in coming months.

“In New Zealand we’re a small player compared with Telecom, but this is an opportunity to leverage our global footprint,” he says.

Vodafone’s Mobile Connect software, which is already used with wireless data cards for connection to its 3G and GPRS networks, manages the connectivity when using Lenovo’s notebooks.

Lenovo product manager Matt Huntington says the latest version of its Access Connections — 4.1 — is not required for network connection but allows users to easily switch between different types of wired and wireless networks.

Inside 3G coverage areas, download speeds of up to 384kbit/s are offered.

However, Vodafone says it plans to incorporate high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) into its network, allowing firmware upgrades and download speeds of between 1.8 and 3.6Mbit/s.

X60 notebooks start at $3,559 ex GST, while T60s start at $3,369 ex GST.

Acer has already released notebooks with embedded wireless 3G technology in Europe and product manager Lindsay Tobin says it is in the process of testing and gaining approvals for its New Zealand and Australian releases, which will also be in partnership with Vodafone.

Toshiba New Zealand account manager Ian Westlake says it has an evaluation model of its M400 notebook, which he says the company hopes will be carrier independent. “We’re negotiating with the plant to have it without a card. We’ll ship it without anything so the vendor, reseller or customer can install it themselves,” he says. Westlake says Toshiba may have the notebook on the market by October.

Portables Plus managing director Calum Haslop says his firm expects to stock Toshiba’s M400, and a similar notebook offering from HP which he says will offer connection to Vodafone’s network.

Telecom is also planning to get a slice of the action, and expects its notebooks with third-generation technology embedded will be out before Christmas.

“We see this market as an enormous opportunity and we’re putting plans in place to aggressively compete,” says its head of product and service development, Shane Ohlin.

Ohlin says Telecom can offer broadband speed connection for 70% of the country through its CDMA network. Vodafone’s 3G network uses UMTS (universal mobile tele-communications standard) — a different version of the international 3G standard.

IT wholesale managing director John Dunbar says the technology is exciting, but says telco pricing plans will affect the speed at which it is adopted. He says it will appeal not only to big businesses, but also to sales teams of all sizes that require portabilityLenovo and Vodafone have released SIM-ready notebooks for wireless internet connectivity, in a move which looks set to be followed by other vendors and another telco.

Some of Lenovo’s Thinkpad T60 and X60 notebooks now come with an inside-the-box SIM card, which users place behind the battery as with a mobile phone. They then select a plan for connection to Vodafone’s 3G network.

Jeremy Foster, head of Vodafone’s business products and services division, says data cards will still have a place in the market, but expects that modems for wireless network connection will increasingly be embedded into notebooks. “It’s one more step along the line of ubiquity. The 3G platform will be available across lots of devices, and laptops are the next natural thing.”

Foster says Vodafone could offer 3G connection through other notebooks in coming months.

“In New Zealand we’re a small player compared with Telecom, but this is an opportunity to leverage our global footprint,” he says.

Vodafone’s Mobile Connect software, which is already used with wireless data cards for connection to its 3G and GPRS networks, manages the connectivity when using Lenovo’s notebooks.

Lenovo product manager Matt Huntington says the latest version of its Access Connections — 4.1 — is not required for network connection but allows users to easily switch between different types of wired and wireless networks.

Inside 3G coverage areas, download speeds of up to 384kbit/s are offered.

However, Vodafone says it plans to incorporate high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) into its network, allowing firmware upgrades and download speeds of between 1.8 and 3.6Mbit/s.

X60 notebooks start at $3,559 ex GST, while T60s start at $3,369 ex GST.

Acer has already released notebooks with embedded wireless 3G technology in Europe and product manager Lindsay Tobin says it is in the process of testing and gaining approvals for its New Zealand and Australian releases, which will also be in partnership with Vodafone.

Toshiba New Zealand account manager Ian Westlake says it has an evaluation model of its M400 notebook, which he says the company hopes will be carrier independent. “We’re negotiating with the plant to have it without a card. We’ll ship it without anything so the vendor, reseller or customer can install it themselves,” he says. Westlake says Toshiba may have the notebook on the market by October.

Portables Plus managing director Calum Haslop says his firm expects to stock Toshiba’s M400, and a similar notebook offering from HP which he says will offer connection to Vodafone’s network.

Telecom is also planning to get a slice of the action, and expects its notebooks with third-generation technology embedded will be out before Christmas.

“We see this market as an enormous opportunity and we’re putting plans in place to aggressively compete,” says its head of product and service development, Shane Ohlin.

Ohlin says Telecom can offer broadband speed connection for 70% of the country through its CDMA network. Vodafone’s 3G network uses UMTS (universal mobile tele-communications standard) — a different version of the international 3G standard.

IT wholesale managing director John Dunbar says the technology is exciting, but says telco pricing plans will affect the speed at which it is adopted. He says it will appeal not only to big businesses, but also to sales teams of all sizes that require portability.


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