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3G Notebook In Review

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the good-ideas-whose-time-has-come dept.

70

An anonymous reader writes "Just found this review of a notebook with integrated 3G. It looks like you just slide a 3G sim into the machine and you get 3g data connectivity, it even drops down to edge or gprs if there's no 3g. The rest of the spec looks pretty awesome too with a 2.16ghz core duo chip and 2gb of ram. I want one of these! " Given my recent woes of getting my Nokia 6682 to actually work as a UTMS/EDGE modem for my Powerbook, the notion of integration is a really nice sounding idea.

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Dell announce four new laptops including 3G ready (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189920)

March 2006 -- http://www.pocket-lint.co.uk/news.php?newsId=2939 [pocket-lint.co.uk]

3G - Does this mean it would work (3, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189925)

in both America and Europe with the proper SIM card?

Depends (2, Interesting)

gregarican (694358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190091)

I know from my experience that U.S. Cingular's capabilities would be limited. They are building out their 3G network in America while Europe's 3G network is based on a totally different frequency (1900 MHz UMTS versus 2100 MHz UMTS). Not sure of other U.S. cellular providers that would be in similar situations, such as T-Mo and others. In Cingular's case the International roaming agreements aren't formally in place now and data charges are at $0.85 USD per kilobyte. Ouch!

Re:Depends (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190340)

Exactly; it doesn't matter in the slightest what hardware is available, because Cingular refuses to offer a reasonably-priced data plan anyway!

Re:Depends (3, Informative)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190672)

*shrug* I pay $19.99 for unlimited data transfer... seems like a bargain to me.

I did have to learn the hard way though that the US and Europe's UMTS frequencies are different. Which really kind of upset me since the Sony Ericsson V802SE is an overseas phone so of course it operates on 2100mhz. The band issue is because 2100mhz isn't available in all areas, so they had to go with 1900mhz. Go FCC!

Anyway, be careful when shopping for a UMTS phone as most of them will be for 2100mhz. To my knowledge, at the current moment there are only 2 1900mhz UMTS phones out which are the branded ones at Cingular. I just got the LG U340, works pretty well as a phone and fantastic as a modem. With my MacBook using bluetooth to connect to the Internet through UMTS, I get speeds of 35-40KBps and it bursts up to 45-48KBps. Not too bad for coming from GPRS which tops out for me at about 6KBps.

There are dual band UMTS phones planned... one of them is the Nokia N80. Looks like a sweet phone but me needing instant gratification, just went with what was available. So if you want a true "world phone", you'll have to wait for one of those.

Re:Depends (1)

gregarican (694358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190968)

Since Cingular's International data roaming agreements aren't completed yet (ETA of next month I was told) who knows exactly how (un)reasonable the rates will be. If they are anywhere along the lines of T-Mo they will be around $0.05 per KB or something. It's more than just the handset hardware end of things in terms of incompatibilities. If a whole European 3G network infrastructure is based on 2.1 GHz while the U.S. is largely based on 1.9 GHz then it's like smashing a square peg into a round hole.

That's the disappointing thing when my company execs are looking for a broadband data card they can pop in their laptop and go globetrotting with. If they are looking for seamless, speedy service both in the U.S. and abroad I don't have a great answer yet. If they want to use Bluetooth between a global phone and their laptop perhaps that's a different story. But that's not what they want to do...

Re:Depends (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190718)

Why not use a Hong Kong SIM for data roaming? Three HK only charges about HK$.11 per kilobyte (about $.01US) for data roaming in other countries. I do that in certain countries-get a HK SIM card and use that to surf the web when I'm in France/Italy/wherever in Europe/Asia (Except for China where I have a data plan that is about $1 for 25MB data and overage of $1.25 per megabyte)

Kinda retro, if you ask me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189926)

Isn't the G3 rather old by now? I would have thought that a Core Duo review would be more to the point...

Nokia 6682 isn't a 3G phone. (2, Informative)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189961)

Part of your woes may be that the Nokia 6682 doesn't support UMTS.
You want the Nokia 6680 for that. It's the same phone with one of the GSM bands dropped for UMTS and a VGA phone in the front for video phone calls.

Re:Nokia 6682 isn't a 3G phone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15190014)

...and a VGA phone in the front for video phone calls.

Camera. VGA camera. My bad.

SIM slot in the battery compartment? (5, Insightful)

merdaccia (695940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189962)

Does that ring highly inconvenient with anyone else? Unless you have a dedicated 3G SIM card just for your laptop, you have to reboot each time you put in or take out the card.

Re:SIM slot in the battery compartment? (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190072)

I think the assumption is, if you can afford a £2000 laptop basically for the sole reason that it has 3G connectivity, you can damn well afford another SIM card and mobile plan for it.

Just be glad you can even change it. I think there are some laptops here in the States, either currently in production or in the pipeline, which are designed for data use on Verizon's EV-DO network; Verizon, of course, doesn't use 3G and doesn't use SIM cards. They use CDMA and each device has a hardcoded identifier, like a MAC address. If you get into a billing dispute with Verizon ... well, tough luck. (And that's not to mention that they have TOS restrictions [boingboing.net] that are outright ridiculous.)

In the case of EV-DO laptops, you have no choice but to get a separate service plan for them, unless you can find some way to clone them using the hardware address of another phone, which is technically legal but probably in violation of every agreement you've ever signed with your provider.

Re:SIM slot in the battery compartment? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190344)

I really don't see the advantage of this at all. I have a 3G 'phone and Bluetooth works fine. I can use the data service from both my PowerBook and my 770 without any issues. In the absence of a 3G service, it falls back to GPRS. If I want to change carriers, I can do so easily, and I can use the same service for data and voice (although not at the same time).

Agreed (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190792)

Agreed. Although I haven't used it for any length of time (I set it up once as a sort of proof of concept to myself, for a few days) I can do the same thing with my iBook and my Motorola Razr. If I ever get put on a travel position, I'll call TMobile and get the unlimited data plan added to my line, and all I have to do is make sure the phone is turned on and within BT range of my laptop.

A builtin card is a step down, IMO, unless it could be cloned to use the same account as the phone, or unless for some reason I didn't want to have a regular voice handset. (But really, how many no-cellphone luddites are really interested in GPRS data service?)

Perhaps the BT-handset combo is more complicated to set up on Windows than it is on the Mac? The big selling point of these built-in cards seems to be ease of use. Seems like for $29.95 a month I could deal with quite a bit of one-time setup hassles, but that's just me.

Re:Agreed (1)

Spellbinder (615834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15192616)

you cant work while you take phone-calls
you drain your cell battery if you work for 3 or 4 hours
you have to set the shit up
with windows sometime it works then you reboot and it wont
big issue if you work for 20 or 30 min in a train and you have to spend 5 minutes to see it failed then another 5 to fix it
i use a globetrotter umts / gprs / wlan card which is sold by the phone carriers with their logo on it
it works with windows and linux
i got no powerbook so i dont know about mac
the windows software is sometimes pain in the ass because
if you work in train it often hangs up the connection because it cant decide which antenna to take and it take so long to connect that the next antenna already is stronger and it has to break up and start all over again
linux is much smoother because it doesn't break the connection at all ( normally)
so it won't have to re-negotiate the connection and get a new IP address and all this stuff
and a special data plan or a second sim should not be an issue here in switzerland
about 20 $ a month with the card included and 1GB Traffic
or 7 $ a month for second sim card

Re:SIM slot in the battery compartment? (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15194599)

Your Bluetooth works fine because your UMTS connection to the phone runs at 384kbps. Newer networks use HSDPA, which will offer near 2mbps. Most Bluetooth phones (even the newest, like the Nokia N90/92 series) only offer Bluetooth 1.2, which can't handle this. It'll take Bluetooth 2.0 in both the phone and laptop to get a 2.1mbps data stream.

Re:SIM slot in the battery compartment? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15195313)

I can get 50KB/s throughput from my 'phone via bluetooth, which is more than enough when I am mobile. I don't see it as replacing a real broadband connection (the average latency of around 2 seconds and the cost put pay to that idea), but for IM, email and some light browsing it's more than enough speed.

Re:SIM slot in the battery compartment? (1)

Smitty825 (114634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190841)

Verizon, of course, doesn't use 3G and doesn't use SIM cards

I'm quite certain that EV-DO is considered a 3G technology. However, it is different than the WCDMA technology used by some other providers. It's just that EV-DO (and CDMA in general), seems to be designed to take advantage of the limited frequencies available in the USA/North America. (Namely, the signal needs to fit into a 1.25MHz band). UMTS/WCDMA was designed to use a 5MHz band, which was being opened up in Europe for this technology.

While everybody can argue which techonology is better, from my personal experiences in San Diego, I've received slightly higher data rates on EV-DO (Sprint) than on UMTS (Cingular) YMMV based on where you live and on how many people are using the towers at the same time...

Also, FYI...the CDMA standard does support SIM-like cards (R-UIM). However, the US CDMA carriers don't support them. I believe that they are in heavy use in Asia, and that they are backwards compatible with SIM cards...

Re:SIM slot in the battery compartment? (1)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15192217)

To clarify, 3G is a specification for wireless data speeds, EVDO, EDGE, UMTS, and HSDPA are all 3G. I think technically 1xRTT is 3G but it is at the lowest end that some people call it 2.5G. EVDO, UMTS, HSDPA, and 1xRTT are based on a form of CDMA, UMTS and HSDPA of course using SIMs just like GSM/GPRS/EDGE.

Re:SIM slot in the battery compartment? (1)

swmccracken (106576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15193041)

The Wikipedia "Mobile Phone and Data Standards" found, for example, here [wikipedia.org] (on the right hand side) provides a nice summary of various mobile phone and data standards.

Re:SIM slot in the battery compartment? (1)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190689)

And no simultaneous voice and data, which is one of the cooler things about UMTS if you ask me. I can still talk on my phone while keeping a live Internet connection to my laptop.

Re:SIM slot in the battery compartment? (1)

gnomeza (649598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15192510)

No, really. Hit the sleep button. Pop out battery. Do stuff (like swap a SIM card). Replace battery. Resume laptop.

Works on my two-year-old Powerbook. I assume all new laptops have this feature by now.

Re:SIM slot in the battery compartment? (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15194612)

Sleep, or "Hibernate"? Or else I'm curious... how does your Powerbook refresh the RAM state with no power source?

Re:SIM slot in the battery compartment? (1)

pv2b (231846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15195684)

Powerbooks have a small backup battery which is non-replaceable, which can be used to keep the computer in sleep mode for a minute or so, while the battery is swapped out.

Re:SIM slot in the battery compartment? (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15195696)

Nice idea. Shame about the 'non-replaceable' bit. Then again, that wouldn't surprise me, this is Apple we're talking about, of iPod fame.

I take a dim view of this. (-1, Flamebait)

r00t (33219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189963)

Sure, yeah, this'll work...

Probably the drivers won't come with my OS. (if I install from CD-ROM, to get rid of the pre-installed crap) Probably they won't be updated when I update my OS. Probably they will eventually be incompatible with my OS upgrade, making the OS unstable or just refusing to load.

This is true even if I did run Windows, which I do not.

Oddball hardware is a good way to get burned.

Re:I take a dim view of this. (2, Interesting)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190033)

Shouldn't they have used the same chipsets as the 3G pcmcia cards one can get? (I really wouldn't know, but it sounds a reasonable thing to do). If so, you can probably get it working in linux.

What wonders me more is why they did this. Are these 3G cards already so ubiquitous that fujitsi-siemens thinks the costs of adding it as a standard will be a selling point for a lot of users? Maybe they have a good view on the future but on the moment I'd say most people would rather add a pcmcia card to their laptop-of-choice than limit themselves just to this model only because it has the built-in 3G option.

Does it run Linux? (4, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189981)

No, I'm serious; the review has a lot of big pictures and easy-to-read language, but it doesn't even once mention an OS. With this amount of built-in wireless stuff (3G, 802.11, Bluetooth), you've basically got yourself a very expensive brick if you can't get drivers for it. There's no information on what chipsets it uses for any of this.

I noticed that there's a Windows key on the keyboard, and in the absence of any other information I guess we're just left to assume that your only choice is the Beast From Redmond.

Pity, because I can't imagine they're going to sell enough of these at £1999 to people interested in Linux in order for a set of useful reverse-engineered drivers to be created, and thus you have a chicken-and-egg problem. Potential Linux users won't ever buy it because there aren't drivers, and there will thus never be the userbase to create the drivers.

What's more ironic is that Fujitsu is a member of the OSDG and sells a lot of high-end Linux stuff, but I guess (like IBM until they sold it off to Lenovo) despite their alleged commitment to it, you're SOL if you want to get a PC with anything except Windows.

Re:Does it run Linux? (1)

FoamingToad (904595) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190122)

As a Fuji owner I have to say their support for non-Windows drivers is sketchy at best. I had no end of problems getting my Amilo 7850 to run SuSE 8, which included the partition table getting hosed (a 60GB HDD being detected as 400GB!)

In fact I was wanting to downgrade WinXP to Win2k as 2k seemed to be slightly less of a resource hog. However at the time there wasn't Windows 2000 drivers for the chipset (and the XP ones wouldn't sit right). The situation has improved, but you still have to accept a disclaimer (this may not work, yada yada yada) if you try to download drivers for any unsupported OS - on the 7850 this is anything except WinXP Home.

Been using an Aircard for a while now (3, Informative)

Martin Foster (4949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189992)

I have been using a Sierra Wireless Aircard for a while though Telus Mobility (Canadian) and its been working out pretty well for me. The card itself is completely free if you sign up for a three year contract and if you choose the appropriate data rate montly fees are pretty reasonable.

Speed in major cities such as Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary make use of their 1X EDO protocol which is about the speed of a slow ADSL connection. In order places you get simple 1X with vaying speeds but I can average 13Kbs in transfer rates for large files.

The problem with these things however is the cost of the connection itself. I've been moving from place to place for a while now so getting an Cable/DSL connection for a month or two at a time is just not worth it.

However with Telus, most of their plans charge by the meg and that does not take very long to break if your using even just straight IMAP mail. So your generally stuck with their 'unlimited' service which is about 100$ a month (50$/month for the first three months).

For me its worth it, even though Halifax is still on plain 1X. But its certainly not for everyone!

Re:Been using an Aircard for a while now (1)

Kankraka (936176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190216)

Just a heads up, but say good bye to "unlimited" it's now hardcapped at 250mb on their plan rate sheets :), but one gig of transfer is coming soon, all for just 150 dollars a month! Their "unlimited" service was technically always capped at 250 megs, depending on how far you went over is whether or not they'd try and bone you for the extra data transfer.

Just another side note, a guy came into the store I work in (The Source, Telus Mobility Dealer) And he had purchased a new Kyocera card (reportedly faster than the Sierra EvDO card) and went on a three year contract. Now, you may not know this, but you have 7 days from the day of activation to cancel all terms on your contract, without penalty. He came back in three days later, used over 500mb already, and said "I just can't afford this." So we get ready to cancel it for him, and Telus tells us he has to pay for the data usage, pay the cancelation fee, and pay the cancellation fee of 200 bucks. Totally violated their own terms... Telus is a bunch of whores when it comes to data :\

I'll stick to picking my wifi targest instead, sure it's not as mobile.. but a hell of a lot cheaper.

Re:Been using an Aircard for a while now (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15194620)

Now, you may not know this, but you have 7 days from the day of activation to cancel all terms on your contract, without penalty. He came back in three days later, used over 500mb already, and said "I just can't afford this." So we get ready to cancel it for him, and Telus tells us he has to pay for the data usage, pay the cancelation fee, and pay the cancellation fee of 200 bucks. Totally violated their own terms...

Err, what's the problem? Well, other than the cancellation fee - which you could kick up a stink about, though. The data charges, however, are legit, and would stand up in any court of law. If I got a landline under similar conditions, spent the best part of a week on the phone to a satphone in the Indian Ocean, I couldn't then cancel and go "hey, without penalty!" and have that bill waived.

But yes, I'd argue about the cancellation fee. But even then, if the cancellation fee was that, no matter what, they may well have meant "no additional penalty"...

Re:Been using an Aircard for a while now (1)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190646)

I recently got a Thinkpad X60 which has EV-DO built in (provided by Verizon). I've been getting ~100KBps downloads pretty reliably in the LA area (about 700-800 Mbps, note B/b). I'm pretty satisfied with it; I've cancelled my DSL and I can still use the iTunes music/video store, YouTube, Google Video, and Adult Swim Fix. I'm surprised how well streaming video works over the connection in general. On the down side, latency is noticably higher than DSL and upload speeds are terrible; you wouldn't do well using Skype or playing games, though I haven't tried it myself. Coverage has been very good for me so far.

The service is $60/month unlimited on a 2-year contract if your cell service is also through Verizon, and IMHO it's worth it if you can cancel your home broadband. My biggest concern is that the Terms of Service are retarded; they basically prohibit doing anything but checking your email and viewing HTML over HTTP. Video of any kind is expressly prohibited, as are games, and they even forbid using it as a "replacement for a wired broadband connection". They don't seem to actually attempt to enforce any of it. Hopefully competition from Sprint will force them to drop those clauses, as Sprint doesn't have them AFAIK.

Something else to consider is that cell carriers are going to be quickly moving to EV-DO Revision A, and then Revision B in a year or two, so a laptop with hardware built in may not be the best choice upgradability wise, especially when the PC cards are free with a contract. I haven't seen information anywhere about whether current EV-DO hardware will be software-upgradable to Revision A or B; I'm thinking likely not. Revision A will provide massively improved uplink and doubled downlink, along with improved latency likely usable for VoIP and even games. Revision B will boast peak speeds of 70/25 Mbps down/up, and if Verizon/Sprint actually sell those speeds there's hardly any point in a wired connection at all. Finally, competition in the broadband market!

Re:Been using an Aircard for a while now (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15194635)

and then Revision B in a year or two

That's a little optimistic. I'd be surprised if you saw Rev B before very late 2008, and much more likely 2009. Rev A is only being rolled out as we speak to small areas of the US.

Not sure if I'd want it (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189998)

I have T-Mobile's EDGE and GPRS through my Samsung t809 cell phone. Over the past 4 months my speeds have gotten faster and faster (upwards of 20K/s downloads), and some days I forget to log off before jumping on my WiFi at home. I'm very happy with the speed and the phone (even with many downsides).

I've been thinking of getting a separate EDGE PC-Card so my laptop always has access, but then I realized it is more of a hassle and a cost than necessary. I think this laptop will have similar problems.

First of all, you need a second SIM card, which usually means a second plan through your phone company. This could also mean a second contract and all that good stuff (depending on your provider). Also, this virtually locks you in to just that one PC. With my Samsung t809, I just link up via Bluetooth (automatic) from my laptop, my HP PDA, or even my home PC (my MCE box has bluetooth in case my home network is down). The benefit of being able to connect however I want is a great benefit.

I've even used my t809 to hook up from a customer's office when they had a T1 outage. I didn't realize that their traffic routed through the dial-up connection until the office thanked me for fixing their problem. Here's something that wouldn't have worked very well if the laptop integrated it.

I'm all for more integration, but Bluetooth really has made almost everything I used to desire pretty useless. I print via BT, connect to the web, even transfer files over WiFi (better battery life through BT).

Who here could actually use this over a BT cell with EDGE/3G?

Duplicating SIM cards (4, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190132)

Is there such a thing (on the black/grey market or whatever) as a reprogrammable SIM card?

Back in the day (early to mid 90s) it used to be fairly easy to find someone -- in my area it was always Israelis, don't ask me why -- who would clone certain brands and models of cellphones for you. Basically they could take a second phone, and make it appear to the network like a second instance of an already-existing phone. This was how a lot of crooks stole your phone service, but it was also handy because you could buy a second handset, and attach it to one number. Basically, just like having two phones in your house; two extensions on the same number.

I never actually did it, but I knew some commercial users that had it done, or said they did, and seemed to like it. I haven't heard of it being done in years though so I assume with the digital changeover the phone companies figured out some way to prohibit it.

I gotta imagine though that somewhere, in between designing new xBox mod chips, somebody has been working on making a reprogrammable SIM card that you could reflash and give a new address to, so that you could effectively duplicate an existing SIM. Assuming it wasn't so common that the network checks to see whether there are multiple instances of a particular SIM active at the same time, it seems like it would be able to give you the "multiple extension" effect. You could have one 'extension' as your computer, and another as your voice handset. Just set the computer to ignore incoming voice calls, and you'd be all set. You'd only have one service plan and you'd work off of the same pot of minutes using both phones.

I can imagine the cellular carriers would frown on this though, since they don't get to squeeze you for the extra dough on the second service plan.

Anyone ever heard if this is possible? It seems like something that somebody must have put some thought into, either on how to do it, or how to prohibit it.

Re:Duplicating SIM cards (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190550)

Aye. New IMEI/SIM numbers means your SIM is now tied to the IMEI. Yes you can move the SIM to a different phone (Vendor lock in permitting) without any trouble, but if your SIM keeps hopping IMEI too often it's liable to be picked up and your phone company will call and basically say "Is it you who keeps swapping handsets?". Basically, it's still possible but a PITA to do with newer models and network handshakes.

Re:Duplicating SIM cards (1)

tonigonenstein (912347) | more than 8 years ago | (#15194371)

Is there such a thing (on the black/grey market or whatever) as a reprogrammable SIM card?
There is. However you won't be able to clone an existing SIM card, because you cannot read it and so won't know the shared key used for network authentication.

Re:Duplicating SIM cards (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15195140)

So what happens when someone ring you?? Do they both ring?

This sounds so much like an Urban legend.

Re:Duplicating SIM cards (1)

tengwar (600847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15204079)

Under GSM, you'd have to duplicate the SIM rather than the phone. There is an "official" way to do this, whereby the phone company creates a new SIM for you with the same MSISDN (phone number) but different IMSI (SIM number - the phone network actually works on the basis of IMSI rather than MSISDN). A few companies offer this, mainly to make certain types of car phone easier to use.

It's also possible to crack some (but not all) SIMs to get "Ki", the shared secret. Having done this, making a duplicate SIM is fairly easy. This will only work on networks which use the COMP128-1 algorithm to generate the session authentication and encryption key. This algorithm is not a part of the GSM standard, and does not have enough entropy, which means it's vulnerable to brute-force attack in a few hours. Most GSM operators avoid COMP128-1 for this reason.

Re:Duplicating SIM cards (1)

tengwar (600847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15204149)

I forgot to answer your second point. I work for a large non-US GSM operator. We're very happy for you to swap your SIM around: you're paying for the time, not to rent a phone. I swap SIMs between three phones - for instance when I'm travelling I take a video phone to call my wife, but at work I use a Nokia 9300. I also use my SIM for test purposes in loads of other phones with no problems. If your SIM wears our (mine never has) we'll replace it over the counter and free.

One of the other respondents mentioned SIM-locked phones (actually they are locked to a network, not a specific SIM). Yes, they exist, mainly on high-end consumer phones. Fairly silly in my opinion, because those phones are usually custom-built and bought to tie in with value-added services, which the owner will lose if they go off-network. In my company, and the few others I know about for certain, it's possible to get them unlocked free after a year, or for a fee during the first year. There is also a thriving grey market in third parties unlocking phones

Re:Not sure if I'd want it (1)

evil agent (918566) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190139)

Wow, this sounds pretty interesting. I also have T-Mobile and a bluetooth phone (Motorola V330). What does T-Mobile charge for internet service? Also, does this really drain the battery on your phone?

Re:Not sure if I'd want it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15191837)

About the sim-card; most providers (over here in Europe) support a second SIM card for the same account. By enabling just the data option (APN) on one SIM there wont be network problems with incoming calls on both SIM's :-)

Data charges (1)

monktus (742861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190032)

However with Orange UK charging £1 a megabyte for data, actually using the thing could be expensive even if you get a driver for it. Admittedly, Orange and other networks in the UK do data bundles but it's still a (very) big chunk of profit for your network, and prohibitively expensive for many users.

Re:Data charges (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190516)

I used to have a contract with Orange. They decided that I couldn't upgrade my 'phone to support 3G, however, without paying a large fee because they only count the amount you have been paying for voice when they calculate how valuable a customer you are. Since most of my bill was data (I was on the cheapest possible voice plan with SMS and data bundles added), they didn't want to know.

I cancelled my contract with them the same day (the reason I was considering upgrading was that I had received a flyer from them in the post reminding me that my contract period was reaching an end and I could get a new 'phone from them for free with some very tiny print saying that this didn't apply to people on my plan). Since then I have been on a T-Mobile web'n'walk plan which includes 40MB of data per month for about the same price as my voice tariff on Orange. 40MB is not a huge amount, but it's enough for IM, email and a bit of web browsing while I am travelling.

Wakey Wakey Orange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15192339)

YUP. Wakey wakey Orange UK. Charge less and we will join.

Cold day in hell (1)

objekt (232270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190039)

Re:Cold day in hell (1)

Random Destruction (866027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190156)

Hm. the canadian conversion is easier. Multiply by two. :P
But I agree, who is buying these expensive assed laptops? It all seems pretty over the top to me. I'm sure I could find another solution for my four grand.. though to each their own.

Re:Cold day in hell (1)

un1xl0ser (575642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15192443)

I heard from a co-worker in the UK that they basically get shit prices on almost all technology items. He recently got an expensive DSLR (Nikon D20 or something.. I can't remember). The price here was less than the price in British pounds.

IMHO, that is insane... no wonder he got the camera here.

not neccesarily (2, Informative)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190102)

Many phone companies will give you 2 sim cards on the same number, e.g. for use in your car. They are also pretty easy to copy. Better still would have been Bluetooth: did you know there is a bluetooth profile for "borrowing" a SIM card? Keep the Laptop (or whatever) anywhere near your phone and it can act as if it had the SIM card inside....

Re:not neccesarily (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190529)

did you know there is a bluetooth profile for "borrowing" a SIM card? Keep the Laptop (or whatever) anywhere near your phone and it can act as if it had the SIM card inside....

Did you know there's a Bluetooth profile for dial-up networking? Just keep the radio hardware in the 'phone and transmit the data via BT. That way you can replace your 'phone and keep your laptop when you upgrade to 4G, or whatever the next mobile buzzword happens to be.

Re:not neccesarily (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15191829)

What sold me on UMTS over EVDO was the ability to do simultaneous voice and data. My iBook uses a PPP connection over Bluetooth to my LG CU320 UMTS phone for a network connection. I can talk on the handset and browse the web on my iBook w/o any hitches. Now, if Cingular will just finally release the Samsung ZX20, which supports HSDPA enhanced UMTS and hopefully fix the latency issues which can make UMTS somewhat of a headache for SSH use (also even TCP/IP connection establishment take on average 1-2 seconds).

Re:not neccesarily (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15194649)

Did you know there's a Bluetooth profile for dial-up networking?

Absolutely there is. Of course, if you get your phone through (m)any of the networks in the US, you'll often find that that feature has been disabled in firmware. You could take the phone to a service center for a firmware upgrade, but guess what, you'll get the Verizon/Cingular/Sprint firmware back on the phone, they won't flash it with a factory firmware.

Latest Addition (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190255)

A 2 year old review of the GSM Flybook [handtops.com]

A 15 month old review of the GSM Enfora CF card [mobiletechreview.com]

Those products, though very cool at the time, don't seem to have gone anywhere. Is the 3G and integration of this Lifebook the key to the revolution? Is it even usable as a voice phone?

Not especially useful (1)

chroma (33185) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190336)

It doesn't seem that useful, at least if 1) your phone and laptop both support Bluetooth and 2) you're carrying your cellphone anyway. You can just run the network connection over Bluetooth. So I'm told by my Cingular sales rep, anyway.

Re:Not especially useful (1)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190736)

That's the same feeling I got from the "air cards". Why should I get a dedicated piece of hardware when I can just use my phone over bluetooth. I can tell you Cingular's LG U340 works nicely with a MacBook Pro on UMTS (in Phoenix).

Telcos should subsidize the machine (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190503)

Have you ever looked at 3G tariffs? Vodafone charges [vodafone.ie] a mere 20 for 50MB monthly limit with 1.50 for every subsequent MB. That's on the best plan.

They could afford to subsidize a substantial part of the machine and still make their money back when they're charging that much.

Re:Telcos should subsidize the machine (1)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190727)

Thankfully Cingular in 'merica offers an unlimited plan! :P

Yeah but..... (1)

phekno (719662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190567)

can it download the latest ringtone from $.50 or The Black Eyed Peas?

Re:Yeah but..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15192068)

I love that black girl in the Verizon commercials. She is so hot.

FYI... Fujitsu-Siemens LifeBook E8210 (1)

loyukfai (837795) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190588)

is the model reviewed in the link.

But where is the 3G antenna? (1)

skiingyac (262641) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190851)

I thought one of the advantages of using a pcmcia 3G card is that the antenna is physically sticking out of the laptop, giving both a better signal and reducing the possibly cancer-causing radiation your lap/hands are exposed to. So when 3G is integrated, is the antenna placed for example at the top back of the LCD screen, maximizing the distance between you and the transmissions (and probably eliminating some interference from all the other electronics)? None of the specs seem to mention this...

If its in a bad place, then you're stuck with a 3G device within inches of your hands and family jewels for significant lengths of time... I'd rather a bluetooth phone so I can put it on the seat next to me or something.

So who's the cheapest network (uk) ? (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15191189)

I have been using my Sony Ericsson T630 with GPRS and bluetooth to access the net on my XP laptop. It all works fine (thanks for asking), but the prices are criminal.

I didn't originally buy a phone for this type of use, but it's pretty capable. I am on a pay-as-you-go sim with virgin mobile, and they charge 0.5 pence per KB. At first, I didn't worry about that, as I had no real idea how much simple e-mail usage was going to work out costing me. Anyway, one day, I was checking the mail, and the AVG popped up saying it was out of date. Ok, so download it then - except it was a 2.5 MB dload ! I realised after a few seconds what I had just agreed to, and hit the cancel button. Too late, after about 20% of the download, I had run out of credit. I know for a fact that I had £8.00 credit when I logged on for the email ( I was keeping tabs on expected costs/usage ), so that was £8.00 for around 500 KB and some email. *!?# that !

So I am in the market for a better (cheaper) option. It seems that I will have to go contract to get 3G anyway, but I am quite happy with GPRS really. The best prices I have come across (per MB) are from British Telecom (well ok , O2 [o2.co.uk] ) with their unlimited plan running at around £75 (+tax) per month. (Unlimited actually means 1GB BTW) Per meg that's not too bad. They have another plan at 512 MB / month which costs £40 (+tax) which is also not too bad (per MB).
However, trying to find information on how to actually get this service is virtually impossible. For instance, I don't really need a new phone, just a sim card. I don't actually want voice services either, virgins fine for that. I can't use O2s datacard product because I dropped the laptop (while pissed) and broke the pcmcia socket off the mboard - the wifi card was in there at the time !

So, has anybody got any solid info on how to go about getting set up ?

PS. I start a new job in just over a week, and I'm going to need this stuff sorted, or go without /. every morning :<

Re:So who's the cheapest network (uk) ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15195786)

Just sign for the contract and use the SIM card with an unlocked GPRS Bluetooth phone. You can find good second hand deals, now that everything is UMTS. Also, you could ebay the PCMCIA card if you want, or just keep it for the next laptop.

Re:So who's the cheapest network (uk) ? (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15197984)

Interesting idea, but I'm not sure that they actually use a sim card. I'll investigate though, thanks.

Laptop with 3G (1)

sysconp1 (699556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15191420)

The new Latitude laptops from Dell (D620 & D420) have 3G as an option. I was evaluating one today and it is a pretty nice Gucci piece of kit. Wireless 54G, Bluetooth, 3G cellular, Ambient light sensor for the screen, beautiful screen and very light. Seems they may have it right folks!!

EVDO on sprint (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15191488)

Everyone who is complaining about price for a data connection in the US needs to look at Sprint. The plan I'm using has an additional $15/month fee for a data connection for my phone. Thats a flat rate for unlimited data usage. I have a Pocket PC 6700 so i use the data connection through the phone all the time. When I need to get some work done i use bluetooth to my laptop and it works great. The PPC has 802.11 in it, but I rarely ever use it because of the speed, ease of use, and lack of limits on use of the data connection. The one thing i wish i could do would be setup the 802.11 as a passthrough to the EVDO network...to do that I have to connect my laptop directly and use it as the gateway for the lan; when i'm connecting this way, i use the USB connection, that way the phone battery is charging instead of draining. The one drawback to this setup is the phone was $400 upfront, but thats just cuz i wanted the phone/PDA combo, which i'm quite happy with. I don't know if sprint offers this service with other phones, but i think they do.

*disclaimier: sprints price on the phone is $450, but verizon has the same phone for $400. Verizons model won't allow for a laptop data connection though, so don't go with them, just tell sprint you'll get their service instead of verizons if they match the price on the phone.

The problem though.... (1)

fatmal (920123) | more than 8 years ago | (#15195572)

Given my recent woes of getting my Nokia 6682 to actually work as a UTMS/EDGE modem for my Powerbook, the notion of integration is a really nice sounding idea.

I believe that your real problem will come to light when you trade your Just Works(tm) OSX for something evil - simply to get integrated 3G.
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