A year and half after its first mobile hotspot made for Sprint,, Netgear now wants to make it simple for those needing Internet on the go.
The networking vendor today announced the Netgear Around Town Mobile Internet device. Hardware-wise, the Around Town is basically the Zing in a different color. It's a small box, compact enough to be carried around easily in your purse or pocket. It supports 3G or 4G LTE cellular connections and can handle up to 10 Wi-Fi clients at a time, with up to 12 hours of battery life.
The device has a 1.8-inch color LCD screen that displays real-time information for monitoring connected Wi-Fi devices, battery life, network name, data usage, and so on, making it quite easy to use.
Unlike the Zing, however, which you need to purchase from Sprint with a data plan, the Around Town comes directly from Netgear and includes 1GB of data that you can use for as long as you want. When this data allowance runs out, you can re-fill with another 1GB for $25. In other words, the Around Town allows you to pay for just what you use, as opposed to having to pay a monthly fee whether you use the device or not, which is the case of the majority of other mobile hotspot devices on the market. There's no contract to worry about, either.
Netgear says the Around Town comes with an optional 4G LTE Boosting Cradle with Ethernet that also works as a charging dock. The cradle has two built-in antennae to boost the LTE signal and a Gigabit Ethernet port to a non-Wi-Fi device, such as a computer or a printer, or even a switch if you want to use the Around Town as the backup Internet source for your home network.
There's also a Netgear AirCard app for iOS or Android devices that lets you monitor and configure the Around Town conveniently.
It's slated to be available soon for $200, with 1GB of data included. The Boosting Cradle will cost another $70. If you travel and live within the 4G LTE coverage of Sprint, this seems like it could be a very flexible mobile Internet solution. For more on how it performs,.