June 27 2007

T-Mobile HotSpot @Home

Oh hallelujah! I have been waiting for this day to come for ages! T-Mobile has finally launched HotSpot @Home. Why is this exciting? Oh, let me list the ways!

For someone such as myself, I have next to no cell phone coverage in my house. I have to leave my phone on the front window ledge to get one bar, if that. This new T-Mobile service turns any WiFi router in to a cell coverage expander. In theory, you can start a call on a traditional cell network, and as you get neat your WiFi router, the call will hand off to the router, allowing you to go anywhere in your house and continue the call. I have no delusions about the hand off, but the idea of being able to use my phone inside my house finally, is really exciting.

Even cooler is any calls using the WiFi system do NOT count against your minutes. If you aren’t a big minute user, you can get a small package, pay the $10 a month fee, talk almost exclusively on the WiFi network and never use even one of your minutes. It will also handle text messaging and any of the other usual phone features.

For now, the only phone available is the Nokia 6086 , which Engadget Mobile reviewed today. They loved it except for a bit tinny sounding on the audio, but they said that happened both on WiFi and traditional cell networks. Like them, I love the idea this phone has Bluetooth included. I am sure using WiFi and Bluetooth at the same time will drain the heck out of the battery, just plug the handset in, put on your wireless headset, walk away from the phone and let it run off the wall socket. Who wants to hold the handset to their head anyway for a long conversation? And for those who wondered, yes, this phone will work with any open wireless network, meaning coffee shops, schools and so on. So long as there isn’t a login screen, you’re good to go.

Another bonus for me is I work in all metal building with NO reception at all. Well, we have WiFi at work, so I would finally have cell phone accessibility all day long. And, even better, I could use my Bluetooth headset to talk at work as I walk around the warehouse! Yes, I currently use traditional headsets, but I am tired of the cord catching on things and ripping the ear piece off my head!

More than likely there will be more handsets introduced on the not-to-distant future, and I am going to hold out for a bit, but I am so stoked by this whole concept. This technology has been out in Europe for awhile now, it’s about time we got it here!

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