This is post two on my reflections on what happened in 2008 and looks at the mobile devices I bought/used this year that made a difference:
3G USB Dongles
Many people rightly say that 2008 was the year of HSPA with cheap 3G USB dongles appearing on the market and, depending on the country, people have started using them extensively during meetings, at home, at the airport and at Starbucks 🙂
My HSPA history dates back to March 2007, when I first used a Sierra Wireless PCMCIA 1.8 MBit/s category 12 HSPA card. One and a half years ago I wrote that the 500 MB offer TIM had at this time was sufficient for me. Well, one and a half years later my expectations have changed. With prepaid offers for several GB for a couple of Euros, I use about 200 MB a day now when traveling abroad for up- and downloading large files and Voice over IP. So the 500 MB would be gone in 2 or 3 days now. I've also upgraded my hardware and instead of the 1.8 MBit card, I now use a 3.6/7.2 MBit/s Huawei E220 USB dongle which has proven to be rock solid in all of the networks I have used this year. There are newer and smaller models on the market but I made some bad performance experiences with one in networks other than for the one it was originally sold and had to return it to the shop.
In the previous post I've noted that a lot of people are looking for information on how they can share their 3G connection with other people. It's possible to do that with Windows XP and other OS'es but it's a bit of a hassle to set it up. So I am quite happy that in some countries, one can now buy 3G to Wifi bridges such as the Huawei D100 for a reasonable price. Makes 3G network sharing with other people of your family or during meetings child's play.
The Nokia N95
Having been quite happy with my N93 I waited for quite a long time before I upgraded to the N95 earlier this year. But at some point the memory limitations of the N93 were just not bearable any longer. I didn't look back for a minute since then with the N95 being vastly superior to previous models. I use the built in SIP VoIP client every day over Wi-Fi and the improvement over previous (non Nokia) models is stunning. Nokia has 'forgotten' to include the SIP clients in some Nseries models this year but I remain hopeful that the N97 will have it again.
Prepaid SIM cards
The best mobile devices are not a lot of use without a network subscription. So I am quite happy that this year, the number countries in which operators have decided to offer mobile Internet access via prepaid SIM cards has markedly improved. The Prepaid Wireless Internet Wiki has grown to an impressive size in 2008.
So, those are the devices that made a big difference for me this year. If you like, leave a comment which devices made the difference for you in 2008.