For those high-capacity data users who occasionally run into the increasingly rare Wi-Fi-free area, AT&T and Netgear have come up with an innovative solution. Their Unite Pro Mobile Hotspot not only connects up to 15 devices through one data plan, but can also recharge your smartphone's battery while not in use.
The Unite Pro, available for $49.99 with a two-year data contract, has a 2.4-inch capacitive touchscreen and promises 16 hours of continuous use on one charge of its 4020 mAh battery. The Unite Pro is compatible with long-term evolution 4G high-speed data networks and uses dual-band Wi-Fi, transmitting on either the 5 gigahertz band or the 2.4 GHz band.
"With the ability to connect up to 15 devices, dual-band Wi-Fi and up to 16 hours of use on one charge, the AT&T Unite Pro is the perfect choice for customers who want to stay connected," said Jeff Bradley, AT&T's senior vice president of devices, in a statement.
San Jose, Calif.-based Netgear, founded in 1996, is a top manufacturer of computer networking systems and hardware. It also makes products for top U.S. wireless provider Verizon Wireless, such as routers and the Push2TV Wireless Display Adapter, which displays content from a device to a compatible TV.
The new Unite Pro might come in handy during a family vacation, so kids won't have to fight over access to connected devices, but its primary audience appears to be business users, an important target since companies tend to buy such devices in large quantities.
"AT&T Unite Pro unites a high-capacity mobile hotspot device with a battery charging capability," Neil Shah, research director for devices and ecosystems at Counterpoint Research told us on Tuesday.
Fewer Devices to Schlep
"Unite Pro is thus specially targeted for working professionals carrying multiple battery-operated connected devices who need to keep track of their data usage with an intuitive touchscreen display." This addresses the increasingly important goal of device consolidation as consumers grow wary of schlepping around excess weight when they travel.
"Basically a professional thus can carry just Unite Pro instead of carrying a hotspot and separate battery charger in his bag," said Shah.
"Furthermore, this Netgear-designed Unite Pro also features dual band Wi-Fi (faster Wi-Fi in the 5 GHz band) and LTE-Advanced capability to connect to the coming generation of blazing fast, highly efficient and less-battery-hogging LTE-A network. It broadens the AT&T portfolio of connected devices, which now ranges from the iPhone to Filip kids watch to iPad Air to Unite Pro."
In other AT&T news, the company announced that it will offer Amber Alert GPS, a safety tool that allows parents to keep better tabs on their kids, beginning Nov. 22, for $129.99, with unlimited talk and e-mail notification via a $10 per month standalone plan.