If you've always wished you could carry a wireless hot spot with you and have access to the Internet wherever you had mobile coverage, TapRoot Systems is ready to make your wish a reality. The company, which creates software for smartphones, announced that it is letting Wi-Fi -enabled smartphone users try its WalkingHotSpot solution for free.
Before you get too excited, note some caveats. First, BlackBerry users can sit down; the free trial version is for a few selected smartphones that use the Symbian S60 and Windows Mobile 6 Professional platforms. Support for other platforms is under investigation, though there's no word on when that might be available.
The trial version allows one device to connect to a single WalkingHotSpot through a secure connection, but the full version will allow multiple devices to connect via the hot spot.
WalkingHotSpot "enables 3G/Wi-Fi smartphones to become mobile hot spots with no additional client software required on the laptop or Wi-Fi-enabled device to connect. The solution provides seamless connectivity to client devices while enforcing the security methods required by mobile network operators," said Bob Bicksler, TapRoot's CEO.
The product was created by "a group of seasoned, embedded Wi-Fi software professionals," Bicksler said, and is fully supported and maintained by TapRoot Systems, "a trusted partner in the mobile-device industry for over seven years, [with] solutions shipped in millions of mobile handsets worldwide."
Connecting to the Internet through your phone may give you visions of sluggish page loads and a frustrating experience, but that won't be the case with WalkingHotSpot, Bicksler said. Connection speeds will vary depending "on the carrier network, but we are able to perform reliable video streaming with multiple laptops connected via a single WalkingHotSpot device."
Security and Ease of Use
Security is paramount for mobile users, and TapRoot says the WalkingHotSpot client-server architecture helps enforce security rules while allowing easy access for users. Additionally, the smartphone user controls who can connect, meaning that others nearby can't intrude on a connection.
Ease of use and mobility features are also important for road warriors. The WalkingHotSpot software can be quickly downloaded and installed. To get Internet connectivity, the user simply starts the application and gives permission for the Wi-Fi device to connect. Energy-management features preserve battery life, while the lightweight application allows the user to make phone calls and run other applications while maintaining an Internet connection.
The is no word on price yet. "Our business model is to partner with various carriers. They will establish the ultimate pricing with the customers, depending on their marketing strategy and product offerings," Bicksler said.