Boy it's been a busy week on the 3G front as the various notebook manufacturers race to offer notebooks with wireless broadband in them. Apparently, everyone is beginning to realize that there's some benefit to a country-wide hotspot. OK, they're not that big, but coverage is, well, very good -- way better than having to deal with Wi-Fi if you ask me (see My EVDO will beat your WiFi any day). And performance is fine for most applications. Streaming video and audio? Who needs it? We're better off downloading it or getting it through an RSS pipe podcast style. Anyway, almost simultaneously, Dell, HP, and Lenovo announced that they'll be working with Verizon Wireless to sell notebooks that include EVDO-based wide-area broadband (aka 3G) networking technology. EVDO is the 3G technology in use by Verizon Wireless and Sprint. Then, just to make sure it had all the bases covered, Dell announced that it would also do a deal with one of the GSM carriers: Cingular to be specific (here's the press release. I haven't found one news story on the item yet). Not to be outdone, HP issued the following statement:
HP understands that Dell today announced intent of a wireless broadband notebook available next year through the Cingular network. HP has identified the mobile broadband market as key to allowing our customers access to high-speed data connectivity in locations where public Wi-Fi hotspots are unavailable. You can expect HP to work with major carriers around the world. We are committed to offering our customers the broadest range of wireless connectivity through a wide choice of mobile computing products. HP will provide more detail about wireless broadband connectivity in the coming weeks and months.
Did HP get caught with its pants down? Given that HP did the deal it did with Verizon Wireless, It's highly likely that the company is working with carriers from the GSM world since they'd have no choice if they want to replicate the 3G strategy in Europe where EVDO is virtually unheard of. Even so, it does seem like HP got caught unawares (this is no surprise since Alex Gruzen, the guy who used to run mobile computing at HP is at Dell now). Not to mention we haven't heard a peep from Lenovo.