The Hard Way.

Verizon Wireless recently announced that they are going to start selling the iPad in their stores. The Apple device will be the Wi-Fi version only, since AT&T carries the 3G version of the product, however, Verizon is going to start bundling their Mi-Fi device with the wi-fi iPad (MiFi and WiFi get along pretty well) for the same price as the iPad with 3G, bringing the same functionality to the wi-fi version with just a little extra hardware and on the Verizon network instead of the AT&T network.

Did that make sense?

I already have a wi-fi iPad and I love it very much. I do much of my remote surfing on my iPad now and the experience is quite nice. There have been a few occasions, however, where I wish I had 3G network access instead of needing to find a wi-fi hot spot. Unfortunately, the same reason that I no longer have an iPhone holds true for why I bought the wi-fi iPad: AT&T’s 3G coverage in Central New York sucks. I checked with co-workers last week and confirmed that they do not get 3G network access on their phones in the general area around work. The 3G on my Verizon-connected Motorola Droid works brilliantly (hence why I’m on Verizon) but if I want to connect my iPad to the internet, I need to rely on the citywide wireless DSL that ironically costs more per month than the AT&T 3G plan that comes with the appropriate iPad.

Earl announced to me last week, in a very serious voice, that he was tired of carrying two cell phones around and no longer wanted his Droid. This is understandable and I agreed that it was probably cumbersome to carry around two phones. He wanted to terminate the contract on his Droid and just stick with his work issued Blackberry, and then probably get something else for connectivity when he is on the road. (I am going to set him up with a Google Voice account that he can use with his Mac or an upcoming iPad). The problem is, Verizon Wireless was poised to soak us with an early termination fee. We considered this when making this decision but in the back of our minds it seemed like we were throwing money at the wind.

So on Saturday I converted Earl’s personal cell number to a Verizon Mi-Fi device. I now can have up to five devices connected on a portable wi-fi hotspot using Verizon’s 3G service. Not only does this save us some money on a monthly basis (because it’s cheaper than the citywide WiFi when you consider the money we saved by removing Earl’s phone from the cell plan), but we can now also surf the internet wherever there is a Verizon 3G signal. It is quite nifty and I’m happy to say that this is seemingly faster than the citywide wifi, even as we type. In addition, should the RoadRunner connection at the house go down, we now have a back-up plan and can still maintain some sort of connectivity.

Astute readers of the blog may have noticed that I am blogging more again and that’s on purpose. The creative outlet is helping me psychologically and of course it’s something that I really enjoy doing. I’m also sharing more tech stuff on my iMachias twitter feed (see link at right). This new Verizon MiFi connection is helping with that immensely.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, if/when the Verizon iPhone comes out next year, I am absolutely going to get back onto the iPhone platform and sell my Droid. I like the Droid but I loved the iPhone. It was AT&T that messed that up for me.

It’s good to be a geek.