updated 11:20 am EST, Tue November 13, 2007
Option iCON 225
Option today gave world travelers a new choice for cellular broadband through the iCON 225 (PDF) USB adapter. The device is Option's most compact external 3G modem to date and is just under 2.5 inches long, making it easier to carry on the road or even wear around the neck on a lanyard. In spite of the size, it also serves as a true world modem with quad-band EDGE (up to 247Kbps) and GPRS data for 2G and 1G networks virtually anywhere GSM phone service exists; Europe and parts of Asia also get 3G access on the 2,100MHz band using either HSDPA or UMTS up to a peak of 7.2Mbps. An average song download finishes in as little as five seconds, the company claims.
Competing with the latest adapters from rivals, the new iCON also embeds drivers in its own flash memory that install automatically, allowing Mac OS X and Windows users to run the adapter for the first time without resorting to a driver CD or an elaborate setup process. The memory also allows relatively painless upgrades for new features added over time. Option has already shipped the 225 to unspecified carriers; no mention is made of releases in the US, though the adapter explicitly supports North American networks.