updated 12:40 pm EDT, Thu October 30, 2008
AT&T/Lenovo 3G notebooks
Carrier AT&T and PC builder Lenovo say they have collaborated on a project meant to drive down the cost of 3G broadband on notebooks. Buyers of Lenovo notebooks in the ThinkPad T, X and SL series will get a free 30 days of AT&T's DataConnect service, if they sign up for a two-year contract; more critically, models with the necessary Ericsson module will not cost any more than a regular version, which the companies claim will save as much as $150 per computer. The arrangement is being targeted mainly at small- to medium-sized businesses.
Connecting a US notebook to a 3G network typically requires the purchase of an external USB or ExpressCard modem, as integrated cellular receivers are rare within North America. AT&T operates on an HSPA network, said to provide average download speeds between 700Kbps and 1.2Mbps, and uploads limited to a range between 500Kbps and 1.2Mbps. This is faster than EVDO networks on rival carriers, but slower than Sprint's Xohm WiMAX.