Welcome to part 3 of a multi-part post on moddng the Acer Aspire One!
In part 1, I showed how to take the Aspire One apart, how to upgrade the RAM, and how to add internal Bluetooth. In part 2, I showed how to replace the SSD with a 1.8″ PATA hard drive and how to reassemble the Aspire One…
Why? Here’s what I’m excited about:
– First ever Android device
– First HSDPA/HSUPA smartphone on T-Mobile USA”s new AWS network
– Open source, linux-based OS/platform
– Full integration with Google mail, IM, contacts, calendar, and maps (including Street View)
– Android Market application store and Amazon MP3 music store (DRM free)
– Copy & paste, background processes
– Capacitive touchscreen and hardware keyboard
– WiFi, dual-band 3G, GPS, and compass
– 3 megapixel auto-focus camera
Here’s what appears to be missing:
– No Bluetooth DUN (tethering), ObEx (file transfer), and A2DP (stereo audio)
– No multi-touch functionality
– No standard 3.5 mm audio connector (adapter required)
– No video recording and camera flash
– No integration with Google reader and docs
– No UMA support
– Not so sexy design
I’ve recently acquired a virtually new-in-the-box and never booted Vulcan FlipStart with Windows XP and EVDO! The only item missing appears to be the recovery disc(s), which I can live without thanks to Acronis True Image.
Take a look at all the pictures!
Well a lot of things have changed in a year:
– I retired my beloved OQO Model 02 with HSDPA, selling it before it lost too much value
– Vulcan lowered the price of the FlipStart to $699, and then stopped selling it altogether
The tipping point was my Vulcan FlipStart HSDPA mod. The brave soul who volunteered his device for the hacking was experiencing some hardware problems which I was only able to resolve thanks to the outstanding assistance I received from Vulcan customer support. Being able to swap EVDO with HSDPA without reaching for my soldering iron was the icing on the cake…
So I started looking for a used FlipStart for further hacking. And for the record, I still think the FlipStart is aesthetically challenged :)
Last year I published an HSDPA mod for the OQO Model 02. Today I bring you an HSDPA mod for the Vulcan FlipStart :)
This time, instead of taking pictures, I decided to stream live video:
– Part 1 covers disassembling the FlipStart and replacing EVDO with HSDPA
– Part 2 covers reassembling the FlipStart and testing the result
Other than my connection (apparently) getting throttled by AT&T, everything ended up working pretty well…
I’d like to publicly thank the intrepid member of handtops.com who lent me both devices!
This solution works well enough, but only provides minimal control over routing and wireless setup. Furthermore, WiFi range is limited and battery drain is significant.
Enter the Cradlepoint PHS300, a battery/AC powered, pocketable, mobile wireless router designed to interface with a variety of USB 3G modems and phones.
The PHS300 is a black box resembling a 2.5″ hard drive enclosure, and is equipped with a USB port, a power connector, and power switch. The top features 3 status LEDs (power, 3G, & WiFi) and the bottom hides a Li-ion battery behind a removable cover (see my unboxing pictures).
Initial setup was as simple as inserting my AT&T SIM (MEdia Net data plan) into my Sierra Wireless AirCard 875U modem, plugging it into the USB port, and turning on the PSH300.
Within seconds, all 3 LEDs turned green and an additional WiFi network appeared. After connecting my computer to this WiFi network and opening my web browser, I was greeted with a login screen.
Once logged in (using the last 6 digits of the MAC address assigned to the PHS300), the web interface is similar to the one featured on most modern cable/DSL wireless routers. So I personalized the configuration, and I was immediately impressed with the routing features offered by the PHS300.
You see, before this review, I was thinking: “Why bother with a dedicated mobile wireless router when there’s software like JoikuSpot and WMWifiRouter?” Well now I know :)
The PHS300 supports PPP, DHCP, NAT with SPI, SSID enable/disable, Internet access control (services, URL, & MAC), 64/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK, UPnP, multiple and concurrent VPN pass-through sessions (IPSEC, L2TP, & PPTP)… Hmmm, that’s quite a mouthful!
Performance and stability are top notch. Battery life is about 2 hours, as advertised.
Of course, all this flexibility comes at a cost. The PHS300 is larger and heavier than most mobile devices, and still requires a 3G modem or phone to function. Together with my Sierra Wireless AirCard 875U, it makes for quite a bulky and unwieldy monster beast :)
So, what’s the verdict?
If you need basic mobile routing for personal use, or a truly pocketable solution, I suggest you pick software like JoikuSpot (especially if you own a compatible smartphone).
But if you need advanced mobile routing for a small group, or emergency routing for a small business. I highly recommend the PHS300.
Or are you just happy to see me?
Once upon a time, in a land far away, I used an OQO Model 01+ and Motorola E815 connected via Bluetooth. I hacked the phone and tethered the computer to Verizon’s EVDO network. Every now and then, I’d share the 3G connection over WiFi, turning the computer into a router, and allowing other devices with WiFi around me to access the cloud – all this while walking down the street or driving down the freeway…
But here’s the cool part: the entire setup fit easily, without wires, in the many pockets of my trusty cutoff cargo pants!
The setup evolved over time. I replaced the phone with an LG CU500 on Cingular’s HSDPA network (now AT&T). Then I replaced the computer with an OQO Model 02, which I promptly modded for HSDPA (built-in).
And then, having narrowed things down to a single device, I was rocking a router in my pocket – I was ready for the mobile revolution :)
Eventually, I ended up with a Nokia N95-3 featuring both 3G and WiFi and I started thinking… Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a Symbian application that turned the device into a router in my pocket? Wouldn’t it be great?
I’ve been playing with JoikuSpot on my N95-3 and it’s working like a charm.
I’ll be blogging live from Macworld next week, uploading pictures in real time and broadcasting live videos.
As much as I’m excited about mobile WiMax (4G), there’s no real coverage in the US yet. Sprint is supposed to introduce its WiMax service (named Xohm) sometime this year – the service is supposed to be contract free, but pricing is still unknown!
Unless Apple becomes an MVNO, why would they deal with another carrier when they already have a relationship with AT&T? Then again, they also have a relationship with Intel, one of the major forces behind WiMax.
Perhaps Apple will introduce a WiMax base station along with WiMax equipped devices. Apple adopting WiMax would definitely tip the scales in favor of the standard (like when Apple pushed USB and WiFi) – so I’m skeptical, but I’m hopeful.
One thing is certain – Macworld promises to be more interesting than ever this year :)