One of the real benefits of running Froyo (and now Gingerbread) on my Google Nexus One has been the facility to use it as a portable wifi hotspot. Despite often been in locations with free wifi, more often I have reverted to the Nexus One as the quality of the free wifi connection has left a lot be desired.
The other day for example I was in my local Costa coffee shop which has free wifi for customers.
It seems to take ages for my non-3G iPad to connect to the wifi and an age for the wifi login screen to come up. You have to create an account (which means I need to remember that account), you then need to enter your credentials and the “code” you are given when you bought the coffee. By which time you have drunk the coffee… The connection isn’t that good either, sometimes a little flaky, and if the connection drops, you need to go through the process again. So if I am rushed for time, I will probably use my Nexus One and turn on the wifi hotspot feature whilst I am queing for coffee, so that when I sit down it is up and running and my iPad will connect automatically. Now I know you could say, why didn’t you get a 3G iPad then you wouldn’t need this, well in reply I would say that I was already paying for 3G on the Nexus One and why would I want to spend more money on another 3G connection? I have a legacy T-Mobile Web’n’Walk Plus account that allows me to use my phone as a modem (or as I can now as a wireless hotspot).
Another time I do use it is at conferences. Most conferences I attend now actually have had decent wifi so haven’t had to worry… however recently at a conference in Harrogate, the conference wifi, which though free, would normally cost £4 per hour, was somewhat flaky, basically I don’t think it could cope with the number of delegates who had multiple wifi devices, iPads, phones and laptops.
As a result I got a better connection from the Nexus One than I did with the conference wifi. This is something I have written about before on my e-Learning blog. That though was written in 2007, here we are four years later, the iPhone has proved quite popular, we now see more smartphones with wifi and there is of course the iPad.
You would think that conference venues would know that decent robust scalable wifi is not just an extra these days, but a standard requirement for events.
Till that happens, I am pleased I can continue to get my own wifi through the Google Nexus One.