I’m not quite feeling the benefits of a Wi-Fi only device. Having worked for a device manufacturer then a carrier, I guess I’m a bit spoiled when it comes to connectivity. Over the years I’ve had several tablets, some with cellular connections and some with only Wi-Fi connections.

I have to admit that I find that the Wi-Fi only devices never seem to have connectivity when I need it the most. At home (of course), at most airports and at many national chains (hotels, restaurants, stores), there’s usually access, but like I said – often when I really need it it’s just not available.

I attended the AT&T Dev Summit in January at a hotel in Las Vegas. Being a networking company (although they really don’t want to be, they want to be so much more) I expected them to provide Wi-Fi access at the event, and they did, but in the movie theater area where most of the ‘sessions’ were held, I could get no coverage. I had some research to do between sessions and a desire to catch-up on some emails, but simply couldn’t get coverage.

Now, I was in several movie theaters, away from the conference ‘center’ but none the less, they’d provided coverage, they should have made sure it was available everywhere. If not, why even bother setting it up and promoting it if it’s not most everywhere the conference is being held.

My employer provided me with a Wi-Fi only iPad 3 (I refuse to call it the ‘New iPad’) and I was able to order a Mi-Fi hotspot, but I really don’t like carrying (and maintaining charge in) two devices simply to have ubiquitous network coverage. I use the device when I’m at home and at the office, but when I’m out and about I rarely have the Mi-Fi hotspot with me.

I recently upgraded my Nexus 7 to a cellular version (AT&T) and I’m going to give the old one to my kids. I dropped my Android smartphone coverage and added a tablet data plan and now for $10US a month I can use my tablet anywhere I can use my cell phone. This makes for a much better experience for me.

The big issue for me is that I’m a BlackBerry user and I don’t have a cellular version of the BlackBerry Playbook. The BlackBerry is awesome for productivity stuff, but when it comes to things like Flipboard, book reading and more – a tablet is still the best option. As long as that’s the case, I’m going to have to keep a cellular enabled tablet around.

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  • Guest - Harald Gaerttner

    I used a MiFi some time ago but since I have an iPhone I don't use it anymore.<br /><br />Went iPad 3 (refuse the New, too) Wifi only for two reasons:<br /><br />1. Didn't want to pay the $100 extra for the device (instead went to the 64 GB version compared to my 32 GB iPad 2).<br /><br />2. Didn't want to pay an extra $25 / month for a good data flat.<br /><br />I find it quite fast and easy to just start thethering on my iPhone if no WiFi is available. Doesn't feel like a bug additional effort compared to the money otherwise spent.

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  • Guest - John M Wargo

    Yes, tethering is a good option and I investigated doing that - but my smartphone is on a corporate plan and adding the cost for wi-fi hotspot wasn't an option. Easier for me to spend $10 per month on my personal plan.

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