Ubiquisys attocell: a personal femtocell for travelers

UK-based femtocell maker Ubiquisys has taken the wraps off a new mobile roaming product that may particularly appeal to international travelers. Dubbed the attocell, the device connects to a notebook computer or other Internet-enabled device via USB, examines IP and location information, and sets up a tiny, local-area 3G cell station that complies with local licensing requirements and can be used with 3G-enabled smartphones. Although the range of the attocell might be as low as 5mm, in many locations it’ll be big enough to cover and entire room—and users will be able to use their 3G smartphones without incurring international roaming charges.

ubiquisys attocell a personal femtocell for travelers

“At Ubiquisys we are constantly developing new ways to harness intelligent cell technology,” said Ubiquisys CEO Chris Gilbert, in a statement. “The attocell innovation is a direct response to meet a specific requirement from mobile operators.”

The prefix atto- is actually smaller then femto-, so referring to the attocell as a “femtocell” device is technically incorrect, and Ubiquisys chose the term specifically to highlight the very short range of the device, rather than its size. Where a typical femtocell is designed to support a house or a portion of a building, the attocell is designed to serve a much smaller are: just a room, or less.

The attocell was specifically designed to be used with the Apple iPhone, although it has also been tested with devices from RIM and Nokia as well as Android-based smartphones, and any 3G smartphone should work. In the 5mm move users can lay their phone right on top of the attocell and have the device connect automatically, just like a regular femtocell, enabling users to place calls via speakerphone or a headset.

Ubiquisys is in discussion with operators about selling the attocell; until operator deals are in place, no information is available about how much attocells will cost or what calling fees might be like. Although the device might have appeal to frequent international travelers, it’s not clear how the attocell is a significant benefit over using VoIP technologies like Skype. Ubiquisys says it developed the attocell in part due to requests from operators, so the company seems confident that a market exists.

Ubiquisys will showcase the attocell at next month’s Mobile World Conference in Barcelona.

Mobile

A banner showing Huawei's foldable phone leaks before MWC 2019

Huawei will announce its folding smartphone with 5G connectivity at Mobile World Congress, according to the CEO. Despite knowing this, we don't know much else; but we've got all the rumors about it here.
Mobile

Samsung beefs up just about everything in its Galaxy S10 smartphone range

Samsung has unveiled its 2019 flagship smartphone lineup, and there aren't just two phones as usual -- there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.
Computing

Keep your portable computer safe and shiny with the best laptop bags for 2019

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Deals

Amazon cuts prices on the Apple Watch Series 3 for Presidents’ Day

The Apple Watch Series 3 is seeing the same price cut we saw during the Amazon sale just last week. So if you're hoping to pick up an Apple Watch for less than $250, this $50 discount from Amazon can make that happen for you.
Deals

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for February 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Deals

Apple brings back the iPhone SE with a $100 clearance discount included

Apple is offering the iPhone SE on their online clearance store once again. With discounts of $100, you can get a brand new unlocked iPhone SE for as little as $249. This offer is only available while supplies last.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for February 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.
Computing

Chrome is a fantastic browser, but is is still the best among new competitors?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for February 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for February 2019.
Deals

From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for February 2019

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.
Mobile

Apple stomps on one FaceTime bug, only to have another one appear

Having fixed a FaceTime bug that let users eavesdrop on calls, another issue with Apple's video chat app appears to have surfaced. It concerns adding people to group calls, though there is a workaround.
Mobile

With Galaxy S10e, Samsung unapologetically rips a page out of Apple’s playbook

Samsung's Galaxy S10e -- a new entry in the Galaxy S-series -- has a few things in common with Apple's lower-cost iPhone XR. From the price tag to the color, we take a look atthe similarities.
Deals

Protect your iPhone or iPad with the IPVanish VPN, on sale through February

One of our favorite virtual private networks for iPhones and iPads, IPVanish, is now offering a huge discount on its two-year subscription as part of its 7th-birthday promotion. Read on to find out more about how this VPN works and how you…