New Gadget Provides Mobile Wi-Fi and Portable Power in One Device

AT&T today released the new Unite Pro mobile hotspot, a unique portable Wi-Fi router that does double duty by adding a battery-powered gadget charger to the mix.

Mobile hotspots are an increasingly important category for tech users who find themselves away from the home or office, as users who are constantly on the go know that a Wi-Fi signal is often unavailable when they need to get online. Mobile hotspots give your devices an instant connection to the Internet through the cellular data network. You just use your laptop or tablet to connect to the hotspot via Wi-Fi, then leapfrog to the web via a 4G or 3G data connection.

Because a mobile hotspot can connect to multiple devices simultaneously, it's a good solution for Wi-Fi-free conference rooms, impromptu brainstorming sessions, and even family road trips. Rather than requiring everyone in the room to use their own methods to get online, a single mobile hotspot can do the job more cost-effectively.

AT&T's Unite Pro extends what you can do with your mobile hotspot by adding a small but powerful battery to the product. The Unite Pro's BatteryBoost feature lets you connect your smart phone directly to the hotspot via a standard mini USB connection, letting you charge your phone from the hotspot's internal battery when its juice is beginning to dwindle.

You shouldn't have to worry about draining the Unite Pro overly quickly, as the device appears to have plenty of power to spare. AT&T says the Unite Pro offers up to 16 hours of operating time on a single charge (presumably when there's nothing plugged into it). Any smart phone that can charge via USB should work with the Unite Pro's charging system.

The hotspot's features are state of the art, supporting up to 15 connected devices at once and including a 2.4-inch touchscreen with onscreen keyboard that lets you update your Wi-Fi network name, password, and other security settings, as well as keep an eye on battery life. Of course, you can also monitor your data plan usage through the interface, which gives you a quick way to tell at a glance whether you're getting close to overstepping your monthly bandwidth limit (and running up overage charges).

The touchscreen menu can also be used to change the look of the Unite Pro interface, and additional tech specs include dual-band Wi-Fi, LTE Advanced support. The device launches on November 22 at a price of $49.99 (with new two-year contract).

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