Looking to boost the usage of 3G data, Vodafone has announced an agreement with the laptop vendor Lenovo that will see its new X200 computer pre-installed with a Vodafone SIM and supporting software. The broadband connectivity comes at no extra cost and, when activated by the purchaser of the laptop, will offer the user a 30-day free trial. "The connection manager will ask for your name and email, but no bank details," said Alec Howard, head of PC connectivity at Vodafone. "Users will be prompted to take out a contract at the end of the free trial--prices are around £12 a month for broadband, with automatic roaming in Europe at £8.50 a day. However, users dissatisfied with the Vodafone service will struggle if they want to connect to another mobile operator--installing a new SIM and downloading and configuring a new connection manager instead of using the built-in software which only works with Vodafone.
Lenovo was unenthusiastic with respect to including WiMAX in the new laptop, and declined to provide possible dates. However, it claimed that this embedded 3G initiative would significantly lower the cost of built-in mobile broadband technology across its entire range of upcoming Lenovo ThinkPad laptops that would be available next month. The research firm Gartner has recently forecast that use of embedded modems for mobile broadband connectivity is set to increase rapidly in the next few years, with sales estimated to grow at a rate of 94.3 per cent from 2008 to 2012.
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