Option XYfi: the world's smallest portable hotspot
Option is set to make your portable wireless hotspot footprint a lighter one than ever before, with the arrival of the Option XYfi - the smallest 3G and Wi-Fi personal router in the world.
Designed to compete with the likes of Huawei to get branded and sold on the UK networks, the XYfi raises the stakes by allowing you to connect up to eight devices to its wireless signal. It's powered, as one would expect, by plugging it into the USB port of your device but you'll also need to get the additional battery pack to run it on its own steam. That said, it's own steam will last 8 hours at a time which is about four times what the nearest competition can manage. The XYfi neatly docks into the pack, as it does the other accessories, which include a car adapter.
Sadly, there's no 4G technology inside but it will be possible to increase your connection speed by the XYfi feeding off a Wi-Fi connection itself rather than just a cellular option. Presumably, most of the time, you could just connect to the original Wi-Fi source anyway rather than going via the XYfi but there might be one or two cases of device limitation such as in hotel which only allow you one connection per room.
Beyond that, the grander scheme of this idea, according to Option chief experience officer Jerome Nadel, is that you can wander from A to B, from cellular signal to wireless LAN, without having to worry or think about your access. Your devices will stay connected regardless.
Pricing is obviously going to be down to you mobile network operator to some degree but word from Nadel is that the XYfi on its own is a sub-$100 device or thereabouts. Expect to see this swish little white gadget in stores soon.
Option has also taken time at MWC 2012 to bring its 3G video streaming cameras into the now by updating them and adding that all important accessory into its mini-ecosystem - apps.
The Option VIU2 is primarily a security camera which you can mount anywhere next to a power source within decent 3G coverage. Any time the camera senses movement or sound it will start streaming the footage to the app on your iOS or Android device or to a cloud locker for later viewing if you're not in a position to watch live.
Set up has been simplified to the scanning of a QR code and there's also a back up battery inside just in case of a power cut, typical of those pesky criminal tactics when taking down your perimeter fence. You'd just better hope that it's not the A-Team who are after you as, oddly enough, the VIU2 has no defence against the old fixing a Polaroid shot to the front of the camera trick. You can't have it all.