Off topic: smart phone / wifi compatible with Apple laptop?

It could improve my productivity to be able to access my company's website during my commute, so once again I'm looking for input from the tech savvy people here.

So I was just about to pull the trigger on a Samsung Infuse --which got the best Consumer Report rating for an AT&T cell phone-- when I learned that some smart phones can be used as a wifi hotspot for laptops.

So I did a little research and learned that Samsung wifi may not be compatible with Apple. I also learned that the reception may not be all that good. Of course that might be more because of the AT&T service but I'll be piggy backing off of my sister's Family Plan so I will be getting 1400 minutes and 2 GB of data a month for $35.00.

If I decide I really need the wifi with my Apple laptop, would that mean I would have to get an iPhone and if so, have they resolved the reception issues with the iPhone4? If not, are they still selling the iPhone3?

Cath

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I will try and offer some helpful opinion

Let's start with your commute: How are you travelling ?

As far as connecting your laptop, check out this thread on Apple Discussions
or this link

Here's my Google search -- not LMGTFY -- to help you.

Here's another link that may or may not work.
If it does not, go to your AT&T page, shop for phones, and then under "By Style" select "USB Modem".

I see 6 choices, 5 out of 6 are free (for the hardware).

I hope this helps. Let us know, please.
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"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***

Thanks for the info. I

Thanks for the info. I skimmed through most of the links and I'll look at them again later.

Most of the time I take the commuter rail and there is a wifi connection but it is very slow and useful only for checking email. So when I realized that the new phone I was shopping for could potentially serve as a wifi hot spot I got a little excited but this seems a little more complicated than I anticipated.

I was hoping to get out cheap through my sister's AT&T plan but I don't expect that the customer service people in their store would be much help.

But there is an Apple store near me. Maybe they can help me figure out what I could do with an iPhone4. The problem is I don't know if the reception issues they were having are a deal breaker. Or if I can avoid that by getting an iPhone3.

Thanks again.

~Cath

Check out alternatives

The way you seem to be focusing on is getting a smartphone you can tether to your laptop.

I would suggest looking at just getting a wireless modem for the laptop. Might come out cheaper.

As to connectivity, I hear lots of gripes about AT&T. Some folks say Verizon has a better network. I'm on AT&T, and I do not use mine heavily enough to be bothered by the reportedly spotty coverage. But if connectivity is an issue, the only way to change it is to change carriers. Changing hardware will not compensate for a scruffy network.
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"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***

I agree with ygor

A wireless modem would be a better choice. In this day and age, 2 gigabytes isn't really that much and you will easily burn through that just using your smartphone as a smartphone (at least I do some months).

Also, have you checked your company's policy on accessing their intranet from a non-company internet connection without a VPN or a personal computer? I am only asking because I work for a company that prohibits both across the board; I would hate for you to put time and effort into a solution that you ultimately cannot use due to company restrictions.

An acquaintance at work

An acquaintance at work suggested a wireless modem as well. I wonder if I could get unlimited data off of my sisters cell phone plan and how much that would cost.

Unfortunately I can't afford a smart phone with a data plan plus a wireless modem. I recently returned to work after more than a year of unemployment and right now I'm temp to perm. Going permanent isn't looking likely unless I can squeeze in more overtime to keep up with the demands of the job. As it is I generally see my kids for about half an hour a day before they go to bed so I was hoping to maximize the time during my commute.

As far as the accessing our intranet from a laptop, my boss has encouraged me to use my laptop from home; and a co-worker uses his on his bus ride home, and we've discussed my using it on the commuter rail. The system is designed for clients to use my guess is it's better protected than most company intranets. In fact, the system I need to access is --for lack of a better description-- dedicated software. It allows the clients to look over our shoulders and see what we are doing, or not doing, and generate reports.

Thanks,

~Cath

try out a prepay wireless modem

How about trying a prepay wireless modem?

They cost more for long term use but there aren't any contracts. It might be worth getting one to try it out and see if you like using it on the train and if it works.

Then if you decide you don't like it you're not committed to a contract

For example ... http://www.walmart.com/ip/Virgin-Mobile-Broadband2Go-Prepaid...