A new portable device will soon be able to help people make cell phone calls in other countries without relying on local 3G networks.
That bit of technical magic comes courtesy of a new device called an attocell, or a personal femotcell. Created by U.K.-based femtocell company Ubiquisys, the device is a small base station that can provide broadband Internet access to an iPhone, BlackBerry, Android phone, and virtually any other 3G mobile phone. But since it's smaller than a traditional femtocell, the attocell is designed to be portable.
The attocell from Ubiquisys connects to a laptop through a USB port, providing both the juice and the Internet access, according to Ubiquisys. From there, the device figures out which country it's in so it can determine the allowable 3G power consumption, which then dictates the range of the attocell to the phone. Depending on the country, the 3G range of the device could be as small as a fraction of an inch or as large as an entire room.
If the range is small, the user can place the phone on top of the device and make calls via a headset or speaker. Otherwise, the caller is free to roam around the room.… Read more