LAS VEGAS — Sprint hasn’t announced a 4G handset yet, but it unveiled a pretty nifty new gadget at a press event tonight at CES.
The company announced the Overdrive, a 4G modem and hotspot device about the size of a pack of cards. Up to five computers and devices can connect to the modem via Wi-Fi, and a sixth can be connected through a USB cable.
Sprint’s selling the Overdrive for $99, with a two-year, $60 per month unlimited data plan.
It’s an intriguing alternative to DSL service at home, but the Overdrive is also portable – -it works most anywhere, pulling 4G service where it’s offered by Sprint partner Clearwire or Sprint 3G if there’s no 4G.
Overdrive has an LCD status display and an SD card that creates shared storage for devices connecting to the device. During a demo I was given, one of the devices was powering a laptop, an iPhone running Skype and a Samsung Blu-ray player.
Sprint launched the device at an event in the Venetian packed with current and former Seattlelites, including Sprint CEO Dan Hesse and celebrity chef Mario Batali, who provided a live cooking demonstration beamed from his new Overdrive kitchen hotspot (behind the curtains in the room).
Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer stopped by to talk up the company’s support for Sprint’s 4G service, but he didn’t mention any new Microsoft products that will tap into the network, being run by Kirkland-based Clearwire.