At least two vendors this week released products that work with high-speed HSDPA 3G networks even though very few such networks have been deployed.
Novatel Wireless said Thursday it has started shipping its Merlin U740 High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) PC Cards to several unnamed European cellular operators. HSDPA is a follow-on to UMTS 3G and will deliver data speeds in excess of 1Mbps.
While HSDPA is not yet widely available, the company said its card is backward compatible with older UMTS and EDGE cellular data networks. All three cellular data technologies are based on GSM technology. Novatel did not provide pricing information for the card.
Separately, Belgian vendor Option released technology that will enable cellular operators to automatically upgrade the company's current Globetrotter series of 3G modems to full-fledged HSDPA devices.
In the U.S., Cingular Wireless has said it will start deploying UMTS and HSDPA late this year.