Similarly to Buzzard, Ospray is designed to deliver high speed Internet connectivity to cars

EE introduces UK's first 4G WiFi mobile hotspot for cars

Mobile provider EE has introduced three devices providing 4G WiFi Internet connectivity to cars and a new tablet designed to compete with Apple's iPad mini.  

Buzzard, Ospray and Kite are all designed to be plugged into a car’s power socket to enable the passengers to connect their mobile phones, tablets or computers to the portable WiFi network providing high-speed Internet access.

While the Buzzard device aims mostly at families, Kite wants to satisfy more demanding users among frequently travelling professionals and Ospray has been designed to appeal to younger customers.  

Together with the three gadgets, EE unveiled its plans to improve 4G coverage on roads and railways, something the company says was a key factor in its decision to launch the new devices.

"We're trying to open up the car as a place where you can experience connectivity, principally for parents with children who are currently squabbling over an iPad and watching a video on the back seat,” said EE's Pippa Dunn.

"Opening up all of those roads and railways actually gives us a huge new opportunity and so we're going to launch a whole series of new devices and data plans that basically take advantage of these new opportunities."

The Buzzard, which launches on 28 May, will be available on data plans from £10 a month, and has been designed to fit into a car's cup holder. Kite and Ospray offer data plans from £10 for 1GB of data.

At the same time EE unveiled its first tablet, following in the footsteps of the likes of Tesco, Aldi and Argos in being a high street name moving into the tablet computer sector.

The Eagle tablet is made by technology firm Huawei and runs on the Android operating system, but EE stressed it is not a budget product but a rival to Apple's iPad mini.

"The Eagle is basically comparable to the iPad mini, spec-for-spec. In fact in some specs it's actually better than the iPad mini," said Dunn. The mobile provider has previously launched a smartphone, called the Kestrel, which also runs on Android.

The Eagle has an eight-inch (20.3cm) screen and comes with a five megapixel camera and 16GB of storage.

The array of new devices follows on from figures released by EE that show the network operator has gained 3.6m 4G customers in the 18 months since their 4G coverage launched. EE says a data 'tipping point' has been reached and 4G is needed in order to reduce buffering and slow coverage.

According to company research, the amount of data used by consumers will be 1000 per cent higher in 2018 than it is today. EE plan to connect 20 more cities to 4G by the end of 2014, having already introduced it to more than 2,000 small towns and villages.

EE CEO Olaf Swantee said: "With more experience of 4G than any other UK operator, we have unique insight into how the technology is changing behaviour. Our mobile devices have effectively become mini TVs with video traffic already making up over half the data on our 4G network.

"We're committed to remaining one step ahead - adapting our network to make 4G available where it matters most, with a focus on more rural areas, transport links and offering our customers the best network experience and great value, innovative devices and plans."

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