At Karma we listen to what our customers want. We've heard you loud and clear: you wanted more coverage. You need more coverage. I'm happy to announce that it's ready: Meet Karma Go. It's all the best parts of the original Karma, but now with coverage anywhere in the US.
Two years ago we decided to launch a product quickly to get Karma in the hands of as many customers as we could reach. In 12 months we launched Karma in 80 cities. It was a major achievement for us, and proved that people are looking for a different kind of hotspot than what the carriers are offering. To achieve this rapid time to market, we made the decision to use WiMAX for mobile data coverage. But by the time we launched, WiMAX already wasn't the future of mobile technology, but it did the job. The last year and a half we've been working together with Sprint and manufacturers to build a new piece of hardware that works on LTE, which is the technology of the future. Karma Go is that device.
The all-new Karma Go
WiFi shouldn't be something you have to hunt for, worry about, or plan around.
Coverage is king
Coverage simply isn't optional anymore. I know this in my own life: Karma doesn't just get my laptop and tablet online, I use my iPod touch as a phone. I'm completely reliant on Karma to stay in communication with people. Not everybody uses Karma everywhere and all the time, but when they do use Karma it should be there for them. WiFi shouldn't be something you have to hunt for, worry about, or plan around. It should just follow you wherever you go. That's the goal of Karma, and I'm happy to say we nailed it with Karma Go.
Over the past two months we've been walking around with prototypes that are connected to LTE. They work flawlessly. Not just in the places where Karma used to work, but all the places in-between as well. Your commute will be better, traveling will be better, and even indoor coverage is much improved. And something magical happens when WiFi "just works": you stop thinking about WiFi. You start thinking about what you want to accomplish, instead of how you're going to be connected.
We've carried this spirit into the Karma Go hardware as well. While the new device looks similar to the original Karma, almost every little bit of it has been tweaked to make it simpler and more straightforward. Most of these tweaks come from support emails we've received, which helped us realize ways the existing device was confusing or frustrating.
Know more at a glance
For instance, the original Karma had a color-changing LED to indicate signal strength. But that’s a problem if you forget which color means what. So now we have three rings that light up according to your connection's strength: the more rings, the better. Just like signal bars on a phone.
We also got rid of that annoying flap that covered the USB port. We're not really sure what that was there for in the first place, and apologize to any fingernails that might've been damaged in attempts to pry it open.
Karma Go also has a "standby" mode, much like a phone. It can chill unused for up to 220 hours, and then spring to life when needed with a tap of the power button. That means you can leave Karma on all day, with no need to wait for it to boot up, or to power it off when you're done working.
One concession we had to make is that it's slightly larger than the original Karma, but only just barely. That's because LTE requires more power and therefore needs a bigger battery. But it's still tiny, as far as hotspots go, and we're very proud of that.
What makes Karma unique is our business model, and that's not changing at all. We sell you hardware and data service, you do what you want with that hardware and data. There are no commitments, no monthly fees, and the data never expires. We want you to go out in the world and use the internet, not stress out about overages and contracts and surprise charges.
As promised, data you've already paid for will work seamlessly with Karma Go. The data is tied to you and your user account, never to a specific device. And if you need more data, the price is the same.
Karma Go ships in December. As of January 2015 we've pushed the Karma ship date to April 10, 2015, you can read more here. We're still putting the finishing touches on the software, and mass production will ramp up soon. We'll keep you posted once we have a firm date.
No-worry WiFi, everywhere in the US.
And then? It keeps getting better. Sprint's LTE network is still expanding. It will only get faster and more ubiquitous in the future. We’ll continue to support the WiMAX network (and, therefore, existing Karma devices) until the end of next year, but it’s not growing or improving. LTE has the promise to not only reach everywhere, but with speeds that rival — and in many cases outstrip — regular home internet connections.
When the network gets better and faster enough, we're going to be taking the steps to become not only your mobile internet connection, but your home connection, too. We want to end the WiFi treasure hunt. We want blazingly fast internet that simply works all the time and everywhere. Is that too much to ask? We don't think so.
Karma Go is our next step as a company. I hope you'll join us.