Karma: You get out what you put in.
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Karma is the sum of a person's action and, also, a tiny device that let's you connect to the Internet.
Karma Mobility, Inc. is a startup with a very compelling business model. Their mobile broadband adapter, the "Karma" device, shares plenty of similarities with mobile hotspots available from many ISPs. But unlike other mobile adapters, this one requires no monthly contract. The device carries a modest up-front cost, and you pay $9.90 per gigabyte from there.
The latest version of Karma is going to run on Sprint's 4G LTE network. It promises average download speeds of 6-8 Mbps, with peaks around 25 Mbps.
One Karma can support up to eight connected devices, and the company encourages you to share connections with your friends, hence "Karma." But at $9.90 a gigabyte, why would you want to? The answer, it turns out, is rather intriguing.
Every time a new device connects to the Karma for the first time, the company rewards you with 100 MB of free data. And the accumulated data never expires. Sounds pretty appealing those who travel for business: You share your WiFi with colleagues you trust, and it helps keep costs down. Isn't it nice to get what you give? Karma.
The Karma won't weigh you down on those trips either. It measures just 2.9x2.9x0.47 inches, and weighs just 2.3 ounces, about an ounce lighter than most mobile WiFi adapters.
The battery is pretty standard, and will last for about 5 hours of use or 220 hours on standby. Sure the Karma is no feat of engineering, but the business model is what's important. It challenges the existing realities of Internet service: monthly payments, yearly contracts, and expiring data. If karma does exist, surely Karma Mobility will reap greatly for the good idea it has sown.
The 4G LTE version will cost $149 and likely ship out in early 2015.