The Hottest Hotspot At SXSW

The Hottest Hotspot At SXSW


In a town where digital is king, connectivity, sadly, is not.  As the social media world descends every year like a bunch of silicon locusts, it’s tough to get work done whilst navigating through SXSW Interactive.  The 2012 showing was the largest by far, with some estimates saying there was a 25% increase in attendance this year alone.

At Brian’s first SXSW back in 2009 – there were so many iPhone geeks that the AT&T grid actually crashed for a short while.  Carriers have definitely stepped up their game since then, but the Austin Convention Center still has little to no reliable WiFi solution.  BBH Labs even went so far as to do a controversial move in making homeless people into WiFi hotspots!

So, what should you do if you 1) need connectivity and 2) see human life more than a battery?

Answer: Bring yourself a mobile hotspot.

Bonnie Hackbarth was generous enough again to give Brian and I the Verizon Droid 4 with mobile hotspot connectivity, which really turned out to be a winner.  Having a dedicated device to let 2 people do business is key to such an overwhelming event, and with it being 4G LTE, the speed felt just as if it was WiFi.  Although our main use for the Droid 4 was its hotspot feature, we couldn’t help notice how nice it was.  It boasts a crisp 4″ display made of super-strong Gorilla Glass, a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, HDMI output, and a 5-row slide-out keyboard.  Those hardware features combined with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and Motorola’s software enhancements made this phone easy and simple to use, especially when we were pressed for time.

If you’ve ever been to South by Southwest, or any convention similar in size, you know how hard it is to get a good connection on any of your devices.  Having the Droid 4 hotspot really saved us this year, and we won’t be going back without one in the future.

Thank you Bonnie and Verizon!


  1. Chaseme

    That’s great and all, but a mobile hotspot is pointless when the network is clogged. Common locations of slow networks include tradeshows, conventions, after airplanes touch ground, and other venues with dense traffic in a confined area. It makes me wonder why more people don’t complain to the carriers for lousy service. We the consumer are duped into paying nearly the same price as high-speed service but at a much slower speed (3G at least) and less consistent connection. Carriers are still in a growth stage as more and more contracts are switching over from voice to voice+data. Meanwhile we are fattening the pockets of the bigwigs and the rest of us are getting increasingly worse service.

  2. Jay

    This is a very good point Chase. In general I would agree with you, but our hotspot worked perfectly when we couldn’t get a WiFi or network signal (different carrier from the hotspot). This is most likely due to Verizon’s LTE network not being clogged down yet, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the future when more people are on it.

    Thanks for you comment!

  3. Rona

    Very nice~
    I still don’t know how to work with my mobile hotspot.
    Do you know how to configure it? 
    Get back to me if its ok with you.

    Rona from tonnelle pliante