[tnkgrl] has concluded her Sony Vaio P by adding GSM support. We covered the switch to XP earlier, but this should work on Vista too. The Vaio P is sold in the US with support for Verizon’s EVDO wireless broadband, but it uses the same hardware as the European model that uses GSM. This is possible because of the the Qualcomm Gobi radio module. To get GSM support, you trick the VZAccess Manager into loading a different firmware than the stock EVDO. The difficult part is that the Vaio P doesn’t come with a SIM card slot, so you’ll have to solder in your own. When you’ve got the computer reassembled, just change VZAccess Manager to use your carrier.
UPDATE: Wired has an article on the Gobi chipset.
Our friend [tnkgrl] has successfully added HSDPA to a Vulcan Flipstart. The Flipstart is a palmtop Windows machine with 1.1GHz Pentium M, 512MB RAM, 30GB hard drive, and an EVDO option. Before starting, you need to come up with a mini-PCI Express HSDPA card. Instead of trying for a random bare mini-PCIe card on eBay, she purchased an unlocked AT&T Sierra Wireless Aircard 875U USB dongle. Inside of the dongle is a battery, SIM slot, and a mini-PCI Express card. The Flipstart lid comes off with just a few screws and the card drops into place. Even though the antenna isn’t tuned for all the possible bands you should still get good signal most of the time. The best part of this mod is that it doesn’t require any obvious modification, so your warranty will be intact… as far as anyone can tell. Embedded below is the video of the easy swap. In the past, she added HSDPA to the OQO 02, which definitely takes a lot more work.
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[Alexander Lash] gave a short overview of what you need to unlock a CDMA phone. He strongly recommended Howard Forums for finding most of the info you need. You’ll probably need BitPim and the Qualcomm PST (product support tools). Using the PST you can flash your new carrier’s firmware and then activate the phone on their network.
Verizon offers two ways to get unlimited EVDO data. $59 for a data plan or $15 for VCast. You’re not supposed to be able to use your VCast phone as an EVDO modem and it sends a different network access identifier (NAI) if you tether the phone. Using the PST you can change the NAI and use the cheaper VCast plan for data access. Here is a forum post detailing the process.