Yota Devices' Ruby Hotspot Hands-on: Making Internet Sharing Social

Yota Devices, the folks behind the dual-screen Yota Phone that won our Best Smartphone of CES 2013 award are at it again. This time, Yota is showing  of its new Ruby global Wi-Fi hotspot, and, like the dual-screen phone before it, this device packs some intriguing features. 

Sporting a brushed metal exterior, the Ruby's design is elegant in its simplicity. Up front is a  single backlit Yota logo that you can customize to change colors depending on your connection. For example, you'll automatically know when you drop from 4G LTE to 3G.  Yota COO Lau Geckler told us that carriers will be able to re-brand the Ruby with their own logos. Along the Ruby's top edge is a small E-Paper display that provides you with the Ruby's remaining battery life and connectivity status.

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Yota wisely chose to outfit the Ruby with both standard USB and microUSB ports. Geckler explained that the reason for the double connection is to help limit the number of wires you have to carry with you.

The hotspot supports LTE, UMTS and GSM bands, allowing users to bring it around the world. And while that's a nice feature in itself, it's the Ruby's social sharing aspect that makes it really standout. Yota has equipped the hotspot with a private and public router function. When set to private, only verified users with the correct password can connect to the Ruby.

When set to public mode, however, anyone within the hotspot's range can connect. Yota says users can also create custom messages that will be seen by anyone that connects to the hotspot.

Geckler said the Ruby is expected to get between 20 and 60 hours of battery life on a single charge. Streaming media will drop that down to roughly 10 hours, but we'll have to confirm those numbers through our own testing.

As of yet, Yota hasn't announced any U.S. carrier partners for the Ruby, but Geckler did say the company was talking to each of the Big Four. That said, an announcement could be coming sometime in the next few months. 

Daniel P. Howley
LAPTOP Senior Writer
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.