When you push the limits, boundaries, and conventional wisdom with a device, you’re bound to hit a few snags—even if the idea is really awesome. FreedomPop’s iPhone case/data device they have been showing off at CES is stuck in the FCC approval process because nothing like it has ever been done before.
The problem is that the case puts two radios on top of each other and no one has ever done that before. So the FCC wants to extensively test it before releasing it to the buying public:
FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols said in an interview with FierceWireless here at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show that the design of FreedomPop’s iPhone Sleeve places the Sleeve’s WiMAX radio right next to the iPhone’s cellular radio. He said the FCC has never tested a device with that radio-against-radio design, which required the agency to conduct extensive testing of the gadget–thus delaying the commercial release of FreedomPop’s Sleeve for the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. (FreedomPop currently sells an iPhone Sleeve for the iPod touch, which does not have a cellular radio.)
It’s gotta hurt to have 5000 units ready to ship out and sell, but you can’t because they don’t have the FCC’s blessing. On the other hand, it is a nice check and balance so we don’t have a device that might wind up doing something (unintentionally) bad to us or our devices.