UK wireless provider Three has just released an unusual take on the traditional Mi-Fi device — the Web Cube is a battery-free but portable box that provides a Wi-Fi signal powered by Three's 3G signal. While it might sound like a less portable Mi-Fi, it's designed for in-home usage for those who want Wi-FI without having a long-term contract, like renters or students. Just plug the Web Cube in and you'll have a Wi-Fi signal for up to five devices powered by a 21.1 Mbps HSPA+ connection, which Three claims can typically provide download speeds between two and five Mbps.
Three's offering the Cube contract-free for £15 a month plus a one-time £59.99 charge, but if you're planning to stay put, you can also have that one-time charged waived if you sign a 24-month contract (and pay an extra £.99 every month, strangely). Contracted pricing doesn't make a whole lot of sense for this device, though — you can purchase a Huawei Mi-Fi with with a 15GB monthly cap for just £4 more every month and not have to find somewhere to plug it in. But contract-free, you get double the data you'd get with a contract free Mi-Fi for the same price, so the Web Cube might be a good option for those who need a no-fuss home internet connection. For now, the Web Cube is only available in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Leeds, but interested parties can sign up to find out when it'll be available elsewhere in the UK.
Update: The Web Cube has actually been available in Italy since February of 2011 — however, this is the first time it has been available in the UK.