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Cellphones Handhelds Verizon

Verizon's Challenge To the iPhone Confirmed 423

Posted by Soulskill
from the is-this-the-droid-you're-looking-for dept.
misnohmer writes "Verizon has just launched a new set of ads confirming the rumors of its upcoming iPhone competitor: 'Unlike previous Android phones, the Droid is rumored to be powered by the TI OMAP3430, the same core that the iPhone and Palm Pre use, and which significantly outperforms Qualcomm 528MHz ARM11-based Android phones that exist today. Droid will also be running v.2.0 of Android, with a significantly upgraded user interface. The Droid poses a different and more significant challenge to the iPhone than any other phone to date. The Palm Pre could have been that challenger, but it lacked the Verizon network, and users were unimpressed with the hardware. According to people who've handled the device, the Droid is the most sophisticated mobile device to hit the market to date from a hardware standpoint. When you combine that with the Verizon network, you've got something that is most definitely a challenger to the Jesus phone.'"
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Verizon's Challenge To the iPhone Confirmed

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  • by jpate (1356395) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:24AM (#29783703) Homepage
    The summary reads more like an advertisement for Verizon than anything else...
    • by biryokumaru (822262) * <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:27AM (#29783717)

      A good ad would better emphasize the competition to the "Jesus Phone" idea.

      They should call it the "Muhammad phone."

      *ducks*

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:31AM (#29783741) Journal
      I don't think they're even trying anymore. Take this sentence from the summary:

      The Palm Pre could have been that challenger, but it lacked the Verizon network, and users were unimpressed with the hardware.

      From a hardware standpoint, the Pre is pretty impressive, although I can't comment on the software not having used one. But it failed because 'it lacked the Verizon network'? What is this supposed to mean? Every other network in the USA is so bad that a device has to be on Verizon to succeed?

      And people wonder why all of the major handset manufacturers except Apple consider the US market a waste of their time...

      • by Stile 65 (722451) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:48AM (#29783847) Homepage Journal

        What's funny is Sprint phones can and do roam on Verizon. Since I switched to Sprint (from AT&T), I've been able to surf the web on my phone on the DC metro by roaming on Verizon towers - for free. (Of course, now GSM towers for AT&T/T-Mobile are going up in the DC metro too.)

        I like how at first the OP mentions that the Droid has the same hardware as the Pre and later in the post says that users aren't impressed with the Pre's hardware.

        Also, the Samsung Moment coming out in 2 weeks for Sprint has an 800MHz ARM-based CPU, where the one powering the Droid is apparently only 600MHz (I'm assuming that since the design is similar, the clock speed is a valid way to compare the performance of the CPUs; could be wrong on this).

        As far as running Android 2.0, anyone with an Android phone can upgrade to that. That's one of the great things about Android in the first place.

        In the end, though, I wish Motorola and Verizon good fortune launching this phone, because anything that increases Android (or Linux in general - Maemo is nice) adoption on consumer phones is cool with me. IMO Apple is so control freakish that they are firmly in "evil" territory, much more so than Microsoft.

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @10:26AM (#29784067) Journal

          Also, the Samsung Moment coming out in 2 weeks for Sprint has an 800MHz ARM-based CPU, where the one powering the Droid is apparently only 600MHz (I'm assuming that since the design is similar, the clock speed is a valid way to compare the performance of the CPUs; could be wrong on this).

          Not exactly. The Moment, apparently, is going to have an ARM11 core, while the OMAP3 is a Cortex A8. The ARM11 core is an older design and gets slightly fewer instructions per clock (I think) as well as not supporting a number of the newer extensions to the architecture, like NEON (SIMD instructions) or Thumb-2 (16-bit instruction set for better cache usage).

          Even that doesn't tell the whole story, because none of these chips are pure CPUs, they're systems-on-chip (SoCs) and so have a load of extra stuff. The OMAP3, for example, has an OpenGL ES 2.0 GPU core from PowerVR, a C64x DSP core from TI, and a few other specialist things. The C64x can handle things like MP3 playback in about 15mW, and can also be used for offloading various other things, like crypto functions. The GPU supports shaders, and so can be used for a wide variety of things. An OMAP3430 can decode 720p quite easily, because it has some hardware off the ARM core that's optimised for this. An 800MHz ARM11 almost certainly can't, but it may also be on a SoC that can.

          Oh, and even within the same family you can't even compare clock-for-clock with ARM cores. The cheap licenses just let you stamp the core onto your die and connect it to your value-added cores, but the expensive ones let you tweak the design. The Snapdragon from Qualcomm is a Cortex A8, but they tweaked it quite a lot and it's a little bit faster than other people's versions per clock.

          In short, comparing ARM SoCs based solely on clock speed is even more misleading than comparing x86 processors solely on clock speed.

          • A 33 MHz 486 was several times faster than a 33 MHz 386.

            MHz is almost meaningless when comparing speed, even in CPUs that are very similar. Even somewhat technical people fail to realize this frequently.
      • by ryanov (193048)

        I think they mean the physical hardware, like the case/etc., not the specs.

        That said, Palm has confirmed the Pre on Verizon for January, so... what are these people talking about?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tokerat (150341)

        I bought a Pre for the simple fact that it WASN'T on the Verizon or AT&T network, and I'm constantly impressed with it (AT&T has personally dicked me over on a large bill when they where Cingular, and Verizon has done the same to more than a few of my friends). It does seem a little unfortunate that an HTML/CSS/JavaScript based API prevents some really cool things that the iPhone does like 3D games, but I didn't buy a smartphone because I wanted a Nintendo DS, and the Pre is more than capable of han

      • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:26PM (#29784839) Homepage

        I went another way with that quote: Oh, it could have been a challenger except that it wasn't on a good network and the hardware wasn't great? Really? Well, my old Nokia could have been a challenger, except for that part about not being a smartphone and having no data capabilities. I also made a phone out of cardboard, and it could have been a challenger except for the fact that it didn't work at all.

      • by Bobartig (61456) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:52PM (#29784989) Homepage

        Sounds like astroturfing to me. I've never heard of ANYONE complaining about the Pre due to its network.

        And, you are completely correct. You can hate the phone; you can hate the network. But, you can't hate the phone because of the network.

      • by cyn1c77 (928549) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @12:59PM (#29785025)

        From a hardware standpoint, the Pre is pretty impressive

        Except that it is made out of plastic and it flexes, so it feels flexy and looks cheap next to the aluminum and glass iPhone. Not knocking it, that is just a lot of peoples' complaints.

        But it failed because 'it lacked the Verizon network'? What is this supposed to mean?

        Verizon and AT&T are the largest US mobile carriers in the US in terms of numbers of subscribers (around 60 million). Sprint is a few million people behind and some of their former customers are still annoyed with their customer service. Verizon is also owned by Vodaphone, which has a much larger international market presence.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by amicusNYCL (1538833)

        Every other network in the USA is so bad that a device has to be on the best one to succeed

        Maybe every other network isn't completely terrible, but Verizon does appear to currently be the best network. Look through the cities listed on this page:

        http://www.cellreception.com/coverage/ [cellreception.com]

        Even though that's not exactly scientific, there's a clear pattern from across the country of Verizon getting high user ratings. Verizon is nearly always higher than AT&T, for example. Sprint and T-Mobile occasionally fight for the top spot, and Nextel clearly has smaller targeted markets.

        Apparently Sprint excl

      • by drawfour (791912) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @02:33PM (#29785697)

        I was a Sprint customer since 2001, and seriously considered getting the Palm Pre. I played around with it for about 20 minutes in the Sprint store, and then talked to the salesman about it. What I wanted was to get my girlfriend on a family plan with me, and I wanted the Pre. She just wanted a free phone that could do some simple SMS messaging. She did not have any use for a data plan, smart phone, etc... But Sprint requires that on a family plan, if one phone has data, they all have to. That's another $25/mo for something that she did not need!

        I told them that AT&T would let me get an iPhone with a data plan and another phone without data, and on the same family plan. The salesman said that with Sprint, that is the requirement. I told him that's fine with me, I'm going to AT&T. I switched to AT&T and got an iPhone, and haven't looked back. Sprint is the one screwing themselves and their partners (Palm) here.

    • by cbope (130292) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:38AM (#29783781)

      Exactly. Since when does a US carrier "add value" in any sense of the word? All the US carriers do is cripple the phone hardware (disabling tethering, MMS, etc) and lock-in their customers. Glad I live in Europe where I'm free to choose the phone hardware and service independently, and the phones are not crippled. And I pay a reasonable amount when roaming in other countries and calls rarely get dropped. Oh yeah... that's called service.

    • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday October 18, 2009 @10:00AM (#29783911)

      Oh look! Another iPhone killer! This one will succeed, trust me!

    • Indeed, and for Apple too - why must everything be compared to the Jesus Phone? It's just one phone - it's not the best seller, and Apple are not the biggest player (or even remotely near). Why not compare to a Nokia phone? Or better yet, why do we need cheesy comparisons at all?

      This is Slashdot - we know what a phone is, without having it to be explained in terms of actual products. We don't refer to the Internet as "Internet Explorer" or "AOL". We don't refer to computers as "A Dell". We don't refer to we

    • sure does. fairly breathless prose from someone who hasn't even seed the device, let alone used it.
    • by sconeu (64226)

      But can it multiply by $0.02?

    • There is a map for that.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So what? It's on Sprint, it can roam on Verizon's network. The Pre isn't a challenger not because of the network, but because people were waiting for the much better HTC Touch Pro 2.

    More to the point, WinMo phones like the TP2 remain years ahead of the competition in terms of functionality, but people are too stupid to use them.

    • by peragrin (659227) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:45AM (#29783829)

      That's because the user interface was designed around a desktop OS from 10 years ago.

      In personal electronics beauty will beat functionality as non geeks don't want to carry ugly things. That is the iPhone's true success it looks good with a well dressed person. A crack berry makes someone look stuffy all business and no fun.

      Besides verizon network is the opposite of AT&T's where one is good the other sucks, and vice versa, they both are limited to major cities and roads for full network access.

      • by Shakrai (717556)

        Besides verizon network is the opposite of AT&T's where one is good the other sucks, and vice versa, they both are limited to major cities and roads for full network access.

        Huh? Verizon and AT&T are limited to the 'major cities and roads for full network access'? Where do you live where that's the case? Verizon has excellent rural coverage across most of the United States. They also have 3G in their entire footprint. I don't think AT&T can make the same 3G claim but they still have pretty good rural coverage.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pseudonomous (1389971)
        I beg to differ; I still think that the iphone looks ubsurd when actually being used as a phone... it pretty much looks the same as holding an iPod up to your ear ... and don't even get me started on those bluetoth headsets.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by John Hasler (414242)

          > I still think that the iphone looks ubsurd...

          No. It's from Apple. No need to look at it to know that it looks cool. It's cool by definition.

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @10:09AM (#29783961)
      The problem with Windows Mobile is there has been no. And I mean no innovation in the last few years. Yes we have 7 which will be coming out... eventually. But seriously, 6.1 and 6.5 other than having a Zune-like UI are essentially the same as the Pocket PC 2000 OSes. There are UI inconsistencies, in general manufacturers find that its so ugly having the default UI so they switch to a different UI, etc. About the only benefit of Windows Mobile is that there are a lot of applications, but when you compare it to Android and the iPhone there really aren't that more real apps. To put it nicely, Windows Mobile sucks. If it was rock-solid stable, that would be one thing, but when everything is pretty much crap on it and it freezes all the time, why not just get an iPhone, Pre or Android device that is going to actually get better with time?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gooman (709147)

        Exactly. Windows CE was and still is garbage. Changing the name and adding more code hasn't helped it at all. (Big surprise.)
        Unlike desktop Windows, backwards compatibility and installed base don't matter here. Microsoft needs to throw it out and START OVER. (Or buy something that works.)
        Instead, Microsoft is so far behind everyone else, Windows mobile has become a joke.

  • by jnmontario (865369) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:27AM (#29783719)
    It always makes me leery when you don't actually get to SEE the product they're advertising. On the one hand, they're promoting intrigue as to what it will look like, on the other hand, it may be a soapbox with buttons drawn on with Crayola markers and they're not sure of how the public will receive it's looks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RedK (112790)
      You can always head to the dozen of rumor sites and read about it. There have been rumors about this phone for quite some time and quite a few shots were posted. Everyone who's into Android already knows what this phone looks like, hence the comment in the summary.
    • Bad advertising (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149)

      I am really wanting a great android phone to come out, because everyone does better work in an environment with competition.

      But I don't like the initial ads, and here's why - because they read like they were targeted straight at a Slashdot reader.

      The read like someone who has seen, and paid attention to, every Apple ad and every Slashdot story about lacking multitasking or not being as open as other phones. In fact the ad even says in big huge letters "Open development environment" - it a major ad targetin

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Daetrin (576516)
        Well my girlfriend is a geek, but not a slashdot reader, and when she saw the article over my shoulder the first thing she asked was "does it have a replaceable battery?" and when i dug up the ad on youtube and they got to the part where it confirms that it does in fact have a replaceable battery she practically cheered, so it seems to me that they're doing something right. Certainly making a stab for the segment of the market that is concerned about practical aspects seems like a good start to me. Trying t
  • by XPeter (1429763) * on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:27AM (#29783723) Homepage

    The iPhone is only popular because it's from Apple. For years the IPhone didn't have:

    IM
    MMS
    Cut/Paste
    MP3/AAC ringtones
    Video recording
    Bluetooth A2DP

    There's many other great phones and carriers that easily surpass the IPhone and AT&T's shit network by a long-shot (Blackberry Tour, Palm Pre, HTC Pro)

    • by Fished (574624) <amphigory.gmail@com> on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:52AM (#29783875)

      No, the iPhone was/is popular because it enables me to do useful things that I could not (and cannot) do as well with any other phone currently available. That simple.

      Cut and paste? It's been out for months now, never used it. MMS? Never used it. MP3/AAC ringtones? Always supported, (you have to change the file extension is all), but actually never used them. Video recording? Never used it (and yes I have a 3gs.) I could go on, but literally all the features you bitch about are things that I don't want/never would use. Maybe you really do need them, but frankly I could give a crap less.

      What I do use is an application for tracking my blood sugar. And another application for tracking my weight-training log. And another app that functions as a pedometer when I go walking/running. And another app that tracks my weight. Oh yeah, and an app that lets me do Go problems on my phone. And Kindle for iPhone. And... the list could go on ad infinitem, but the point is that your little checklist doesn't begin to encapsulate what makes this the best possible device for me.

      Before iPhone, I had a Treo, I had a Blackberry, I had Windows Mobile. I hated them and never used even the features that came with them. With iPhone I use everything that comes with it and then some because the iPhone makes it easy. Could I figure out how to do this stuff on, say, my Blackberry? Yes. Was it fun? Hell no. Was it easy to find apps? No. Did the apps cost $1.99 each? No.

      So, sorry, but the iPhone is not popular just because it's from Apple. It's popular because it works.

    • I heard the battery doesn't last more than a day?
      I prefer my phone dumb. And I prefer it to last at least a week.

    • by fermion (181285) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @11:40AM (#29784559) Homepage Journal
      Only the first two have anything to do with a phone. The rest are add on that move a phone to a multimedia device. Kids and some parents will miss many of these features, but many just wanted email and web browsing. BTW, there was only a year when the iPhone did not have mp3 ringtones. Again, a feature only a few annoying people would consider critical.

      For years only few phones had good email and browsing. The iPhone was great because it did, and was also integrated, from day one, to the then emerging cloud via google and .mac. It was also integrated to iTunes, and not dependent on cell company music services. For some this is a plus, as it makes it easy to rip tracks and put it on the phone.

      But you are correct. There are many phones that some thinks surpass the iPhone, and those people should absolutely buy those phones. No one says that everyone should have an iPhone. All that happens is that people complain that the iPhone does not do everything. But we live in a competitive market place and the iPhone can do it's thing, and the others can do their thing. What is to be seen is whether Verizon, with the clearly superior network in the US, can put out a better integrated product than Apple.

      What also remains to be seen is if data integrity can be assured with these other services. I have never lost data because Apple servers went bust. True, I pay extra for the service, but I think that others are going to consider the data retention service as part of the monthly fees, especially if using Android or MS Windows Mobile.Both MS and Google has recently caused data loss for at least some customer. Not a very good start for their cloud computing strategy.Perhaps they don't care about data retention, since these devices are mostly considered toys, and that is why they include such critial features such as MP3 ringtones and A2DP. That will leave Blackberry and iPhone for those that just need to get work done, so we can go and play in the real world.

  • Just Don't Get It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:30AM (#29783735)
    Just like all the companies that came out with "the iPod Killer", companies (like Verizon here) just don't get it. It's not about coming out with the "most sophisticated mobile device to hit the market to date from a hardware standpoint." The iPhone wasn't the most sophisticated mobile device from a hardware standpoint when it came out. It's not about the hardware. Yes, the hardware can make several things really stand out but it's about the user experience. Companies continually ignore and overlook that aspect of it and that is why this phone will be cool and mobile geeks will sing its praises but it will not be a serious threat to the iPhone - it's not focusing on the right things.

    Sorry, but we've heard "this is the iPod killer" too often and it's the exact same song and dance as this new round of "this is the iPhone killer."
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by mvdwege (243851)

      In other words, it lacks Apple Marketing and a slavish band of followers in the grip of the RDF.

      I'm very sorry, but I can't find any more of substance in your post.

      Mart

      • by Patch86 (1465427)

        I think that was his point, and it was a good one.

        Nothing's going to "kill the iPhone/Pod" by being better than it. Apple are successful due to a fanatical userbase and marketing master-class. This phone could be made of win and come with a free kitten and it'll still be lucky to break into second place.

        Nothing wrong with that though. Should keep the price a little lower for those of us who actually want a good phone.

        • by RedK (112790)
          If it's in second place, it's beaten Apple and their iPhone. The iPhone is currently ranked 3rd in smartphone sales.
        • by gtall (79522)

          Apple's fanatical base isn't big enough to make it successful if by that you mean the Mac base. The reason Apple is successful is because they have a UI many people find intuitive and the rest have UI's that could knock a dead buzzard off a shit wagon at 20 paces.

      • by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101.gmail@com> on Sunday October 18, 2009 @10:11AM (#29783979) Homepage Journal
        No, you're missing the point. The reason the iPhone caught on was not because it had zillions of whiz-bang features, it's because they took the time to get the features that it has *right*.

        The reason I bought an iPhone was primarily because (finally) they got browsing right. I've always wanted a portable Internet device that happened to have a phone, and Apple delivered. For the record, I *despise* Apple-the-company, but the iPhone simply was that good. And that goes for a lot of the other features that the iPhone has. They don't have every feature, they just get the features they have to work in a smooth, elegant way.

        Another case in point was the video camera. They didn't include video until they could do it "right" with the 3GS, and the video is damn good. The video you could get on the older phones through jailbreaking sucked balls.

        And I want to emphasize this: I bought an iPhone *despite* Apple's marketing, which I can't tell you how much I hate. And despite Apple's slavish followers, which I also hate. The phone is just that good.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          the android phones have a full on browser with a desktop experience. I can even log into my works outlook web access through our juniper box on it. I am waiting to see if I can use juniper terminal services with it... it would be awkward but it would be cool.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @10:37AM (#29784151) Journal

        It isn't the RDF that makes people like the iPhone, it's the fact that the UI only sucks slightly. It's the same reason people like Macs. For post people, any reasonably modern phone or computer does far more than they need. With an iPhone, they only spend a little bit of time fighting the UI. With something like a Series 60 phone, they spend most of the time fighting the UI. Same with the iPod. The UI had a lot of flaws - I filed a number of usability bug reports - but it was nowhere near as bad as most of the competitors available when it launched.

        Once someone's switched, it's easier to keep them, because mentally they aren't comparing their current iPod/iPhone/Mac to what Apple's competition has available now, they're comparing it to what they switched from. Fortunately for the handset manufacturers, Apple still has a tiny share of the mobile phone market, so you can do very well without making people switch; you don't have to be better than the iPhone, you just have to be better than what they have now (which is easy) and cheaper than the iPhone (also not hard). The personal music player market is different, because Apple has over 70% of that already, although stand-alone media players are becoming rare now even cheap phones can store 8GB of music.

    • Sorry, but we've heard "this is the iPod killer" too often and it's the exact same song and dance as this new round of "this is the iPhone killer."

      I feel your pain, and am not expecting any miracles.

      HOWEVER, Verizon currently has (by far) the best network in the US, and has perpetually lacked any decent phones in its lineup. I like my eNV2, although it's honestly nothing special. From all indications, Android phones are pretty nice, which means that Verizon will at the very least sell quite a few to people (such as myself) who live in areas where AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint simply don't provide an acceptable level of coverage.

      That said, Verizon's

    • by bondsbw (888959)

      Apple has managed to expand the smartphone market to people who would not have paid that much for a phone a couple of years ago. During one of the worst recessions in American history.

      Verizon might bring a better user experience than Apple has. But, given their track record, I doubt it. So like you alluded to, there is only a small market segment available for expensive devices that have awesome features but don't target the majority of users.

    • by khchung (462899)

      it's about the user experience

      Exactly.

      I own both an iPhone and the PS3. I hate DRM as much as the usual /.er, but for Apple's App Store and Sony's PSN, I honestly admit they have hit the right balance, most importantly on the point that as a user, I am not perceptibly worse off due to the DRM.

      E.g. with a DRM'ed CD or game, there would things that a legit buyer cannot do compared to a normal CD or game (namely, backup the content, or even use it normally). But for App Store and PSN, I get to do the usual things I do for what I bought

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SetupWeasel (54062)

      Article aside. The Android platform has a real chance of dethroning the iPhone platform as well as the Blackberry platform for many of the same reasons that PCs beat our Macs. It is only a matter of time before a blockbuster Android phone comes out because any company can make one for any network. Then it will only be a matter of time before another one comes and another one and so on. Not one of these phones may have the popularity of the iPhone, but put together they may leave Apple in the dust. The tippi

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      And it's worth mentioning, I think, that there is a connection between the difficulty of creating an iPod killer and creating an iPhone killer. If you want to kill the iPhone, you have to build an iPod killer into your phone.

      You aren't going to beat the iPhone at its own game by putting in faster processors, having flashier interfaces, creating some half-assed app store. You certainly aren't going to beat the iPhone by relying on the superiority of the Verizon Network. What people have to remember is th

  • But (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dagamer34 (1012833) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:35AM (#29783759)
    The best way to challenge the iPhone is to not bill your phone as "the iPhone killer". Just let the phone do what it does best and people will eventually notice.
    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      I agree. I can understand the temptation, since the RDF is so great that simply adding a reference to the almighty Jesus phone will get you free advertising. But it's depressing, as by doing so, they're just giving free advertising to Apple (which they desperately need, since they're still getting canned by Nokia etc).

      But hey, I guess I'm just not cool enough to be an Apple user.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:36AM (#29783765)
    The problem I had with Verizon was never with their network or their phones but the management decisions that were made to cripple those phones to charge customers more money.
    • by itsenrique (846636) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:48AM (#29783849)
      Ditto on that, I have a curve 8330. Not a very new smartphone by any measures, but it does what i need and i like the interface enough. GPS locked down by vzw, even though its just a sattelite receiver chip, they want $9 a month to use it, and you have to use their ridiculous vzw navigator program or bb maps. No google maps gps (it will only use cell tower triangulation). Android phones are supposed to be about open functionality, lets just hope verizon doesn't muck it up with their brand of squeeze-em-dry tactics.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's not like AT&T doesn't do this as well. I have the exact same problem on my AT&T sony ericsson 850a.

      • by Shatrat (855151) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @11:45AM (#29784595)
        They would also disable Bluetooth file transfer so that people would have to pay for sending picture messages to get their pics off their phone wirelessly. All wireless companies in the U.S. are evil to some degree, but Verizon keeps them all in business by making them look customer-friendly in comparison.
  • Show Me a Sign (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alaren (682568) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:42AM (#29783811)

    I want a competent alternative to the iPhone as much as the next guy... but (1) the iPhone is more successful for its interface, which is dead simple and beautiful, than for its (or its network's) capabilities, and (2) get back to me when you can show me the phone and its interface, the way Apple did with the iPhone.

    I don't carry a cell right now, but my wife [www.aprilynnepike] has an iPhone. Before that, the only smartphone she ever used was a Treo, and while it was a nice model with many capabilities, she made no use of them because she found it confusing and complicated and inconvenient. I've personally been hopeful for a good Android phone for a long time but so far it has failed to manifest. So please excuse my skepticism, I'm ready to be converted the moment you show me a sign.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:51AM (#29783859) Homepage Journal
    Specially from the hardware standpoint? Would be interesting to compare it with i.e. the Nokia N900 [nokia.com] that is about to hit the market... with the extra advantage of not being tied to Verizon or anyone else afaik.
  • Even if Verizon doesn't refer to it as the iPhone killer, all the pundits and bloggers hungry for pagehits, will. This only helps advertise iPhone and is detrimental to Verizon phone's introduction. (Notice that no one is talking about the new "Windows phone" either.)

    (posted from an iPhone)

  • by unix_geek_512 (810627) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:54AM (#29783881)

    Why aren't they using the new TI OMAP3530 @720MHz? That should give them an advantage over the older OMAP3430 @600MHz.

    • by Ironchew (1069966)

      So that it doesn't set your face on fire?

      Maybe the heat increase wouldn't be quite that extreme, but it would probably be more heat than the casing or other components are designed to handle.

    • Because the OMAP3430 has been on the market for a long time, is well supported by software and is cheaper than the OMAP35 series. If you want a device now, the OMAP3430 is a good choice. If you want a device in six months then the OMAP4 series is probably a better choice. The OMAP3530 doesn't really have any compelling features over the 3430 (same GPU, same DSP, marginally faster ARM core) and is more expensive.
  • Can anyone who has an iPhone tell me what the attraction to this device is? When I tried it, I was impressed by its technology but unimpressed by the price tag and its overall look. Its applications were all irrelevant to me and issues with its batteries made matters worse.

    Question: What makes the iphone "a must have device" in today's economy?

    • Thousands of apps, all irrelevant to you? What did you do, look at the 5 the person installed and give up?
      Even if they were all irrelevant to you, that doesn't make them irrelevant to everyone. People want their device to do do useful things, even if those useful things are simply entertainment. The apps are not all entertainment, and some are very helpful.

      And, no, I don't have an iPhone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bsane (148894)

      Its applications were all irrelevant to me

      All 100,000?

      I'm curious to know what it was you were looking for that didn't exist.

      The iphone isn't 'must have', but its certainly nice to have- which isn't something I can say about any 'smart' phone previously. I haven't used android- maybe it is/will be better, but the iphone is already very good.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        All 100,000?

        I'm curious to know what it was you were looking for that didn't exist.

        Google Voice

    • I'm not surprised that you say the applications were all irrelevant. If you just want a phone for a phone, then the iPhone is probably not your best choice, not by any measure. Almost all of the applications are 'like to haves' instead of 'must haves'. I can't really think of any apps that are 'must haves'.

      And the texting is clunky at best and can never be as good as a good tactile keypad.

      Quite frankly, and I have a new 3GS, I have reservations about getting an iPhone as my next mobile.

      Here's a couple gr

  • by Fished (574624) <amphigory.gmail@com> on Sunday October 18, 2009 @10:03AM (#29783929)

    I truly don't think Apple has anything to worry about. The iPhone's greatest strength is not the iPhone itself, but the App Store--the 10's of thousands of applications, games, etc. that are already available for it. The quality of these applications has improved markedly over the past year, and it's going to continue to improve. What does Android have? They say "thousands", but market realities being what they are I'm sure that the quality and development time that has gone into these thousands just isn't there. "There's an app for that" about covers it--with my iPhone, I know that whatever I'm doing I will have a choice of several apps that do it.

    Can Android catch up? Probably eventually. But I think it's going to be difficult. First, Apple's already got a huge lead, and this is a self-perpetuating cycle. Huge lead means more developers, which means huge lead continues. Second, I think that in the long run Android's hardware diversity will hurt it when it comes to (for example) games--it's a pain for game developers to have to test on a wide variety of devices, and many of them may not bother until Android has proved itself as a platform. Last, it's worth remembering that Apple still commands a huge lead in the all-important digital content market. This creates a big incentive for people with large iTunes libraries to stay with iPhone.

    Is Verizon's network better? Yes, probably. However, it's also reaching saturation. I live in a very rural area and have both an iPhone (personal) and a Verizon cell phone (work), and I pretty much get coverage everywhere I go. And let's not forget that AT&T's going to provide adequate coverage for 90+% of the population anyway, even if they do get spotty in rural areas.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grumling (94709)

      Know your history. The Apple ][ had a huge amount of software available when the IBM PC was introduced. Anyone remember how many titles were available for the 5150 when it launched?

      • Anyone remember how many titles were available for the 5150 when it launched?

        No, but hardly anyone bought it at launch. A couple of years later, when it ran Lotus 1-2-3, it was a business essential (and even if it didn't run any other apps, it was still needed). It's not having a lot of apps that's important, it's having the few that people want (which, I think, was your point). Having a lot does increase the probability that you'll have the one everyone wants though, especially since 'everyone' varies from market to market (the PC was really only aimed at the business / accounts

    • There's a relatively simple solution to the problem the app store poses to Apple's competitors: Develop software that makes it extremely easy to port an application from the iPhone to Android, etc.

      Then, suddenly, all of these app developers who aren't Apple find out they can put their app on the Android or Windows Mobile app stores also, and those stores rapidly catch up to Apple's store. In other words, sit back and let Apple take the lead then use all of Apple's effort against them.

      At least, that's what

  • by zhevek (147623) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @10:21AM (#29784041) Homepage

    I had Verizon for near 10 years. However, this last summer I switched to AT&T because verizon's network was dropping my calls in my apartment half the time or more. And this is just 2 miles outside of downtown Portland, Or. Haven't had a dropped call on my iPhone on AT&T yet.

    So just remember that strength of network is not "national", because most people don't move around all the time. Find the network that is best in your area first, then pick a phone.

  • There's nothing to stop Apple from building a new iPhone using the newer, faster parts. And iPhone has something that the android doesn't -- a lot of software apps that people love. Moving from one iPhone to another is a no brainer for most. Moving from their beloved and heavily spent/invested iPhone to something "better" requires a lot more consideration.

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @10:41AM (#29784189) Homepage

    "According to people who've handled the device, the Droid is the most sophisticated mobile device to hit the market to date from a hardware standpoint. When you combine that with the Verizon network, you've got something that is most definitely a challenger to the Jesus phone.'"

    Oh? When I hear that "according to people who've handled the device, the Droid is the most comfortable, pleasant-to-use device to hit the market to date," then I'll pay attention.

    I don't really know how Apple does it. Their UI and usability aren't all THAT great, yet they consistently manage to turn out stuff that really is usable. Maybe the mystery is how everyone else manages to screw it up. With the average gadget, it takes about ten minutes before you come across something so inexplicably, bafflingly sucky that you just can't figure out how it ever could have gotten out the door. Of course, I've worked in a company where the CEO dictated UI decisions and, unfortunately, had _bad_ taste. And I've also worked in a big company where the marketers simply would put down "ease of use" as a bullet point, and from that point on everyone just assumed the product had it because it was on the list.

    I still can't figure out what Apple did that made iTunes the first viable online music store, or made the App Store the first viable software store for smart phones. It seems as if all they did was to avoid gross stupidity. That must be a lot harder to do than you'd think.

    Afterthought: It occurs to me that one area in which vendors do get the usability consistently right, or at least "good enough," are digital cameras. I wonder why digital cameras are easy, or at least POSSIBLE to use, and cell phones aren't? I notice that digital camera makers do seem to be willing to spend a few extra cents to give the controls different shapes and turn in different directions, instead of confronting you with a uniform sea of buttons.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Nope, digital cameras suck. It's just that nobody has come along and done one right yet. I started out with full manual SLRs when I was ten years old so I quite like the arrangement of my DSLR, but even I hate what the point and shoots do. Particularly when a friend or relative comes along and says "I can't remember how to do X" and hands me a camera so I can hunt through the menus.

  • Typo in Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rocketPack (1255456) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @11:02AM (#29784331)
    Here's what the summary was supposed to read (revisions in bold):

    ...the Droid is the most sophisticated mobile device to hit the market to date from a hardware standpoint. However, when you combine that with the Verizon network and the Verizon 'so severely crippled as to render every feature worthless and cumbersome to use' software, you've got something that is most definitely a worthless piece of could-have-been-good-but-fucked-over-by-greed-and-lousy-QA SHIT like every other phone they make.

    I am so sick of Verizon taking EVERYTHING good and finding ways to make to make it pointlessly crippled and useless.

    Will this phone have tethering? Probably, but it's going to be disabled unless you pay $79.99 a month.
    Will this phone have contact and calendar syncing? Probably, but it's going to be disabled unless you pay $5.99 a month.
    Will this phone have music support? Definitely, but it's going to be severely crippled unless you pay $12.99 a month.

    Take your network and SHOVE IT.

  • by ezdude (885983) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @11:07AM (#29784377) Journal
    The big news here is that Verizon is clearly not going to carry the iPhone anytime soon. A few months ago, Verizon and Apple were "in talks". So, what happened? That's the most interesting part about this story. You guys are burying the lead.
  • The reason the iPhone is so successful is the convenience of the app store, itunes and the sheer amount of content. When apple first started the app store people seemed to talk as if it was simply a waste of time and resources but now its so far ahead of the game that no one seems able to catch up.

  • For nearly four straight years, every feature stuffed non Apple mp3 player was the "iPod Killer". Turns out the only true iPod Killer was the iPhone. At least they have the good sense to call this a "challenger" and not a "killer". And Microsofties can always dream about how the Pink would have killed the iPhone, I guess.
  • Verizon: great network, over priced, over locked-down on devices, stupid costy "services"..

    I guess the question is, has Apple forced them to stop being stupid, or will they do stuff like disable built-in functionality on android phone to sell overpriced crap service that would have been provided for free by the hardware?

  • renamed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @01:55PM (#29785425) Homepage

    Apparently "Sholes" [engadget.com] wasn't considered to be a very good name for the phone.

    More info. [androidandme.com]

  • Apple's Problem is (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bruha (412869) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @03:32PM (#29786187) Homepage Journal

    The iPhone is a one trick pony, there are 8-10 Android phones now coming out, and that number will quadruple next year. Were seeing Android for flip phones putting it in areas Apple has yet to try to touch. Android will catch up with the iPhone in units deployed, even AT&T has Android units out there, and they're more than happy to trot that one out so they can likely put Apple in a bind. If the Droid is any indicator, Verizon will not be carrying the iPhone anytime soon which limits Apple's choices. I'm sure they shopped the iPhone to just AT&T and Verizon. Apple would not put it with a 2nd tier company, and Sprint has not been viable since it's acquisition of Nextel.

    Their only choice today would be T-Mobile once their HSPDA+ upgrades are complete, Apple can say "Oh Look 21Mbps!", but by then LTE will be in full swing with Verizon, and they'll go "Ooh the iSlow or the LTE Droid at 30Mbps".

    The phone makers were caught blindsided by the iPhone and now it's their turn to put Apple in a bind. Apple's choices are to stay closed and relegate itself to the "Other Phone" or open itself up and see OS X on more phones. Owning a iPhone myself I hope they stay closed, I've about had it with the battery life of the iPhone, and iTunes quirks.

    Songbird + Andorid wil rock.

  • by bgspence (155914) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @07:57PM (#29788135)

    And, I've got a dog that barks while he chases cars.

    But, I don't think for all his barking he will become a Lexus.

  • by RogerWilco (99615) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @08:01PM (#29788163) Homepage Journal

    What I find most telling about these stories, is that in just about 2 years since Apple has entered the smartphone market, they have become the product to beat, the benchmark against which all others are measured. How did it happen that sophisticated, tech savvy and powerful companies like Microsoft, Nokia, Sony and RIM have such a hard time coming up with an answer, and only Google seems to be going somewhere?

    I don't have all the answers, but one thing that seems clear is that Apple totally focusses on the user experience. I once made the error in 2000 to buy a PocketPC instead of a Palm based on the hardware specs. I learned then that a 16Mhz machine can be a better choice then a 200 Mhz one, if the first has been properly designed.

    I've been using Nokia phones in the past, as they seem to understand the same lesson, I'm a little puzzled why they and the other established forces in the market have such a hard time formulating an answer to the iPhone. But then the seem thing seems to be happening in the MP3 player market.

    What does Apple do that makes them so dominant in these markets so quickly, that the other players seem to fail to do? Even I've been converted recently, having bought a Macbook a year ago, and an iPhone last week, after having had a good experience with my iPod for years. Somehow other products in the same price range just don't measure up. (I did quite an extensive comparison with my alternative OS being Linux).

    How does Apple become the measuring stick and the product to beat so quicky, even Microsoft usually needs half a decade and Billions and often they don't really succeed if it's outside the direct Windows sphere of control. (WinCE/Mobile/Phone, Xbox?)

  • by imadork (226897) on Sunday October 18, 2009 @09:21PM (#29788645) Homepage
    I signed up for the Verizon marketing E-mail for the Droid phone, and saw this at the bottom:
    DROID is a registered trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and its related companies. Used under license.

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