Print 41 comment(s) - last by leexgx.. on Dec 8 at 12:27 AM

Microsoft can't explain away why its communications hardware is deficient

With Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) already punting its plans to sell Windows Phone on the world's biggest market -- China -- to sometime in 2012, it's crucial that it does its best to capture U.S. sales in the meantime.

Recent comments from Verizon Wireless reveal that the dated wireless communications hardware on current Windows Phone models may be a deal-breaker for it.  Verizon Wireless -- a joint venture between Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD) -- controls over a third of America's subscription customer base.  Missing that massive chunk of sales in its largest current smartphone market (the U.S.) would be a huge blow to Microsoft's already struggling Windows Phone project.

Marni Walden, Chief Marketing Officer for Verizon Wireless sounded frustrated in her comment to CNET.  She remarked, "We've communicated to Microsoft that LTE is critical to us. We need to see a timeline that makes sense if we want to continue to represent them."

Verizon LTE
Verizon: "Y U No have LTE, Microsoft?" [Image Source: Android Spin]

Thus far, Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android has been virtually the sole platform of LTE handsets in the U.S.  With Verizon and AT&T, Inc. (T) promoting their rapidly expanding 4G LTE networks [1][2][3][4] that's been a huge boon for Google and its partners.

The holdup with Windows Phone LTE support appears to be on Microsoft's shoulders, as many Windows Phone manufacturers like Taiwan's HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) and South Korea's Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930already support LTE in their Android handsets.  Thus the hardware capability for LTE seemingly exists for Windows Phones, but the software is the limiting factor, thanks to Microsoft's sluggish response.

Microsoft has been on the defensive about its Windows Phone performance for some time now, as flagship Android smartphones seemingly have better specs on paper.  While its argument that Windows Phone runs faster on single core-CPUs than Android on dual-core CPUs is certainly plausible given real world evidence, it's hard for Microsoft to generate a convincing excuse for why its phones can't support the latest wireless communication standards.

Add LTE to a growing list of problems such as poor advertising and poor dealer incentives that have plagued Microsoft, turning a slick operating system into a market dud.

Source: CNET

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LTE...who cares
By GruntboyX on 12/6/2011 11:24:52 AM , Rating: 5
With all the bandwidth caps why do i care about LTE? I cant view Netflix or stream pandora. I will hit those caps ridicously quick. So what application requires LTE, thats right streaming video.

Do yourself a favor, go for the bettery battery life and get a phone without LTE. At least until Verizon implements reasonable datacaps. Give me a 100GB and Ill drop my Uverse connection today. I will gladly sign up for LTE. But 2GB, 4GB on promotion? Please, dont insult me. These caps are lower than the unofficial 5GB 3G caps.

Until then, I will purposely save my wallet and avoid LTE. There is no application demanding those speeds.

RE: LTE...who cares
By x10Unit1 on 12/6/2011 11:37:58 AM , Rating: 3
+1 Gruntboyx about reaching the data cap faster.

However, as long as you can turn off the LTE radio independently from the other radios, you should be okay. Just turn on the LTE radio when you need a fast download speed(assuming you are in a LTE area). Then turn it off when you are done to save battery. Get the best of both worlds!

RE: LTE...who cares
By GruntboyX on 12/6/2011 12:48:08 PM , Rating: 2
That's a perfectly fine strategy to take. I know many of thunderbolt users who simply turn off the 4g radio because.

1. They don't have LTE coverage
2. They don't have an application demanding the speed.

However, my counter point is. You could have gotten the Incredible 2 practically the same phone for 100 dollars less. If the extra speed warrants the 100 bucks to you. That is awesome. I know sometimes with promotions it can drastically sway buying decisions.

However, I think we could do a lot to nudge the data caps higher by simple rejecting Verizon's 4G phones. I think you are beginning to see this with Verizon releasing promotional increases to their data caps. In time as the network matures and capacity is increased the data caps should go up. However, there needs to be a compelling usage model.

RE: LTE...who cares
By Omega215D on 12/6/2011 1:04:45 PM , Rating: 2
No problem here and I am on Unlimited Data. Despite leaving LTE on when out of the house (otherwise it's on wi-fi) I never see more than 1GB usage. The LTE comes in handy when wanting to quickly browse the web for something or using Google Maps and find a point of interest. It also helps to get updates/ maps on various transit lines in NYC in a really short amount of time.

LTE is not only meant for streaming videos.

RE: LTE...who cares
By mcnabney on 12/6/2011 4:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
I watch movies on my Droid RAZR all the time. Charge it every night, but never had it below ~25% battery. I also use Motorola's management software and it surprised me how well it works. LTE and wifi are default off. If a data application starts it checks for known/public wifi and if one is not found it turns on LTE. The 'net affect' is about 3-4 seconds of 3G before it connects to wifi or LTE. When the app exits or 'sleeps' it disconnects. I have been using about 700MB a week so far with fairly heavy use. I really like the phone. The only weakness is the non-720p screen. Otherwise it has been great.

RE: LTE...who cares
By jimbojimbo on 12/6/2011 12:07:22 PM , Rating: 2
That's why I actually got the Droid 3. I didn't care for LTE if there was a data cap at all and most of the time my phone's within a wifi network anyway so my speeds are just fine.

I tend to root for the underdog and I've been rooting for Android but now I kind of want Microsoft's mobile business to pick up. I hear good things about the phone from anybody that's used it but until they get their phones corporate friendly I can't even consider them.

RE: LTE...who cares
By Labotomizer on 12/6/2011 12:51:47 PM , Rating: 3
You're right, they're awesome. But I'm not sure what you mean by corporate friendly.

Their Exchange support is better than any other platform and if you use Exchange 2010 then the conversation layout for mail is sweet. They have a better Office app then the competition, SharePoint and OneNote support. So I'm not sure what features are lacking. VPN? You have to root a Droid to get VPN support and even then it's not that great.

Oh, and you can "root" your WP now with Chevron and unlike the others it doesn't void your warranty and is totally supported and sanctioned by MS. I guess I'm not seeing the disadvantage here. I have one and I LOVE it. So much better than the Droid 1 and 2 I had previously. I know the Droid 3 is pretty nice but it still stutters and hangs, probably locks up and crashes too. My WP7 has been rebooted once and that was when Mango was installed.

RE: LTE...who cares
By Spuke on 12/6/2011 2:50:49 PM , Rating: 2
I know the Droid 3 is pretty nice but it still stutters and hangs, probably locks up and crashes too.
Wife has Droid 3 and it does no such thing.

RE: LTE...who cares
By name99 on 12/6/2011 1:00:52 PM , Rating: 1
Don't be an idiot. The advantage of LTE (to the carriers, yes, but to EVERYONE) is that it uses spectrum more efficiently. The issue is not that you get 20Mb/s (or whatever) as the single user in a cell; it's that when 100 users are using the cell, they each get 200kbps rather than 50kbps. [Numbers made up, but illustrate the point].
The number that matters is that LTE spectral efficiency is around 10x that of 1x EVDO-Rev A. (That factor is probably to high for current devices, and may always be too high for phones, since it may rely on 4 widely separated antennas. But even a smaller spectral efficiency, say 4x, is better for everyone.)

Personally I am glad VZW is pushing this. There's always someone who's a laggard, and the tech world doesn't improve without a pus. If Apple weren't pushing Intel for lower power chips, we'd probably have desktops with TDP envelopes of 150W, and laptops that lasted for 3hrs.

The main question is --- is VZW's push realistic? It doesn't make sense to complain if the relevant chipsets do not exist. My guess is that
- either the chipsets do exist, but right now on the CDMA only side, which means VZW feels it's reasonable to start pushing MS to at least have the relevant drivers in the OS, so that if Nokia wants to use these chips it's practical for it to do so.
(This case is not relevant to Apple given that Apple uses a combined chipset, and has presumably told VZW it will ship LTE when a decent combined chipset exists.)

- the chipsets don't exist yet, VZW is quite aware of that, but they're using this very public bitching as a way to send a message to MS regarding something else. My guess is that they want a return to the good old days when users had to use VZW maps, VZW apps, and VZW crap. They can't get away with forcing that on Apple --- they know full well Apple will tell them screw you, and take its customer base elsewhere --- but the may figure MS is desperate enough that they will cave.
(cf the other announcement about VZW and Google Wallet).

RE: LTE...who cares
By StevoLincolnite on 12/6/2011 9:15:14 PM , Rating: 2
If Apple weren't pushing Intel for lower power chips, we'd probably have desktops with TDP envelopes of 150W, and laptops that lasted for 3hrs.

Apple didn't push Intel. Apple had nothing to do with Intel when Intel decided to go with a more power efficient route.

Hint: It all started with the Pentium M and Pentium 4. Apple was still using PowerPC.

RE: LTE...who cares
By leexgx on 12/8/2011 12:27:55 AM , Rating: 2
most laptops only last 2hrs or less still (unless its an Sony VAIO or apple 3hrs+)

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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