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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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RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By a5cent on 12/6/2011 4:16:05 PM , Rating: 3
You've got it exactly right. If WP7 did support LTE Microsoft would get beaten up for WP7's poor battery life.

Anyway, this is NOT Microsoft dragging it's feet! This is Microsoft standing up to ridiculous requests in the interest of developers (keeping hardware variance low) and the majority of consumers (striking the right balance between features, performance and battery life). This is a really good strategy, but Microsoft would do well to educate the public better. Even tech journalists often fail to understand (you almost need to be a developer to get it).

However, once Qualcomm's Krait is out, which will support LTE without sucking the battery dry, I will gladly join in with the Microsoft bashing if WP8 isn't running on that platform shortly thereafter.


RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By supermitsuba on 12/6/2011 4:27:58 PM , Rating: 2
Why is it hard to put in a switch to do 3g, my android phone does it, after i rooted it of course. But seriously, give people the options, dont just say that you cant do it cause of reasons they cant control.


RE: Is Microsoft really lagging?
By a5cent on 12/6/2011 9:35:21 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, I don't know why most 4G android handsets lack an LTE radio on/off toggle switch (out of the box). Apparently, this also applies to 3G radios. It's certainly not a cost issue. It appears intentional.

Anyway, for 4G phones, LTE transmission speed and decent battery life both constitute core functionality. Having to sacrifice one to get the other is not good. The average user doesn't want to understand or fiddle with such things. For mass market penetration, Microsoft and Apple need hardware platforms that do not force this compromise. That is what both of them are waiting for.


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