Shawn Morton highlights the latest mobile news, including reports that Verizon Wireless will get the iPhone in January 2011, Gingerbread is slated to come to high-end Android devices in the fall, and more.
June was an absolutely crazy month in the mobile space. We've seen two high-profile launches (HTC EVO 4G and Apple iPhone 4), some big product announcements (Droid X) and had a ton of things go wrong for all of the above. It would seem that speed to market is trumping quality assurance in the race to create the biggest, baddest mobile device on the planet.
Verizon Wireless to get the iPhone in January
Bloomberg is reporting that AT&T's exclusive on the iPhone will soon be over. Verizon is expected to make the device available to its 93 million U.S. customers in January. There aren't more details right now, but Bloomberg claims two sources close to the deal have confirmed it.
Since the Bloomberg announcement, there is further speculation in the blogosphere that the Verizon iPhone will be a 4G handset that will run on the carrier's new LTE network.
If true, this will be a huge win for Apple and Verizon customers who have endured these rumors for the past 18 months.
Apple sells 1.7 million iPhones in three days
OK, so everyone knew the iPhone 4 launch was going to be huge. Pre-order requests brought both AT&T and Apple's systems to their knees, but I don't know that anyone expected Apple to move 1.7 million iPhones in just three days.
That number was much higher than it would have been had Apple not changed the upgrade eligibility date for hundreds of thousands of customers. All Things Digital reported that 77% of early iPhone 4 sales were upgrades from current customers.
Steve Jobs says you're holding the iPhone incorrectly
While the sales numbers were off the charts, the launch of iPhone 4, which would dominate the news with stories of long lines and people camping outside stores, was tarnished by a string of issues.
Whether it was part of Apple's plan or a FedEx mistake, iPhone 4 pre-orders were delivered a day or more in advance of the public launch. This gave customers a chance to play with the new device and, unfortunately for Apple, find some pretty serious bugs, including yellow stains on the screen, proximity sensor issues, and reception problems with the new antenna Steve Jobs touted at the iPhone 4 announcement back in April.
The antenna issue proved the most troublesome because it affects the ability to make calls. Customers found that holding the iPhone in your left hand (with your skin touching the metal antenna that wraps the edge of the phone) caused the 3G signal to drop out completely.
Videos and comments flooded social networks, and Apple found itself doing damage control on launch day. When Apple finally responded to the antenna issue, Steve Jobs had a simple solution; he told iPhone 4 owners that they were holding it incorrectly and that there is no reception issue. Apple also recommended that customers pick up a $30 bumper case, which quickly sold out, to keep from touching the antenna.
Later in the week, Apple's internal customer service scripts were leaked. The scripts detail the procedure customer service reps are to follow when talking to customers with antenna and reception issues. Reps are instructed to not offer free bumper cases to customers; instead, they should explain to the customer that all phones have reception issues depending on how you hold them.
Expect this story to continue to play out over the next few weeks.
Gingerbread coming to high-end Android devices in October
Details of the 3.0 version of the Android mobile operating system emerged this week. "Gingerbread," as it will be known, is only going to be available on high-end devices. The minimum specs for Gingerbread include a 1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, and at least a 3.5" display. It will also support up to a 1280x760 display resolution. Gingerbread is also going to sport a completely new user interface.
For less-powerful Android devices, it appears that Android 2.1 or 2.2 will be the end of the upgrade line.
Gingerbread is expected to launch in mid-October.Get smartphones tips and news in your inbox TechRepublic's Smartphones newsletter, delivered each Thursday, features tips on how to deploy and manage smartphones in your enterprise, product reviews, news updates, photo galleries, and more. Automatically sign up today!