Of course, Verizon has always pitted its Droid range of handsets against Apple’s iPhone 4. Remember the Verizon ad calling the iPhone a “digitally clueless tiara wearing princess“? While the iPhone survived the brand attacks all along, Verizon may have just launched a Droid that directly competes against the iPhone and I am not speaking all positives here.
We all know how the iPhone 4 has been afflicted by all these issues with respect to signal reception, super-sensitive proximity sensor,etc. Now, as we have seen in the past few days, the Droid-X appears to be no different. First there were reports about the apparent privacy flaw on the Droid-X contacts system. Then several users reported issues with rapid flickering and banding on the display. Later, we heard about the Wi-Fi disconnecting frequently. The reported issues are just about being referred to as Motorola’s own “Antennagate“.
Thankfully though, it is not just on the bugs-front that Droid-X is competing against the iPhone. According to a statement by Jennifer Byrne, a business development executive at Verizon, Droid-X users seem to be consuming nearly five times more data than the normal Verizon subscribers. This is reminiscent of AT&T’s own problems with iPhone users who the carrier not so politely called “data hogs”.
It will be interesting to see which of these two devices resolve the issues and get one up in this battle.
This was to be expected – especially after Steve Jobs sought refuge under his oft-repeated fact of life that all smartphones are affected by death grip issues during the iPhone 4 press conference yesterday. Steve Jobs had said,
“To our knowledge, it’s not possible to make a phone that doesn’t have weakspots. You could make a really big one! I mean, some of these guys are making Hummers at this point. But no one’s going to buy that.”
Nokia, the Finnish giant that is still the leader in the mobile phone industry took exception to Jobs’ statements. In a media statement released yesterday, the company has said that while it is true that wireless smartphones are affected by death grip, the company has taken exceptional care to ensure that their users do not face these signal reception issues. Nokia explains,
“Antenna design is a complex subject and has been a core competence at Nokia for decades, across hundreds of phone models. Nokia was the pioneer in internal antennas; the Nokia 8810, launched in 1998, was the first commercial phone with this feature.
[…]In general, antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held. That’s why Nokia designs our phones to ensure acceptable performance in all real life cases, for example when the phone is held in either hand. Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design.”
Do you own a Nokia smartphone? Can you replicate the death grip issues? Voice off in the comments.
The iPhone 4 bumper, I hear, is pretty good at keeping the iPhone 4 signal from dropping even when you try the ill-famed death grip. That does not actually mean it will help you protect your iPhone from drops.
Folks at iFixYouri educate us about this the hard way using their drop test. In the test, a video of which is embedded below, the iPhone 4 with the bumper on, is dropped from normal standing height on to a concrete floor. The iPhone glass case cracks on the third drop – very much like it does when it is unprotected.
The iPhone repair company however explains that the number of drops before the glass cracks depends very much on the side that hits the concrete first.
“What really matters is how you drop it. If it hits on a corner you may get out of trouble completely, or with just a scuff mark. If it drops on the glass though, on top of concrete, you could be in serious trouble. This scenario is very likely every time you get out of your car.
We also performed an iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G test with protective cases and instead of the glass breaking, there was LCD damage on the fifth and sixth drop, respectively.”
I would not advise you to try this on your iPhone 4 for confirmation. But anyone doing so is welcome to share their results 😉
This however seems to be a software problem rather than a hardware issue. Members on the Apple support forum have complained that their iPhone 4 locks them down with a ‘The iPhone is overheated’ message even when it is clearly not. Here are some messages from the Apple support forum
“Today my iPhone was in an air conditioned room and unused for at least 30 minutes. The phone rang and when I tried to answer it I was unable. The display had a large yellow “!” icon and said something about the iPhone being too hot and I’d have to wait to use it.”
“I had this happen as well last night and called Apple support. The phone was sitting idle on a table in an air conditioned room when the message came up.”
Elsewhere on the Mac enthusiast forums
“Today I had my phone in my pocket in sleep mode for, i would say about an hour. I sat down after running around the office and when my pants got a little tight from sitting down my leg felt warm. I took my iphone out of my pocket and it was hot. I put it on my desk and after about 20 min. it was back to room temp.”
Mac website HardMac too notes similar issues. The website points out that the room temperature was only around 25 celsius when the message popped up. Apple has noted in its manual that the iPhone may not be continually used above a temperature of 35 celsius.
T-Mobile UK has finally revealed its pricing plans for the Apple iPhone 4. For starters, the cheapest you can get your iPhone 4 is for $0 and the most expensive with contract is the £349 you will pay for a 32GB iPhone 4. Of course, the monthly data plans that come with these plans are inversely proportional.
T-Mobile UK has six different monthly plans that range between £25 and £60. Each of these plans come with a two year contractual period. Users signing up for the £25 plan can avail the 16GB iPhone 4 at £259 and the 32GB model at £349. On the other end of the tariff sheet, the £60 plans allows you to have your 32GB iPhone 4 for £99 while the 16GB alternative is free.
Here is a complete list of plans that you may want to look at. Do note the fine print at the bottom of the sheet – There is a fair usage policy of 3000 minutes for the unlimited voice that comes with the £60 plan.
How many issues can the newly launched iPhone 4 potentially have? Don’t try to answer that question.
Users have been complaining of late that their new iPhone 4 did not allow them to upload content at a speed above 100kbps. While all the issues so far have rested with Apple, this is possibly the first iPhone 4 issue where the culprit appears to be AT&T.
Ma Bell has now responded to the complaints. In a statement released to the media yesterday, AT&T has acknowledged the issue and has noted that this was as a result of a software bug in the Alcatel-Lucent equipment that affected users in certain markets under certain conditions. Ok, so the problem is not actually with AT&T but their equipment partners.
AT&T and Alcatel-Lucent jointly identified a software defect – triggered under certain conditions – that impacted uplink performance for Laptop Connect and smartphone customers using 3G HSUPA-capable wireless devices in markets with Alcatel-Lucent equipment. This impacts less than two percent of our wireless customer base. While Alcatel-Lucent develops the appropriate software fix, we are providing normal 3G uplink speeds and consistent performance for affected customers with HSUPA-capable devices.
Have you been facing this issue? Do you see any improvement in speed now? Please tell in the comments.
Ever since the Apple iPhone 4 was launched last month, a good number of the 1.7 million iPhone 4 users (assuming people stopped buying the device ever since the antenna paranoia broke out) have been waiting to unlock their device and latch on to their favorite wireless carrier.
The iPhone Dev Team has been working on the Ultrasn0w utility for the past few weeks and according to a recent tweet posted by Dev Team hacker @musclenerd, the team is just about to complete the unlocking process for iPhone 4. In short tweets posted recently, he writes,
Good progress on iPhone4 unlock with @planetbeing:http://is.gd/dh2WE <-injected cmd! (Akin to http://is.gd/dh2Ze on 3G)
Next step is to keep the task backgrounded like we did for 3G/3GShttp://is.gd/dh7Jh. Backgrounded task is the unlock.
So why has it taken a lot of time? Musclenerd explains that Apple has used a completely new baseband for iPhone 4 that is different from those used on iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. Hence, the Ultrasn0w unlock will have to completely rewritten.
iPhone unlockers – just hold on. the wait is just about to be over.
As you know, the high-profile Antenna issue on the new iPhone 4 had invited three class-action lawsuits against Cupertino in the past few days. One of the main arguments in the case was that Apple was at a win no matter how customers felt about their phone. Even those who wanted to return their phones back had to lose the 10% restocking fee and so the plaintiffs argued that Apple was indulging in unfair business practices.
It is apparent that Apple is getting ready to fight the case. As a first step, the company has now announced that the company will be dumping the 10% restocking fee for iPhone 4 making it easier for customers who had faulty handsets to return their phones without losing any money.
Nevertheless, we wonder if this will still save the company from the lawsuit. Apple had recently released a statement where the company said that the apparent loss in signal was a non-issue since this was a problem with the way the bars on the phone were calculated and did not actually drop the signals.
So you went ahead and purchased a brand new iPhone 4 and then realized that you also need another device to make calls. Of course, you can always transfer your SIM to another phone when you have to make that all-important call. But it is tricky. The Apple iPhone 4 uses microSIM which is not compatible on most of the other mobile phones in the market.
Thanks to the accessory manufacturers, we now have a microSIM adapter. What this product actually does is it lets you fit your tiny microSIM into the slot so that you may use this larger mini-SIM sized adapter on any of the other mobile phones.
The MicroSIM adapter for iPhone users is now available at the MicroSIM shop at a price of $7.50. Go grab it if you need to make that call.
The iPhone 4 has received a lot of press of late. Of course, every Apple device does. But surprise, this time a majority of them have been negative and critical of both the actual issues and Apple’s condescending responses to affected customers.
So what do you do? Returning your iPhone is one option. Buying a bumper that will protect your device is another. ElementCase has just released their latest aluminium bumper for the iPhone. And it looks great too.
Vapor4 comes with an aluminium exterior and the liner on the interior virtually insulates the antenna from the bumper metal to avoid interference. The creators claim to have tested the iPhone 4 bumper by wrapping it in an inch of anodized aluminium and the liner still managed to protect the iPhone from signal reception related issues.
While it is beautiful, protecting and all, it is not cheap. The Vapor4 aluminium bumper costs $80 – an additional $20 if you also want the V4Carbon carbon fiber back plate that will protect the iPhone 4 glass back.