The Nexus Line and VoLTE…Why it Matters

Folks,

I know some are still having a hissy fit about the Nexus 4 not having LTE, but hey it is what it is and we will get over it. However it is the move that Google had to make because Google has a plan under it’s sleaves it has been working on since Verizon bought all that tasty LTE Spectrum

First lets talk about LTE

Verizon won the C Block spectrum in March of 2008, bringing the rise of LTE and crazy data speeds on are mobile devices. Everyone was like Google might get into the mobile business as they were bidding on the Spectrum, when in all reality they were setting the reserve price to ensure Open-Access to that block of Spectrum. Verizon won, we have LTE, and the rest is history.

So What Happened to Open Access?

Open Access is still a provision. Which is probably the reason Verizon never really came after folks who rooted their phones and used wireless tethering apps. They were actually fined for trying to block these apps in the Play Store, so the Open Access provisions are alive and kicking. This makes some people wonder why is this a problem then? Because Verizon still uses CDMA for voice services. They basically have an hybrid LTE CDMA model. So in turn they are still allowed to lock down their phones due to the need of CDMA. Updates for the Galaxy Nexus is more of an issue because VZW requires all this rigorous testing for their CDMA network, not necessarily the LTE network.

So VoLTE?

VoLTE is basically Voice carried over your data connection. For Verizon it means it will not have to provide both a LTE and CDMA chip in their phones. Phones will only need a LTE chip and in theory, you will no longer need a voice plan because everything including voice calls are transferred over data. It also means the Open-Access rules are now in full effect, so Verizon cannot lock down phones on the basis of it still needing a CDMA chip. LTE is currently being trialed by Verizon in select cities with plans for Nationwide roll out in 2013.

What it Means for Google and Nexus

Google’s Nexus line will easily be able to do a unlocked LTE version for Verizon due to the Open-Access provisions which went into effect purely based on Google’s huge opening bid in 2008. With no CDMA, Verizon will no longer have control because of those provisions enforced by the FCC. I’m sure Google wanted to work with Verizon, but they also new that soon Verizon will have no choice. Once VoLTE goes nation wide, expect an unlocked LTE Nexus using this technology, probably priced about $100 more than the GSM version.

All this matters because VoLTE is the future of mobile phones. I think we will soon start seeing purely data plans being available for users to use with both Voice and Data. Google though has done something smart. They have set the price for a high quality unlocked device, and they have set that price low. I imagine a the next Nexus will support VoLTE on Verizon, it will be unlocked, and will cost $400 compared to an unlocked GSM version for $350, as LTE licensing cost a lot more. This will also allow Google to build the device as they want to with Updates coming directly from Google and Carriers being removed completely from the process

So I see these things happening within the Mobile world in the nest 2 years

  • VoLTE going live nationwide within a year
  • Unlimited Data Plans making their way back
  • Unlocked Better priced Contract Free Mobile devices. No more $650 Off contract phones
  • More competition, with more and more customers becoming month to month non contract users

So yes I was besides myself about Josh’s review, and I do wish that Google had a LTE Nexus available, but Google is working on something and I think next year we will see the beginning of a change to the mobile industry for the better. So just Chillax, the time of carriers forcing their hand will soon come to an end.

iOS, the worlds most advanced mobile OS….Really?

I’ve been wanting to write this for a while, but I always forget. But my faithful Apple Fanboy friend reminded today with his usual fanboyish comments, this latestone being….

“iOS is the worlds most advanced operating system, and Android OS is just a fragmented heap of trash”

I gave him a crazy look and he was like just look it up on Google. I laughed it off. Anyway I think this claim Apple makes made sense in circa 2009, but for them to continuously say it at this stage of the platform war is just odd to me. First off I’m not going to included Windows Phone here because , because it just complicates things, but feel free to provide Windows Phone pints in the comments.

Lets get started….

From Apples point of view…http://www.apple.com/ios/what-is/ they claim to have the most advanced mobile OS because..

Elegant and intuitive interface. I find this point mostly subjective because I personally don’t like the home screen with a grid of Apps and folders, and the skeumorphism thing iOS is doing, does not suit my taste…and many other Apple users as I have found. In addition Apple bases it’s intuitive claim on the fact that is a touch screen you use with your finger…ok..I must use my toes on Android or something. And it seems the stylus is making a comeback so again this is subjective, and purely a preference. But that does not make it more advanced then Androids touch screen and use of widgets. Draw

Amazing features and built-in apps.This would really be the bulk of where any claim of being the most advanced OS would come from. However Apple provides limited features to base their claim on. But for the sake of argument lets compare the stand out Apps, Apple mentioned

  • Siri. Siri competes head to head with Google Now, offering the best each side has to offer in a mobile personal assistant. Siri best Google in the regard of being able to make calendar appointments and add task to ToDo list, Tweet, Post to Facebook, and other interactions with Apps. However Google Now provides better voice recognition, faster interface, and the location aware cards to better predict information you will need before you ask for it. I can’t say one is better than the other here because, they are simply going in 2 different directions so this again becomes a issue of preference.
  • Maps. No. 3D Fly bys does not make this app better. Not going to get into it because no matter what anyone says Apple Maps is not better than Google Maps on Android.
  • Music. The feature set on each music App is about the same. The amount of content counts a little bit, but really nothing to do with how Advanced your OS is, as Apple and Android don’t create content. they make deals with content providers, and with Android just getting the Warner Music library, the difference is getting very very small
  • iMessages. I will give Apple this, as Android has really not provided a unification in its messaging hardware.
  • FaceTime. It is basically similar to Google Video Chat. However Google Talk Video Chat is cross platform, and does not require Apple hardware, which negates any claim this is better. Plus Google has Hangouts….multi person video chat.
  • Hardware and software made for each other. Yes I will give this to Apple
  • The world’s largest — and smartest — collection of apps. Yes Apple might have better content, but Android has better functionality. The number one aspect being able to install, update, and delete apps from the web, without having to touch your phone. The key here is in regards to how advanced your OS is is that Apple and Google control the store, and developers control the content. Not sure what they mean by smarter though.
  • iCloud. Your content. On all your devices. I disagree, because they are assuming I have all Apple devices, so for the user that has the Android Phone, iPad, and Windows PC…explain how this will best Google’s cloud services which are cross platform and web based.
  • Safari. Google Chrome. Which I think is better and is also cross platform
  • AirPlay..Yes Apple takes it here….for now. With Miracast ramping up we will have see how manufacturers embrace the standard and how it will compare to the experience on AirPlay

So that is the only feature set Apple based their claim on on their website. I feel when you make a broad claim like that you need to really show people why you are the best. This means give me some comparisons to your competeitors. So lets dig a bit deeper on the feature set because I don’t think you can call something the most advanced simply based on that, as Android brings features Apple seems to be lacking in…

  • NFC. No it is not just for buying stuff. Mobile to Mobile sharing. And it even works across platforms, iOS has nothing like this, that does not require someone to install and have a app running first.
  • Notification Shade/Tray/Center/Drawer….Again Android brought Actionable notifications and is even bringing toggles in 4.2, there is no contest here.
  • Face Unlock…Niche feature, but still Apple’s OS has nothing here.
  • 4.2 Will also bring user profiles, major advancements to the camera in regards to UI and panorama, lockscreen widgets, and built in gesture typing.

Now to be fair I think Apple does handle updates, availability, and security better than Android. Even with the Nexus devices, updates come in segments. I remember my Nexus 7’s update was not available for at least a week after it was announced. When, Apple’s updates are available. They are available. Period.

In the end I do think Android is a more advanced OS based purely on the feature set and functionality of the OS. The only real comparison in my opinion is Windows Phone, as it is the only OS that can really go toe to toe with Android in regards to features. Yes we can argue back and fourth on whether content and design play a roll in how advanced your OS is. But design is subjective, and content is really in the hands of the content providers.

So what do you all think? Again, like in everything I post, if we can try to keep this objective and leave the Apple and Android bashing out of it I think it could be a well informed debate. So yeah…I can care less comments using the terms iSheep, FanDroid, and the like.