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HTC Does What Google Wouldn't: Sell an LTE Phone That Sidesteps AT&T

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the three-letter-acronyms dept.

AT&T 290

schwit1 writes "You won't see it advertised on billboards or television, you won't hear it mentioned in a carrier store, and your less technologically-savvy friends most certainly won't know about it — but quietly, HTC's done something extraordinarily important this month: it's broken AT&T's stranglehold on its nationwide LTE network. It's a move that even Google, for all its money, power, and influence, didn't make with the Nexus 4. HTC is shipping both 32GB and 64GB versions of the One — an early contender for the best phone of 2013 — in a carrier- and bootloader-unlocked version that supports both T-Mobile and AT&T LTE. No strings attached."

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News at elleven (5, Informative)

spectrokid (660550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534489)

company dears to do something in the US (under cover of darkness) which is standard practice everywhere else on this planet. Welcome to the 21th century!

Re:News at elleven (4, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534491)

I was just gonna write something similar. It is very common to be able to buy a phone without contract in the Netherlands, and then buy a separate sim-card somewhere. What's all the fuss about? But then I guess we do occasionally blow news items from the USA out of proportion, so maybe I should just take it with a grain of salt and grab another cup of coffee.

Re:News at elleven (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534527)

Salt and coffee?

Re:News at elleven (4, Funny)

captainpanic (1173915) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534583)

In retrospect, not the best combination of words. :)

Re:News at elleven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534641)

But it's a taste sensation!

Re:News at elleven (2, Funny)

nozzo (851371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534675)

They have salty liquorice in the Nederlands - salty coffee too for all i know!

Re:News at elleven (1)

SoupIsGood Food (1179) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535027)

Salt and coffee?

Actually, yes - a sprinkling of kosher salt in the grounds before brewing, or table salt in the coffee itself, reduces bitterness and brings out flavor complexities... a great alternative for those avoiding dairy or sweeteners.

Re:News at elleven (4, Informative)

sabri (584428) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534543)

It is very common to be able to buy a phone without contract in the Netherlands, and then buy a separate sim-card somewhere.

You can do that in the U.S. as well. You will just pay the full price.

The reason why lots of cellphones are carrier-locked, is because the carrier subsidizes the purchase and charges less for the phone than the manufacturer does. Your brand new Nokia 6220 will cost Telfort 300 Euries, but you will only pay 49.95 if you sign a 2 year contract. So in that case, Telfort's business model to subsidize your new phone will be based on the assumption that you will use their service. In order to "force" you to do so, the phone is locked to accept only Telfort Sim cards.

This model has evolved to certain manufacturers doing only business with certain service providers and basically locking them in. For example, here in the U.S. the first Iphone could only be purchased at AT&T and thus would be sim-locked for the AT&T network.

The news here is that HTC now breaks that tradition and just offers their cellphone directly to consumers, simlock free. And that does matter.

Re:News at elleven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534605)

Where can you do this? You can get an genuinely unlocked iPhone -- in no small part because Apple handles carrier locks internally, rather than allowing carriers to do it themselves -- but that's not common. But try to find a Droid 4 you can use on non-Verizon US networks. You can use it internationally, and if you ask the radio to scan it can see the T-mobile and AT&T networks, but it specifically refuses to connect to them. Buy the phone outright, buy it used, buy it under subsidy contract, it still only works with Verizon. And it's not like Motorola doesn't sell phones to other carriers; they just don't sell that specific phone except via Verizon, and Verizon will not let you use it with other US networks even after it is SIM-unlocked for international use.

T-mobile is finally on the bandwagon, and has started not only separating phone costs from service costs (and thus eliminating service contracts), but they've also unlocked all their network features for all compatible devices. But most users in the US are still subject to the whims of a service provider in terms of which hardware is available, what features that hardware is allowed to expose, and whether or not that hardware will work on other carriers, no matter how they buy they phone.

Re:News at elleven (1)

wed128 (722152) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534911)

Correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't verizon non-GSM, and therefore there's no sim card to lock?

Re:News at elleven (4, Informative)

karnal (22275) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534959)

Verizon has sim cards now for the LTE network. I have a few devices (mini wifi router and 4g usb stick) and both require a SIM card; both are on Verizon.

Re:News at elleven (4, Informative)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535041)

All LTE devices on VZW have SIM cards. They lock their phones by their unique network requirements as they won't work on the other LTE carriers in the Us without multiple band support. The voice part of their phones is still CDMA2000 and they use LTE on 700Mhz Band 13. AT&T uses LTE on 700Mhz Band 17 and 1700Mhz Band 4 with voice using GSM/HSPA.

Re:News at elleven (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535009)

the iphone 4s and iphone 5 as well as many other phones have penta band radios in them that support All cellular bands and technology. Verizon is just being Scumbaggy by demanding that any phone they allow on their networks to be LOCKED to their networks forever.

It's an example of a company being highly dishonest and nobody calling them out on their dishonest behavior.

Re:News at elleven (3, Informative)

msauve (701917) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535113)

Nice troll.

With the exception of the iPhone, Verizon has never locked phones to their network, at least as the word "locked" is applied to cell phones.

VZW uses CDMA for voice. The only other US carrier to do so is Sprint. A VZW phone will work on Sprint, except for the fact that Sprint won't allow any phone they didn't sell on their network. It used to be that Verizon would let you put a Sprint phone on their network, though. Then Sprint went WIMAX for a while, and VZW went LTE.

In any case, there's nothing which keeps a VZW phone locked to their network. Not being able to use most of their phones on a different network is purely a technology issue. There are some VZW "world phones," which will work on other networks just fine.

Finally, with regard to locked iPhones, they will unlock them when your contract is done.

Re:News at elleven (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43535135)

You are the prime example of a Herp Derp. Please read above about the android phones that HAVE THIS SAME PROBLEM.

Re:News at elleven (1)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535139)

True. Besides, Apple has already been selling an LTE phone (iPhone 5) that sidesteps AT&T since last year.

Re:News at elleven (0)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534699)

The news here is that HTC now breaks that tradition and just offers their cellphone directly to consumers, simlock free. And that does matter.

Ok. It matters. But that is actual NEWS over there??

Re:News at elleven (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534903)

You can get phones carrier locked or not in Norway, but the stores are required to list not just the up front costs but also total cost once the accompanying contract has been completed. As such, you can quickly tell if that 1 NOK phone will end up as 4-5000 NOK over the duration of the contract.

Re:News at elleven (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535049)

The reason why lots of cellphones are carrier-locked, is because the carrier subsidizes the purchase and charges less for the phone than the manufacturer does. Your brand new Nokia 6220 will cost Telfort 300 Euries, but you will only pay 49.95 if you sign a 2 year contract.

Yeah, they do that here, too. What I don't get is why that requires SIM-locking. You sign a two-year contract. So if you decide you want to jump ship in the middle of it, you're still required to pay out that contract. In fact, it's in Telfort's best interest if you do - not only do they receive your full payment for however long you had left on your contract, they won't have to provide you any service. There's no need to lock your SIM to force you to use their service; the contract already guarantees you'll pay for that service, whether you use it or not.

Re:News at elleven (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535181)

Because the company earns money by selling service, not by monthly payments.

Re:News at elleven (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43535085)

No, you idiot. You pay 49.95 now, and the rest as downpayment through your 2 year contract. The cost isn't subsidised, it's hidden.

Re:News at elleven (1)

rohan972 (880586) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535171)

It still doesn't make any sense. If the telco needs to lock the phone so the customers stay with them for long enough to pay for the phone, what purpose does signing the contract serve? If the contract makes sure you pay for your phone (and it does) then the phone locking is unjustified.

Re:News at elleven (1)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534719)

I also wondered how this was newsworthy. I'm quite used to buying a phone that's not locked and not worry about a carrier. We've got 3 carriers busily beavering away at this LTE thing with and they have achieved some kind of coverage. Yet none of them offer a data plan that makes some sense. At least I got some choice.

Isn't LTE godawful for a phone? Wasn't there that thing where phones had to be switched down to GSM/UMTS to make voice calls? I'd like LTE for a tablet, but on a phone it makes very little sense. But please with a data plan that doesn't start throttling after 2GB a month. Just this month I got a separate SIM card for my Nexus 7 with a separate data plan. 1GB per month. With no option to upgrade that. But I would be entitled to use LTE. Hardeehar.

Do the carriers even have an interest to sell LTE? To whom? Are they aware that all the stuff LTE would be nice for also implies huge download volumes? Which they don't sell. 2GB is just about one high-res movie. A month. Nope. Best stick to the good old Pirate Bay/SD card combo. Not as limited and a bit cheaper.

Re:News at elleven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534923)

Initial LTE specs didn't have a voice component. But later extensions have hammered out a way for carriers to deliver calls voip style.

Re:News at elleven (2)

todrules (882424) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534933)

T-Mobile has a truly unlimited data plan, which is on their HSPA+ as well as LTE, if available. Granted, their LTE coverage pretty much sucks as of right now but should be much improved by the end of the year.

And, I agree about the downgrading the voice experience though. Not a very elegant solution. However, Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) should solve this, and most major carriers (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile) are planning to implement this either in 2013 or 2014.

Re:News at elleven (1)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535125)

Apple has already been selling an LTE phone that sidesteps AT&T since last year:
http://store.apple.com/us/buy/home/shop_iphone/family/iphone5

Really this is news? (1)

Sollord (888521) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534509)

I doubt google had anything to do with the Nexus lacking AT&T LTE support and a lot more to do with LG cutting everything it could while optimizing for flagship performance. There is a reason LTE is disabled on the Nexus 4 now

Re:Really this is news? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535019)

It's not disabled, its plain old not there.

HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534531)

IN MY LIFETIME YETI !!

I need do more good deeds !!

Evil rulez !!

Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its head. (5, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534535)

Looks great except for One thing: No SD card slot, so screw it. I'm not buying into the "stream everything" BS. "Always online" is a disease. Lack of this basic feature is a huge "Fuck You" to me and anyone else who shuffles a lot of data -- The power users -- The people who would by the thing -- The target demographic...

I mean, even my cunting Sansa Clip+ has a fucking SD card reader -- Loaded with a 64 gig micro SD... Which is more than this damn thing can store (the full 64GB of the 64GB version isn't fully usable for data) -- And I have a 8 of these cards (in a CD jewel case holder). It takes me 10 seconds to swap cards -- That's 384 GB/sec... For the price they're changing for this thing, it should be as feature complete as a $30 music player.

What is it going to take? Wait until software defined radio gets cheap enough before I can have a damn SD card slot back? Ugh.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (5, Insightful)

nametaken (610866) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534607)

Believe it or not, people care about different things.

I use the hell out of my smartphones, but I've yet to need more than a few gig of local storage. I just don't use my phones to hold my entire music and movie collections, even if I have the option.

And given how many smartphones do not have card slots, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess it isn't necessarily a make-or-break feature.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534623)

I agree with this.
I've never had a recent phone that I've come anywhere close to filling the storage on,
It's simply not an issue for me

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534819)

Ditto. I've had no issue with 32GB phones. For me it typically 10GB of music 5-10GB apps, 10GB photos. I empty the photos whenever it gets close to full which is THOUSANDS.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (4, Interesting)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534821)

It is for me. Not only that my 16gb MicroSD card is almost full (offline navigation data, music), the micro USB port of my phone is broken. I can neither recharge it nor copy data through USB.

If I had one of the many smartphones without a card slot or a changeable battery, I'd be screwed. As the things are right now, I can continue to use the phone - a top of the line device few years ago - until something else fails. I can even still update the firmware without much hassle.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534981)

Dude, backup when things are working, don't bitch when they break.

removable batteries and sd cards are nice, but not mandatory by any stretch.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (2)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535069)

So you prefer buying a new phone instead of a second battery and an external charger in a case like mine? Well, be my guest, I prefer to spend the money on my bike.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535057)

"the micro USB port of my phone is broken. I can neither recharge it nor copy data through USB."

Hello use the 802.11n wireless works just fine for copying data back and forth.

Because my incredibly old and out of date Google Nexus HSPA+ (the galaxy nexus GSM as sold in europe.) has 802.11n.. and Wireless data access works fantastic, I just connect to the phone as it sits else where in the house. I can ssh into it, access files, etc... no problems at all.

Oh and a tip moving foreward, be more careful with your stuff that connector is incredibly easy to break, why cellphones have such an inferior connector on them I'll never understand.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535105)

That works fine if you need to copy stuff only when you are at home. And yes, my even older HTC HD2 with the broken USB port has got 802.11n as well.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535149)

Why? your laptop doesnt have wireless? Wierd.... Because I do this at work, home, in my car, woods, secret bunker under the whitehouse....

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535237)

My PC at work does not. There is no need because it is connected to the company LAN through gigabit ethernet.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534913)

How did this get up to 5 insightful????

What you are saying is "Please strip away features that add pennies to the phones cost, rob users of a ton of functionality and convenience because I have not yet hit the memory limit on my phone."

Maybe also you should Google the top selling smart phones (hint they have 'Galaxy' in the title) and see how many come WITHOUT an SD slot.

Now Google iPhone or HTC and look at the sales slump these two companies are facing. Guess their flagship phones don't come with an SD slot.

Interesting coincidence.

I suppose you would also advocate non-removable batteries as you've never run out of battery and needed to swap one out?

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43535095)

No, what they are saying is that maybe some people are okay with things like this. And some are not. And they'll buy a different phone. And that's okay, too. Calm down.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (0)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535045)

So the gist of what you're saying is, it makes sense if a modern, portable multimedia computer lacks something as simple and basic (not to mention ridiculously cheap and easy to implement) as removable storage?! Because you, personally, don't have need for such a feature?? Let's be glad you're not a smartphone designer... wait, are you?! :p

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43535103)

No, he's saying that the market doesn't give a damn. Are you also crying for your floppy drive & serial port?

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534621)

I'm all for local storage options, but it's hard to accuse a cell-phone company of being "diseased" for expecting you to always have network access. That is rather the point of their device. If you're looking for something that doesn't expect always-on connectivity you should probably not be looking at cell phones; other portable computing systems exist.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534653)

It's not about always-online requirements. I'd be perfectly happy to stream my music from "the cloud" if I didn't have a 200MB (yes, 0.2GB) data cap. I just about exceed that cap simply browsing the web and checking facebook now and then, without even getting into streaming.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (2)

peragrin (659227) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534731)

that's what is great about this. Check out T-mobile data plans.

I am seriously considering switching to t-mobile in the fall when my current AT&T contract is up. I presently get a crappy signal in my current location and anything will be better than AT&T

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (2)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534785)

I had a quick look, and their base 500MB plan costs nearly double what I'm paying now (ignoring the fact I don't live in USA). Choosing between using my existing microSD card or paying $30 extra per month for enough data to support streaming? It's a no-brainer.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534867)

It's not about always-online requirements. I'd be perfectly happy to stream my music from "the cloud" if I didn't have a 200MB (yes, 0.2GB) data cap. I just about exceed that cap simply browsing the web and checking facebook now and then, without even getting into streaming.

wow.. that is quite some cap, my 4G data plan has 3GB/month included for free (I'm not in US). But, still what I do (with the new data plan more out of habit than need) is to do all the heavy syncing on WiFi. All my favorite Spotify playlists fx are synced to the phone for local offline playback. And as several others have said as well, even doing that and syncing quite a lot of other data, I've never needed to use the microSD that my phone supports.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (1)

Crookdotter (1297179) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534879)

And to hell with convergence? How much extra would it cost to put in an sd slot? The alternative is to carry around 2 devices in that world. With just a little extra we can have all the local storage we want. I love my nexus 4, but I really wish it had an sd slot. Poor network in areas, download limits and the like means I can only carry about a 10th of my music collection with me reliably - about 4gig ish. I'd like to carry it all, or at least a more significant proportion. A 64gb card would allow that.

It's not about cost, it's about philosophy. Cloud storage means beign tied to one service. I want my files local, audio and video. I don't want to stream what I already downloaded. That's repeat downloading - what about efficiency?

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43535067)

Or you could have been less of a cheapskate and bought the 16gig version...

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (1)

paziek (1329929) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534707)

I honestly don't care about that, but I can imagine some people need it. What angers me most with todays phones is no LED notify on the phone, so we have to use some weird applications that either blink camera flash, buttons or actually turn on screen. I had very nice LED notify on my G1, as well as trackball (worked as mouse cursor in some webbrowsers) and hardware keyboard. If I could switch internals from my SGS2, then I would be happy to do it, even if it was more bulky.

Also, it seems like battery is NOT removable (in the spec) - WTF?

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (1)

D4MO (78537) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534991)

The HTC One has a LED notification light.

The non-removable battery is a bit of a head scratcher alright.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534801)

My $2 citrus squeezer juices lemons, limes, oranges, and all kinds of fruits/vegetables. For the price they're changing for this thing, it should be as feature complete as a $2 citrus squeezer!

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (2)

D4MO (78537) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534973)

You, even by power user standard, are an edge case. I'm technology inclined / power user and the 64GB model is good enough for me without need for SD card.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (1, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535033)

1999 called and they want their pissing and moaning back, You also forgot your rant about not being able to easily remove the battery. (Another red herring that has been a non issue for over 5 years now.)

You are in a very small minority, because the large majority of smartphone users do not care at all about a microSD card slot in the age of 32gig phones.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43535037)

a huge "Fuck You"

that pretty much sums up the telco industry right there.

Re:Looks great! Except, it needs a hole in its hea (1, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535229)

VortexCortex, please sit down, as it might come as a shock to you. No matter what your GPS display shows, you are not the center of the world, and the world does not pivot around you when you make that right turn from Lincoln Ave to Water St. Your use case is so extreme, supporting your needs produces so little marginal revenue for so much of pain, they will happily ignore you. If your needs are met, it would be purely an unintended side benefit happening because of supporting some more mainstream use case.

Confusion? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534549)

Wait a sec..

...bootloader-unlocked version that supports both T-Mobile and AT&T LTE.

What does the summary mean by AT&T LTE?

Does it mean that AT&T LTE is different from Other carrier's LTE? Why would a manufacturer make a phone that works only on a single carrier? Isn't LTE supposed to be a standard as opposed to a propreitary tech?

I don't live in the USA, so I wouldn't know.. Everyhere else in the world, people would practically boycott the carrier which sold locked down phones like that..

Re:Confusion? (3, Informative)

Dorianny (1847922) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534617)

Each carrier uses different frequencies. The majority of phones in the USA are sold by the carriers rather than the manufacturer, which they then sell to the user for a steep discount in exchange for signing up for a multi-year contract. Because it is the carriers rather than the end user who is making the actual purchase from the manufacturer, they typically ask them to do things like place sim-card restrictions and drop support for frequencies they do not use.

Re:Confusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534619)

I guess maybe this still isn't common knowledge in the outside world, but in the US, people don't buy cell phones.
They sign up for a long-term contract with a cell carrier, who then provides them a phone.
Naturally, the phone is locked, since it hasn't been paid for yet.
Hey, don't look at me. I bought a $20 phone and pay $10 month-to-month.

Re:Confusion? (4, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534963)

There's a variety of possibilities here, because LTE has kinda screwed up the standards thing.

1. It might just mean frequency. For example, T-Mo's UMTS is different from AT&T's in that T-Mobile runs their's on 1700Mhz and 2100MHz, while AT&T runs their's on 850MHz and also on 1900MHz. That said, this seems unlikely, both are running LTE on 1700/2100, though AT&T is also running it on 700MHz.

2. How the two networks use their frequencies may vary, though I doubt it. Verizon and AT&T choose different ways to handle, for example, uplink and downlink frequencies when running it on their 700MHz allocations.

3. I don't know if either network supports voice on LTE yet, but there's at least three different ways to implement it and it's not impossible that T-Mobile has selected a different voice protocol to AT&T. No, I'm not making that up - originally, the intention was that voice on LTE would be GSM's pre-existing IMS protocol. Several carriers balked, arguing that it doesn't support what's necessary to ensure there's a consistent quality of service when the network is congested, and as a result there's VoLTE and also, for reasons that remain unclear to this day, a version of GAN (UMA - that "GSM over Wi-fi" thing) all competing in that space.

Before you rule out (1) and (2) and deduce it must be (3) by process of elimination, (3) is unlikely to be the issue as most phone makers are simply avoiding the entire question by routing voice over 2G or 3G.

So I don't know. My guess is that this is a regular phone that supports LTE, in all of its forms, on 1700/2100, and maybe on 700MHz too. It probably doesn't support voice on UMTS at all. It may well be standard enough to work on Sprint PCS's LTE too, though as it doesn't support cdma2000/cdmaOne, it's wouldn't be marketed towards Sprint customers as it would suck being limited to being a data phone only, and then only in the few places Sprint has LTE.

It's probably very boring in practice.

LTE Nexus 4 Coming in May (2)

Dorianny (1847922) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534555)

According to Google’s Andy Rubin, the reason Google didn't include LTE support on the Nexus 4 was because “A lot of the networks that have deployed LTE haven’t scaled completely yet — they’re hybrid networks [...] which means the devices need both radios built into them [] When we did the Galaxy Nexus with LTE we had to do just that, and it just wasn’t a great user experience.” Whatever the reasons, after getting skewered for the decision, Google is backtracking and seems poised to release a LTE Nexus 4 sometime next month.

Re:LTE Nexus 4 Coming in May (2)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534681)

I wonder if that would include patching in support for the existing LTE radio on the Nexus 4? It has a four band LTE radio IIRC (in addition to its existing pentaband UMTS radio) and it does actually work with t-mobile LTE and I'm fairly certain AT&T LTE as well.

In that respect, it already does what TFA is making a big deal about, only unofficially.

Re:LTE Nexus 4 Coming in May (2)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535153)

Apple has already been selling an LTE phone that sidesteps AT&T since last year, so this article is making a big deal about nothing.

Nice Phone (1, Redundant)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534563)

The lack of SD Card reader and easily removable batter kill it though for me. I like easy access to the battery for changes and want flexibility for my storage offline.

Re:Nice Phone (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534591)

Why does every dumbass with an opinion on these features have to pop up and repeat it at every opportunity? Yes, we get it. The point has been made a thousand times. Some people like an SD slot and a removable battery, and some people don't give a shit. Stop repeating it. This article isn't even a review of the phone, it's about LTE not being locked out.

Re:Nice Phone (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534885)

Because the GP probably saw the item and said "Great!" until he saw that it was missing a feature that is absolutely necessary for him.

Likewise, a non-removable battery is a non-starter for me. I think that's a BIG mistake; they're not Apple and don't have a reality distortion field and a cult built around them like Apple has.

Re:Nice Phone (2)

wed128 (722152) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534947)

I have owned 6 cell phones (most of them not "Smart") and all of them have had removeable batteries.

I've never actually *removed* the battery from any single one.

Anecdote.

Re:Nice Phone (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535015)

I'm on my third smartphone (seventh phone overall), and I've removed the battery from all of them at one time or another. I replaced a dead battery in two of them, and have had to do a battery pull on all of the smartphones at one time or another due to them being locked up and not responding to the power button. Another anecdote.

Re:Nice Phone (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535151)

Can we complain about Ubuntu's choice for Unity yet?

Re:Nice Phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534615)

Do you deep try your phone?

Best phone for 2013 (2, Informative)

ta_gueule (2795275) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534597)

The best phone in 2013 is from 2009. The N900 is still unmatched. In 2013, the N900 screen is crap, the CPU is a joke, it doesn't do LTE and it is still more useful than any other phone. I'm still waiting for a replacement with better spec but I don't see that coming in the near future. This phone is the Amiga of the 21th century. They can up all the specs in their phone, they won't match the N900 until a decade or more.

Re:Best phone for 2013 (2)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534655)

What is so magical about it that you N900 fanboys keep going on about it exactly. I mean, what does it do that no other phone can?

Re:Best phone for 2013 (1, Redundant)

MartinMax (1273446) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534755)

I would like to know as well... Can it run Android? and most important, Does it blend?

Re:Best phone for 2013 (2)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534829)

It's got a nice keyboard and is very Linuxy. I had also considered to replace my E61 with a N900.
Do not underestimate a hackable phone with a decentish keyboard. In a pinch I have quite often used my E61 to take down notes for a meeting and writing lengthy Emails. The N900 was a lot nicer.

I'd buy an updated N900(with a proper battery, an easily unlocked bootloader, HDMI out, SDXC support and a nice display) in a heartbeat. Touchscreen typing is inferior to a keyboard no matter how limited.

Re:Best phone for 2013 (3, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534951)

"Touchscreen typing is inferior to a keyboard no matter how limited."

I think this depends, if you're typing command line commands or code with lots of switches, brackets, braces and so forth then I think you're absolutely right.

In fact, I used to agree with you in general, but now I use swype on my Android phone I actually think it's far faster and far superior to typing on a phone sized keyboard if you're typing general text such as SMS messages, e-mails, Slashdot posts...

I'm certainly a convert in this respect to touchscreen keyboards, Swype is the only input device I've ever encountered that allows me to reach near full-sized keyboard input speeds when typing plain English text. I certainly used to think touchscreens would always be shit, but Swype and Swype like keyboards are genius and completely changed the touchscreen input game.

Re:Best phone for 2013 (2)

ProbablyJoe (1914672) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534849)

It runs Maemo/Meego, which is based on Debian, and can therefore run lots of standard Linux programs. It's also fully open and not locked down at all, unlike iOS/Android. The things that it can do that other phones can't do are very niche hacker things though, hence the popularity on Slashdot. I do have one, and it's fun to play around with, and certainly better than anything else for using a terminal and SSHing into servers, but for anything else I much prefer Android, since it's much easier to use and has apps that are better designed for touchscreens.

Re:Best phone for 2013 (2)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534967)

I guess it's the physical keyboard that gives it the edge over Android for things like terminal and SSH access given that Android does also allow these things? How would an unlocked and rooted Android device with a similar physical keyboard compare?

Re:Best phone for 2013 (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535111)

Yes, in fact any of the current andrpod phones will use a bluetooth mini keyboard and utterly kicks the butt of the N900 hard. Problem is you are still looking at a useless 4 inch screen.

I carry a nexus 7 in a keyboard case. Simply fire it up using it's 3G and I can out SSH and out VNC any N900 fanboi withing seconds. ZOMG I have to carry two devices! oh the huge manatee!

Re:Best phone for 2013 (1)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535277)

Which bluetooth keyboard do you use? I used to use an apple bluetooth keyboard on my n900 and n810 (I loved the keys, and it was thin and well built), but for the life of me I can't get it to work with a single android phone.

Even mini-bluetooth keyboards have proven to be hit and miss with android. I have to say even when I switched to the Samsung S2 (later running cyanogenmod) the n900 was a far more polished and functional system.

Even now, simple things like working bluetooth keyboards, intelligent sound management, coherency between apps and total user control is something that Android just can't do, but my n900 can.

Additionally, the N900 can do some cool geeky things that (I admit) normal people don't care about, like RDS FM transmitter, infrared, serial ports, usb host mode.

For example, I can control my DSLR via infrared or via USB, which allows for far more features (like long exposures, exposure bracketing, triggered exposure due to movement detected by the phone camera). All sorts of things.

The N900 was built as a tool to get jobs done. It is the closest we've come to a computer in a pocket. I can script anything, even calling and sending SMS messages, in just about any language available on Linux. It even has a C compiler!

It is just a shame that things went the other way, to locked down "appliances" that are now sold.

To this day, I still carry the N900 about (with a backup SIM). The S2 is my primary phone primarily due to its thinness and up to date hardware. In all other aspects the N900 blows it out of the water.

Re:Best phone for 2013 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43535283)

> what does it do that no other phone can?

For one, it is not locked down against its owner, like pretty much every other phone out there that you have to "jailbreak" to use.

For two, physical keyboard.

Re:Best phone for 2013 (1, Interesting)

nametaken (610866) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534659)

I'm genuinely curious, since that was about the worst sales pitch ever, what makes a wholly inferior smartphone from '09 the best phone in '13.

Re:Best phone for 2013 (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534893)

You're thinking of the HTC One Series (V, S, X, EVO 4G etc). This is the successor, and more capable than those.

Graphics cards makers did it a while ago; "OMG we've run out of numbers! Quick, switch them around and make lower numbers better!" So, now we have 8800 GTX GTX 670, and HTC One XL HTC One.

Re:Best phone for 2013 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534687)

The N900 was crap in 2009. Now it's just a joke.

Re:Best phone for 2013 (1)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534727)

Yeah, I feel so stupid for buying a Galaxy S3 now. Not!

Re:Best phone for 2013 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534935)

Cheap plastic crap with a giant blingy pentile screen that can't even display a straight line. You go kimchi eater!

Re:Best phone for 2013 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43534845)

Hurr durr. Only on Slashdot do you STILL find people trumpeting the N900.

You said it yourself, the CPU is crap and so is the screen. They weren't even great in 2009- I had one! I'm not sure what the appeal is. I'm much happier on Android today without a physical keyboard. The N900 physical keyboard wasn't *that good*. And frankly even by 2009 I wasn't so glued to typing stuff into a phone that it made sense anymore after nearly a decade of keyboarded phones...

Whoop de flippity do (3, Interesting)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534705)

What is it, exactly, that Google didn't do? Offer 32/64GB capacities? LTE?

Oh, wait: https://www.google.com/search?q=Nexus+4+lte [google.com]

I'm going with: whoopdedoo. Is it even possible to actually take advantage of LTE with SoC mobile hardware or typical network congestion? Even it is, what's the point if you hit your data cap after 5 minutes and get wallet-raped by your carrier?

I'm aware of exactly one regional carrier in all of Canada, and maybe one in the US that actually offer unlimited data in only specific areas, not nation wide (subject to arbitrary "excessive use policies" of course ... so it's not really unlimited so much as it's "unlimited"). Everyone else makes a big fucking deal about one whole gigabyte and it's absolutely hilarious how anyone thinks that is any real amount of data in 2013.

No, it most certainly was Google who started upsetting the status quo. The Nexus line has always been available unlocked straight from Google, and for an extremely palatable price. Pop in your SIM card, no plan restrictions*, no contract, it just goes.

I will admit that HTC's One is proportionately well priced. They also get kudos for a big fuck-you plainly directed at AT&T.

* I have my Nexus 4 on a voice & text plan (no data) because I can wait until the next available wifi signal or until I get home to check this or that and I don't need to post every damn meal I eat on shitsagram. Yes, I'm aware that some carriers will automatically tack on charges to your bill for features you never even used when they detect your phone model from the IEMI. Fortunately, the government here still seems to give a modicum of shit about us, as we have specific laws disallowing any carrier from adding adding features or changing plans without a customer's explicit consent.

Re:Whoop de flippity do (1)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534743)

Sprint offers unlimited data that is pretty much truly unlimited. At least, my family has never run into any issues and my kids will watch YouTube videos on their phones for hours sometimes. No problem.

VZW? (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534791)

I'd rather see someone side-step Verizon. They seem to have the LTE network to beat. Good for HTC though, every little bit to weaken carrier grip is welcome, be it from HTC, Apple, Google, or whoever.

Anciant business model (3, Insightful)

ze_jua (910531) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534807)

Subsidizes phones is a business model from the past.

It's so heavily broken that I can't even understant :
- Why (we) the people accepted this ? (Okay, GSM phones were VERY expensive in 1996...)
- Why did the banksters allowed the carriers to steal their favourite business (small consumer credits with huge interests) !?

Since past year, here in France, one carrier (and then... every other) bagan to sell "low cost" subscription. It's in fact the same service, without the cost of the "subsidized" phone. Minus 30€ a month (or more).

24 months later, you have 24*30=720€ to buy the unlocked phone of your choice.

For people who prefer to pay 25-30€ a month to pay their handset, banks are back in the dance, with credit offers to buy your unkocked phone on a 24 months credit.

This! (1)

Y2KDragon (525979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43534899)

This is why I like HTC. Their hardware is comparable, if not better, than most others on the market. They don't take c@rp from other companies. Add this to the mix, and it's why I have them at the top of my list when looking at phones. I'll take "not quite as sparkly" as phones from Apple and Samsung. I want durable, solid, functioning equipment, and HTC continues to deliver on that.

Re:This! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535117)

And all their phones are at least 2 years out of date on the OS. HTC has the WORST track record for pushing out OS updates.

Re:This! (1)

indre1 (1422435) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535207)

And all their phones are at least 2 years out of date on the OS. HTC has the WORST track record for pushing out OS updates.

Wrong, Sony took the title in 2012 with it's new models. Don't even mention new Android versions - they even stopped giving out bug fix releases after 6 months of Xperia Sola release date.

T-Mobile Frequency support incomplete (3, Interesting)

FlatEric521 (1164027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535185)

Even though they mention T-Mobile support for LTE, if you look closer at the frequency support on the phone's specs [htc.com] at HTC's site, there is something important to note.

HSPA/WCDMA: 850/1900/2100 MHz

This will not support T-Mobile 3G in a number of areas where they haven't converted AWS from HSPA+ use to LTE use. For people considering this phone for T-Mobile, you may get stuck on 2G depending on where you live.

T-mobile no contract plan should shake things up. (4, Informative)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43535265)

The latest policy shift in T-mobile is: no contracts, transparent installment sales of phones, no nickel and diming on data. 500 MB high speed included. 10$ for another 2GB, another 10$ for "unlimited". At the end of quota, no over use fees, but just throttling of speed. Allows 500 MB of tethering. This should shake things up in a regular free market.

But I am not so sure. Verizon has a huge cash cow, in the form of FiOS. It can use that revenue stream to undercut t-mobile and try to kill it instead of competing with it on a level ground. AT&T has inertia and corporate support helping it. I just hope T-Mobile succeeds just to bring sanity to this market.

T-mobile got the best deal in the failed merger with AT&T. Apparently that contract gave T-mobile 2 billion dollars if the deal was rejected by the Govt, and more importantly bandwidth in the edge network for T-mobile in some 50 markets. If it plays this hand of cards well, things should shake up in the mobile market in USA.

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