June 30, 2007

Apple iPhone's Achilles Ankel: the EDGE Data Network

In Greek mythology, Thetis dipped infant Achilles in the river Styx in an attempt to make him immortal. The area in which she was holding, the heel, did not make it into the water, therefore leaving him with a vulnerable spot and eventually lead to his ultimate demise.

The iPhone, is a gorgeous looking device, it has a near perfect design, marketing, and user interface for browsing the web. Unfortunately, when I tested it at the SOHO store in NYC this afternoon, the EDGE network was just too slow for the page to load. Once the page loaded, the operation is flawless, you can scroll the pages, zoom in and out in such a smooth action. But what can a flawless operation do without having the page to operate with?

The near immortal iPhone will suffer from this short coming. Especially when it will always attempt to load a full webpage instead of detecting a lighter WAP site by default like most smartphone browsers. When asked, Steve Jobs say that the choice for the slower EDGE network is to save battery as opposed to go with the more power-hungry HSDPA/UMTS chips. I am wondering how much of this has to do with cost-cutting as there are lots of known hacks to set existing 3G phones to default to a lower network like EDGE to save power.

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