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  • Newsletter #461 Preview: The Folly of Blaming Apple for All Your Cell Phone Problems

    September 28th, 2008

    On the one hand, all the mobile phone carriers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to tell potential customers about their great products and service. Sometimes the ads are about the latest cool mobile device, but others talk about the superior network, with fewer dropped calls and more reception bars.

    We have one carrier, Verizon Wireless, demonstrating rather graphically how their incredible network will follow you wherever you go. I guess the “can you hear me now” promotion has seen its day.

    In the real world, however, mobile phones don’t always work so well. When it comes to voice quality, most calls sound inferior to what you can get with two tin cans and a single wire. Alexander Graham Bell must be spinning in his grave.

    Part of the problem is the switch to all-digital cell phone systems. It appears the carriers are taking advantage of the technology and compressing signals more and more to handle additional simultaneous connections. That may help them support more customers, but it doesn’t necessarily play well with voice quality. Hearing the caller within a digital haze, or sounding as if they were talking to you from beneath the ocean, is just not acceptable. Surely they can do better.

    I suppose any connection, so long as you don’t get too many dropped calls, is good enough for most customers. But didn’t a good enough philosophy help Microsoft rise to the top of the PC operating system business with me-too products?

    Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.



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