3G versus 4G Showdown

Boston 3G versus 4GDid you upgrade to a 4G phone? Are you waiting to make sure you have actual 4G coverage in your area? Is 3G good enough for you? Well PCWorld went into the hearts of 13 cities around the U.S. to determine just how fast each areas’ 3G and 4G networks worked on the four major carriers.

Before we get to the results, here’s a bit of the nitty-gritty about the tests:

  • A single user  traveled to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
  • The networks of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon were tested
  • Five indoor locations and five outdoor locations were tested in each city
  • Each carrier provided a 3G and 4G phone: AT&T – Motorola Atrix 2 (3G) & HTC Vivid (4G); Sprint – LG Marquee (3G) & Samsung Galaxy S II (4G); T-Mobile – Samsung Sidekick 4G (3G) & HTC Amaze 4G (4G); Verizon- HTC Droid Incredible (3G) & Motorola Droid Razr (4G)
  • The Ookla app was used to measure speed
  • Results were determined by averaging the speed of servers on each coast
  • 4G networks were not available everywhere, the fallback 3G network was used in these cases
  • “Overall winners [are] based on a weighted composite score that factored in the services’ download speeds and their upload speeds. Each resulting speed number has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.”

PCWorld put the results into a series of colorful graphs by state but in the meantime, here are a few of the broader results.

The average 3G speed went up across all four major carriers during the past year.

In terms of average wireless speed coast-to-coast, T-Mobile came in on top in terms of both download and upload speeds on 3G (3.84 and 1.44 mbps respectively). For 4G, AT&T won for download speed (9.56 mbps) and Verizon took top honors for upload speed at 5.86 mbps.

T-Mobile claimed the overall winner crown for 3G but AT&T beat it out for 4G. Sprint came in last place overall across both networks.

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Are You Buying a Verizon iPhone?

Here in the United States, iPhone users have long complained about the quality of service from AT&T. Being the nation’s largest GSM carrier, AT&T was the logical first choice for the iPhone when it launched. Apple could reach a large population of Americans and then expand globally, all using the same device.

But AT&T has a mixed track record of keeping up with the demands of the iPhone. In some parts of the country, their service is great. In other parts, it’s pretty terrible. Many AT&T customers have long wanted to switch to America’s other big phone network: Verizon. The problem with Verizon is that it uses a completely different cellular phone standard called CDMA. Using the iPhone on Verizon required a different hardware design, and that was only after Apple got out of their exclusive deal with AT&T for selling the iPhone.

Today both Verizon and Apple finally delivered: the long awaited CDMA iPhone. Starting February 3, Verizon customers can start using the iPhone on America’s other big network. Are you planning to get a Verizon iPhone?

Are you going to buy a Verizon iPhone?

  • Yes, right away (28%, 11 Votes)
  • Yes, as soon as my current contract ends (8%, 3 Votes)
  • Not sure (15%, 6 Votes)
  • No, I'm happy with AT&T (10%, 4 Votes)
  • No, I prefer GSM because I travel internationally or talk-and-surf at the same time (8%, 3 Votes)
  • I don't live in the USA (20%, 8 Votes)
  • I don't want an iPhone (11%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 40

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Verizon owners will mostly have the same phone experience, but with a few small changes. Continue Reading

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The Verizon iPhone: Testing Challenges

A wise man once said that “if it’s on the internet, it must be true.” News that Verizon will finally carry the iPhone is all over the net, ipso facto….

But while the pundits discuss how this new alliance with affect user stats, downloads and stock prices – and while AT&T and Verizon exchange jabs – I wanted to take a minute and discuss the implications it has for mobile app testing. The practice, that is, not the website.

Until now, Apple had made things relatively easy for mobile app developers. I know that may sound absurd to developers who have lost hair and sleep over problems with UDIDs and App Store acceptance, but it’s true. You see, unlike Android, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and the others, Apple simplified the testing process by having only one device manufacturer and carrier. Sure, you still needed to make sure your iPhone app worked across iOS 3G, 3GS and 4, but the overall testing matrix was much less complicated. Ask any Android developer.

That’s about to change in a big way.

But don’t take my word for it. We recently asked Matt Evans, the former QA Director of the Palm Pre smartphone, for his thoughts on mobile testing challenges in the coming years ahead. Granted this was before the Verizon news came out, but see if you can put 2 and 2 together based on his insight:

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The Time Traveler’s Phone

This story was blowing up on the web last week: An Irish filmmaker claims to have spotted a time traveler – that’s right, a time traveler – in an old Charlie Chaplin movie circa 1928. What would prompt someone to make such an outrageous claim you ask? Apparently, it was the cell phone that gave her away (pictured left). Amateur time travelers…

Now, if I were to employ Occam’s Razor, I would say the most plausible explanation is that the device in question is actually a hearing aid, as claimed by numerous internet commentators. But since the person in the picture is clearly a time traveler, we must ask ourselves: What in the world is she doing with a cell phone in 1928!?! And who is she talking to?

My theory is that our time traveling friend is a software tester – possibly from our very own tester community. Hear me out.

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Testing the Limits With Jeff Papows – Part I

What an honor it is to have tech giant Jeff Papows as this month’s guest for Testing the Limits. As the former President and CEO of Lotus Development Corporation, Jeff is widely credited with having taken Lotus Notes from its initial release to sales of over 70 million worldwide. Currently the CEO of WebLayers, Jeff’s career has also included stints as CEO of both Cognos Corporation and Maptuit. You can read more about his background here.

A frequent guest of CNN, Fox and other television networks, Jeff is also a successful author – having sold more than 80,00 copies of his first book “Enterprise.com: Information Leadership in the Digital Age.” In this interview, we ask Jeff about his latest book Glitch: The Hidden Impact of Faulty Software in addition to other hot topics in the world of software quality. Check back tomorrow for Part II.

uTest: Let’s start from the beginning: What prompted you to write this book? Was it a bug that just made you snap one day, or did you reach a tipping point after years of observation?

JP: Well in the end, busy CEO’s write books when circumstances and industry trends pressure you to make a “complete” intellectual contribution to a big problem or trend that you feel compelled to respond to.  There are three issues at the root of a meta-level industry crisis I feel is mounting at present.

  • Technology saturation or ubiquity – As of the first of this year we have a trillion devices connected to the Internet, a billion transistors and or microprocessors at work for literally every human being on the planet and thirty billion RFID tags in motion communications with our computing typologies.  Technology is not just a business to business staple anymore – it is truly part of the social fabric of the way we work and live.  With this kind of complexity curve and economic contribution any large scale disruption is monumental.
  • Loss of intellectual capital – About 70% of the world’s application inventory and the platform for the majority of our transaction processing is written in Cobol and run on IBM mainframes.  The other side of the Dot Com bubble bursting is that graduating computer science majors and or math majors are off by about 37% and those that are graduating are interested and versed in Java, C++, etc. not Cobol.  Also, for the first time in our careers/lifetimes, C.S. engineers are retiring, aging and dying.  So how do we replace that codified knowledge from walking out our doors?
  • Mergers & acquisitions – In the period following the financial downturn of 2008, the financial services sector has gone through a lot of consolidation.  The result is in part the added complexity of slamming together these complex back office systems in our major banks and financial institutions.

When you combine these factors together, the recipe is complete for the digital equivalent of the perfect storm.  To answer the question, that is why I wrote “Glitch”.

uTest: Your book deals with glitches and bugs from both ends of the spectrum – some serious, some funny and some that are almost unbelievable. What was the worst (as in most damaging) glitch that you came across while researching?

JP: That’s easy.  The human suffering and deaths caused by software glitches in Varions Cancer radiation medical equipment is the worst!

uTest: What was the worst glitch that didn’t make it into the book?

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