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Knowledge Base Updates
Written by Christopher Price   
Sunday, 28 May 2006
The PCS Intel Knowledge Base has been updated to MediaWiki 1.6.6 today. This is mostly a security update, but also fixes some bugs.

We've also switched our "Best Viewed With..." promotion on the Knowledge Base to the Google Pack from Firefox. This is because the Pack includes Firefox as well as a lot of other software that Windows forgot to include :-)
 
Get A Clue... People!
Written by Christopher Price   
Thursday, 25 May 2006
Normally Sprint would be at the end of the title, but I've had it with the "Sprint is getting beaten in the x, y, z business". This week, x, y, and z all fall under the umbrella of Smart Devices.

To put it bluntly, you're wrong if you think that.

We've run articles and articles about the single fact that Sprint knows exactly what they're doing in the smart device business. Nobody has the PPC-6700, the most powerful PDA in the USA with AKU2... except Sprint. Yet somehow, people care more that Verizon sent out a few hundred Treo 700p units less than four days before they'll be in just about every Sprint Store.

Nobody cares that Verizon got some Treo 700p units out before Sprint by less than 100 hours. In 100 hours it won't matter and doesn't touch sales one bit. It makes for a good headline, but, is totally meaningless.

It has been beaten to death that Sprint is working on the most compelling smart device lineup, with the most compelling content lineup, ever. Yet the mindset persists that what is here, right now, is bad. It's not. The PPC-6700, Treo 700p, and Samsung i830 cover almost every base of the Smart Device market. The Motorola Q has been delayed to the point that devices that Sprint will launch make it look quite simply bad.

Mindset goes a long way in this sector, so people, please. Appreciate the excellent Sprint lineup that is here, right now, and appreciate that they're working harder than anyone else to make it even better.
 
Ending the 56k Modem
Written by Christopher Price   
Saturday, 20 May 2006
Fallout continues in the computer industry as Apple finally removes the last machine from their lineup that has a 56k modem built-in, the iBook. However, the lack of a modem is part of the bigger picture that Apple is pushing.

Every U.S. wireless provider now offers some affordable way to use your cell phone as a modem. Also, every carrier offers options that are at least 3x faster than dial-up nationwide (EDGE/1xRTT at a minimum). When Apple killed ADB and Serial Ports on the iMac, the world clamored in protest. Now, the world thanks Apple for making USB come together.

Apple is clearly telling people it's time to get wireless and stop relying on dial-up. And that's a good thing.

At PCS Intel, we see the concern of users, true, things aren't exactly clear right now. Things weren't perfectly clear when choosing from the first USB devices either. We're working on a new initiative that will make connecting to the web as simple as browsing our Phones Section. We hope to have it finished in the coming weeks, and will make even the least informed users able to dump their dial-up for good.
 
Google Analytics
Written by Christopher Price   
Friday, 19 May 2006
If you havené─˘t already heard about Google Analyticsé─Â well, you doné─˘t need to. We rolled out Google Analytics on all areas of PCS Intel in the wee hours of this morning. This enables us to understand you, the viewer, just a little bit better. We love statistics, and this lets us run more, and more and more of them on viewership data.
 
Coffee Anyone?
Written by Christopher Price   
Tuesday, 16 May 2006
Aside from breaking news on not one, but two Samsungs, the A900 and the M250, we've been burning a lot of midnight oil tweaking many things under-the-hood at PCS Intel. Unfortunately, the most you'll see for the time being is a better front page. The long-requested feature of news-viewable-by-carrier is now at the top of every page, and we're going to make in-depth articles more prominently featured on the main page.
 
The Way We See It: Silent Recall or TSB?
Written by Christopher Price   
Friday, 05 May 2006
We're going to hash this out a bit further. Let's say for a moment that you're a project manager at a major car company. You have dozens and dozens of reports on your desk that the automatic window control sometimes sticks in rolling down the window (when it shouldn't). You know that this is happening on a large scale, but you don't know how much.

So, do you go and tell the masses of users out there on your support web site "hey, check your window roller to see if it's broken?" No. You fire off a cryptic service bulletin to reps inside service centers.

However, in the world of blogs, user groups, message boards, yadda, yadda... doing that just doesn't cut it anymore. That 1% of enthusiast users out there that know more than you (yes, you the project manager) about the product you manage get outraged when you do that. Do they have the right to do so? I'm not going to judge that. Here, we reported what we knew, what AppleCare told us, confirmed it, and let folks decide what the scope expanded to be.

Just like I'm not going to judge Apple for refusing to say that there's a problem with MacBook Pro batteries. It's not as significant a problem, as say, Xbox 360 overheats. Nobody is disputing that. In Apple's book, it's not a recall. So, I today am going to provide a new definition, one that from here on out we will point to in order to end this revolving debacle.

Silent Recall: A process of collecting units for repair/replacement that are suffering from a known issue that a company does not notify its users about.

The problem is the word "recall"... far too many have lashed out at the media... and us... for spreading this story. They carry the connotative association that recall means that there is a probable chance that a unit is suffering from a problem. However, rarely do recalls meet that standard. That is actually a stigma created by the media in order to profit from soft news. And, when the recall gets too soft, the media shrugs its shoulders and moves on. Hopefully, this will start to put an end to that mess.
 
Old News: It Doesn't Belong Here
Written by Christopher Price   
Wednesday, 03 May 2006
The media is abuzz over AT&T Wireless' return. While we predicted this at CTIA 2003... we also covered it completely as it developed through this year. This opens a difficult question for us... are we compelled to cover news just because a large part, if not a majority of the mobile media is covering it? We just don't think so. For our readers, nothing important happened today, they (or rather, you) already know AT&T Wireless is returning.

We'd rather spend our time getting ready to cover the new (old?) company better than take the time to remind our readers that they're tuned in to the best name in mobile media.
 
Now The MacBook Pro Batteries... (Updated Again)
Written by Christopher Price   
Tuesday, 02 May 2006
(Why is this on Sprint PCS Info? You wonder why we don't have another PCS Intel Podcast out yet... don't you?)

It seems that the whine of bad inverter and logic boards aren't the only thing affecting MacBook Pros (not to mention thermal grease in mountains). AppleCare has a silent recall going on with the MacBook Pro... battery.

"Up to W8608... serial numbers" are affected by this internal "we'll just send you a new one" AppleCare situation. This means that only the very first week or so of production of MacBook Pros are affected. However, the new MacBook Pro battery has created yet another battery debacle for the company that has defined a generation of exploding laptops.

Symptoms of battery failure include battery cutting off power to the system at very early stages, sporadic ampere hour reporting (coconutBattery), and the battery failing to respond when pressing the charging status button (after being charged and only slightly drained).

Discuss

Update: To clarify, this is only affecting users that are affected... do not call Apple and ask for a new battery if you are having no problems with the one you have. Apple will deny there is a known issue and you'll be out a half-hour of your life. Apple policy is (and has almost always been) to deny internal known issues unless the AppleCare specialist is confident that the machine is subject to a particular known issue.

Update 2: Apple PR has responded saying they aren't aware of a silent recall. But, they did not comment as to if there were any known issues with early MBP batteries. Frequent readers of PCS Intel will know we've been through this before... with Sprint. Sprint played exactly the same verbal tic-for-tat with us on the Treo 600, claiming the Network Search bug was not under a silent recall, despite clear capture-and-replace orders distributed to Sprint Stores. For more details on this definition debate, check out our more recent posting on the matter.

The experiences of this reporter... and others, remain unchanged. Nobody that is suffering from this known-and-discussed issue is being diagnosed as not having a defective battery... AppleCare appears more than willing to swap them out without the typical extensive diagnosis. We stand by everything that has been said here, debating about recall-vs-known-issue notwithstanding.
 
What Sprint Can't Do
Written by Christopher Price   
Sunday, 30 April 2006
There are a lot of people out there that think Sprint can do things that well, they can't. Here's a list of our top 10...

Sprint does not chose what BT profiles are in LG phones... LG does...
Sprint does not control if Pocket PCs can use Sprint TV or not... Microsoft does...
Sprint can't give you EV-DO if you have an old Vision plan... the shareholders would revolt.
Sprint can't give everyone a retention plan... so stop asking.
Sprint can't give everyone a SERO plan... so stop asking.
Sprint can't refresh phones every 90 days, so quit complaining the line of phones is stale every 91 days.
Sprint can't let everyone in the country use their phone as a DSL connection for free... the network would crash.
Sprint doesn't control when HTC choses to make a new CDMA smart device... HTC does...
Sprint can't break Verizon exclusivity deals... only the phone maker can...
Sprint can't release Motorola CDMA phones that can't run Java apps they approve.

We hope that this session was educational for you... these are the top 10 things that drive us nuts trying to quell.
 
Nomenclature, Nomenclature... And a Chocolate Sprint Phone Too
Written by Christopher Price   
Sunday, 30 April 2006
Yes, Sprint changed their naming convention again? Why is this worthy of a blog post? Because every time they do this we have to jump through about a dozen hoops...

Originally, it was simple. Every Sprint manufacturer had their own Sprint or CDMA-centric prefix. Sanyo had SCP, Samsung had SPH (which, just to make it confusing, they also use for Korean phones) and LG had LX (which they use for all CDMA handsets except for Verizon, which they use VX). It was good, it was great, it was easy. We just dropped off the prefix, and sent each phone on its merry way.

Then someone at Sprint had the idea of making their own model names. We don't know if it was some crazy idea to mimic KDDI (who has phones so heavily customized they use the same model number for different manufacturers... W21S, W21SA, W21T, etc). But, then we had to carry these stupid extra names. For example, A620/VGA1000 or 5400/RL2500.

They got a little more sane about it. Okay, no more semi-semi-partially-baked names. Now, we'll have these cute prefixes. Okay... we'll play along, again. VI-RL-MM-PM-SP-IP-PP (okay, we made up PP).

Now, the Nextel marketeers have won out... no more extra stuff. But, we have the Motorola C290, Sanyo 3100, Samsung A580, and LG LX-350.

Yes, we're now using the LX-prefix on LG phones. What? You didn't memo?

Okay, we'll confess, we have inside info here to explain. LG will be rolling out other prefixes to cater to the Sprint and other branded crowds. KG is one being flotated around, as are others (that's Chocolate Sprint Phone for those of you not in Overland Park).

The point is attention to detail. We not only have to keep track of... everything, we even have to make sense of the things that don't, can't make sense from just their inital appearance.
 
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Sprint PCS Info gives you the back-page coverage of Sprint Nextel corporation. As the official blog of PCS Intel, we cover the topics affecting our site, as well as the industry in general. And of course, hard hitting extra Sprint coverage when it is necessary.

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