Anandech analyzes why no 3G

cmaier

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Jun 29, 2007
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http://www.anandtech.com/gadgets/showdoc.aspx?i=3036

To summarize, they confirmed that HSDPA would require more room (they don't really quantify it, but they show pictures so you can judge for yourself) and extremely affect battery life if you have a lot of traffic. (Around 25% worse than using EDGE, and roughly 40% worse than wi-fi). When you are mostly idle, the effects are minimal.

The weird thing is that enabling 3G cuts the blackjack's talk time in half!

All of this assumes an implementation similar to the blackjack. Right now there are only a very limited number of chipset options, so that's probably a reasonable assumption.

So, I guess if the real engineering tradeoff was double the physical volume and the same talk time, or slightly more volume and half the talk time to get HSDPA, I'm happy with Apple's choice.

I know there are some new chipsets coming on line in the next few months, however, so hopefully they improve things enough where it makes sense to shove 3G into the next iteration of the phone, and soon.
 

mikec#IM

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http://www.anandtech.com/gadgets/showdoc.aspx?i=3036

To summarize, they confirmed that HSDPA would require more room (they don't really quantify it, but they show pictures so you can judge for yourself) and extremely affect battery life if you have a lot of traffic. (Around 25% worse than using EDGE, and roughly 40% worse than wi-fi). When you are mostly idle, the effects are minimal.

The weird thing is that enabling 3G cuts the blackjack's talk time in half!

All of this assumes an implementation similar to the blackjack. Right now there are only a very limited number of chipset options, so that's probably a reasonable assumption.

So, I guess if the real engineering tradeoff was double the physical volume and the same talk time, or slightly more volume and half the talk time to get HSDPA, I'm happy with Apple's choice.

I know there are some new chipsets coming on line in the next few months, however, so hopefully they improve things enough where it makes sense to shove 3G into the next iteration of the phone, and soon.

Blackjack has a 1200 mAh battery, but same EDGE talktime as iPhone?

Maybe the battery isn't as much as we think.

I bet most people would want 3G...they could just replace the battery....oh wait, can't do that on the iPhone.

Opps.
 

braj

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I think the biggest problem from my perspective is Safari has some issues with mobile sites. If it didn't, you could just use these low-bandwidth sites when on Edge and the full sites when on wifi (if your ego will let you 'go ghetto'). Of course mobile sites could be updated with Apple's css suggestions, but that would also possibly break them for a host of other handsets.

Otherwise it makes sense to have no 3G, it's a tradeoff either way. If it had EDGE and no wifi then that would be a huge issue.
 

cmaier

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That screen on the iphone takes up a lot more power than blackjack's screen. As does the CPU.

What problems does safari have with mobile sites? (other than when those sites put in code to redirect to the full-blown sites?) I regularly use mobile sites (nytimes, fandango, mlb) without problem. I'm not disbelieving you - I just hadn't heard about any problems other than some sites intentionally redirecting iphone visitors to their full-blown site (which is the fault of the site, not of safari, of course).

As for supporting iphone and wap browsers with a mobile site, that's pretty trivial as it is simple to detect iphone and serve up a different page (i do that now with two of my own sites).
 

braj

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I had heard that many sites didn't format correctly, but if they appear fine then maybe this is a limited issue.
 

cmaier

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If you run across it again let me know and I'll try them. So far, however, so good. The only problem I've ever run into is that sometimes the default zoom level isn't quite right, but the formatting has always been fine.
 

braj

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If you run across it again let me know and I'll try them. So far, however, so good. The only problem I've ever run into is that sometimes the default zoom level isn't quite right, but the formatting has always been fine.

I think that was the issue, that the default zoom would show the text way too small,or something, and when you pinched it wouldn't display properly. I don't have an iPhone so I can't say. But it would be better if the zoom was optimized when first launched.
 

cmaier

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Ah. Zoom seems to do a pretty good job. I have had a few where I've preferred to zoom in, but I haven't seen any where zooming caused it to display improperly.
 

cmaier

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Well, first it doesn't wrap. Zoom zooms, like a magnifying glass.

But in the cases I've had to zoom it's been because there is too much whitespace on the right side, so I zoom until the text fills the width of the screen. So the lack of wrapping is moot.

And, again, I've rarely had to zoom.

An example is wap.mlb.com. By default, the text goes about 60% of the way from the left edge. The rest (to the right) is whitespace. It's quite readable, but if I'm feeling a little eye fatigued i sometimes like to zoom. The reason it picks the "wrong" zoom level, it looks like, is the page has a graphic/logo at the top which appears to be too wide (and is mostly solid blue). So safari zooms to fit the width of that graphic, and the text is mostly on the left.

I can zoom in and make the text pretty huge while just filling the width of the screen (nothing needs to wrap).

Other sites, like mobile.nytimes.com, come up (in my opinion) perfectly, with the text filling the screen, because the logo (usually the widest element) is the same width as the text. Same thing with mobile.fandango.com, google calendar (which defaults to either a mobile version or an iphone specific version when you go there), etc.

Like I said, there could be sites out there that are problematic, but based on my experience it's a complete non-issue.
 

AnteL0pe

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I think the biggest problem from my perspective is Safari has some issues with mobile sites.
Safari on my iphone loads full featured pages faster than blazer on my 650 loaded mobile optimized pages. Maybe it's just the coverage i've had, but i've found browsing on EDGE to be fine. On the few that i have tried mobile versions of Safari had no problems.
 

braj

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Safari on my iphone loads full featured pages faster than blazer on my 650 loaded mobile optimized pages. Maybe it's just the coverage i've had, but i've found browsing on EDGE to be fine. On the few that i have tried mobile versions of Safari had no problems.

I don't know, my admittedly limited experience with the iPhone on EDGE side by side with my Treo showed the Treo trouncing the iPhone when the iPhone was loading full pages vs Blazer with optimized pages. It really is simple math, if the Treo loads a 50k site and the iPhone loads a 1,500k site, which do you really think is loading faster? If I tried loading the same size site on both that may be totally different.
 

cmaier

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i've had mixed experiences. As a general rule, however, it seems about 25%-50% faster than my treo 650 on sprint, probably due more to the faster processor than the network speed.

However, I will say that the reason I use mobile sites has nothing to do with speed; I prefer pages without ads and garbage that I have to zoom and pan around to read. With mobile sites I can go straight to the text and it's just easier to read.
 

braj

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However, I will say that the reason I use mobile sites has nothing to do with speed; I prefer pages without ads and garbage that I have to zoom and pan around to read. With mobile sites I can go straight to the text and it's just easier to read.

No doubt. I'll even read mobile sites on the desktop ;)
 

cmaier

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I don't know, my admittedly limited experience with the iPhone on EDGE side by side with my Treo showed the Treo trouncing the iPhone when the iPhone was loading full pages vs Blazer with optimized pages. It really is simple math, if the Treo loads a 50k site and the iPhone loads a 1,500k site, which do you really think is loading faster? If I tried loading the same size site on both that may be totally different.

The thing to remember is that bandwidth is just part of the calculation. Your total delay will be:

network latency + page size / bandwidth + rendering time

I don't have my treo 650 handy, but I'm guessing it gets, on sprint, something like 30kbps? On the iphone I'm getting around 130kbps average. So, doing your comparison (and assuming k==kb, not kB)

50k on treo = network latency + 50kb/30kbps + rendering
= network latency + ~2seconds + rendering

1500k on iphone = network latency + 1500kb/130kbps + rendering
= network latency + ~12seconds + rendering

You can play with the numbers and insert your own assumptions about network speed and such, but I think that if the big page was around 500k instead of 1500k, there really would be a good shot of it actually loading faster on iphone/edge vs. sprint/2G. (And it would almost certainly FEEL faster, since images will load in separate threads, and in my experience blazer does a pretty rotten job of rendering before it has loaded all the page elements). I'm also assuming that iphone's rendering advantage is neutralized by having more complicated things to render - in reality it seems so much faster at rendering that this might not be the case. Remember, as well, that many "big" pages are actually sent in compressed form by the server, so a lot of "real" pages actually don't take 30x the bits as mobile sites.
 

dgoodisi

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Treo 650 on sprint gets 100kbps speeds (at least in SoCal). AT&T has supposodely increased the EDGE rates to a max of 300kbps, or about 3x faster. That's ideal edge vs average Sprint 2G.

By comparison Sprint's EVDO averages 600-800 kbps. (again in SoCal)

At one time I compared rendering times between 650/Blazer and 650/tethered/IE. When tethered a web page rendered in IE at least twice as fast as when using Blazer. CPU definately is a factor.

The iPhone should compare favorably to other EDGE phones, if only based on CPU differences or carrier differences (T-Mo EDGE is slow). However it does not fare nearly as well when compared to 3G phones.

While not a big iPhone fan, I am thrilled at the data plan package Apple arranged with AT&T. While Sprint is still cheaper and faster ($15 per month vs $20) I am hoping the iPhone will drive competition with the carriers. Verizon's $50 per month is a joke.

Sprint has announced data only phones, using VOIP, in the not so distant future. Hopefully the days of call minutes and limited/expensive data plans are numbered.
 

AnteL0pe

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I don't know, my admittedly limited experience with the iPhone on EDGE side by side with my Treo showed the Treo trouncing the iPhone when the iPhone was loading full pages vs Blazer with optimized pages. It really is simple math, if the Treo loads a 50k site and the iPhone loads a 1,500k site, which do you really think is loading faster? If I tried loading the same size site on both that may be totally different.
I haven't put a working SIM in my Treo since my iPhone purchase, but ATT was supposed to have tuned the EDGE network a couple days before the iPhone release so I should have experienced the new, faster EDGE on the 650. The math on the d/l is not quite as clear when you realize that what makes pages load slowly on a Treo is not the network, it's blazer. I'm also not sure how quickly the treo itself can process the incoming data. I only say this because seeing how quickly my iPhone grabs a full blown page is pointing out the clear slowness of Blazer and possibly the data processing ability of the Treo. Maybe i'll do a side by side test on a real web page later today.
 

dgoodisi

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I haven't put a working SIM in my Treo since my iPhone purchase, but ATT was supposed to have tuned the EDGE network a couple days before the iPhone release so I should have experienced the new, faster EDGE on the 650. The math on the d/l is not quite as clear when you realize that what makes pages load slowly on a Treo is not the network, it's blazer. I'm also not sure how quickly the treo itself can process the incoming data. I only say this because seeing how quickly my iPhone grabs a full blown page is pointing out the clear slowness of Blazer and possibly the data processing ability of the Treo. Maybe i'll do a side by side test on a real web page later today.
Don't forget the iPhone is brand new with a much faster CPU than the 2-3 year old 650.

One would hope the iPhone can render web pages faster. It would be news if it couldn't.