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HTC Thunderbolt Can Handle Data and Voice Over 3G, Why Not Announce it?

When we broke the news that Thunderbolt training had started today, we were also tipped to the possibility that the phone could handle voice and data while on 3G.  As you all know, Verizon CDMA network was incapable of producing this in the past, but apparently they figured out a way with this new 4G device.  Our buddies over at Phandroid received additional confirmation that this is indeed the case.  If you can’t see past their watermark, the statement is below:

There is functionality in the Thunderbolt that allows simultaneous voice and data while on the VZW 3G network, however, we cannot promise the experience will be one that is consistent with our brand.  As a result, do not reference this functionality as a benefit during your conversations with customers.

Apparently HTC has found the breakthrough of the last 5 years for Verizon and yet they want everyone to remain silent on the matter.

But why keep it a secret?

We can’t help but toss this out there…can anyone think of one major reason as to why Verizon wouldn’t want their sales staff out on the floor announcing that the Thunderbolt can do voice and data at the same time?  This is HUGE news if you think about it.  AT&T constructed an entire ad campaign about their network’s voice/data capabilities in comparison to Verizon’s.  And now they’ve figured it out, but want to keep it a secret?   I wonder if it has anything to do with that other phone that comes out on February 10th and the fact that it is unable to perform such a task.  Can you imagine all the i*hone users returning to VZW stores asking why that “DROID” phone can do something theirs can’t?  Epic.

So…who’s changed their mind and now wants a Thunderbolt?

Source:  Phandroid

  • Lars

    It’s just two evdo chips squeezed on one wafer. The second is used if you drop out of 4g and one evdo is in use.

  • felix

    I have a thunderbolt and it is capable of voice and data at the same time on 3g

  • It has nothing to do with the iPhone. If iPhone users were to return their phones, that’s more money for Verizon. The very fact that NO currently available Verizon phone has been able to do this, yet Verizon is STILL the industry leader in the US tells you that simultaneous voice and data is simply not an important issue.

    They want to keep it a secret because of $$$. They WANT to gouge you by forcing you into a higher data plan. And they don’t want it to be known that it can be done with 3G only. They want to upsell 4G LTE and mention this as one of its benefits.

  • Zeranafska

    The reason to keep it a secret is so that, if a consumer is told about it, they might expect it to work flawlessly, and then complain when it doesn’t. Verizon’s CDMA technology isn’t built to handle simultaneous connections, so, in doing so, Verizon’s claim to fame is its quality, and it will do nothing to distinguish quality as its brand.

  • guest

    so will the 4g LTE phones be able to use the 3g network? will you be able to get either data plan (3g or 4g) for them?

  • guest

    so will the 4g LTE phones be able to use the 3g network? will you be able to get either data plan (3g or 4g) for them?

    • Anonymous

      By all accounts, the 4G data plan is also $29.99/month, so it’ll be one data plan with your phone using the best available network, whether that’s 1XRTT, Ev-Do, or LTE. The LTE phones do have a CDMA antenna, so they’l get 3G, which will be important in non-LTE areas.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t think of a time I’ve ever needed this feature…but I suppose it would be nice to have. I’m guessing its a mixture of it NOT being completely reliable AND being a marketing tool against the i*hone…wonder what the financial incentive is for Verizon sales staff to sell the fruity device…

    • Anonymous

      Actually, I doubt it’s great–the iPhone costs $700+, while the LTE lineup is in the $500-$600 range unsubsidized, meaning that the iPhone will either be $350+ on contract or will need a bigger subsidy, losing Verizon money compared to selling the Thunderbolt, BIONIC, SCH-i520, or Revolution. I suspec that salespeople are going to try harder to sell a 4.3″ phone with a kickstand, LTE, and stuff like Google Voice than the iPhone, simply because it’ll be easier–the iPhone will sell itself to some people, but to the rest, it really isn’t that appealing.

      • In general, the i*hone doesn’t make anyone any money except Apple itself. That was certainly the case with AT&T, and I can’t imagine that Verizon got a deal much more lucrative than that. So verizon is going to make their money solely on the contract, and therefore I can’t imagine that they care about selling more i*hones. The very fact that they have it at all will pull in the people who want it.

  • UnixPimp

    It is the chipset in the handset hardware. The CDMA protocol does not prevent the simultaneous use of voice and data. This has been known for a long time, but AT&T and (formerly) Apple have pounded into peoples’ head that CDMA could not handle simultaneous voice and data.
    Blame Qualcomm for their substandard chipsets if you need a boogeyman, but do not blame the CDMA protocol.
    The obvious reason that no one produced a chipset for CDMA that could handle simultaneous voice and data was that smartphones were not as popular until the past 2 years.

    • BDizzel1982

      It also requires the carrier to add additional hardware on top of there existing towers which at this point would be silly since LTE supports this feature by default

  • Anonymous

    If you read the section in that picture it says that using both at the same time may result in crappy service which isnt comparable to what they usually offer.

  • Nativi

    ok what about the whole thing on not supporting mobile hotspot at launch

    • Anonymous

      unrEVOked + AOSP ROM = screw Verizon, you have a 21Mbps hotspot.

  • Howardeee

    Presumably the reason they won’t advertise the feature is that it’s not consistent/reliable.

  • Anonymous

    Actually it was wiered, when i did have my palm pre plus….i did try it once….i wasn’t on wifi and the 3g worked during my call….though of course you can expect that didn’t last long at all….maybe there using that technology or something…or like in my other comment….right below…

  • Anonymous

    Since the Thunderbolt is not a Droid, I’m wondering if this is being downplayed so that Motorola isn’t scooped to Voice and Data at once. Would suck if you bought a droid and then found out the non-droid Android phone by HTC does something your super duper dual core monster phone can’t.

    • Anonymous

      Actually this might be a dev only….but the software doesn’t do anything so actually all of verizon’s 4g enabled phones now might do voice and data at once because maybe the lte card also does the 3g therefore freeing the calling device on the motherboard to work simultaneously.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a smart play on their part. Since the performance is not going to be up to par, they are not leaving it to chance that AT&T will utilize this against them. “We never said it was a feature” makes it a huge bonus, but if they tout it as a feature then all the other carriers will harp on how slow their data during voice is… That’s just a smart move and I’m all for it.

  • I’ve wanted one since the first rumors came out.

  • They clearly state right there why they’re not advertising it — “we cannot promise the experience will be one that is consistent with our brand”, in other words, “this feature may not work so great, or the quality may be bad”.

    • wofie

      You mean the iphone?

  • Alan

    In one of the press talks or articles about the iPhone one of the VZW execs said they were working on a solution, so iPhone may get the ability too. Good idea to try it with Droid users first since we tend to be more tech savvy and possibly more forgiving of issues than your average iPhone owner.

    • Anonymous

      You mean unlike the iphone users who continua lly drop calls on att

      • Anonymous

        He means new problems. iPhone users are fine with the same old nuisances, but DROID users tend to deal better with the “oh crap, what is my phone doing” moments.

    • Anonymous

      You mean unlike the iphone users who continua lly drop calls on att

    • Anonymous

      You mean unlike the iphone users who continua lly drop calls on att

  • Mr.Joe

    CDMA data and voice has been talked about to death. We thought something would pop up at CES but it didn’t. Based on the description it looks like this hasn’t been widely tested on vzw end. So they can’t for sure say that it’s going to be golden.

  • Tnvols2006

    all righty.. can we purchase the thunderbolt and the 3g plan only?

  • Lakerzz

    Im sorry, but there have been a MILLION times I’ve been on the phone talking about something, and wanted to take a picture and send it while I’m still on the phone. My brother has the I*hone 4, and he does it all the time, and it “pisses” me off. Would this also take care of the splitting up text messaging issue as well? (That “pisses” me off too, lol)

  • Jerry Lange

    There not keeping it a secret. There just.
    Not telling everybody that its possible. Why? Buzz the 4g is not our in every city so you wont be able to use it rightaway.get it. Why tell somebody they have something when they don’t?

    • Anonymous

      AT&T does it all the time :D. But also, they said it worked on 3G, so it’ll be possible almost everywhere.

  • i have always wanted one anyway, i always thought that bionic like shit lol. to bad i have to wait till the summer when i have my next upgrade.

  • Sounds like i’m getting the Xoom and thunderbolt in February

  • Rizzay1

    Because its not a benefit that means its not guaranteed to work perfectly how its ment to. In order for something to be advertised it must work properly first or else there is no point in advertising it.

  • Noiphone

    I will not use Simultaneous voice and data, but I will use the mobile hotspot. Looks like I’ll wait for Droid X2 or Bionic if they fix the alleged power drain “problem.”

  • Gregalst

    Simple…..because that iphone coming in a couple weeks wont have it…

  • the feature isnt important
    i have never seen a need for this EVER
    even my friends who use iphones dont use it although they say it is necessary
    imo nothing is important enough for me to not have to hangup the phone and check what ever the hell it is you wanted me to look up

    • Anonymous

      I’ll bite, i’ve used it at least 10 times. It’s awesome to have.

      Your an idiot if you think you will never get asked a question about a map or a email while on the phone. It’s not a android / iphone thing, it’s a GSM / CDMA thing.

      IMO the only reason this isn’t a demanded feature on these particular forums is your fanboys.

  • SetApart4Christ

    I never understood the constant assertion that Verizon’s network “doesn’t support” voice and data at the same time. Especially since on numerous occastions I have been talking on speaker phone while looking up a web page, checking sports scores, or any number of other data uses with my OG Droid.

    And Before you ask, no I have not rooted my phone, I’m on the stock version. So why people keep saying that it can’t be done is beyond me when I have been able to do it seamlessly anywhere and everywhere I’ve tried.

  • SetApart4Christ

    I never understood the constant assertion that Verizon’s network “doesn’t support” voice and data at the same time. Especially since on numerous occastions I have been talking on speaker phone while looking up a web page, checking sports scores, or any number of other data uses with my OG Droid.

    And Before you ask, no I have not rooted my phone, I’m on the stock version. So why people keep saying that it can’t be done is beyond me when I have been able to do it seamlessly anywhere and everywhere I’ve tried.

    • You must have WiFi on while on the call…that’s the ONLY way that functionality works on the OG Droid.

      • SetApart4Christ

        Nope, I keep the WiFi off, and I don’t have WiFi at my office; yet have been able to do both without any issues what-so-ever

      • SetApart4Christ

        Nope, I dont use the WiFi at all, I keep it off as I’m hardly in a Wifi area. This is all over the 3G Verizon network. In fact today at my office, where there is no WiFi, my friend called and I was able to pull up the details for the SDSU – BYU Basketball game on my browser for him.

        • Anonymous

          when i had my palm pre plus….same…

  • [email protected]

    Does this mean we can purchase the TB and use the 3G data plan and the 3G prices?
    Don’t think i can afford the 4G.

  • Worm4603

    I tell you what it means, HTC enable their device to do something that Verizon can’t charge for due to google open source capabitlies. Therefore we don’t to bring it up until we can block it or charge for it. Verizon wants its product to sell, but not while taking away from the money they invested in Iphone (which can’t) and don’t want a onset of phone calls about why this phone can and other can not. We don’t know the quailty or the speed yet, but no insider is saying that it is really slow.

    • Anonymous

      ..Not true. This is not a feature that is determined by the device manufacture, it was a limitation with the current hardware of phones and the cdma network.

      • LeeInMKE

        This. Exactly.

  • DickyDarko

    My understanding is that they can achieve this via using 3g for voice and 4g for data simultaneously so in other words this would only be available in 4g areas. I assume that all 4g phones will have this functionality, at least I really really hope they do… When people talk about at&t having some sort of advantage with this feature it just seems silly but if this shuts them up that would be… pleasant.

  • “We cannot promise this experience will be one that is consistent with our brand.” Means that it’s still a “beta” feature. It’s not going to live up to the standard that we, as Verizon customers, have come to expect from them. It may not always work, it will probably lead to dropped calls, etc. This is why they don’t want it to be the key selling point (read: “As a result, do not reference this functionality as a benefit during your conversations with customers”), because those that buy this device with this service as their primary motive will be sorely disappointed.

    With that said, I want one.

  • Anonymous

    I would imagine this (non-simultaneous data/voice) is a potential limitation for non-flagship devices until they get 4G totally rolled out and in gear in 2013 and then it’ll be a formality. Otherwise for the first time in a long time I’ll be looking at ATT very seriously.

  • Jahart93

    Verizon is playing games with us. I think they leak certain thing just so we can talk in get all hot in bothered. Like I`m getting this phone at launch but when you say there is mobile hotspot for up to 8 devices at CES. Now say where not sure. Someone is playing games.

  • Anonymous

    will not have hotspot? shwut?
    i hope it comes with a software update with the processor clocked to 1.2ghz. isn’t that what its processor should run at?

    • Anonymous

      its clocked at 1ghz it…should be a 1.2 ghz capable processor though….and it only doesn’t have the hotspot at launch! if this is true…

  • Anonymous

    “we cannot promise the experience will be one that is consistent with our brand.” A.K.A. we might actually have dropped calls when people do this

  • Greg

    This is going to be the next best thing to the Original DROID 1 minus the keyboard. Open Source, nice screen, all the extras…like data & talk. Yes!

  • Stin

    I bet the t-bolt will become the official phone of kevin durant and the oklahoma city thunder

  • Anonymous

    Hey Kellex, How does that affect a customers spending additional money on the 4G plan if you really don’t need a 4G plan?? If I am reading this correctly.

  • cyph

    hey DROID-Life…..

    dont know if this is some different type of training or not but i was in VZW last week and they were already training on the Thunderbolt….I saw on the girls screen that she was doing training in the Intranet where she had to answer questions about the Thunderbolt

  • Anonymous

    This is pretty cool but I wonder how this news affects customers on the 4G plan, meaning if the 4G plan is really exspensive, why not keep just the 3G plan Verizon might not like that especially if you’re in a 4G area where they really want to make that revenue of it’s customers. Could that be a reason why Verizon doesn’t want thier reps to mention that functionality??

  • Pcguru30

    I wonder if this will also be the case with the bionic

  • My question is….if 4G is only in select cities and will be rolling out over the next year (or more) what will they offer a person like me (as far as pricing) that isn’t in a 4G area but wants this phone?

    • Anonymous

      i hope so… not sure if i can pass though… :O

  • tehshift

    Sometimes not having voice/data simultaneous can be a benefit. If someone is asking you a question, you have to either get off the phone with them to search the answer or tell them to look it up themselves. Win/Win scenario for me. But I guess it will be nice being able to get my gchat messages for when I am on a longer than average call with someone. Either way wifi is everywhere so I’ve never even had a problem in the first place.

  • assman

    I talk on my droid 2 using speakerphone while looking up info on my browser a lot. Isnt this voice and data? Anyone else do this?

    • Pcguru30

      do you have the droid 2 global? If so that has both CDMA and GSM which might explain why you can

      • assman

        no just d2

      • Tom

        I doubt he’s using a GSM network while in the US.

    • Anonymous

      are you on wifi when you’re making the calls?

      • assman

        ive done it both at home and on the road

        • assman

          yes it appears to only work for me if im on wifi. good catch Night Fox

  • Rampancy

    The ‘not consistent with our brand’ simply means that not all of their phones can do this.

    • Anonymous

      I get that, just wondering why they don’t make it consistent with their brand. 🙂

      • DBEvans

        Just a thought; the statement that “we cannot promise the experience will be one that is consistent with our brand” may also simply be code for “we have planned an official launch for this new functionality later in the year with the refresh of the 3G phones (DX2, etc), and so this is functionality we have not yet prepared or distributed training materials on, so cannot as yet provide consistently reliable technical support on this functionality if issues come up.”

      • Anonymous

        I’m betting on battering drain with both antennas running at the same time with the current requirement of using both bands being the reason and they figure flagship phones users won’t care since the got the latest/greatest. But other phone users may care more about battery life than simultaneous voice/data.

    • Dave

      My take on that phrase is that it means that it means it may not work that well.

      • Anonymous

        +1

    • Anonymous

      i doubt it’s just that. more like what Dave says below . . . it works like [email protected]

    • Anonymous

      or it does it terribly, like flash on a incredible (i own one)

  • Jimmy

    This is a bonus, not a necessity for me. Now that I know my area is covered with 4G then I am most likely getting my hands on this thing on day one.

  • DBEvans

    From story: “So…who’s changed their mind and now wants a Thunderbolt?”

    It doesn’t change my mind, I already wanted it – this just reinforces that deire. But, the final decision is entirely dependant on what they charge for service. If over-priced, I’ll just save my last NE2 credit for the refresh of the 3G hardware.

  • Anonymous

    My only use for this would be to refresh Droid Life while my boss is yacking my ear off… 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Win!

  • BertK

    Verizon announced this months ago. They call it Voice over Revision A (VoRA).

  • Rocktoonz

    My guess is that this new experience not being “consistent” with their brand means that it will be in-and-out data and lousy voice quality if you try it.

  • It makes no sense to jump on this phone right now. Get locked into another two years when we have some many awesome phones on he horizon for this year (Droid X2, Incredible 2, Droid 3, Bionic) and the possibility of quad-core phones? Come on, I know you can’t wait forever but don’t throw your upgrade away for 3.5G only.

    • It makes perfect sense in the phone market…There are a bunch of us Droid 1 users STILL holding out for the next phone but that “next phone” comes every 6 months it seems. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and upgrade or you never will.

    • Mike

      That’s why you do 1 year contracts from here on out.

  • Anonymous

    don’t believe everything you read. device may handle it (may) but infra cannot yet.

  • Anonymous

    Not a selling point for me. HTC is nice but I want to be blown away with specs/features. My Droid X is fine for now.

  • Anonymous

    I would think the Droid X could do that too. It has dual antenna so one should be able to do voice while the other pulls data. I would think all it would take would be something in the OS that could use the other as if it were Wifi.

  • Ok, this is fine and great. But why will the phone NOT support mobile hotspot on release?

  • Dshudson

    I will wait (keep my DX) until a 4g device is rooted so I don’t have to pay for wireless tether to my new Xoom 😉

  • JT

    Is this the Fabled SV-DO (simultaneous EV-DO)? Thought it was an major infrastructure (tower-level) hurdle and not just a radio hurdle?

  • This phone is looking better and better. I better get some Bionic info soon or this might be my future phone,

  • Froweman

    Zomg…. sold

  • (v)urphy

    I don’t understand this fad all of a sudden with having data/voice. I mean seriously, this is NOT why I picked Verizon and if I needed it so badly that it was either life or death, then a GSM network would have won my heart. While I agree it could be cool to look up quick directions while on the phone, and also not get interrupted while tethering through WiFi, I just don’t understand all the craze over a feature that has been absent from Verizon since, well, the beginning.

    • Andrew Hewitt

      I didn’t think it was necessary when it was all AT&T could brag about and guess what… I still don’t.

      • Anonymous

        you must not use your phone alot

    • Anonymous

      Prior to picking up my OG Droid, I adopted an iPhone for about 6 months. I used this functionality exactly, one time. Was it convenient? Yes. Do I dread not being able to do this now? NO. I think AT&T and Apple managed to make this functionality seem like more of a necessity than it really is.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not a fad, but a nice option to have.

      • Mosone23

        This is actually a big deal to me…I’ve Been just minutes from completion on a large download only to have a totally unimportant phone call interrupt it countless times…if this has ever happened to you,you know how terribly annoying it is.

        • LeeInMKE

          This. Exactly.

        • thom

          Can’t you just not answer the phone?

          • Actually, NO you can’t just NOT answer the phone. The minute your phone starts ringing, the data connection gets cut off. This happens to me when I’m streaming shoutcast and get a text. Pandora doesn’t get interrupted because it caches. My shoutcast client doesn’t cache quite as much, thus the problem.

    • Anonymous

      IMO ~ if it’s a feature the iphone does have, it’s a fad. If it’s something that android ships with it’s the gospel right?

      • (v)urphy

        Hallelujah? 😛

  • Anonymous

    My understanding is that the spec/technology of their 3G implementation doesn’t allow simultaneous conversations with the tower. It’s voice or data. The new thunderbolt must have some way of hiding data in the voice packets per se, or possibly allowing the phone to connect twice to the tower with one radio somehow.

    I don’t know the inner workings of the tech but it sounds like its a hack/work around of the current restrictions

    • DBEvans

      I’m making the assumption that it’s related to their SV-DO upgrade. They had talked about it some time ago, but then no more word. I had thought they dropped it in order to focus on their LTE, but now I’m guessing they were still rolling it out to their towers (it may only be a software upgrade to their towers, not sure if hardware was involved). The “inconsistent” comment may just be a result of it not being fully rolled out, or it may impact data speeds while doing both – not sure. I found more on SV-DO at the website for the CDMA Development Group (CDG): http://www.cdg.org/news/press/2009/Aug17_09.asp

  • Anonymous

    I’m wondering how they managed to make this possible via CDMA 3G.

  • Godfrey2009

    I want one!

  • johndabeast

    Maybe I’ll get this instead of a Bionic

  • Anonymous

    This is a good development, it strengthens even more the case for me to get a thunderbolt at launch.