By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar
On July 22, 2007 I asked the question “Where is Verizon’s XV6800”?
Given the rumors of its imminent release since December 2006, http://www.engadgetmobile.com/2006/12/22/verizon-utstarcom-xv6800-the-cdma-tytn-lives/, it is a question many Verizon subscribers who want to upgrade from their XV6700 have been asking.
Here is an early picture claiming to be that of Verizon’s XV6800. It came out on engadgetmobile website in February of 2007 along with a second review of the XV6800 features.
I followed up my original post on XV6700 and XV6800 by doing an analysis of the legal battle between Qualcomm and Broadcom and its potential impact on Verizon’s introduction of XV6800.
My second post ended on an optimistic note for the early release date of XV6800 based on the recent agreement between Verizon and Broadcom. The Verizon-Broadcom agreement apparently frees Verizon to offer PDA/Cell phones like the XV6800 which have a Qualcomm chip that allegedly infringes on Broadcom patents.
However, there is still no word on the XV6800 release date even after the Verizon-Broadcom agreement which should have ended the mystery.
I talked again to a Verizon’s customer service rep on July 27 on the phone and asked for information on the upcoming XV6800 which is meant to be a successor to their XV6700 model. The Verizon customer rep said that he knew nothing about any XV6800 and they usually get only one week notice before a new product comes out.
I pointed out to the rep that there had already been many discussions on the web of the XV6800 since the Christmas season of 2006 and so it was surprising that no official information is available from Verizon.
The Verizon rep was sympathetic and suggested that I go to phonescoop.com.
When I went to phonescoop.com and looked around I found this. The site has good information about the XV6800 but most of it is common knowledge by now to the XV6800 fans. The phonescoop site does not seem to mention that the XV6800 has 256 megabytes of RAM which is a substantial increase from XV6700.
The next day, on July 28, I visited a large Verizon store hoping for a face to face conversation with an experienced Verizon employee.
After about 10 minutes of waiting, a well dressed gentleman came up to me and said that he could help me. Not losing any time, I asked him whether he could tell me the release date for the XV6800 as I was waiting to buy it.
Here is the Whole Conversation about XV6800.
Luthar: I am very interested in buying the XV6800 when it comes out. Can you tell me anything about its release date.
Verizon Rep (VR): No, I can’t do that. I don’t have that information.
Luthar: Do you think it would be out in two or three weeks? Would that be a good estimate?
VR: I don’t know. I just don’t know.
Seeing that he was not denying the very existence of the XV6800, I asked, “What could be taking so long for Verizon to bring it out..”
VR: Testing. Verizon has to thoroughly test a phone before they release it. If a phone does not pass the tests, it does not get released.
Luthar: What tests, what kind of tests are done on these phones. Is this not just an upgrade from the XV6700? What new testing are they doing?
VR: Tests, tests, tests have to be done to make sure everything works…..
Luthar: OK. Does Verizon have another phone like the XV6800 with a sliding keyboard? I guess what I am asking is that whether there is another phone that I can buy that has some of the XV6800 features. Would one of the Blackberry phones be a similar phone or a close competitor for it for Verizon customers who are waiting for an upgrade to XV6800?
VR: Not really. We don’t have any other phones at this time with the sliding keyboard except the XV6700. Would you like to look at that?
Luthar: I have already looked at that and tried it out. I don’t want to get the XV6700 if the XV6800 is going to be released in a few weeks.
VR: I don’t know when that phone will be released. It could be a few months. It all depends on the testing. If a phone fails the test, it does not get released.
Luthar: A few months? There have been pictures of it all over the web since December of 2006.
VR: I can’t really tell you anything more than I have.
The conversation left me wondering again what the Verizon strategy is.
When Apple was getting ready to release the iPhone, a big media sensation was created that ultimately had people waiting in lines for the iPhone.
Verizon’s strategy seems to be just the opposite and there has not been any official word on the XV6800 release date at all.
For many business people and professors who use windows applications including Microsoft Outlook to synchronize to their Exchange servers at work, the XV6800 is a far superior choice to the iPhone.
Could Verizon be missing an opportunity to market the XV6800 to its customers who could potentially be switching to Sprint to get its twin the Sprint Mogul (PPC-6800)?
Time will tell what is going on behind the scenes with the Verizon XV6800 and how this fits in with the Verizon’s strategy for marketing this device which many consider to have much more utility for their work than the Apple’s iPhone.