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Infineon Chipset May Be Cause of IPhone 3G Issues 298

Posted by kdawson
from the can-you-hear-me-now dept.
JagsLive sends along a CNet blog piece about a plausible theory to explain the iPhone 3G connection problems many users have experienced. Apple has not acknowledged any such problems. "Richard Windsor of Nomura published a research note... Tuesday singling out the iPhone 3G's chipset, made by Infineon, as the probable culprit for the reception problems we reported on Monday. The dropped calls, service interruptions, and abrupt network switches experienced by iPhone 3G users reminded Windsor of similar complaints five years ago, when 3G phones were first launched in Europe. 'We believe that these issues are typical of an immature chipset and radio protocol stack where we are almost certain that Infineon is the 3G supplier,' Windsor wrote. 'This is not surprising as the Infineon 3G chipset solution has never really been tested in the hands of users. Some people will not experience these problems as it is only in areas where the radio signal weakens that the immaturity of the stack really shows.'"
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Infineon Chipset May Be Cause of IPhone 3G Issues

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  • Shit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alexborges (313924) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @05:10PM (#24575073)

    I knew i shouldve waited.

    Again bitten by Jobs's first-out-the-door gizmo.

    I was also the proud owner of a tibook 400... yeah, the one that spontaneusly broke appart from heat due to the "TI" part (although it did look cool at first).

    I guess some of us will never learn.

  • by calstraycat (320736) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @05:21PM (#24575215)

    ...and what qualifications does he possess to comment on the possible cause of the alleged iPhone reception issues?

    Seriously. This story is being widely distributed, but I have yet to see anyone ask about his credentials. Is he an electrical engineer with expertise in the design of cellular technology?

    As far as I can tell, he's some financial analyst. So why would anyone consider him a credible source? Since when are the speculations of a financial analyst regarding the rather esoteric realm of RF engineering considered valid.

    Am I missing something? Does someone know about his background?

  • Re:Firmware? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @05:25PM (#24575273)

    Can this be fixed by a firmware update? It said something about the stack which made me think firmware, or is it just shoddy hardware?

    Can this hypothetical technical flaw, in an unknown chipset which the iPhone may possibly use, be fixed in in a possible future firmware update?

    Possibly.

    However a story from a cnet journalist quoting a financial analyst on a technical problem where they're not even sure of the chipset in question is not very credible. I haven't heard of any reception problems on other sites - I wonder how widespread they are?

  • Re:Shit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @05:28PM (#24575327)

    It's pretty simple to get over. Stop joining the hype-wagon whenever the company releases a new product, that means don't follow the news every time Job's jerks off to his own press. The fanboys and paid astroturfers get suckers into a frenzy for $PRODUCT every time.

    Try this (but don't pull the trigger!) Go over to avsforum and chose a manufacturer of TVs. Look at panasonic or pioneer if you like plasmas, sony, samsung or sharp if you think LCD are you thing. Look at the hysteria over up-n-coming $MODEL. Come back daily and keep up to date on that model. Within two or three weeks you'll be on the verge of pre-ordering it. At this point, delete that bookmark and don't comeback for a couple of months. The same thread(s) will be full of owners pissed off with the issues of this round of models, full of fanboys pretending the problems don't exist exhibiting cognitive dissonance, and hot prospects asking owners about $MODEL. As soon as real owner tells it like it is, they'll be jumped on by those that can't bear to think they didn't get the $BEST_THING_EVER. It's really funny.

    Of course, at some point you will desire a new product, or what you have craps up. After watching a few rounds of the above, you'll know you can pick up the $BEST_THING_EVER a few months after initial release for a fraction of what people paid. And guess what? Your friends will be just as impressed by whatever it is, and probably don't follow model numbers anyway.

  • Schadenfreude (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alsee (515537) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @05:33PM (#24575381) Homepage

    Good. I hope Infineon goes friking bankrupt and dies.
    They are one of the manufacturers of Trusted Platform Modules.
    That puts them right near the top of my shit-list.

    -

  • Re:No. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PainMeds (1301879) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @05:45PM (#24575505)
    There are always issues before a product is released. The testing is supposed to find them.

    You're not too familiar with Apple products, are you?
  • Odd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@@@justconnected...net> on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @05:45PM (#24575511)

    I've been getting better reception on my 3G iPhone than I had on my Razr (also 3g)

    Battery life is pretty crappy, have to recharge it every night. But that's all I need. I think that has more to do with the big honking screen than any chipset issue.

    I have noticed that the signal indicator likes to sit at around 1 bar, but it's a bit deceptive because it works fine for a while (feels like empty on a car... still goes for a while anyways)

    I know an anecdote isn't true for everyone... maybe he's in a bad signal area? Maybe he has a defective phone? I haven't seen what he's talking about.

  • Re:No. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @05:47PM (#24575535)
    They do have little need to do any testing, but their difficulty in keeping it secret is no excuse whatsoever for not testing their shit. Your cult fanbase backfires sometimes? Oh, cry me a river. You still have to test your shit if you want happy customers, just like every other company on earth.
  • by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @05:59PM (#24575697) Journal

    I think you're overestimating the size of the Apple fanboy market. That crowd certainly exists, but you're going to have a hard time convincing me that everyone who's got an iPhone got it just because it has an Apple logo on the back. That crowd was tapped out in the first couple weeks or so. The iPhone must be offering something to people that's making so many of them spend money on it.

    But I'm sorry to interrupt. Please continue telling us all the details of your phone contract so we can fully comprehend how much smarter you are than everyone else.

  • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paanta (640245) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @06:01PM (#24575727) Homepage
    No, the problem is that the fan base is insane and expectations are through the roof. If two blackberries in a million are faulty, it'll never make it onto slashdot. The two account execs who own them just don't care about the product enough to bitch. If two iPhones in a million show up with some hairline cracks on them, all of a sudden it's on Consumerist and MacRumors and every other tech website.

    Sorry, but all products have flaws. You're delusional if you think that even 1% of companies are able to find all the bugs in their product before it makes it out the door. Even my f-ing Honda has had recalls.

    I think the goal is consumer satisfaction, and Apple has consistently proven themselves capable in delivering a product that people love. The problem is that people love it so very, very much that they're willing to spend 30 hours posting about perceived slowness in the interface or perceived slowness in download speeds. Ultimately, no one is producing a product like the iPhone that surpasses the iPhone's user experience, and that counts for a lot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @06:04PM (#24575755)

    You fall into the common trap of seeing apple's products as technically inferior, assuming technical is all that matters.

    I don't have an iphone (or a smartphone at all) but having surfed the web on both I know which one I plan on getting. My research is done, and Apple won.

    But you go ahead calling me stupid. I'm not aggravated. I will continue to laugh at people like you though.

  • Re:Firmware? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @06:06PM (#24575767)

    That's interesting. I haven't seen any dropped calls as yet on mine, or signal problems, it's 3G all the time. It may depend a lot on the network AT&T has in your area I guess.

    Seems odd if it is an iPhone specific problem that complaints haven't been more widespread. Suppose the way to test it would be to put the same sim in a different 3G phone when experiencing problems with the iPhone and see how it works? I'm sure there was a time when journalists did that kind of testing before writing an article, instead of filling it with easy speculation.

  • by CaptSaltyJack (1275472) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @06:13PM (#24575843)
    It's because Batman installed his tracking transmitters in every cell phone in the world. That's why reception is spotty.. duh!
  • Little known fact (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Nicky G (859089) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @07:01PM (#24576375)
    Little known fact: Anyone who uses the phrase "Apple Fanboy" is in fact either a Microsoft Fanboy, Linux Fanboy, Nokia Fanboy, HTC Fanboy, or Sony Fanboy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @07:15PM (#24576501)

    The 3g iphone just came out to satisfy some crazy horde that couldn't think of not using a 3g radio set.

    Anyone with any brains could look at the specs (that's what I did) and tell that the battery life was going to be worse.

    I already have an iphone, and the battery is marginal enough. I didn't need worse battery life. And I fail to see how 3g helps anything, as even on a wireless network page rendering is still slow.

    3g has some minor advantages, but I just wasn't willing to trade battery life for them. My original iphone works just fine.

    3g on the original iphone was rejected because of battery life issues. In my opinion, it should have stayed rejected. It was just stupid pressuring by tech geeks that got the 3g iphone released before the technology was really practical.

  • by nick_davison (217681) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @07:39PM (#24576707)

    In order of level of accuracy we have:

    • Company making a full disclosure (almost never happens)
    • Wisdom of crowds (individual guesses are wrong but the average of all the wrong guesses tends to be more accurate than...)
    • Individual guesses (some get lucky, most miss)
    • Company refusing to acknowledge any issues lest they have to pay for an expensive recall.

    He may not be an expert in the field. Statistically, pulling a name at random out of the phonebook still has a greater chance of finding the right person than a company denying that there's even a phonebook.

    The reality is that a large number of people are having problems with dropped calls, a very large number have significant problems with response time (particularly, it seems, if they've largely filled the device), and almost everyone are having problems with the device locking up and needing semi-regular hard reboots. Even first gen iPhone users who've upgraded to the 2.0 software are complaining about many more issues but at least they can revert - something not open to 3G users.

    My guess, and I'm just a programmer/nerd and not a qualified phone engineer, is that it's a combination of newly sourced and poorly tested parts running in a major OS recode that also didn't get the level of testing any other wider ranging OS would get (they couldn't run a beta because Apple have a bitch of a time with leaks and cling on more tightly to avoiding them than most companies).

    I may be right, I may be wrong. Statistically, whether the cat is dead or alive in the box, guessing about its state will sometimes be right. Apple's policy of keeping quiet and pretending there's no cat, no box and quantum states only happen to other companies ensures their answers are worse than other people's guesses.

  • Re:No. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @07:55PM (#24576849)

    The problem with Apple is that they try to be too secretive with their upcoming product roadmap. Many (most?) companies share their product roadmap for months, if not years ahead so that prospective customers can get some idea of the kinds of awesome goodies that are in the pipeline.

    Apple on the other hand makes everything a god damn huge secret until launch day and then people wonder why they have tons of bugs in their products? If they actually got some of the shit out there in the hands of developers and beta testers before launch they'd have found all these problems.

  • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:07PM (#24576937) Homepage Journal

    If I buy a $10k Toyota Yaris and the tires fall off, I pretty much figured that was bound to happen.

    What we have here are consumers behaving like battered wives. This joker accepts that ten thousand dollars is not enough to expect the most basic utility of a product. There are those who would criticize another consumer for complaining about getting an iPhone (or Yaris, or Xbox, or iPod, or MacBook, or...) that is a lemon. That is how badly misused they have been by our consumerist system. When we buy a product and it doesn't work, we should blame ourselves for not having spent enough money, or, get this one, for expecting too much.

    No wonder corporations are having such an easy time replacing government in sovereign nations. Consumers don't even have enough self-respect to expect the most basic value from a product (or service). This has got to be related to the reason people vote Republican, even faced with incontrovertible evidence that it is against their own best interests.

    I don't know about you, but this seems like a pretty shitty way to live. If the public were my sister, and her husband were to treat her the way the corporate culture treats consumers, I would tell her to divorce the bastard, or perhaps poison his coffee.

  • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @08:46PM (#24577243)

    Please cue random, ``If OS X were Open Sourced it would all disappear,'' comment.

    Working with Linux and OS X on a daily basis the defense, ``Linux is free'' doesn't hold water anymore due to the billions invested by IBM and others to make it stable.

    Sorry, that's just plain wrong.

    Linux was ROCK solid stable for a LOOOOONG time before IBM invested one thin dime into it, or put one kernel developer on the payroll.

    It might not have been pretty, but it was stable since the Pleistocene.

  • Re:No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ChrisA90278 (905188) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:13PM (#24577419)

    "The testing is supposed to find them."

    Even in theory testing can't find all possible problems. A simple example would be if, let's say some defect caused one of of every ten millions phones to catch fire and explode. One would need to build over a hundred million test phones to detect a trend.

    What we've got here is something like this. It seems to an intermitent one in ten thousand type problem. It affects a very few users for a few minutes now and then. The phones are not really broken they just perform poorly when the signal is weak ad seem to work fine when moved.

    This is the knind of thing you can't test until you hve millions of phone in the field

  • Re:Shit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @09:53PM (#24577715)

    In your defense, this IS the second generation iPhone so I wouldn't expect this kind of issue. They should've had 3G models in testing since before the original iPhone EDGE model was released. Problems like this are inexcusable.

  • Re:No. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @10:43PM (#24578045)

    You still have to test your shit if you want happy customers, just like every other company on earth.

    But Apple is a tech company. It isn't like every other company. Apple is basically marketed to those who are Mac fanboys. Ok, the iPod has reached the level that just about everyone has at least used one, but for Macs and the iPhone/Touch it is mostly the fanboys that buy them. During Apple's lean years it wasn't the general population that supported them, it was the Apple fanatics, and in software with very little production costs and hardware that you can mark up $100+ easily Apple can at least survive purely on that.

    Microsoft is the a absolute opposite, it can avoid testing because people are more or less forced to buy the products it sells.

  • Re:No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @12:29AM (#24578675)

    Apple never admits that there anything wrong with their products. Never.

    News flash, all proprietary software vendors avoid admitting that there is anything wrong with the products they make.

    Both companies tries to lock customers into their brand.

    And how is that different than anything else? But at least OS X is more flexible, for example, the core anyone can get (based on BSD) the rendering engine for the browser anyone can get (based on KHTML, now forked to WebKit). Other bits of OS X are F/OSS too. Compare that with Windows where not a single line of code is OSS. If someone felt like it you could easily write a compatible Mac OS clone. Whereas with Windows about every line of code has to be reverse engineered.

  • Re:No. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @06:50AM (#24580407)

    This Apple 'loyal fanbase' myth is totally at odds with reality. Look at the sort of racket which was raised by users for mobileme issues and continue to be raised about 3g software, hardware and the kill switch, the idea that Apple users give Apple a free pass and Apple gets away easily is a fantasy milked by people who 'need' an explanation for Apple's success and would like to trivialize it.

    These people are not interested in gadgets, technology or innovation but making a pointless statement about themselves either by buying a product or NOT buying it and I don't see what value they can add to any discussion apart from making it personal by disrespecting other people and peddling fantasy.

    Apple is consistently held accountable and people make noise so I don't know the purpose of spreading this illusion, that Apple users are fanboys and other product users are somehow dispassioned users. That's a myth and there is no reason only Apple users should be defined by a minority fanboy base when all platforms have their share of irrational fanboys.

    Every platform from Nokia, WM, Xbox, PS3, Wii, Windows will have its loyal users who will defend it irrationally but the general public buy stuff that fits into their life and fulfills some purpose. Tomorrow if Android comes along and delivers a better value proposition people will adopt that.

The only thing cheaper than hardware is talk.

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