PhoneNews.com has led the criticism of Verizon Wireless locking and hindering GPS on their phones. Now, the company says they will reverse that… but only on their newest phones.
Since the release of the XV6800’s first firmware update, Verizon has been locking down the GPS on their smartphones. Initially, Verizon said that this was consistent with their new Any App, Any Device policy. Verizon representatives told PhoneNews.com that software could be certified at no charge for use with the GPS chips inside of Windows Mobile phones.
However, after a year of saying that… Verizon failed to approve one application, other than VZ Navigator. It became quite clear that Verizon was either unable, or unwilling to approve even free programs like Google Maps and Windows Live Search for Mobile. PhoneNews.com has led reporting on hacker workarounds, which have unlocked the GPS on the XV6800 (HTC Titan) and XV6900 (HTC Vogue).
Worse for Verizon, competitors Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T all have left GPS fully open on their smartphones, for any third-party application to use freely. Most recently, Verizon un-crippled GPS on BlackBerry OS 4.5-updated devices, after receiving significant criticism for the same reasons.
Now, Verizon Wireless has said that they will issue firmware updates for the HTC Touch Pro, Samsung Omnia i910, and Samsung Sage. However, Verizon has not commented on if they will officially unlock the GPS on the XV6800 and XV6900, both of which currently have GPS crippled only to VZ Navigator.
It is also unclear if Verizon will unlock the GPS in older models, which carry the hardware for GPS, but never was enabled on. This includes the Samsung i730, i830, HTC XV6600 and XV6700. It is unlikely that Verizon will ever enable GPS on these phones, however they do have the firmware to enable GPS right now on the XV6800 and XV6900.
We would like to take a moment to thank our readers, your continued viewership spotlighted the need for Verizon to reform on GPS. We just hope they will do the same on their legally dubious forced firmware updates, which can leave you trapped on a mountain… with a paperweight for a phone to call for help.