June 25, 2005

EV-DO...A name that breathes mystery...romance...adventure

I found this article by David Pogue, on EV-DO, very interesting. It probably won't affect me much, though my new phone is EV-DO, 'cause I never go anywhere. But when we get it here in the Bay Area, Charlene's Treo is going to really hum...assuming she wants to pay for the service. (Rumors here have it already emerging in downtown SF, and other spots, like outbreaks of a new disease.)

...It's a relatively new cellular data network called C.D.M.A. 1xEV-DO, which, as you surely knew, stands for Code Division Multiple Access Evolution-Data Only. No wonder Verizon Wireless, the earliest and largest adopter of this technology, just calls it the BroadbandAccess plan.

To get your laptop onto this very fast wonder-net, you need a special cellular card that slides into its PC-card slot. Novatel and Kyocera have recently given the blossoming EV-DO future a big thumbs-up by releasing new cellular cards for laptops running Windows (and, with a little tweaking, Mac OS X).

EV-DO offers two addictive benefits. First, it's cellular. You don't have to hunt down public hot spots; an entire metropolitan area is a hot spot.

Second, EV-DO means sheer, giddy speed. EV-DO is a so-called 3G (third-generation) network, the fruits of $1 billion in Verizon development. And when your laptop or palmtop locks onto a good signal, you can practically feel the wind in your hair.

How fast is that, exactly? Verizon claims you'll be able to download data at an average of 400 to 700 kilobits per second (kbps), which turns out to be true. That makes EV-DO at least five times as fast as the rival technology offered by Cingular and T-Mobile, called EDGE (70 to 135 kbps), and about seven times as fast as Verizon's original data network (still available), which it calls NationalAccess (60 to 80 kbps)...

Verizon is leading in EV-DO, with Sprint just getting started. You can buy cards for your laptop, and newer phones may have it. However it's only fast downloading; uploading is not improved.

But what always flabbergasts me is how such fabulous, sexy, scintillating new technology can be sold with such banal names. Verizon is, I hear, hosing out about FOUR BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR to roll this service out, and yet the best name they can come up with is BroadbandAccess!

Apple would have come up with something enticing, like they did with Firewire (elsewhere known charmingly as IEEE-1394). Maybe QuickSilver, or Zap-Lightning, or June Bug, or something. And I'm not just thinking in terms of taste; it's worth money. Verizon will doubtless be spending millions on advertising to try to get people interested, and to get them to remember a totally forgettable name. Makes me want to scream. Spitball would be a better name...how 'bout Phaeton, LightSpeed, FastBall, Seabiscuit...Jeeze, they should hire me. My rates are very reasonable...

I bet the bozos spent 50 Grand on focus groups, so that lack-wits could agree that "BroadbandAccess" was a winner. Phooey.

Posted by John Weidner at June 25, 2005 9:45 PM
Weblog by John Weidner