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Teaser: What's this aboot the BlackBerry Z30 being single band, eh?

Posted by WiWavelength , in Author: Andrew J. Shepherd 30 September 2013 · 13,662 views

Sprint RIM BlackBerry Z30
Teaser: What's this aboot the BlackBerry Z30 being single band, eh? by Andrew J. Shepherd
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Monday, September 30, 2013 - 4:41 PM MDT

Phew, what a September it has been for discovery/announcement of new devices likely headed to Sprint! S4GRU staff has been busy keeping a watchful eye on the FCC OET. And in an egalitarian way, we have covered nearly the gamut of mobile operating systems: Android, iOS, and now, the latest OS version for BlackBerry.

Yes, ahead of a potential government shutdown tomorrow that will reportedly include FCC device authorization, a Sprint relevant BlackBerry Z30 variant was added to the FCC OET database today. This will be another teaser article, not a full RF analysis, but BlackBerry devices usually have healthy ERP/EIRP. Regardless, we have gleaned from the FCC OET documents some important details to share with you.

In a nutshell, this BlackBerry Z30 hardware variant supports the following airlinks:
  • GSM 850/1900
  • band 2/5 W-CDMA 1900/850
  • band class 0/1/10 CDMA1X/EV-DO 850/1900/800
  • band 4/13/25 LTE 2100+1700/750/1900
Anyone familiar with the current state of the domestic wireless industry can put two and two together to see that this hardware variant covers the CDMA2000 and LTE capabilities of both VZW and Sprint. Additionally, because of the inclusion of the GSM/W-CDMA modes, the Z30 is probably a world phone, including GSM 900/1800 and at least band 1 W-CDMA 2100+1900. But as we have noted previously, FCC OET filings may divulge band support outside the US but are not required to do so.

The twist is that, within this single hardware Z30 variant, there do seem to exist two wireless operator versions: RFX101LW for VZW and RGB141LW for Sprint. In short, the Sprint version will include CDMA2000 band class 10 but ostensibly use firmware to lockout LTE band 4/13. So, any potential thoughts of CSIM swapping between Sprint and VZW accounts for LTE access with this handset are probably nipped in the bud. See the note from the FCC OET filing:

Posted Image

To sum up, the BlackBerry Z30 coming to Sprint will be effectively limited to single band 25 LTE 1900. It will definitely not be among the upcoming tri band LTE Sprint devices. And its VZW supported LTE bands will likely be inaccessible. On the upshot, it does still support SVLTE.

In only a few years, BlackBerry née RIM has gone from being the leader in smartphones to being a former champ nearly down for the count. So, do these developments -- single band LTE, VZW LTE CSIM compatibility lockout -- matter to you? If so, well, place the blame where it lies. Blame Canada.


(just barely NSFW)



Source: FCC




BlackBerry OS is dead, AJ. You mean BB10 (formerly known as BBX).

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WiWavelength
Sep 30 2013 03:54 PM

BlackBerry OS is dead, AJ. You mean BB10 (formerly known as BBX).

 

Bah.  It is still a "BlackBerry OS."  I do not give any legit recognition to these myriad number versions or ludicrous names -- such as "KitKat."

 

AJ

Bah.  It is still a "BlackBerry OS."  I do not give any legit recognition to these myriad number versions or ludicrous names -- such as "KitKat."

 

AJ

No, BlackBerry OS is what they called the old Java based OS. I actually refer to it as QNX because that is what is based on.

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WiWavelength
Sep 30 2013 04:02 PM

Is it a BlackBerry?  Yes.

 

Does it run an OS?  Yes.

 

Is it Android, iOS, Windows Phone, etc.?  No.

 

There is your answer.  It is a "BlackBerry OS."

 

Give me a break.  Maybe I should just stop writing these articles...

 

AJ

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WiWavelength
Sep 30 2013 04:07 PM

Fine.  I changed it to "the latest OS version for BlackBerry," though that has disrupted my well crafted parallel structure.

 

AJ

Fine.  I changed it to "the latest OS version for BlackBerry," though that has disrupted my well crafted parallel structure.

 

AJ

 

Everyone appreciates the work you put into publishing information here at S4GRU, this is just silly semantics. You wanted to refer to it as "a" Blackberry OS, meaning the OS used by the Blackberry, and the above poster wanted you to refer to it as "the" Blackberry OS, meaning following the software manufacturer's naming scheme and calling it what they called it.

 

No harm, no foul, everyone who reads this is going to get the point of the post no matter which way you say Blackberry OS. In all honesty, most people around here nowadays are likely unfamiliar with the naming convention anyways unless they use Blackberries, a phenomenon that is becoming notably rarer these days with the market shares of iOS, Android, and even Windows Phone being what they are.

 

Anyways, thank you for your time in putting the read together, I don't think anyone wants to offend you by nitpicking at the small things, I for one appreciate your efforts very much!

AND, by the way. I love Canada as a country for sure and every Canadian I know is great. BUT, in the spirit of good humor, that video frankly made me laugh my a$$ off.

 

Very well played, sir! And long live South Park! :)

Is it a BlackBerry?  Yes.

 

Does it run an OS?  Yes.

 

Is it Android, iOS, Windows Phone, etc.?  No.

 

There is your answer.  It is a "BlackBerry OS."

 

Give me a break.  Maybe I should just stop writing these articles...

 

AJ

 

We all appreciate the work you do AJ on writing these articles for S4GRU.  No matter what you call it Blackberry OS or BB10, people are going to get what you are referring to. Don't let a small detail like that bug you too much.

 

I am positive this article has helped several folks out who is interested in the BB Z10.  Although it does seem troubling that it is single band LTE but I am sure this device has been in negotiations for a long time before Sprint did the cutoff on single band LTE devices.

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themuffinman
Oct 01 2013 04:10 AM

No, BlackBerry OS is what they called the old Java based OS. I actually refer to it as QNX because that is what is based on.

Potato potahto, what difference does it make?  Blackberry is dead, plain and simple.

Love me some QNX

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WiWavelength
Oct 01 2013 09:49 AM

We probably will not do a full write up on the Z30, so for those interested, here is a snapshot of the ERP/EIRP figures.  They do not appear as strong as in previous BlackBerry devices.

 

band class 0 CDMA1X/EV-DO 850:  ~20 dBm

band class 1 CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900:  ~22 dBm

band class 10 CDMA1X/EV-DO 800:  ~22 dBm

band 25 LTE 1900:  ~21 dBm

 

AJ

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hescominsoon
Oct 01 2013 02:52 PM

how does this compare to other devices in the sprint stable?  Anything has got to be better than my gnex frankenphone.. :)

how does this compare to other devices in the sprint stable?  Anything has got to be better than my gnex frankenphone.. :)

 

It's still a nexus ;) I guarantee you it's in better shape now than any other phone of the same generation.

 

New hardware is great, but people underestimate how much regular software updates can add to the user experience of a phone that gets regular daily use.

 

I'm already getting prepared to get angry with Samsung for not updating my Galaxy S3 to KitKat/KeyLimePie (whichever it may be) and it isn't even out yet! It's just going to be a tease to see it pop up on my Nexus 7 while I sit here using what was once a flagship phone that will feel crippled running older software.

 

You made a smart buy, even if it's starting to show its age ;)

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hescominsoon
Oct 02 2013 05:33 AM

rf has always been poor..it's not the hardware it's the rf..which the gnex is famous for being bad in..:)  once i get this phone i'm going to unlock it and go with CG's firmware..:)

At least this has 1XA 800 SMR support unlike the Q10 *rolls eyes*

Man, that took me too long. I was super confused, and then remembered that BlackBerry Ltd née RIM is a Canadian company...

Potato potahto, what difference does it make?  Blackberry is dead, plain and simple.

BlackBerry probably isn't "dead" as far as a company, they just might exit the smartphone market. And why shouldn't it matter? just because it's struggling doesn't mean you can twist the facts anyway you please, that's kind of attitude just breeds misinformation.

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supersanborn
Oct 03 2013 07:12 AM

Sadly, even being tri-band wouldn't save this phone.

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CrossedSignals
Oct 04 2013 02:03 PM

We probably will not do a full write up on the Z30, so for those interested, here is a snapshot of the ERP/EIRP figures.  They do not appear as strong as in previous BlackBerry devices.

 

band class 0 CDMA1X/EV-DO 850:  ~20 dBm

band class 1 CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900:  ~22 dBm

band class 10 CDMA1X/EV-DO 800:  ~22 dBm

band 25 LTE 1900:  ~21 dBm

 

AJ

Is there a possibility of an article that compares antenna technologies?  I mention this because the Z30 is marketed as the first BlackBerry that makes use of dynamic antenna tuning technologies developed by Paratek.  I find the topic interesting because ever since 'AntennaGate', a number of novel solutions have been developed:

 

Apple:  receive diversity, simplex transmit path

HTC (HTC One):  receive and transmit diversity and dynamic antenna coupling (as reported in AnAndtech.com's review)

BlackBerry:  dynamic antenna coupling

 

I think it's an interesting story in that as more bands are supported by a given phone, there is an engineering question to be answered:  do I put more antennas in the phone or do I tune a given set of antennas to drive and receive a broader set of frequencies?

 

I'm not an EE, nor do I claim to know more than I read.  I think that it would be an interesting and informative piece that delves into some of the more interesting and arcane elements of cell phone design and I think it's something that will be discussed more and more as technologies such as Qualcomm RF360 and other hardware/software designed radios and power amplifiers are released.

I don't see how any Band-25-only phone has a future on Sprint. While we're all waiting for the rollout of 800 and 2600, it seems like we're ignoring the major problem of new phones (e.g. Z30 and, more significantly, the Moto X) are ignoring those bands. I'd love for someone to tell me I'm wrong, but who's going to buy a Z30 or Moto X for Sprint if they're restricted to Band 25?
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WiWavelength
Oct 08 2013 09:04 AM

I'd love for someone to tell me I'm wrong, but who's going to buy a Z30 or Moto X for Sprint if they're restricted to Band 25?

 

Who?  The thousands upon thousands, even millions of consumers who represent >90 percent of the market and know not a thing about "tri band LTE."

 

AJ

Who?  The thousands upon thousands, even millions of consumers who represent >90 percent of the market and know not a thing about "tri band LTE."

Point well taken; you're definitely right in your market-awareness analysis. So, it comes down to performance, or more importantly, perception of performance. Is Band 25 good enough throughout Sprintland to serve the typical LTE market to the point that the press reports favorably on Sprint vis-à-vis T and VZW?

I have to believe the answer is ”no”, else Sprint wouldn't be spending so much for this buildout. As someone who wants Sprint to succeed, it concerns me that the hot new phones (e.g. Moto X) are (mostly) Band 25 only. (One Sprint MVNO, Republic Wireless, is betting the farm on the Moto X and Band 25. I find their WiFi strategy intriguing and innovative, but if the backup LTE - Moto X Band 25 - is wanting, the whole business plan dies.)

I'll rephrase my question: Is Band 25 good enough to keep the masses happy?

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