Verizon Relents! GPS to Open Up Next Year!

Ok, we're totally not going to take credit for this, but it looks like people who have joined our campaign to demand Verizon unlock GPS on their Windows Mobile offerings are receiving a stock reply that's looking, well, good! User efudd sends us his reply from the Big V:

Verizon Wireless, like all carriers, orders devices to meet certain specifications inclusive of features. Each of these specs is tested to determine if it meets our performance goals. There are instances when the phone will pass our extensive testing process but a specific feature may not meet the standard. We will often choose to introduce the phone without that feature but ask that the manufacturer come back to us with revised software that has to be tested to make sure the service works the same across our entire wireless footprint --from Maine to Hawaii. In the case of open standalone GPS, we are partnering with the Windows Mobile device manufacturers to provide a software upgrade that will add this capability to the existing assisted GPS capability. This is a complex development project to provide open standalone GPS while maintaining the assisted GPS capability with the level of performance and security that our customers expect. The recently introduced Windows Mobile devices including Omnia, Saga, and Touch Pro are targeted to add open standalone GPS in the 1st half of 2009.Steve SchwedVerizon WirelessHQ Executive Relations Supervisor

Emphasis ours above. That's the Omnia, Saga, and Touch Pro, yo. That's complete, open, standalone GPS. Heck, we're even going to grant the point (because we should) that implementing GPS on the latest generation of fully-integrated chips is really tough these days. Still, chalk this one up under the Win column.

This isn't WMExperts taking credit though, because, well, it looks like our strategy of physical, snail-mail email wasn't the right strategy (Thanks for nothing, US Postal service -- at least when email fails, we get an error message). This was all you guys, the heroes. Heck, maybe Verizon meant to do this from the get-go (they have been claiming they intend on being more open), but a little pressure doesn't hurt!

Big ups to our readers and big ups to Verizon for doing the right thing.

Dieter Bohn