Consumer Reports: Wait for a better Verizon iPhone

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Consumer Reports concludes that consumers might want to hold off on the iPhone 4 that is slated to debut on Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Wireless' CDMA network on Feb. 10.

"The Verizon Wireless iPhone 4 has plenty in its favor, especially compared with its AT&T (NYSE: T) sibling," wrote editors Paul Reynolds and Mike Gikas in a blog post. "But it may be quickly replaced by a newer, cooler version more quickly than is customary even for the die-young life expectancy of most smartphones."

The editors suggest that since Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is expected to introduce a new version of the iPhone this summer, it may not be worth it to sign on for what they describe as a "transitional phone" that Apple put together to "tide Verizon through until the summer."

Verizon rolled out its Long Term Evolution (LTE) all-IP mobile broadband network Dec. 5 in 39 markets and plans to aggressively roll out the network to 140 more markets in 2011. And the iPhone on Verizon won't be able to take advantage of the faster network. Meanwhile, newer smartphones feature four-plus-inch displays, and the iPhone 4 is still at 3.5 inches. In addition, the CDMA phone won't work on GSM networks worldwide.

The editors also point out the main shortcoming of CDMA smartphones: The inability to simultaneously place a call while conducting a data session.

On the positive side, Verizon Wireless has repeatedly earned high marks for customer satisfaction, and it has included in the iPhone the ability to connect up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices with its mobile hotspot service.

Verizon said it will offer a $200 credit to customers who recently bought a smartphone but now want to switch to an Apple iPhone 4--though the deal comes with caveats. Verizon said it will give a $200 Visa debit card to customers who bought a phone between Nov. 26 and Jan. 10--the day before the carrier announced its deal with Apple. However, customers will have to pay full retail price for the iPhone 4.

For more:
- see this eWeek article
- read this FierceWireless article

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