Updated: Not all iPhone apps work on the Verizon iPhone -- fragmentation looming?

Updated: Not all iPhone apps work on the Verizon iPhone -- fragmentation looming?

Summary: Today may be remembered as the day the iOS platform began fragmenting like Android. The Verizon iPhone will not run all apps written for the original model.

SHARE:

Today may be remembered as the day the iOS platform became fragmented like Android. The announcement today by Telenav that its GPS app has been released for the Verizon iPhone may carry unexpected ramifications for apps on the iOS line of products.

Telenav makes the AT&T Navigator app for the original iPhone, and has released Telenav GPS for the Verizon iPhone only. The navigation app is similar to the original Navigator app for the AT&T iPhone, but works on the Verizon handset only. On the surface it may appear to be a new app version to deal with the difference in telco, but according to a conversation with Telenav that is not the case.

The Verizon iPhone required modifications to the Telenav app to make it work with the new hardware in the handset. The company did not elaborate which hardware differences forced the changes, but the primary difference in the two versions of the iPhone lie in the radios (GSM vs. CDMA) and perhaps the GPS chipset. The new Telenav app for the Verizon iPhone will not run on the original iPhone due to those hardware differences.

This required app change leads to the question if other apps that talk directly to the hardware may not work on both versions of the iPhone. App developers may be looking at producing a new version of apps as Telenav was forced to do, to make sure their app can run on the Verizon iPhone. Big Red is expected to sell millions of iPhones so this is a significant piece of the iPhone market developers can't afford to miss.

If two versions of some apps are required to work on both models of iPhone, this will fragment development and support for apps. Fragmentation is a nasty beast, one that Android developers must deal with to keep apps running on the bulk of the installed user base. Apple and its iPhone developer partners have enjoyed having a single model and the simplicity it brings. That may be short-lived with the second iPhone in customer hands.

UPDATE: Telenav has issued a correction to the misinformation I was given (from multiple sources) that details the reasons a new app was required (not hardware differences as originally stated).

Topics: iPhone, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones, Verizon

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

19 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Not all iPhone apps work on the Verizon iPhone - fragmentation looming?

    Apple has never liked fragmentation and I sincerely doubt they would start now. In fact all signs point to less fragmentation such as the new radio chipset they are using in the Verizon iPhone has the ability for using both gsm and CDMA, so the next iPhone may be able to have both.

    The only reason the programmers at telenav would need to change their app is because of their use of both your data and gps antennas/gps hardware to pinpoint your position.

    In short I foresee only the apps that need hardware specifics in the antenna hardware will need to change.

    Signed a fellow blogger
    syost16
    • RE: Not all iPhone apps work on the Verizon iPhone - fragmentation looming?

      @syost@...
      No offense, but I am wondering your source for the dual GSM/CDMA chipset in the VZW iPhone. I have heard specifically the opposite (at least in iPhone 4 - iPhone5 is still shrouded in much mystery!).
      jglopic
      • RE: Not all iPhone apps work on the Verizon iPhone - fragmentation looming?

        @jglopic iFixIt and 9 to 5 Mac (via MacRumors): http://t.co/4irBY6P
        nixtaman
  • there is a difference

    there is a difference in an OS fragmenting on what it can run and support.... and specialized software requiring very certain hardware...
    doh123
  • This is probably down to ...

    ... the difference between GSM and CDMA-based location services. My bet is that Apple will unify the APIs in a later iOS release.
    Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • RE: Not all iPhone apps work on the Verizon iPhone - fragmentation looming?

      @Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

      This so called fragmentation has to do with an AT&T application not working on a Verizon phone. I'm not sure how it would work considering its billed through AT&T. Developers don't have access to hardware. So the person the author spoke to obviously doesn't know what they are talking about.

      This has got to be one of the dumbest articles I've ever read. Why would an AT&T application billed onto an AT&T phone plan work on Verizon?

      Look I know the author is a Galaxy Tab/Android fan, but this article approaches libel in my opinion.

      Has someone verified your author actually talked to someone at Telenav.
      kent42
  • Message has been deleted.

    vastaman
    • RE: Not all iPhone apps work on the Verizon iPhone - fragmentation looming?

      Yep, @vastaman is right.<br><br>Has the author of the article ever used Telenav's AT&T Navigator? It is billed monthly on your AT&T Account (not your iTunes account). The account is managed through a special web site provided by AT&T. There's no way it could possibly work with Verizon, if only for that reason.<br><br>I doubt it had anything to do with hardware as apps only have access to Apple's location services API, not direct hardware access.
      diskrete
  • RE: Not all iPhone apps work on the Verizon iPhone - fragmentation looming?

    Been on hold with verizon for almost an hour and a half. Brand new iPhone doesn't work right, Won't find contacts. I got about 3 minutes of conversation time with a rep who couldn't fix it and put me back on hold. Wayto go verizon.... living up to your customer service reputation...

    The Kicker? about once every 1-2 minutes is a "droid" commercial..... of which I have heard 50+ of now.
    swinterol
  • Message has been deleted.

    His_Shadow
  • RE: Not all iPhone apps work on the Verizon iPhone - fragmentation looming?

    As a developer, I don't buy the explanation. The APIs for navigation are very high level and shouldn't be chipset dependent. It may be that they needed to change the application to better support the lack of data while on phone calls. Or they took advantage of a feature that's not available on AT&T handsets yet, but will be with the next OS upgrade.

    I don't even know if it's possible for a developer to tell if they're on a Verizon iPhone vs an AT&T one. You can tell what version of the OS is running, but the hardware string may be the same. (We'll know more in a day or two).
    chriswaco2
  • Message has been deleted.

    s219
  • Message has been deleted.

    ebernet
  • RE: Not all iPhone apps work on the Verizon iPhone - fragmentation looming?

    If a developer has to build and support two different code bases to support the same general platform, regardless if it is a hardware issue or a carrier issue, it still qualifies as application level "Fragmentation." If there are different OS levels support different API elements, to support different members of the same product family, that is "Fragmentation," too. The term is pointlessly over used and is simply a part of product evolution and diversification.
    The_Omega_Man
  • I will say that was an unexpected development

    But in hindsight I can understand what's happening. Apparently CDMA is enough different that location services have to be re-programmed.<br><br>Then again, maybe not. A number of very logical explanations here. Interestingly, it appears that the issue isn't so much based on the iPhone itself, but rather on the carrier. The article implied that this was the <i>Maps</i> app that comes on the phone, not a third-party developer app. Very confusing if you don't know the difference.<br><br>Let me ask this: How well does <i>Maps</i> and <i>Google Earth</i> work on the Verizon models? Any issues?
    Vulpinemac
  • RE: Not all iPhone apps work on the Verizon iPhone - fragmentation looming?

    While the information in this article was accurate as provided by Telenav, the company has changed its position and supplied a statement correcting its bad information. An update has been published:

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-news/correction-telenav-gps-app-not-due-to-differences-in-iphone-hardware/898
    JamesKendrick
  • Update BEFORE the article

    When you update an article with new information that's so vital (our sources were wrong, this whole article is based on bad info), please put that update at the TOP of the page.
    Don't make me read the whole thing, only to find an update at the bottom saying "nevermind, this is false".
    khenney
  • RE: Not all iPhone apps work on the Verizon iPhone - fragmentation looming?

    Well iOS has been fragmented for a while now. How many apps work on iPad only? Or vice versa? Anything using the camera really. Everything is fragmented. Does this matter? Yes. Does anyone care? A few people do I'm sure.

    Apple also has a history of doing losing backward compatibility with their software. They'll update Mac OS 10.x.x and suddenly some older software won't work anymore. It happens.
    Darkninja962
  • So it doesn't &quot;just works&quot;?

    :(

    Nice to see zdnet's smartphone page full of iphone articles. Competition does exist...
    HypnoToad72