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AT&T will put a fake 5G logo on its 4G LTE phones (fiercewireless.com)
521 points by devy on Dec 21, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 308 comments

They've done this kind of ploy forever.

They also require that the strength bars display the highest reception of any type of service it can receive, regardless if that is what it is using right now.

So it may display 4 bars and LTE but it's really 4 bars for GSM service, despite using LTE atm.

They do this because it works when it comes to reviews and perception.

There was a phone that people complained about reception on that was displaying the current service signal strength using a realistic algorithm.

Review sites, etc, complained about it compared to other phones despite it being better in actuality.

A "fix" was issued. That fix was to use the same signal bar algorithm as everyone else. The same review sites/etc were awash with how much better everyone's reception was and gladness the bug had been fixed.

Yeah, pretty much all of the carriers cheat, and demand the ability to cheat, e.g.: https://android.googlesource.com/platform/frameworks/base/+/...

>Yeah, pretty much all of the carriers cheat

Given that HN has an international audience,

1. Is this US only? I have never seen anything similar in EU or East Asia. I.e The Bar is an actual indication of the receiving signal, while it is no guarantee of speed which depends on contention, you will at least know you are in good signal area.

2. Is this Google Android only?

To answer #2, no. Apple played into ATT's lies when they were behind on 4G LTE deployments and labeled 3G HSPA+ as 4G. ATT is far more brazen than other US carriers in this scheme and should be held accountable. Apple also displayed this bogus logo on the iPhone at the time. Keep in mind, however, Apple had strong exclusivity with ATT during the early years of the product.

ATT seems to like to confuse the truth more often than other carriers as well. One big, recent, fiasco was supporting wideband audio (HD calling) and WiFi calling on Google Pixel handsets. ATT never said in print they didn't support it and made references to the fact that all feature were supported on their website. When you'd call them ATT support would claim it was fully supported, yet ATT did not. This was true for both OG Pixels and PIxel 2s for both at launch and well into those device lifecycles. I know because I had technical tickets opened for about a year with ATT before leaving them. The point being ATT likes to pretend a lot. Of all the carriers (have been customers of the major 3 for different products over the years) they are, in my opinion, the least trustworthy in that regard.


Call it what it is: fraud. They fraudulently deceive their customers for monetary gain.

Yeah. While European companies are by no means saints, there simply doesn’t seem to be this sort of constant screwing over paying customers around here.

Because there is certain line that shouldn't be cross in the old world. And this is called principle and value.

In the New world they are all for Marketing and Margins.

US doesn't have many protections for consumers. We are the country of companies and the populace doesn't have a real voice, just a fake one.


For US carriers its just business as usual. Technically the FTC would have to act on this but I think we all agree what side they are on. I really don't get why the US population doesn't demand better phone networks.

You want us to go into European, Indian, Chinese and African corporate scandals?

I have my popcorn out, do it! Just don’t start with VW.

To be fair, VW didn't try to screw over their customers per se; indeed the whole point was to increase fuel efficiency (direct benefit to customer) at the expense of increased NO2 emissions (a negative externality). Of course what they did was deplorable in any case.

Depends on whether you value money higher than life and health. Volkswagen is the biggest car brand in Europe - I'm sure they made health of their customers (as well as others) worse.

Not just in Europe, the Volkswagen group had the most sales globally in 2017.

How’s that Renault/Nissan thing going?

Don’t feed the trolls please.

I second bnt's idea. I cannot sleep and would love to see this play out.

We faked it in the phones I was involved in making. Android, EU.

My bars are for the signal, there is 4 bars but the 4G/LTE/3G etc...is right above it.

I'm on Android.

Ugh, I dared look at the code and stepped back in horror...https://android.googlesource.com/platform/frameworks/base/+/...

I've scrolled through that code, though I'm not a java dev, I don't really see much 'horror'. Can you explain?

Well, there is about 600 lines of boilerplate before you get to anything remotely interesting.

If the boilerplate is the horrific part, well that's just Java isn't it? The meaningful functions are straightforward and do what you expect. Describe the level of the first radio that returns non-zero starting with the most advanced technology. Or in the case of CDMA/EVDO, the lowest level.

Well no, Java isn’t the best of languages but my criticism stems from other issues, such as weak type system, certain inscrutably bad decisions about the runtime libraries and other, but this code is bad also according to any self respecting java developer.

An untyped (that is, it cops out to int) bunch of public static’s that should’ve been an enum. Daft combination of builders and constructors. Magic numbers. Adapter methods that should go into their own class. Validators that should also go into their own class (and even there, implemented differently, not as a parameterless method). Transformers that could be modeled as their own class (all these “in their own class” are for testabilty.) some of the names in these adapters suggest some other domain concerns (UI) are leaking into this model class.

IOW, it’s a mess by any standard

> An untyped (that is, it cops out to int) bunch of public static’s that should’ve been an enum.

Java platform code does not use enums since they are more taxing in terms of memory usage. Till Google I/O 2018, Google use to officially recommend that you should avoid enums in your app code if you can.

What's the motivation to lie? If service is claimed to be better than it is, then all that does is set expectations higher at times when service is weak thus increasing dissatisfaction and likelihood to jump ship.

Signal/network quality is what it is, signal bars are just there to set expectations for the user. Lying with them seems like a fool's errand.

I regularly hear friends/family/colleagues/strangers complain or switch service provider on the basis of “I get like no bars at home” or “I only get 1 bar reception in the office on <carrier name>”.

This stuff is relatively meaningless in a technical sense given even a full set of bars still tells you nothing about contention, backhaul etc, but it probably matters in marketing/customer perception terms for the carriers.

People only care about the bars after they notice calls dropping, and we assume the phone isn't lying. Then we get extra mad when we have 4 bars while calls drop.

As someone said, in practice what happens is that people like at the bars, not actual performance. Heck, I hear people who think the phone is messed up when their are full bars but no data working (because the bars are showing analog signal or other things). They rarely blame the carrier. So why should the carrier care?

What the fuck Android? Why are you helping mobile carriers lie to their customers?

Signal bars are meaningless anyway. Even a raw dB measurement wouldn't tell much about the service quality, so they might as well switch to a "coverage / no coverage" indicator.

To go a step further for GSM (I don't know precisely for 4G, but I suspect it is the same) the base station determines both handset dB/SNR/Quality and commands the handset power which usually is limiting performance. It is likely this setting that allows the handset to report its "number of bars"...

So if you don't let them lie on the handset... it's likely that the network providers would just start lying to the handsets at an even deeper level than they already do. Just get the marketing silliness out of the way at as high a level as possible so engineers can make our coverage better.

there are at least 4 values.

rsrp, rsrq, sinr, rssi

rsrq is probably the important one. You can clearly see usage of the cell tower with that.

Number of bars (1-2 vs. 4-5 or whatver max is) seems to give a pretty decent indication of latency and bandwidth to me. I get that it isn't perfect.

Seems to be a lot of situations where a bar or two is no service, and others where service is great. So as a determination of whether I can use the phone it is pretty meaningless.

Your experience will vary, but perhaps:

4-5 bars => 98% likelihood that everything is great.

1-2 bars => 20% quite good, 50% pretty decent, 20% quite bad, 7% bad, 3% no service.

How is something like that meaningless? That is immensely useful. You can also reason about it depending on the context. Downtown but inside a bar in a cellar? Or out in the country far from civilization?

That it isn't perfect doesn't make it meaningless.

In my experience, two bars perfectly indicate the threshold of ”there's service, but no service at all might've been better—at least there wouldn't be false hope.”

That actually helps explain an issue I had with my Galaxy Nexus. I worked in an area with spotty coverage, and it was extremely common that it would say I have full service coverage, only to have it drop to almost or no signal as soon as I used it to call. That issue was infuriating.

That can also happen if the phone switches between network types when calling - e.g. for a long time you couldn't call over LTE, so your phone switched to UMTS (3G) or GSM (2G) network to make and receive phone calls.

So you could have excellent service for data and still lose signal for calls.

That makes sense too. I thought that also at that time that LTE was relatively new, so in theory, the UMTS or GSM would have a stronger signal than LTE, which would have meant my calls would be fine.

I noticed this about phones, if you're using GPS and get a call and answer, guess what, no more GPS. So my guess is the phone cuts off the mobile data, and yeah then you'd see the real coverage.

Mobile networks are two-way systems. If you have perfect reception of the mobile network - let's say full bars! - then that doesn't mean the mobile network also has reception of your mobile device.

Most of the time, your phone is in RX-only mode to save battery. It listenes for incoming data every millisecond or two, but no more. But as soon as you actively use the network, things change. The basestation must receive your signals as well. This may suddenly and dramatically change the perception of "signal quality". Before it's RX quality only, then it's RX+TX quality.

With incoming or outgoing calls, your phone may switch to another technology. While it may be idling in 4G, large parts of the world rely on 2G for voice calls. As soon as the call starts, the phone switched to 2G and naturally shows 2G reception.

Interesting, yeah I don't know a whole lot about the underlying tech. I figure Google Maps uses my mobile data which explains why it sorta appears to have lost it's own darn mind.

CDMA phones (notably, 3G Sprint US, 3G Bell Canada, 3G Telus Canada) couldn't simultaneously use data (say, Google Maps) and voice.

GPS lat/long would work fine, but you won't be able to download turn-by-turn directions or map tiles/vectors from Google.

LTE (and 3G HSPA, such as AT&T, T-mo, 3G/4G/LTE Rogers Canada, LTE Bell Canada, LTE Telus Canada) don't have this behavior. Voice calls are packet switched (so you can do voice and data at the same time).

GPS is receive only, no mobile data is used there.

Assisted GPS might require data/mobile network connection for the brief period of time the phone figures out where it is, roughly.

Assisted GPS talks with the towers around, pings them for distance and gets their coordinates. It's happening on the GSM layer. It's also a no-data exchange IIRC.

No, I think it's only downloading almanach data for faster GPS.

It's one of the operational modes. On the other mode it calculates the location on behalf of the user and responds back with it [0].

In both modes data connection is required, so I'm mistaken.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_GPS

Google Maps uses mobile data to render the maps though do they not?

But how is this related to GPS?

Because that's what customers want.

Sure, they'll say they want accurate data, but at the end of the day they're paying the provider with the most bars and not doing even the most basic of independent testing, so clearly that's what customers want. In a free market, you measure what people want by what they choose to pay for.

No, the customers don't want faked information. You don't expect to people to independently test the contents of every item of food just in case the ingredients on the package on faked.

They simply don't know they're being lied to. In most other areas of commerce, that would be illegal.

A remarkably large number of US consumers definitely want fake information: as two brief examples, consider the way weather data in the US is reported (customers get angry if it rains on a “90 percent chance if clear skies” day and customers get angry if their car runs out if fuel when the guage hits “empty”

Interestingly, German consumers want to inow the exact level of petroleum spirits in a tank and will get irritated if they are lied to.

When I owned a German car, the speedometer read somewhat too high, compared to Japanese cars that were quite accurate. Also, on German cars I've driven, when they were stopped, the MPG gauge went to the maximum, rather than zero as would be correct. So I infer that German consumers want to be lied to about some things, just perhaps different things.

In EU, there's an unspoken rule for cars to report speeds inflated by 5%.

This is possibly based on an old research of SAAB which used a reverse logarithmic speedometer, giving feeling of exaggerated acceleration until 120-130 KM/h or so. Then the scale tightened so much that going significantly faster didn't move the speedometer that much. Also the needle hit top left quadrant much faster, hinting that you're going really fast.

Also, EU uses L/100KM concept instead of MPG. When the speed is 0, most cars switch to L/h scale. Toyotas also show an infinity symbol when in MPG mode while the speed is 0.

For anyone interested below are some examples:

1- https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5c/Instrume...

2- https://i.ytimg.com/vi/V0RyHPM0mBI/maxresdefault.jpg

I remember the numbers right, but it wasn't reverse logarithmic scale. It was a hard transition at 140KM/h.

Are you sure they displayed mpg and not l/100km?

Dashboards are user or factory configurable. Our Ford Focus had a button to change between L/100KM and MPG.

My friend's VW Bora's dashboard was OBDII configurable. The options were Japan/US/EU IIRC. Setting to US not only changed it to MPG scale, enabled the door-open beeps. :D

Well, I wouldn't be surprised if the software internally always computed l/100km and the converted to mpg for display.

It's much more direct for car to measure consumption as L/100KM. However the conversion is done by the instrument cluster on the VW. We were connecting to the instrument cluster via CANBUS and changing the setting directly on it. Also the beeps were handled at the cluster, not at the central config.

Car technology is weird...

The car manufacturers always make their speedometers show a little bit too much (like 10%) to make sure they never show too little (or they would get sued badly and get their cars taken of the streets). We _accept_ that the car companies do this for legal/security reasons, which is very different from _wanting_ them to do it. I would be angry if they did the same if the fuel indicator.

No they don’t. I have a 2005 ford with a speedometer that matches GPS all of the way up to 85 mph (haven’t tested higher).

I had a 1996 Ford Mondeo that showed 10% more. Then I had 2004 Ford Mondeo and it was 5% more. I sold that one and bought a 2008 Ford Mondeo and it is 5% more. My other car - 1998 Ford Fiesta - is 10% more. I also drove a 2011 Ford Mondeo and it showed more but I hadn't had it long enough to care to calculate how much exactly.

I tested all the cars except the Fiesta up to 230 km/h and the 2008 one up to 260 km/h (it's the 2.5T).

All the cars are/were German except for the Fiesta, that one is Czech.

Maybe it’s something they do in Europe but not the US.

Maybe your car GPS is reporting higher? All cars I've driven were reporting %5-%10 more.

It’s not a car gps. It’s a receiver on a phone. That can’t be wrong by that much or the position would be wrong.

Japanese customers, too. Back in the day, there was a gentleman's agreement among Japanese automakers to limit power output of JDM cars to 276 hp.

In reality, Japanese performance cars were all spectacularly underrated. Your "276 hp" sports coupe is probably making 350 hp. It was more of a gentleman's agreement to lie about power figures than anything else.

Customers can and do independently test their products when they care, from the UL to review sites to kosher certification to gluten-free certification to animal welfare standards at grocery store deli counters. The free market is adequately capable of answering these questions.

When customers actually care enough to pass a law, they can. That's why certain practices are illegal. Other ones aren't because they don't want their taxes increased to fund investigations they don't care about. When the government starts enforcing protections for people's own good because they know better, you no longer have a free market.

Technically, the government determines what qualifies "certified gluten-free", at least in the USA[1]. It probably belongs more in the "when customers care enough to pass a law" section than the "self-regulation" section.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_Allergen_Labeling_and_Con...

They are getting faked info. You run out there and tell them, see how many switch.

You're confusing what customers want with what satisfices them. If customers saw one bar and 3G all the time, that would lead to more complaints and worse image of their service. The carrier is doing what's expedient to reduce support calls and placebo their way into "better" service at the least short-term possible cost: lying to the customer.

The trick is to trust but put people in prison when you find out they betrayed your trust.

Because the alternative is for every single OEM to reimplement this on their own, probably in a worse way. Everyone (including Apple, who have far more leverage over carriers) is basically forced to comply with the carriers here, so there's really no other option.

Playing devil's advocate: it's purpose could be to help them not lie. Imagine if there are circumstances where you have good signal strength but still poor quality; a carrier could adjust the bars displayed to be more realistic.

At least you admit you're advocating for the Devil!

We could hope a cell phone company would be so honest as to make sure their signal indicators show possibly lower values.

They could, sure. They could also give you a free pony with every phone.

Because mobile carriers and other large businesses have always been their customers, not consumers. Google’s only incentive for helping consumers is that it might give them more data for their large business partners.

What's your explanation for why iOS does the same thing?

Apple as a company doesn’t care about the truth and never has pretended to (which does suck).

This echoes of the "Antennagate" problems where apparently Apple's algorithm miscalculated signal, there was a big bruhaha and Papermaster was thrown under the bus.




It wasn't Android. Apple did this deliberately, and only apologized when they got caught.

It's a ritual to bash Android and Google on HN, and Apple gets a pass every time.

Apple also released a patch which showed "4G" symbol in status bar for AT&T when on HSxPA signal. In europe and everywhere else, the phone kept showing 3G as other phones.

It’s a per-SIM carrier configuration, when you’re abroad with a US SIM you’ll also see 4G/LTE.

Ahh, good to know.

Does anyone know if this cheating is permitted on iOS?

This seems like Apple was borderline admitting the bars are a joke:


> There was a phone that people complained about reception on that was displaying the current service signal strength using a realistic algorithm.

> Review sites, etc, complained about it compared to other phones despite it being better in actuality.

> A "fix" was issued. That fix was to use the same signal bar algorithm as everyone else. The same review sites/etc were awash with how much better everyone's reception was and gladness the bug had been fixed.


Personal knowledge. I can't name the phone because it never became public that this is what the fix did. They were in fact, required not to say this is what happened. You'd have to find someone willing to break the NDA (and I know a bunch of these people hang out on hacker news, so maybe you'll get it!)

However, the fact that this kind of thing is required is public knowledge through source code, so i'll repeat the link someone else posted:


(my particular story was not about LTE, however)

Actually, I remember something very similar to this happening when one of the iPhones came out. Around the iPhone 5, IIRC.

The review sites went nuts showing the new iPhone displaying four bars while sitting next to an Android phone displaying five bars on the same carrier. The perception was that the Android had better reception, but after a short while it was revealed that the iPhone was just measuring the signal more accurately.

It was about this time that the iPhone went from displaying the traditional stepped signal bar graph to a series of dots. At the time I wondered if it was related.

I still have the stepped bar graph for some reason.

iOS 11 switched back to bars (four years after iOS 7 switched to dots).

Not enough space in the ears of the iPhone X/XS displays to show the dots - at least that's my guess why they switched it back.

Not sure if this is what they're referring to, but here's a similar story


See: iPhone Antennagate

That was an actual design/manufacturing defect, where touching the wrong part of the case would cause a short-circuit and immediately drop the call.

Not a short circuit, if I recall correctly, but it added a lot of capacitance and therefore impedance to the antenna.

And like other Applegates it was overblown. Apple kept selling the same GSM iPhone 4 design for 3 years.

As a former iPhone 4 user who lived in a house with poor reception, I wouldn't say the issue was overblown. I practically couldn't use my phone for phone calls. I don't use the phone part much, so it wasn't a deal breaker for me, but I do remember that all my connection problems went away when I switched to an iPhone 5.

Antennagate was specifically about holding the phone in a certain way that caused poor reception - that’s what I am saying was overblown.

The fact that a newer phone gets better reception was not part of antenna gate.

The "magic spot" was a big problem -- accidentally touching it dropped calls.

Reception of the iPhone 4 was significantly worse than the 3GS that came before it.

It wasn't overblown at all. They totally screwed up the antenna design, and because of their release cycle it took them 2 years to fix it (with the iPhone 5)

(Also, "a certain way"="the way a normal person holds their phone when they put it on their ear")

And it didn’t always happen. If it always happen for everyone there would have been a much bigger outcry over the next three years.

You probably live in an area with decent cell tower coverage. If you have good reception, the signal attenuation won't be noticable.

But if you live in an area with poor reception, it is very noticable. For me, it always happened when I was in certain rooms of my house. I'd typically pick up my phone, walk out of the living room to not disturb the others, and then the connection would break up.

No other phone did that. The iPhone 4 had really crappy reception. People made fun of it, and it was absolutely justified.

I still loved the phone. The Retina Display was a breakthrough, and I still think it was the most beautiful phone ever made. But the reception was crappy.

It was not overblown. I had that phone. It was unusable if you were touching it. That's a pretty major design flaw.

The issue was never that it was unusable if you were touching it anywhere. The iPhone 4 was my first iPhone. I used it for a year - before I was force to upgrade when I switched to Verizon (corporate discount) but my son used it when we switched back from Verizon and two years later, neither of us had a problem.

Besides the one specific case if you held the phone a certain way which was a universal problem, all cellphone reception varies from area to area.

> if you held the phone a certain way

Which coincidentally was exactly the way many people always hold phones. A relative had an iPhone 4 and constant connection issues which completely disappeared after she put some tape around the antenna.

I thought Christina was great.

Antennagate was not overblown. It had substantial effects on my reception — to the point of no service. I was forced to use a case, and then forgot about the problem until next time I removed the case. Apple’s software fix, still there to this day, is to make it appear that I have service when I do not.

Edge cases always look bad, a 1% drop in signal quality can result in a dropped call, but is only significant in some areas. Though it looks really bad in those areas.

The reception at my parents house is horrible and I have needed to hold several cellphones in very specific ways for them to work there. This is going back to flip phones though the number of locations phones work has been improving over time.

It’s like that big brand clothing store that tried getting rid of the persistent 60%-off “sales” in favor of just showing the real prices.

JC Penny I think?

And the strategy failed, CEO fired, and they went back to the old marketing/pricing.

One of the companies I work for (a closeouts/clearance wholesaler) has a standing policy of selling nearly everything at half of the average retail price. There was a time where we would look up retail pricing on, for example, a task chair, and it would average $100 in big box stores. We would mark it $50 and advertise it as "half our competitor's prices". We had tons of customers demanding to get discounts off of our "retail" price or they would no longer shop with us.

Eventually we figured out that if we marked it at the full retail price of $100, then put a tag on it that said "take 50% off", it would sell like crazy. We make the same amount of money per sale, but we sell much higher volume due to customer perception of sale prices. Now we price all merchandise that was previously subject to the half-retail rule with the same strategy.

I remember an article about some guy that bought a TV on "sales", then scraped off the price tag, only to see that the the "Christmas sale" price was higher then the original price.

In EU countries there are often advertising regulations to the effect of sale prices having to be lower than the average price of that item over a certain period leading up to the sale, you can't raise the price right before a sale, etc.

Discount codes are widely used to mitigate this though. Lot's of retailers in the UK have a sales every few weeks and when there isn't a sale they have discount codes.

That's not at all what I'm describing. Whether our old policy of selling for half the average retail price, or tagging it at full retail but giving 50% off at the register, we were selling for half what the customer would pay in any other store for the same merchandise.

What you are saying is the opposite and is extremely immoral (and likely illegal in some places).

The CEO was Ron Johnson. Alex Blumberg did an interview with him on his Without Fail podcast where he briefly talks about his time at JC Penny (along with Target and Apple). The whole interview is good, but JCP starts around the 28-29 minutes.


Don't know much about the matter, I am from EU and traveled to NY a week ago.

The carrier I was assigned to was AT&T from my own carrier and it showed like I had 3-4 bars 4g all the time, although everything was so slow, in many cases I couldn't even do a search on google.

For a whole week, while being there I felt like I had no actual 4g, heck not even 3g. I don't know if thats AT&T specifically or New York being a very busy city but ye thats a real problem right there tbh, seeking out wifi just because you cant get the service you are supposedly paying for sucks.

Note that when a phone on AT&T shows “4G”, that means HSPA+, i.e. actually 3G. When on LTE, it shows “LTE”.

In other words, AT&T did the exact same scam during the 3G->4G transition and the effects still show...

It's mostly because of lack of local break out https://www.dialogic.com/glossary/local-breakout-lbo Basically your traffic travelling back and forth between roaming network and home network. Next time check your IP and you will see EU IP instead of US. Although some operators offers local breakout, it's still rare.

Are you sure your phone has the right bands? I assume NTT DoCoMo is very fast in Tokyo, but my iPhone (even though it seems to connect at 4G) is agonizingly slow. Like sub- 1 mbps.

Sometimes roaming is throttled (because carriers charge each other crazy rates) so you may not have been getting the throughput that the AT&T network is capable of.

I was on vacation on Spain with my girlfriend's family, who are from the US. They all had booked international roaming from T-Mobile US. Their speeds were so bad they couldn't even look up restaurants on Yelp. Meanwhile, I am on T-Mobile Germany, which since last year has free (and unthrottled, I think) roaming in the entire EU per EU law. My data worked flawlessly. It was even faster than the hotel WiFi, and I used it to tether to my laptop instead of using the WiFi.

The fake gauge readings have been going on for a lot longer than that.

When Cadillac first put electronic fuel gauges in their vehicles, I think around 1984, customers would complain about the fuel mileage. So for the next model year, the gauges were reprogrammed from a linear scale to a semi-logarithmic scale. All complaints of mileage stopped.

>They also require that the strength bars display the highest reception of any type of service it can receive

To be fair, for the original purpose of the signal strength bar (indicate ability to receive and make phone calls) this is the better metric. If I am on a 1 bar LTE connection but as soon as I loose it the phone falls back to a 4 bar GSM connection, I effectively do have a 4 bar connection to the phone network, not a shaky 1 bar connection where I should avoid moving the phone too much.

Of course now mobile internet is increasingly the thing people are more woried about, but signal bars were never a good approximation of mobile internet speed because contention is a much bigger problem than with phone service.

That's interesting if true. Does the operator have that much control over the phone though? I guess all I care about - does it effect me?

I have a pixel2xl, flashed with CarbonOS. Not a trace of carrier or google crap - carrier config/sprintdm/etc all disabled.

Does ATT still have some power to control what my signal strength bars or connection label says? I very highly doubt it. I believe my phone decides what to show by itself - not the carrier.

If someone is not in the same position as me - a blind sheep who buys his phone from a carrier, then for them, in my opinion, this is a good step. 5g to them simply means "faster that when it said 4g" - and this holds true for this.

Yes, they do.

It's a little different than it used to be though. Historically, the carriers require their magic signal bar algorithms/network type display by contract if you wanted to sell phones in their stores.

Now, less phones target each carrier specifically than used to, but ...

Some of them also used to require display of various network types in various situations (IE you were required to display 4G in circumstances where it was on their "4g network", regardless of whether you were using a 4g protocol)

You can't trust any of this when it comes to mobile networks, they control the domain and have to play by their rules.

Example? I used to work at a company that made femtocells, basically small 3g base stations. All 2 way radios are a co-operative medium, i.e. shouting 'fire' in a crowded room raises the noise floor for everybody so they all need to shout.

We had hundreds of handsets for testing so knew when a particular model/brand/firmware version wasn't working to spec. We'd shoot an email to the manufacturer to get it sorted. Most were fine, but the one that never responded? A certain fruit related company.


Probably the fruit company with the most models of phone (Nearly all white label Huawei models, but still!)

Nope. A manufacturer not a mobile network, apologies if it wasn't clear.

Sounds like the green grocer sketch. "My Blackberry is not working"


> Yes, they do.

I don't think my operator even knows what kind of phone I have, let alone any access to any software on it. How could they be controlling it? Is it something actually in the SIM?

Baseband cpu. Your phone has 2 separate cpus, and you dont have any access to the 2nd one. Your provider does.

That's one of the reasons why the makers of the Librem 5 phone decided to use an internal USB bus which isolates the baseband from the SoC:

> To isolate the cellular modem from the SoC, we will be placing the modem on the (remarkably fast) USB bus and have the phone interact with the cellular modem through USB instead of on the main RAM bus. This will separate the cellular modem on its own bus without seeing any other data.


These processors don't use a shared memory bus. It's just marketing dribble.

How do they get code onto that processor? From the SIM?

Over the network these days. Have you ever gotten a message on your phone similar to “carrier settings updated” especially after switching a device from one network to another? That’s what it means.

The operator knows your phone's IMEI which allows to determine the brand/model.

Doesn't Android or CarbonOS just get its signal strength information from the Qualcomm baseband OS? It's a second OS always running on your phone that you can't do much about.

The baseband OS could be lying about signal strength to your phone OS.

Android/etc allow carriers to customize the signal bar thresholds, etc.

So even if the baseband didn't lie (which is one mechanism), the carriers can control the thresholds used on their network.

Google's android does, and there are specific services in the OS for that, such as vz* sprint* tm* and carrier config/services. There are also a bunch of Qualcomm services running that to various things.

So my question was - I don't have any of that stuff on my phone, with a custom rooted rom, and those services disabled/removed. Simple test now - if I set my phone to 2G, it connects to 2G with full bars, and says 2G. If I set it to LTE, it says LTE and displays 1 bar. Also, every time I reboot the phone, it pop us "carrier config failed."

This makes me believe this likely applies to phones bought from a carrier and not re-flashed. The fact is, if you for some reason buy a phone from a carrier, you are buying into their ecosystem, and for people like that - most people, this 5G icon is what they want, because to them it means faster than the 4G icon on that phone, so I don't see an issue here.

Even if you buy the phone from a third party, there are a bunch of custom configs for every carrier in the world in the android source code.

They're mostly mundane things like 'should we believe the language specified in the sim card' or 'what max MTU should be used on this network', but there are also more sensitive things like 'what types of tethering to allow' or 'should we allow the user to manually select which network to connect to while roaming.

> That's interesting if true. Does the operator have that much control over the phone though?

For most customers, the operator literally sold them the phone. If you're using your own device, not provided by the operator, then it's not relevant to you.

I wouldn’t be so sure, the baseband firmware can be remotely updated by the carrier.

In addition, most carriers have settings inside AOSP itself. I remember when I had an International Galaxy S7, I'd see 4G if I connected to a carrier that used that branding for LTE (like AT&T) and LTE for others (like T-Mobile).

So the stupidity of the people demands lies.

I really wish there was something for iPhone that told me my SNR, CRO, Bands etc... and then let me manually configure if I want.

As things are going we're basically going to get the equivalent of stoplights for the reception/connectivity UI.

Don't think there's anything like Signal Spy for iPhone


Is there a need for it on iPhone? I am seriously considering making Signal Spy for iPhone.


Getting true data on connection type/band/strength etc is really useful, especially if you can log it. I personally don't have an iPhone, but Signal Spy is useful to me on Android.

I'd buy it

You can get some information on the iPhone using the field test app, you access it by calling


What phone?

IOS, iPhone 4


Edit: This adds more details, explains the "You're holding it wrong" announcement.


Seeing a lot of comments here that are along the lines of, "this is typical marketing aka lying." Just wanted to say (as a marketing major and former marketing guy) these are most assuredly not the same thing, and I think we make a grave error by normalizing the idea that lying == marketing. Lying is not ok. Marketing is perfectly ok. Let's be careful lest we make excuses like, "Oh they're just marketing"

Marketing is not perfectly ok, at best it alerts us to things we weren't going to buy because we didn't know about them. But most of the time it either 1) encourages us to buy things we weren't already going to buy (like the $20 shit they sell on tv) or 2) attempts to win mindshare/sales over some other competing brand, which is also wasteful because it's ultimately just a product trying to carve itself a larger piece of a relatively fixed-size pie. Or it does some other nefarious stuff like trying to boost PR of some business or sway our political opinion. And many of the methods that marketing uses to accomplish these goals leverage negative human psychology like making us feel ugly/fat/poor/stupid if we don't make that purchase we weren't going to make originally.

Open a magazine/watch tv/disable adblock/look at roadside ads and you'll see that very rarely are ads actually making the world a better place.

I don't agree with your statements that (almost?) all marketing is bad because it tries to promote products. I believe a company has the right to try to get people interested in their product, because if not, how would people get to know about it? Hearing other people talk about it? Those other people should've known about it in the first place (how?) and this is promotion as well. The idea of product promotion at its core is not bad, it's inherent to how our economy works.

> And many of the methods that marketing uses to accomplish these goals leverage negative human psychology like making us feel ugly/fat/poor/stupid if we don't make that purchase we weren't going to make originally.

_This_ is where I agree with you, however. Promotion is one thing, and making the world a better place with every single thing you do is hardly possible (or necessary), but making the world a decidedly worse place is not what we're looking for. The shaming tactic that you describe is something that works in marketing, and it may not even be lying, but it's bad.

You are conflating marketing and advertising. While advertising is part of marketing, marketing involves so much more.

Marketing makes the world a warmer place (planet warming) ... by making us buy stuff we don't need.

When people say marketing is lying, it’s really shorthand for “marketing has a strong incentive to lie, and very little to stop them. Many times the only thing stopping them are the morals of the company (lol) or very rarely applied laws against false advertising”. So you can see that the reputation is there because the incentives and market forces pretty much force marketing in that direction.

It would seem the line between marketing and lying is completely arbitrary and essentially means nothing. Take a look at any fast food commercial for an easy example.

I think the perception is that 90% of marketing is straight up propaganda (which includes lying, obviously). And I think this perception is correct. If there is a difference between marketing and lying, it sure is difficult for the average user to distinguish, hence the perception.

"The Power of Home Depot" - The POWER? Really? Its also the most expensive even though they always claim to have the best deals. "JD Power best in class" - even though the company paid JD power for the "award" Fast food commercials - never mind how the photographs are essentially straight up propaganda, "I'm Lovin' It!"

There are so many examples of this I couldn't list them all if I even tried to.

> normalizing the idea that lying == marketing

I hate to tell you this, but its already been normalized because for the most part that is the truth!

You fail to make a coherent point, because you try to differentiate a set (in)permissible actions only by assigning them different names (lying vs. marketing) without defining them or relating them to examples (of others). As you clearly don't agree with the definitions of other commenters, please construct that system of knowledge yourself, so others can even meaningfully reply.

Lying: marked by or containing untrue statements[1]

Marketing: the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service [2]

[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lying

[2] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marketing

>Lying: marked by or containing untrue statements[1]

So are we suggesting 4x4 MIMO, 256 QAM, along with some 3GPP Rel 14 features ( such as lower latency ), eLAA, better FDD-MIMO with LTE as 5G being correct and not lying when the industry as well as previously agreed upon 5G standard were starting at 5G phase 1 with 3GPP Rel 15 using NR?

Spec wise, and technically, ( Since we are on HN and talking to Geeks ), this is lying. To consumer, The 3GPP Rel 14, or whatever AT&T is using does actually include many of the 5G improvement.

From a Carrier perspective, I have yet to see ANY real world testing results which suggest to me 5G NR is actually that much better. Which means they will need time to do lots more testing and tuning before consumer will see the benefits. It is however important for them to bring their customer base to 3GPP-Rel 14 which supports the FDD-MIMO. ( Unlike TD-MIMO which works with 3GPP-Rel 8 if I remember correctly, so Advantage to Sprint ). But most carrier are using FDD spectrum. Moving the customer to FDD-MIMO capable phone vastly improves the Network Capacity and hence better for everybody on the Network.

Another major problem is 5G were far too hyped up, we have seen this far too many times and it seems people never learn anything from it.

The cynical among us have noted a correlation between #1 and #2. Even when marketing doesn't say anything strictly untrue, it makes statements that make you think of untrue things.

The problem is that a lot of people fail to parse statements correctly and interpret them to mean something else than they actually do. It's technically not lying.

As an example, an ISP advertising speeds "up to 1Gbps", when in reality you usually get 20Mbps, rarely 50Mbps, is not lying - the bandwidth never goes over 1Gbps. However, most of us here would be very upset with the reality when compared to the ad.

When securities laws are applied, lying/"marketing" becomes securities fraud and jail time with zero protection from the 1st amendment.


Even outside the securities law context, there are laws against false advertising and against fraud. Such laws are permissible under the First Amendment because false statements of fact are mostly excluded from First Amendment protection [1]; in addition, marketing is considered “commercial speech”, which is given slightly less protection overall than “political, ideological, or artistic speech” [2].

In practice, what that means is that the FTC goes around suing companies for false or misleading advertising. Who knows if they’ll care about this issue: they only have so many resources, and/or they may not see this as crossing the line. Of note, though, the FTC does have an active lawsuit against AT&T regarding an unrelated issue: namely, “unlimited” plans being throttled after reaching a certain level of bandwidth usage.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_statements_of_fact

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_speech

Hey HN slow down let me chime in here, i used to work in the lying profession and i just need you to know that lying is not ok, and that lying is not the same thing as lying

Harry Frankfurt[1] would probably suggest bullshit--as opposed to simply lying--as a proper description.

[1] https://press.princeton.edu/titles/7929.html

Or as Neal Stephenson in his novel Anathem defined: Bulshytt

Speech (typically but not necessarily commercial or political) that employs euphemism, convenient vagueness, numbing repetition, and other such rhetorical subterfuges to create the impression that something has been said.

Isn't that just equivocation by another name?

Which is a synonym for lie.

I do agree that marketing =! lying, but I think the problem most people have is that "typical marketing" == lying.

What the hell does it mean for something to be “ok” and why should I care?

Are there many examples of marketing that are 100% truthful?

Do you actually doubt it? Do you think that, like, the Amazon page for a teapot is likely to contain many lies?

Yes! To pick a random example, I typed "teapot" into Amazon and clicked the first link: https://www.amazon.com/Hiware-Removable-Infuser-Stovetop-Blo...

> This teapot is purely hand crafted, made from heat resistant borosilicate glass, Specially designed with non dripping spout and perfect ergonomic handle for sturdy grip

Probably not.

If fake reviews count as “marketing” then absolutely I do.

Oh, come on. Typical engineering centric view of the world. People don't care or understand that HSPA was just a protocol extension to 3G and therefore didn't deserve to be called 4G. I don't even really care.

Marketing is just marketing. It's the company communicating with customers about their products and services and how they're running their business. If calling these technology improvements 5G helps AT&T invest more in their network, I'm all for that.

I get 200 mbps download speeds on my iPhone in San Francisco, near Fisherman's Wharf (insanely crowded tourist area). I don't know what the technology they're using to get it to work, but if they want to call it 6G or 7G I don't really care, as long as they continue to invest in it and improve it.

For those curious, on the marketing page for their 5G plan, AT&T says these changes to the LTE network are being calling "5Ge":

"How are we doing it? With enhancements like carrier aggregation to add more “lanes” to the highway that data travels on. 4x4 MIMO to double the number of antennas that can send data back and forth. And 256 QAM to make data transmission more efficient. All this adds up to faster speeds for you." https://www.att.com/5g/consumer

Typical marketing bullshit.

The definition of 5G is steered by a globally recognized technical authority, and when they issue press releases[1] which are in turn reissued by media agencies informing the general public of what to expect, AT&T doesn't do anyone other than themselves a favor by introducing "5Ge" marketing bullshit knowing very well that average Joe User will simply dismiss the deemphasized "e", and doesn't have the technical means of independent verification in any case.

The problem is AT&T wants to have their cake and eat it too: they're trying to normalize an ignorant public to 4G tech by obfuscating the market with a false perception that their networks are on the bleeding edge of standards integration. Through my eyes, the confusion such practices illicit are not unlike the damage caused by trademark infringement.

[1] https://www.itu.int/en/mediacentre/Pages/2017-PR04.aspx

ITU doesn't make the standards, why should they get to decide what's "4G" and "5G" etc.? "5Ge" is a label for a real thing in wireless technology--a parallel evolution of LTE that overlaps in technology and speed with 3GPP's 5G-NR standard. 3GPP (the folks that actually make the standards) are pushing a parallel evolution of LTE and 5G-NR into the "5G era." LTE will get technologies that will also show up in 5G-NR: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LTE_Advanced_Pro.

Because they're the overarching publisher of a international telecom performance specification for which 3GPP's 5G NR is a prospective candidate. Your question strikes me as akin to justifying why organizations like ANSI, DIN, et al exist. That "5Ge" is a label for a real thing (however way you've chosen to define that) doesn't make it technically unencumbered. That we're quoting "5Ge" speaks for itself; I'd imagine an objective of ITU specifications would be to eliminate such marketing bullshit and public misdirection.

ITU’s “performance specifications” mean nothing. They’re aspirational targets. (ITU publishes a lot of real standards, but the value of saying how fast “4G” should be, while 3GPP develops the actual technology, is thin.) Imagine if ITU published standards for how fast different “generations” of CPUs have to be. Would anyone care? Would they lambast Intel for releasing “Ninth Generation Core” chips that are warmed over Skylale?

So meaningless and aspirationly uncommitted that 3GPP is actively pursuing ITU's blessing of their own standards? While we're at it, why don't we dismiss acquisition efforts across the globe since those guys don't develop the actual tech?

FDA doesn't make drugs, but they establish the baseline criteria for its safety that commercial manufacturers are beholden to. USDA doesn't raise cattle, but I can go to a grocery store and pay a premium for Porterhouse without questioning if I was overcharged for a T-bone. I'm sure you see the pattern.

That's fine if they exist in a world all by themselves.

But if that was true they wouldn't need to mislead anyone, because they'd be in charge of the names.

The problems come when you need to make a comparison between different networks.

"4G" means something. "5G" means something else. If you want to represent incremental improvement between the two, use a number between 4 and 5.

Especially when "4G" was already being stretched down to talk about lower performance than it should have been.

> "4G" means something. "5G" means something else.

Except it's not that simple. LTE and 5G-NR (New Radio) are continuing on parallel development tracks, with important features getting "backported" into LTE. You could build an LTE Advanced Pro network with all the fixings that would be faster than a barebones 5G-NR network. If you want to be technically precise, refer to whatever 3GPP release you mean. Once you're using "4G" and "5G" you're already in fuzzy marketing land.

It reminds me of the days of CDROM speeds: 2X, 3X, 4X, etc. At one point the number before the X was related to the device’s actual data throughput, until the marketers took over, and they changed what it meant, and then it just turned into a number arms race. I think I remember seeing something labeled 72X.

Most customers don’t know what a G is or why he wants 4 or 5 of them. They think a “bar” is a unit of signal strength measurement. Since there is no regulatory reason to be truthful, it’s inevitable that companies are going to start inflating the numbers.

The X was always the [maximum] speed you could read a drive, not a fake number. Drives went up to 56x by spinning the disc over twenty times faster than a CD player. (With the outer edge being 2.5 times faster than the inner edge.)

The 72x drive had especially interesting tech, using 7 beams so that it only had to spin 5-10 times faster. It also had a significantly better minimum speed of about 44x.

> but if they want to call it 6G or 7G I don't really care,

As someone who never buys phones from their carrier, I _do_ actually care. Accurate labeling of your standards is a requirement in this marketplace, I feel.

> AT&T says these changes to the LTE network are being calling "5Ge":

Which is, to me, intentionally dishonest. It's 4G+, if anything.

I like that every single brand of toilet paper now boasts "8=16" or "12=32" etc.

It's a strange comfortable flexibility we have developed around truth.

It's almost as if "freedom of speech" means you can massage the truth if it increase sales but god forbid you make a drawing of 90 year old cartoon mouse.

Nothing new there - even in our industry, specifically computer data storage.

It's been forever since backup tape manufacturers started describing their tape capacity assuming constant 2:1 compression ratios - even though that's a bad assumption to make as compression ratios wary wildly based on the original data. I think this started happening in the mid-1990s when tape drives had built-in hardware compression to save the host CPU from doing it in software?

And of course, the canonical example of HDD vendors using "megabyte == 1000 kilobytes".

Of course this results in a Nash equilibrium because vendors can't risk being honest if everyone else is dishonest/misleading because there's simply too many ignorant purchasers in the market - which is the exact same problem JC Penny had.

At least AT&T is using "5Ge" instead of "5G" unlike they did with HSPA+ and "4G", and I'm okay with that, provided consumers won't think that "5Ge" stands for "Enhanced" instead of "Ersatz".

>And of course, the canonical example of HDD vendors using "megabyte == 1000 kilobytes".

That's a bad example because megabyte is defined as being 1000 kilobytes.


It's not a bad example because that definition was not in general use when the marketing practice started; at that time, kilobyte and megabyte had, in general use, exclusively the definitions later attached to kibibyte and mebibyte.

Just because the terms were in widespread use doesn't make them correct; the prefixes "kilo" and "mega" had well defined meanings long before the computer industry tried to redefine them. I side with the disk makers on this one.

> Just because the terms were in widespread use doesn't make them correct

That's exactly what makes uses of words correct. The disk manufacturers adopted a different usage than had theretofore been used in the computing industry (including previous usage by the same diskmakers!) deliberately to exploit consumers understanding of the preestsablished usage to create a false impression on which buying decisions would be made; it was, in simple terms even if legal laibility was escaped, a deliberate fraud.

When would you say the practice started?

It was only defined as such long after the marketers took over. Until then, sizes in computers were always defined as powers of 2. Sure, it was an overloading of prefixes already in use, but everyone understood them as such until companies started lying about it.

> I like that every single brand of toilet paper now boasts "8=16" or "12=32" etc.

The left is number of rolls in the package, the right is the number of the same brand “standard” rolls it is equivalent to by length (there is accommodating text which makes this explicit); this facilitates price comparisons among packages with different roll sizes.

Except there's no such thing as a "standard" roll. Each company has a different "standard" and even within the same company can have differing values of "standard" rolls for what amounts to the same TP.

It's not about comparing packages across or within brands at all. It's to make the customer believe they're getting more value even if they're not.

Yeah, it's basically the same as having both serving size and net weight. Far from a problem.

Ah, and it happens that no one makes any "standard" rolls.

And what about Pam Spray On pure olive oil labeled fat-free? Serving size small enough for the fat to round to zero but not the olive oil content?

> Ah, and it happens that no one makes any "standard" rolls.

Yes they do, e.g Charmin Regular rolls (which is important, because some dispensers won't handle bigger rolls), but in any case the utility for comparisons doesn't depend on regular rolls being an option, just as volume in liters of a drink product is useful even if 1.0l isn't one of the package sizes.

Which would mean they are comparing to a standard they made up. Which is the gist of my point.

Going further down the rabbit hole I find:

Charmin rolls labeled "4=16" have 308 sheets. "Regular Rolls" were, when they were available, 121 sheets.

Other implied "standards" within Charmin vary from sku to sku. So apparently the Charmin Standard does not exist in their product line and is not a fixed value either.

They could just to put the total inches^2 on the package of course.

Elsewhere in the thread is people talking about how a business tried to do away with "on sale" shenanigans, just listed reasonable prices, and got fucked horribly.

When it comes to anything marketing/sale you have to assume the answer to weird messages like that is "because thats what the consumer wants to see". They want everything they buy to be on sale. They want their toilet paper measured in make believe units. They want me to say "yes we have an option to record that credential, it's just not turned on for this demo" rather than "yeah we can rename the heading of that textbox during implementation" during a software demo.

I ignore the "sheets" numbers because those are completely defined by the manufacturer. The number they can't lie about is "sq. feet", so that's what I use to compare packages and brands.


Please don't do this here.

As someone not from the US, I just had a quick look on Google images. Such a bizarre concept, kinda amazing how different cultures can end up with such ridiculousness.

Well, here in Australia we often used to buy credit for our mobile phones, and the credit was measured in "dollars", as opposed to "minutes". Over time things got inflated to the point where you might pay $50 for "$500" of credit. Then you pay for usage at like 30 "cents" per minute. Of course it costs you much less than 30 actual cents per minute in the end, because "dollars" of credit are not dollars at all.

I don't know whether this ridiculous concept still exists since phone usage is so cheap now that everything except data is unlimited on the only plans I've been looking at, but it was that way for a while.

The US measuring their credit in minutes makes a lot more sense - though having to have credit to receive a text message is pretty bizarre.

It took me longer than I admit to realize that "8=16" or "12=32" meant literally nothing.

I really wish companies measured toilet paper with a standard length measurement like meters. Even feet would be preferable over 'rolls'.

Reminds me of a Subaru Forester I owned. It had a badge 'pzev' which apparently meant 'partial zero-emissions vehicle'. Which meant what? not zero emissions certainly. It was a regular gas car.

Yeah I have a Subaru too and I've always thought that was silly. In their defense though, it's not just something they made up for marketing.

Rather, it's a term for a silly thing California allows automakers to do to get around the requirement of selling actual zero-emissions vehicles: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partial_zero-emissions_vehicle

It’s a bit of a silly term but what it describes seems like a sensible thing. It’s meaningless if you’re only worried about CO2 but it’s significant when considering pollution that affects air quality.

Right, I guess I’m just way more worried about CO2 than about smog.

Why? Even the EU is moving away from emphasizing CO2 over particulate emissions.

Because if we don’t dramatically cut our CO2 emissions quickly we’re irreversibly fucked? And part of that means moving away from ICE vehicles carrying a single person.

That’s because efforts to improve air quality have been so successful.

This is akin to what I was thinking, in response to the grandparent's "This means what?"

In California and like places, does it get you into the car pool / hybrid/ electric / bus lane? Is that part of why they colored it green -- so it looks like / is apparent that you qualify?

P.S. Reading the Wikipedia link, I find the answer to my question: No.

However, the warranty extension requirements look good to me -- having an older Subaru whose evaporative emmissions control system started to go wonky a bit after the 10 year mark. Something that can be bugger all difficult and expensive to diagnose and fix.

Well, i mean, it's also silly in that it only considers tailpipe emissions. PZEV's are already required to have zero evaporative emissions, and besides SULEV tailpipe standards, also be cleaner than 90% of cars of the current model year ZEV's are required to have zero tailpipe emissions, and be cleaner than 98% of cars in the current model year.

So ZEV's actually allow forms of emission that the PZEV may not. As long as it isn't an exhaust gas and one of the criteria exhaust gases.

The funniest thing about it is that “zero” and “partial” are at odds with each other. Whoever decided to juxtapose those terms is genius.

Maybe they just meant larger values of zero.

Any n-dimensional value that is 0 in one dimension is partial zero. There is a kernel of truth.

f(x,y) = x^2 has a zero partial derivative.

Yes and any number plus zero is partially zero.

Actually, PZEV makes sense if you know what it refers to.

PZEV's have zero evaporative emissions, and "super ultra low" tailpipe emissions

That's what the "partially zero" means - they have zero evaporative emissions.

>That's what the "partially zero" means - they have zero evaporative emissions.

Except it doesn't mean "partial zero." Instead, it refers to a "partial ZEV" (ie a partial vehicle).

The argument is that having a greater number of lower-emission vehicles[1] on the road has the same effect on air pollution as having a smaller number of zero-emission vehicles. So if those vehicles count as a partial ZEVs (for the purposes of the CARB ZEV Mandate), the same overall policy effect would be achieved.

[1] as you point out, legally they defined this as meeting the EPA SULEV emission requirements, plus having zero evaporative emissions

That's just marketing bullshit. Like partially zero calorie cake. You know, it has zero calories, except for the parts of it that doesn't.

Err, no. It's quite literally not. Your example is about measuring one thing. The standard does not measure one thing.

It would be like calling it "partially zero cake" because it has zero sugar but some fat.

Also note that ZEV's do not take into account any of the emissions related to production of the fuel/electricity they use - that is outside the standard. So they may have more net emissions, they may have less.

It had less to do with marketing and more to do with negotiations with California's Air Resources Board. The category was created as a stepping stone towards mandated zero emission vehicles.

At least that's more honest than what they call "lead-free pipes".

yea but there are 0 emissions when it's off

You know how your 65" tv is actually 64.5 inches?

That's called rounding.

Now, imagine your TV was advertised as 4Ke when it was actually 1080p.

That's called false advertising.

> Now, imagine your TV was advertised as 4Ke when it was actually 1080p.

This happens with projectors. Many projectors are advertised as "4K" when in fact they only accept a 4K signal, but still project a 1080p picture.

Some of them have a kind of hacky trick which involves vibrating the image chip, so that it can project a second set of pixels offset from the first by half a pixel, which gets you a ~2K picture - kinda sorta.

1080p is 2K. The "K" measurements are horizontal, not vertical like 1080p.

That seems roughly the same 3x "misleading multiplier" as the suspiciously cheap (as in, <$50) projectors that sometimes appear, claiming "1080p" when in fact their actual projection LCD is 320x240.

I’ve seen some good reviews of pixel-shifting 4k projectors, so I don’t know if that’s the best example. There’s no reason the technique couldn’t actually deliver a good 4k picture to your eyes.

4K is actually a great example because DCI 4K (the original "4K" spec) has more pixels than your 4K TV at home (4096 vs 3840).

Actually both are reasonable and would not be considered as lying. To me at least, since 4K 3840 x 2160 is still double of 1080P, which WAS 2K.

Until some idiot decide 1080P is just, 1080P, and 2K now stands for 1440P. You can see this now common in Phone Spec, Gaming and many other resources.

Which is why the TV's are advertised as UHD but the showreels and demos have 4k on them.

There's a reason industries invent new terms instead of using technical ones - 1080 is a measurable number of pixels, if you claim you screen is 1080p or 65", then it can't be a lie.

5G means basically whatever AT&T wants it to mean, just like how the definition of 4G magically and retroactively expanded back to include HSPA phones when verizon or whoever decided it should.

> 5G means basically whatever AT&T wants it to mean

But it doesn't. 5G is an actual term (also known as IMT-2020 because of the release date) as defined by the International Telecommunications Union. 3GPP, who create the mobile standards like GSM/HSPA/LTE, also bases its standards on these IMT requirements.


Unless it's an actual trademark, it doesn't count. I'm not sure how dissimilar trademarks have to be to each other, but I know that if a term is too generic it can't be trademarked.

1080p and 4K aren’t trademarked either. Just because it’s not trademarked doesn’t mean it’s a scummy move to do what AT&T is doing, and is exactly the same as the ancestor comment saying that it would be ridiculous to see “4Ke” TVs.

> Unless it's an actual trademark, it doesn't count

It doesn't need to be a trademark to be used to deceive customers in a fraudulent manner.

Sorry, I wasn't clear enough in my comment. I didn't mean it wasn't scummy and dishonest, just that having a legal entity in charge of the term "5G" isn't necessarily enough to stop them.

I love how companies now market their TVs as "65 inch class" so they don't have to measure exactly 65 inches.

What if they used the same idea for a watch screen? Would that be "rounding"?

64.5 is 99.2% of 65. If a watch screen advertised itself as 4", but was actually 3.968", I'm sure that would also be considered rounding.

oh tell me about TV contrast ratios and pixel update time!

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