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.
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?
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.
In the New world they are all for Marketing and Margins.
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.
I'm on Android.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
rsrp, rsrq, sinr, rssi
rsrq is probably the important one. You can clearly see usage of the cell tower with that.
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.
So you could have excellent service for data and still lose signal for calls.
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.
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).
In both modes data connection is required, so I'm mistaken.
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.
They simply don't know they're being lied to. In most other areas of commerce, that would be illegal.
Interestingly, German consumers want to inow the exact level of petroleum spirits in a tank and will get irritated if they are lied to.
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.
I remember the numbers right, but it wasn't reverse logarithmic scale. It was a hard transition at 140KM/h.
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
Car technology is weird...
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.
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.
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.
We could hope a cell phone company would be so honest as to make sure their signal indicators show possibly lower values.
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.
> 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.
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)
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.
The fact that a newer phone gets better reception was not part of antenna gate.
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")
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What you are saying is the opposite and is extremely immoral (and likely illegal in some places).
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.
In other words, AT&T did the exact same scam during the 3G->4G transition and the effects still show...
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.
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.
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.
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)
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!)
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?
> 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.
The baseband OS could be lying about signal strength to your phone OS.
So even if the baseband didn't lie (which is one mechanism), the carriers can control the thresholds used on their network.
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.
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.
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.
As things are going we're basically going to get the equivalent of stoplights for the reception/connectivity UI.
This adds more details, explains the "You're holding it wrong" announcement.
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.
> 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.
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!
Marketing: the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service 
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.
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.
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.
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.
> 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
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."
The definition of 5G is steered by a globally recognized technical authority, and when they issue press releases 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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".
That's a bad example because megabyte is defined as being 1000 kilobytes.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
f(x,y) = x^2 has a zero partial derivative.
PZEV's have zero evaporative emissions, and "super ultra low" tailpipe 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 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.
 as you point out, legally they defined this as meeting the EPA SULEV emission requirements, plus having zero evaporative emissions
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.
That's called rounding.
Now, imagine your TV was advertised as 4Ke when it was actually 1080p.
That's called false advertising.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It doesn't need to be a trademark to be used to deceive customers in a fraudulent manner.