Meandering Thoughts on EDGE

by Erica Sadun

Anyone else getting cognitive dissonance? On the one hand, the iPhone requires an EDGE-based data plan that takes several minutes to load up many web pages. On the other hand, the iPhone commercials expound upon the fact that the iPhone offers full-leaded iPhone, avoiding those "watered down" versions of the Internet. So what's a web designer to do? Should you design your site for WiFi iPhone access or water the site down for EDGE? I say you should probably forget EDGE and just assume your site will be viewed with WiFi.

After doing some calculations today, I stared at a minimum $2000-plus price tag for a mandatory 2-year iPhone contract commitment. There are no discounts for AT&T employees or Students or Academics or State employees, etc. Full price for everyone. 2 year contract for everyone. And about $500 of that price tag is EDGE data for the multi-minute-per-page unwatered-down Internet.

As for me, I'd far rather get an iPhone without a data plan and with the cheapest and most limited voice plan, preferably prepaid. Seems to me that unless you're in a WiFi hot zone, that the iPhone Internet capabilities are pretty awful. Sure, you get push-email, but if I really cared about push-email I'd have bought a Blackberry years ago. (I love the visual voice mail feature that isn't really worth $20/month.) No, it's the WiFi smart-phone features that make the Internet. Design for that.


2007-06-28 15:06:17
I've been battling the EDGE debate internally since it came up. I currently use a Treo 700p in an allegedly EVDO-available segment of Sprint's network. However, I find the Internet ridiculously slow even on EVDO. Am I alone? Sprint swears that I'm on EVDO. It takes several minutes for a typical webpage to download/render, and of course it's pitiful. For me, EDGE may be slower, but I'd rather take advantage of the fully rendered webpage via iPhone (not to mention all the other features). I know this comment is not 100% related to your post, but I had to get it off my chest!