With reports arriving this weekend of a leaked software update for the Blackberry Bold 9900 enabling Wi-Fi calling we’re now asking how long will it be before the carriers officially release this update? Well, thanks to Al Sacco from CIO.com we know it won’t be before the end of November as originally intended. Having pinged T-Mobile for an update as to when we can expect the software, the company wouldn’t provide a specific date but he did receive a few new details:
“T-Mobile implements Wi-Fi on its devices in different ways, giving us the ability to offer Wi-Fi on a wider range of devices. As technology progresses, we may change the way we deliver Wi-Fi calling, but we are fully committed to this capability for our business and government customers. Regardless of the technology behind the Wi-Fi connection, Wi-Fi calling helps our business and government customers save money, enhance coverage, and increase productivity”
- “The first is embedded in the device, via a chip. (UMA)”
- “The second is a software application integrated into the operating system. (This is the way we’ll enable Wi-Fi Calling on the BlackBerry Bold 9900.) “
“Both implementations work with our Wi-Fi Calling for Business and Wi-Fi Calling for Government solutions. For the customer, the implementations are virtually the same with many of the features and functionality identical. The primary differences are the following:”
- “For the OEM, the software implementation provides more flexibility, easier in-the-field upgrades and cost effectiveness.”
- “For the customer, the software implementation saves battery life as it turns off the cellular radio when on a Wi-Fi connection. When it does this, however, the device does not “seamlessly” hand off between cellular and Wi-Fi.”
Simply put, the Bold 9900 won’t use UMA for Wi-Fi calling and instead will use a Wi-Fi application ala the Android Wi-Fi calling app. The end result of this change is that calls initiated on a Wi-Fi network won’t seamlessly hand over to the wireless network or vice-versa. To be honest, I don’t see this as a huge problem as most calls likely begin and end on Wi-Fi. Still, this could frustrate some users when the situation calls for beginning a phone call on Wi-Fi and heading out the door only to end up having to call the person back.