Verizon over the past two weeks has rolled out firmware over-the-air (FOTA) to a couple of select handsets. This is the carrier’s first move towards their goal of enabling all phones to update themselves.
Firmware over-the-air is a key technology that allows for wireless software updating. Currently, customers are generally only aware of software updates when their phone encounters problems. Software updating in the wireless industry has typically been a reactive, rather than a proactive process. As such, phones are lucky to receive one, if any firmware update ever in their lifecycles. Sprint has bucked this trend however, deploying FOTA on every handset shipping.
The Motorola L7c SLVR and Samsung SCH-U340 are the first Verizon phones to get FOTA…
Verizon, like Sprint, is using a standardized process for FOTA updates, as such, each manufacturer will have to modify their software to support Verizon’s update protocol. AT&T and T-Mobile have opted to rely on whatever the manufacturer adds to devices. While this will take longer, it will enable Verizon to apply more pressure on developers to fix bugs in existing handsets, rather than force people to obtain new software… by buying new hardware.Currently, only the Motorola L7c SLVR and Samsung SCH-U340 have FOTA support added. Existing owners will need to have a software update installed in-store in order to gain FOTA functionality. Contact your local Verizon Wireless store before taking your phone in for updates, to confirm in-store availability.
The Motorola V3m RAZR and K1m KRZR have also received firmware updates, though they do not yet have FOTA updating abilities. Specifically added in this update is an improved user interface, the V3m has lagged the SLVR and KRZR by having sluggish and inconsistent menus (mixing Motorola and Verizon user interfaces). Those issues have been fixed in this update. In addition, holding the speakerphone key in, with the flip closed, will launch V CAST Music. This enables both RAZR and KRZR owners to play music without ever having to open the flip.
To assist advanced users, firmware flash files for Motorola phones are available from our Phone Encyclopedia.
Firmware Tracker Updated…