PhoneNews.com has led the criticism of Verizon Wireless locking and hindering GPS on their phones. Now, the company says they will reverse that… but only on their newest phones.
Since the release of the XV6800’s first firmware update, Verizon has been locking down the GPS on their smartphones. Initially, Verizon said that this was consistent with their new Any App, Any Device policy. Verizon representatives told PhoneNews.com that software could be certified at no charge for use with the GPS chips inside of Windows Mobile phones.
However, after a year of saying that… Verizon failed to approve one application, other than VZ Navigator. It became quite clear that Verizon was either unable, or unwilling to approve even free programs like Google Maps and Windows Live Search for Mobile. PhoneNews.com has led reporting on hacker workarounds, which have unlocked the GPS on the XV6800 (HTC Titan) and XV6900 (HTC Vogue).
Worse for Verizon, competitors Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T all have left GPS fully open on their smartphones, for any third-party application to use freely. Most recently, Verizon un-crippled GPS on BlackBerry OS 4.5-updated devices, after receiving significant criticism for the same reasons.
Now, Verizon Wireless has said that they will issue firmware updates for the HTC Touch Pro, Samsung Omnia i910, and Samsung Sage. However, Verizon has not commented on if they will officially unlock the GPS on the XV6800 and XV6900, both of which currently have GPS crippled only to VZ Navigator.
It is also unclear if Verizon will unlock the GPS in older models, which carry the hardware for GPS, but never was enabled on. This includes the Samsung i730, i830, HTC XV6600 and XV6700. It is unlikely that Verizon will ever enable GPS on these phones, however they do have the firmware to enable GPS right now on the XV6800 and XV6900.
We would like to take a moment to thank our readers, your continued viewership spotlighted the need for Verizon to reform on GPS. We just hope they will do the same on their legally dubious forced firmware updates, which can leave you trapped on a mountain… with a paperweight for a phone to call for help.
43 responses to “We Did It: Verizon to Unlock GPS on Windows Mobile”
About time!!!!! Welcome to the year 2000……..
Now If only they would do this for the q9c it would be wonderful news for me!
When will this happen? (I have an i910)
I am about to fire Verizon anyway. All my friends using LifeInPocket free GPS Navigation, no mater they are with AT&T, Sprint, Nextel, T-Mobile even AllTel while I have been paying $10 a month for VZ Navigator which is much worse then the LifeInPocket.
I was using Motorola which Verizon blocked it then I upgraded to Blackberry while Verizon still blocking it.
Who cares about Win Mobile, they were supposed to be open anyway! Goodbye Verizon!
[…] Then they claimed that they weren’t hindering their customers… again. Now they’ve promised to fix the problem… if you buy a new phone, and probably sign a new […]
Blackberry User, if you install OS 4.5 updates on your Pearl or Curve, the GPS restriction should go away. Check the Phone Encyclopedia to get the update.
Woo Hoo! This is fantastic news. Any firmware release date announced yet?
First half of 2009 for the three phones that Verizon has committed to updating.
However, still no word on if the XV6800, XV6900, Q9m, and Q9c will get updated. We’ll press the issue again with Verizon and report back if we hear (anything).
Will believe it when I see it. A phone call to Verizon about this and they will say, “I’m sorry sir, we havn’t hear anything about that”.
Question about the article though, at the end it states
“…however they do have the firmware to enable GPS right now on the XV6800 and XV6900.”
Is this available somewhere, or did I misunderstand?
Brian, while Verizon Wireless does have the firmware to unlock GPS for the XV6800 and XV6900, they have not released it to the public. More importantly, they have not assured the public that they ever will.
There are third-party hacks that can accomplish this, check our past news, the Phone Encyclopedia, and if all else fails, ask in our forums.
This “locked gps” policy is one of the biggest reasons that I am not buying a new verizon phone yet. I keep hoping they will get real with what consumers want/expect. I want unlocked GPS !
they need to include the Motorola Q9c, as well.
I have a q9c…. I will be discontinuing my service with the big red check…… I am sick and tired of NOT GETTING WHAT I PAID FOR and having some corporate strong hold around my neck. I have VZNavigator too….. what a POS
This is a follow up to Chris’s reply back on December 24th (above) regarding Verizon possessing the firmware that would unlock GPS. After reading that a second time, there is nothing in the article suggesting that Verizon has a firmware upgrade to unlock the XV6800/XV6900 at all. Only that they have a firmware upgrade for their most recent and upcoming devices Touch Pro, Omnia i910, & Sage. So do they really possess such an upgrade or do they even give a damn about theses older model devices. My feeling is they just dont care and it really makes no good business sense to offer such upgrades as these are older, soon to be outdated/unsupported models. I am alos beginning to wonder about this unofficial upgrade for the XV6900 which was posted back in November on the same website. Is there really any truth to this being an un-official upgrade from Verizon itself? It is now January and I have checked the pcdphones.com website for an official release with no luck. As stable an upgrade it appears to be thus far, my suspicion only grows larger with each day.
Looks like my suspicion has been put to rest.
Brian, what do you mean “my suspicions have been put to rest”? Does the MR2 update on pcdphones.com unlock the GPS on the XV6800? I just went through hell updating my 6800 to MR1 and would hate to go through that again with MR2 only to find the GPS still locked.
[…] is not confirmed yet if this update unlocks GPS, as VerizonÂ backpedaledÂ to do on other, newer phones late last […]
So I’m just in the market, and thinking about the touch pro, or the omnia i910, both of which are the mentioned candidates for gps unlocking. Has there been any word on if/when this will happen besides first 1/2 of the year (since we are just about to wrap up the first 1/4)? At a local VZW Store I asked the techs, and they hadn’t even heard of this, and said it probably won’t happen. But perhaps they are just uninformed. Anyway if anyone recently picked one up, or if there has been a firmware upgrade released, or even an ETA announced, that would help my phone purchasing choice. Thanks!
I just got the Omnia i910 from Verizon and the GPS is still locked. Furthermore, I’m getting the same runaround about a firmware upgrade. It’s already March, and this was promised back in mid December. Looks like they may be planning on going back on their promise and still put profit over customer service. It’s ridiculous to have a Windows Mobile Pocket PC and not be able to use the full functionality of the device. Hopefully someone can follow up and find out when this will be available.
Looks like Verizon doesn’t mind out-and-out lying to it’s customers either, as long as it makes them a profit. I just got off the phone with Samsung, and contrary to what is posted on several message boards and what Verizon is telling their customers, Samsung is NOT currently working on a firmware upgrade for Verizon that will unlock the GPS.
Hello, I’m a Verizon customer,and I’m using the Omnia i910 phone. since I got that phone from Verizon, they required I have to use the internet plan which is I have to pay $35 a month. Is it really true that we have to use the service ? at home, at work I had the internet already, also the phone have the WI-Fi option, so you can connect anywhere if the Wi-Fi provided. May I ask, can we cancel the internet service plan ? Like AT&T can use plan or leave it. Thanks for the answer.
We didn’t do it!
It must have been an eirly April Fools joke…
Dan, PhoneNews.com was the only news source that provided comprehensive coverage of Verizon’s inappropriate neutering of GPS on their devices. We showed the world what Verizon was hindering, and now they have stopped hindering it. It’s called consumer advocacy, and yes, we did it.
If we did it where is the firmware? Do we have any idea when this will happen?
Typically, Verizon does not release single-item updates. Meaning, that the enabled GPS is rolled into the next major firmware update for each device.
Considering that the devices haven’t received a major firmware update yet, it really isn’t a cause for concern. It is, however, a cause to be critical of how Verizon approves firmware updates for their devices.
what’s the quickest way to get news of the firmware update for download when it comes?
I would guess that calling Verizon customer service to complain wouldn’t make much difference. Is there an individual that we can call to complain about this? If so, please post details (email, phone, etc.).
You could file an FCC complaint for Verizon not making giving timely redress on a promised update… just don’t hold your breath that anything will happen because of it.
When Verizon is already violating FCC policy on updating phone’s firmware without the user’s consent… this really can’t be the FCC’s priority.
Looking around it appears that Steve Schwed in Verizon has been promising this update since December 2007. His email address is Stephen.Schwed@verizonwireless.com. Maybe if enough of us email him about the delay in getting this upgrade out to us something would happen.
I have been searcing for an update for the omnia since i bought it. I recently came across 2 websites claiming that an unoffical beta rom is out to unlock the gps and adds a few features for the i910. I thought i would share these sites here.
The GPS is working for the Omnia! I can use google maps, igo8, etc.
Get over to modaco and get the fix before its too late!
I’ve don the samsung omnia rom update wich gave me more features better battery life ect.! I still have yet to figure out how to us the supposed unlocked gps. I did a phone settings change and now get a specific 3rd party application message. Though Live Search & Googles map still don’t recognize the gps which is supposedly updated and unlocked?
[…] Again, thanks Verizon for turning off the GPS, I am still waiting for that patch to turn the GPS back on. Seriously, you canâ€™t do things […]
this is BS! they make you PAY to use their GPS software, which ONLY works when you’re in a data service area! WEAK!
Talked to Verizon Tech Support on another issue and asked the question about unlocking GPS. He said yes, it is true that GPS on Omnia will be unlocked but it depends on Microsoft when they will release the patch. He did not clarify how the patch will be released or how the upgrade will be issued to current customers. Also, there was no time frame established. He also recommended not to use ROM updates available on the internet because Verizon will not be responsible in failure.
In reality, I think it is all hogwash, they are making money from us by charging $10.00 a month so why would they will give it up?
I have talked to Verizon customer support twice recently, because they WILL NOT answer their email, about the GPS and they are telling me they still have no plans to unlock the GPS. This is a HUGE issue for me because of the nature of my work. I may soon switch back to Sprint or go to AT&T so I can get phones that function at their potential. I was told on the phone twice this week that there are no plans to open the GPS on the phones.
Well all you Verizon Haters look they did as promised. New ROM unlocked GPS and it works with Bing, Google MAps…
Which ROM is that? Do you mean MR2? That is 8 months old and does not unlock GPS.
How did you get Bing to work? I can get Google maps to work but not Bing. It keeps telling me that it cannot find my location.
The rom is called the CF03 update. I found mine at the Samsung website.
Be careful with the CFOS update from Samsung website. I installed that update and it worked for a few minutes. I then had a problem where I had no phone services. Contacted Verizon and they told me I would have to do a hard reset. Did a hard reset and now my samsung omnia freezes up all the time. Verizon informed me that although they have a contract with samsung with their omnia verizon do not approved the samsung update.
Feb. 2010, Verizon & PCD (HTC) phones will not unlock the GPS on many sets including the xv6800.. Told by Verizon suppt AND PCD support.
Bryan, just re-read the article and follow the link to download Verizon’s latest update.
We’re not surprised you were misinformed by both Verizon and PCD, next time tell the support people you’re talking to, to start reading PhoneNews.com.
I read all the comments and even followed the xv6800 link above, but all I find are statements that the MR2 upgrade does not unlock GPS.