Verizon Wireless offers several Windows Mobile smartphones that have GPS receivers with limited functionality. Specifically, these models only support Verizon’s navigation software, and not third-party apps Like Google Maps.
Today, this carrier has relented and promised to unlock the GPS on some of its recent Windows Mobile devices: the Samsung Omnia and Saga and the HTC Touch Pro.
Verizon says updates to bring this change will be released in the first half of 2009.
The carrier’s entire statement on this issue is:
Verizon Wireless, like all carriers, orders devices to meet certain specifications inclusive of features. Each of these specs is tested to determine if it meets our performance goals. There are instances when the phone will pass our extensive testing process but a specific feature may not meet the standard. We will often choose to introduce the phone without that feature but ask that the manufacturer come back to us with revised software that has to be tested to make sure the service works the same across our entire wireless footprint –from Maine to Hawaii. In the case of open standalone GPS, we are partnering with the Windows Mobile device manufacturers to provide a software upgrade that will add this capability to the existing assisted GPS capability. This is a complex development project to provide open standalone GPS while maintaining the assisted GPS capability with the level of performance and security that our customers expect. The recently introduced Windows Mobile devices including Omnia, Saga, and Touch Pro are targeted to add open standalone GPS in the 1st half of 2009.
HQ Executive Relations Supervisor