Apologies for the two-post-in-a-row on the Verizon Touch Pro, but BGR's recent leak and some reports, conversations, and investigations here at WMExperts lead us to a disappointing conclusion: It's looking more and more likely that the Verizon Touch Pro could to be slower and less powerful than the Sprint Touch Pro.
We're going to go a little slowly here because we haven't seen the Verizon Touch Pro in person so we can't be definitive. What we'll do is build the case that the Verizon Touch Pro isn't identical to the Sprint version, which isn't the standard modus operandi for these sorts of things, then we'll get into the performance issues.
In other words, there's a lot to dig through here. Join us after the break.
We've confirmed via Hobbes' review that the Sprint Touch Pro sports the Qualcomm MSM7501a proc clocked at 528MHz.
According to BGR's leaked documents and what we've seen elsewhere, the Verizon Touch Pro has the MSM7500A clocked at 528MHz. You can read up a bit on the MSM chip series in our Insider Interview, but for now, the only functional different that we know of between the MSM7501a and the MSM7500a is that the MSM7501a is the special version of the MSM7500a that was developed to help get around all those Broadcomm patent problems we've been tracking over the course of the year. Even though the import ban has been vacated (for now), it's a safe bet to say that the Verizon Touch Pro was in development well before that happened and nobody wanted to take a chance. So Verizon could have gone with the MSM7201a like the Sprint version, but it looks like they went with the MSM7500a for whatever reason. They can do that, it turns out, because Verizon agreed to pay Broadcomm the blood money licensing fee to import the chips in question.
Finally, we're confident in saying that, despite earlier reports, the Verizon Touch Pro will be clocked in at 528MHz.
Got all that? Bottom line: the Verizon Touch Pro has the MSM7500a and it's clocked at 528MHz. Which is one part of building the case that the Verizon Touch Pro is not identical to the Sprint version.
Keyboard and Body
If that doesn't convince you that the two aren't identical, how about your lying eyes? Here's an image of the Verizon Touch Pro courtesy of Phone Arena:
Count the keys there, 5 tall by 10 wide, minus your spacebar taking up two to get 49 keys. Here's the Sprint Touch Pro courtesy of Hobbes' Sprint Touch Pro Gallery:
5 tall by 12 wide, minus extra spaces taken up by shift and space, brings up up to 57 keys. Add in the fact that we've got a square body compared to Sprint's rounded body and, well, we have what appear to be fundamentally different devices.
Finally, there are the reports of differing memory. We have pretty much confirmed that the Verizon Touch Pro has 192mb RAM and 512 of ROM compared to the Sprint Touch Pro's 288/512. While 192mb should be plenty, when you throw TouchFLO into the mix things get a bit dicier. Still, that's not enough for us to say that the Verizon Touch Pro will be slower.
In all, we have different processors, different keyboards, different bodies, and different memory. The Verizon Touch Pro is not the same thing as the Sprint Touch Pro, rebranded for Verizon. Finally, there's the grainycam video of the Verizon Touch Pro.
Now, finally, we get to the nut of what we wanted to say here: we've received a couple hands-on reports that claim that the Verizon Touch Pro feels slower than the Sprint Touch Pro. Now, these things are very subjective and likely based on fleeting interactions, but there it is. We also see a forum post by 8notime PDAPhoneHome that adds to the pile:
I got to play with a Verizon Pro today and am said to report that they crippled it quite a bit. It uses a Qualcomm 7500 Processor & has 192 Mb of RAM. It was not as responsive to finger swipes/presses and really lagged in rotating the screen when you opened the keyboard.
It is also taller and very square.
The TF3D is a horrible shade of grey with red highlighted icons.
Why Verizon and/or HTC decided to make an entirely different model for Verizon than they did for Sprint (or, alternatively, a different model for Sprint than they did for Verizon, depending on which went into development first) is beyond our ability to explain. These sorts of strategic decisions are better made by people who actually work for these companies and understand the internals better than we. Perhaps it's related to Verizon's agreement with Broadcomm, perhaps it's something else.
We also can't say for sure that either the processor or the smaller amount of RAM accounts for these reports of slower performance. Performance on Windows Mobile devices is dependent on way too many factors -- from ROM Build to clock speed to installed software to, as we say, the phases of the moon -- for us to say that the Verizon Touch Pro is “crippled.”
All we will say is that we're going to have to watch this thing closely on its November 24th release. It's not a safe assumption that it will look, act, or perform exactly like its Sprint or AT&T cousins, it will have to stand on its own.
Update: Oh yeah, one last bit. We expect the Verizon Touch Pro to have GPS, we also expect it will be locked to VZW Navigator and not available to other apps like Live Search or Google Maps. We're less sure on that one, so cross your fingers.