There's also been some confusion about HSPA+ support on the Veer. The issue stems from an assumption that 64QAM support is mandatory for a device to be 3GPP Release 7, which is absolutely not the case. Ironically, I left a lengthy comment explaining why that's the case in the HTC Inspire 4G HSUPA update story before all of this suddenly became an issue.

The long and short of it is that if a modem supports any 3GPP Release 7 features, it's a 3GPP Release 7 device, and thus 'HSPA+,' which is merely a colloquial label for enhancements added in Release 7. The reality is that none of the features in any release but the original WCDMA 3GPP release are mandatory, everything in each release since then is optional. Thus, features added in 3GPP Release 7 are optional - you don't have to implement every new feature to be able to call your modem HSPA+. Features supported by Qualcomm's MSM7230 inside the HP Veer that are from 3GPP Release 7 include UE DTX/DRX (discontinuous uplink transmission and receive), F-DPCH, and others. Qualcomm's MSM7230 and other current generation WCDMA SoCs include QPSK and 16QAM modulation on the downlink, meaning they are HSDPA 14.4 Category 10 devices. Downlink support for 64QAM will come in the next refresh. 

As of right now, to my knowledge the first shipping phone with 64QAM support was the Samsung Galaxy S 4G which includes an ST Ericsson THOR 5730 HSDPA 21 Mbps HSPA+ modem. Though 64QAM offers potentially faster speeds and better spectral efficiency, it requires accordingly better SNR than 16QAM and substantially more than QPSK, and as a result isn't used unless user equipment is close to the cell center. This behavior is easily measurable on devices like the Galaxy S 4G, whose engineering menus show a percentage breakdown of what frames were modulated using QPSK, 16QAM, and 64QAM. I've been working on performing extensive drive testing with that particular device to explore just this issue for some time now.

Further, the enhancements added in HSPA+ / 3GPP Release 7 cover far more than just the standalone addition of  64QAM. Release 7 adds HSDPA categories which include MIMO but exclude 64QAM support in addition to categories that exclude MIMO but include 64QAM. On the uplink it also includes 16QAM support which could enable upstream speeds of up to 11.5 Mbps. Other major features added are faster call setup and takedown, and reduced cellular signaling to alleviate some of the call and data session blocking issues which have affected a number of UMTS networks. The point of all this is that it's a grossly innacurate oversimplification to claim something is or isn't HSPA+ based on absence of 64QAM on the downlink. 

The long and short of it is that the HP Veer 4G, HTC Inspire 4G, and Motorola Atrix 4G are all definitely HSPA+ capable with 16QAM HSDPA 14.4 support. As an aside, I'm a bit surprised that this is suddenly an issue now since HSDPA 14.4 (Category 10) devices have been shipping for some time now under the HSPA+ banner to no complaint.

I've already started running endless throughput tests on the Veer 4G and thus far have been decently impressed with speeds.

They're right around what I'm used to seeing in my market, which AT&T has enabled HSPA+ support in. I've verified this using AT commands on a Sierra Wireless 308 AirCard. Speeds closer to the theoretical maximum for the UE category will only come with faster backhaul. AT&T is calling this 'enhanced backhaul' and isn't being totally clear about what cell sites have full support yet, though I'm told internally the list of sites that are upgraded with faster backhaul is quite short at the moment. 

This Just In: HP Veer 4G Impressions
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  • tviceman - Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - link

    Has HP indicated whether or not their future webOS phones will come to Sprint? I refuse to switch to AT&T with their higher monthly usage fees and data caps.
  • KaRRiLLioN - Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - link

    If only an Android phone with a portrait slideout keyboard would come out. I used to have a Palm Treo and loved the physical keyboard. The phone otherwise sucked for anything other than talking or texting.

    I just refuse to get a phone with an OS that's lacking a decent app store. Maybe HP will admit WebOS is a lost cause and go to Android.
  • dcollins - Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - link

    It's a little dated, but the Motorola Droid 2 has an excellent physical keyboard. You can actually get one for free with a new contract from Verizon.

    Mine is flashed with Liberty ROM 2.0 and overclocked to 1.45Ghz when fully charged (under-clocked to 400mhz when <25% charge). It's an excellent phone once liberated from motoblur.
  • cptnjarhead - Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - link

    good review.
    precentral did a comprehensive review and all in all the veer makes a good showing.
    I still like my pre+ OC'd @ 1ghz runs great, still waiting for pre 3 or stingray (crossing fingers)
  • Crono - Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - link

    The Veer looks like it borrowed its styling from the Kin One.
  • wewter - Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - link

    or from it's ancestor the pre ...

    considering the pre outdates the kin by almost a full year

    google next time and don't waste our time.
  • worldbfree4me - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - link

    That speed is about what I'm seeing on my EVO while employing 4g. However I did see 10.5 mbps last night! I find that while I'm tethered up to my iPad, videos stream pretty well at between 2 and 4 mbps.
  • zephxiii - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the investigation and write up on the HSPA+ stuff Brian!

    I was wondering if you had a list of the supported Rel. 7 features of the Qualcomm and SE chips in the Atrix, Inspire, and Infuse. Stuff like CPC, enhanced Cell_FACH/PCH, Voice over HSPA (as Qualcomm puts it), DL interference cancellation and whatever else.

    Also does the Infuse 4g have the same chip in the new Galaxy S2s?

    There is also the flat IP architecture that comes into play with HSPA+ that allows for data to by pass certain parts of the infrastructure for more direct routing. T-mobile's HSPA+ has shown some impressive latency results that *could* be a result of that. AT&T isn't quite down there with T-Mobile yet but interestingly I've seen a couple wiffs of lower latency in a market here and there....just something else to keep an eye out for.


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