Hands-on with the Verizon iPhone and VZ apps
While at the Verizon iPhone launch today I finally had a chance to check out some of the new and/or changed features. Number one on my list was the personal hotspot feature. It was easy to setup and worked just as advertised. I particularly liked that a blue bar at the top of the screen tells you how many devices are connected when in hotspot mode. This makes it easy to see if someone is leeching off your connection when you're in public (although you should use a password when in public, to prevent this). It also reminds you to turn off hotspot mode, which can be a big drain on your battery, when you don't need it.
I asked a lot of questions that brought some clarity to the topic of simultaneous data and voice connections. Bob Swanz, account manager for data sales in West Central Florida, said that when in hotspot mode if you receive a voice call the data connection is not broken, it just pauses. If you don't navigate to any new web content (a new web page) the data connection will resume as soon as the voice call ends without having to reconnect.
Swanz clarified another feature of which I was unaware. Skype video calls can be made over 3G on Verizon's CDMA network. On AT&T those connections can only be made via WiFi. Skype released an update to the app today that was partially aimed at Verizon iPhone users.
He also talked about the Verizon FIOS DVR Manager app which lets you control and program your FIOS box from your iPhone, and the VZ Navigator app with turn-by-turn directions. That app is free and the turn-by-turn service has been reduced from $9.99 a month to $4.99 for Verizon iPhone owners.