More important than its elegant design, improved screen resolution or FaceTime video calling abilities is the iPhone 4's support of five radio bands, one more than the four supported in the iPhone 3GS.
At least, that's what one analyst thinks, noting that the five bands include the UMTS band 6 in the 800 MHz spectrum, which is used widely in Asia.
"As a result, the iPhone 4 should have better coverage and therefore sell better in some Asian markets like Japan and New Zealand," Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe wrote in a blog today .
Only one other wireless phone now supports five bands: the Nokia N8. That makes both phones pentaband phones, Howe said.
Many European countries will being using the 800 MHz band in coming years as they decommission analog networks, adding value to the iPhone 4 in that region.
In addition to the iPhone 4's pentaband quality, Howe also likes its build quality, including the integrated radio antennas and the high-resolution Retina display, not to mention longer battery life. The much-touted FaceTime video calling feature doesn't thrill Howe "yet," he said, because it is only iphone 4 to iphone 4 and only over Wi-Fi for now.
The five bands supported by the iPhone 4 were revealed in an FCC filing made public yesterday. They are UMTS 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8. UMTS stands for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld . Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com .
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