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3G/HSPA

HD Voice: Music to My Ears

12:45 PM -- Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) unveiled the High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) EVO, its first Long Term Evolution (LTE) smartphone to also support HD Voice. (See Sprint's LTE Evo Has HD Talk, No WiMax and Sprint Unveils HTC Evo LTE.)

The EVO packs in a Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) Snapdragon S4 processor that enables the high-definition voice through "dual-microphone noise suppression and earpiece active noise cancellation" technology. (AnandTech has a good, technical explanation of it here.)

It seems like an obvious feature for smartphones, but voice-calling improvements have been overlooked as carriers instead focus on mobile data and prepare to move voice to the LTE network. (See HD Voice: Silence Isn't Golden and Testing Times for Voice on 4G.)

I, for one, only like to talk on the phone while I'm in motion, which is frustrating for the person on the other end when our conversation is interrupted by ambulance sirens, trains, car horns and the wind. (I live in Chicago; it's a loud city.) Having a phone that mutes this background noise would be a selling point for me, especially since it works whether you're on LTE or CDMA.

HD Voice today has some big limitations, namely that it's not yet interoperable, so it requires both handsets to have the capability. And, right now not many other handsets are capable of it. Plus, Sprint won't make it available on the EVO until the end of the year. (See GSA: Mobile HD Voice Live on 32 Networks.)

But I think it's an important feature, and one that shouldn't be overlooked as data consumes most operator planning.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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