Droid Incredible – Hidden 4G Setting Analyzed

After my recent Hacking My Droid Incredible – Part 2 post I’ve been getting several emails regarding the alleged 4G hack, asking if there really is a hidden 4G setting and is it possible to rig the Incredible to operate on Verizon’s 4G LTE network.

The short answers — yes and no.

Yes, there is a hidden 4G setting on the Incredible. Despite some calling the rumor a hoax, I can confirm that the setting is indeed there. The easiest way to find it is to download gesture search from the Android market and search “4G” by simply drawing it on your screen within the app. If you draw it legibly, the result will find the hidden 4G setting, pictured below.





*These screens are directly from my own Incredible. You can rest assured they are legit.*






Accessing the setting will lead you directly to a submenu that seemingly gives you the option to turn on 4G.





Of course, you get all giddy and attempt to enable it. And inevitably the menu force closes on you…





What a kick in the groin, right?

A lot of people are asking, “What does this mean?” And “Why is there a ghost 4G setting on the Incredible if it doesn’t work?” The most plausible answer at this point is it is highly speculated within the industry that the HTC Droid Incredible was originally intended to be a Sprint phone capable of utilizing their 4G network. But, with HTC about to release the Evo shortly thereafter, for whatever reason the Incredible went to Verizon and Sprint chose the Evo as their sole 4G device at the time of it’s release.

Question:

Does this mean the Incredible is capable of running Sprint’s 4G?

Answer:

It’s definitely possible. Seeing how the phone’s 3G radio uses CDMA technology, and Sprint’s 4G WiMax is basically just an extended version of CDMA. It is not out of the realm of possibilities to suggest if the setting was officially unlocked it could pick up that network, especially if you flash one of the two Evo radios that ironically work flawlessly on the Incredible. As far as unlocking that 4G setting however, to my knowledge, it has not been done.

The Ultimate Question:

Can the Incredible be hacked to run Verizon’s 4G?

The Ultimate Answer:

NO. It cannot.

Reason being, Verizon’s 4G is not an extension of CDMA technology, but uses a completely different tech called LTE. Unfortunately, the Incredible does not pack the hardware required to run it. This means that no matter how many hacks you perform or how many times you upgrade the phone’s firmware — it will not work. Hence, the HTC Thunderbolt. Many anti-Verizon peeps balked at it when it was released, as comparing the device side-by-side with the Evo, it appears to be the exact same phone save for more ram. Wrong! There is one glaring difference. The Thunderbolt has the hardware to run true 4G, as the Evo does not.

Conclusively, the moral to this story is the Incredible may have originally been intended to be a 4G phone, and if you jump through enough hoops, there’s a possibility you could get it to run Sprint’s WiMax 4G. But, there’s also just as good a chance you could end up with a brick for your trouble. Meanwhile, Verizon continues to roll out their 4G LTE network across the major markets. If you happen to live in Louisville, KY — a local Verizon rep confirmed for me literally 5 mins ago that the LTE network is being rolled out in this area as we speak and will be available by the end of July 2011, lending huge credit to several of the rumors that have been swirling in this area for a few weeks now. If you already have it in your area, what are you waiting for???? If you already have an unlimited data plan on your package, upgrading to a 4G phone will not change your bill in the slightest. Being an existing customer, you’ll be grandfathered into the new system with your current plan which means you will have unlimited 4G every month. The new tiered pricing packages only apply to brand new customers. Score!

This will likely be my final post on the Incredible unless something major occurs. If you’re a bandwidth-starved junkie like me, and are salivating to jump on the information super highway, mobile style, IMO it is totally worth eating the full price to upgrade to a Thunderbolt (or any Verizon 4G phone) if you’re still a ways off from your discounted upgrade. I’m thinking I’ll be doing so soon. I have a need for speed!

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