Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN) is a wireless technology that was developed in 1994 by Motorola. An iDEN handset can function as a cellular phone, radio, pager, fax, speaker phone, and mobile Internet browser. iDEN handsets can store data from an office, or they can be used to download data from the user's computer.
One attractive feature of the iDEN unit is the fact that it can be programmed to respond to one's voice. Units with iDEN support can also function as Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, enabling users to navigate efficiently. Some features, however, do not work with all providers. In addition, as with ordinary mobile phones, not all areas have the same features. On the other hand, phone, radio, and fax services function in all areas.
iDEN phones can run software programmed in J2ME code. This allows iDEN units to expand functionally. With this special coding, an iDEN phone can even function as a portable gaming unit.
iDEN phones use several communications technologies. An iDEN phone's primary communications technology is Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA). A TDMA transmission divides an iDEN phone's signal into three parts, thereby decreasing the individual load of each stream. European units use the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) standard, which separates the stream into eight parts. There is also a smaller version of this technology called Harmony.
Unfortunately, not many areas have support for iDen technology. There are only twelve countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United States – currently capable of working with the system.
There are also only two lines of Motorola phones that support this technology – the Condor and Falcon lines. The Condor line has been discontinued, and, prior to its discontinuation, was only supported by Nextel and Southern LINC. The Falcon line has been supported by Nextel, Southern LINC, and Boost Mobile. As a result, getting support for this technology is difficult at best – most likely due to licensing costs and higher load on carriers.
Since the carrier provides most of the functionality on standard mobile phones, users might strain customer service in this regard. This is true despite the fact that iDEN phones get most of their secondary functionality from the model, not from a carrier unit.