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iPhone Forcing Open Wireless Networks? 291

Posted by samzenpus
from the open-up dept.
fermion writes "Wired asserts that the iPhone blew up the wireless industry. This article argues that because Apple demanded the opportunity to control their own phone, and ATT née Cingular agreed, other companies are opening up the networks, and Google now has the opportunity to make Android a reality. There are other tidbits. Allegedly Verizon turned Jobs down without even listening to his pitch, a decision they may well regret now that they are hemorrhaging customers. Also, that Motorola and the networks were responsible for the fiasco dubbed the ROKR, something which I believe given how damaged the American version of the RAZR was compared to international version. It also estimates that the iPhone cost upward of $150 million to design, and earns Apple about $200 profit per phone."
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iPhone Forcing Open Wireless Networks?

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  • by arivanov (12034) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @08:33AM (#21982220) Homepage

    Carriers are learning that the right phone even a pricey one can win customers and bring in revenue - they have known it for a long time. What they have been missing that a POS designed and built by HTC which crashes every time you change a cell is not the right phone despite all the marketing push behind it. Marketing reality distortion cannot compensate for product being crap (which is what the ROKR fiasco proves nicely as well).

    Similarly, Nokia has been playing this game all along on this side of the pond though I have to admit - it has never ever been so sadistic in its relationship with the carriers. As far as commercials - jobs is jobs nothing more to be said to this regard. So any changes to this regard in the market are American specific.

    Europe has been there, seen it. This also probably explains its lukewarm reception over here. There are plenty of competing devices. They are not as good, but they do the job nicely and most of them are not totally operator bastardized (unless you go for Voda UK or Orange). For example I recently got a new Nokia E65 on O2. It took 3-4 presses of a button to tell the O2 customisation to go fish. 10 minutes later it was running VOIP calls on my home wireless networks, browsing the web and reading emails off my imap server. It may not be as shiny as an iphone, but it does all the jobs it does as well as VOIP and does it well.

  • by curmudgeon99 (1040054) <> on Thursday January 10, 2008 @09:02AM (#21982398)
    I must say, as a guy who bought his first Mac in the 1980's, I am so proud of Apple. They have shown how finesse and high creativity can beat raw dollars any day. They're a model for the rest of us would-be entrepreneurs.
  • by weave (48069) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @09:05AM (#21982418) Journal

    I own a Nokia N95 *AND* an Iphone (using t-mobile and at&t respectively), so I think I can judge these fairly.

    First, I love the iphone in so many ways. The user interface rocks, web is better than the Symbian one (although they both do real web pages, unlike Apple's claims to be first), and the iphone's email app is much, much faster than that crap on Symbian (I have an inbox of several thousand messages so that might be part of it, but the iphone handles it like a breeze, and quickly)

    With that said, I really like how I can do what I want with my unlocked Nokia. I use gizmoproject to do VOIP on it, I can pop in a prepaid overseas SIM when I travel, I can even load putty on it for pete's sake. Bluetooth options are endless including tethering with a data plan.

    iphone is crippled in many unforgiveable ways, like crappy bluetooth support (what, I can't send a photo over bluetooth or tether my laptop?), no MMS, lack of WPA enterprise WIFI support (horrible), email app "helpfully" scales down the pics for you to VGA, and on and on.

    These are all software design issues, which makes it even more intolerable.

    Hopefully Nokia learns some lessons and adapts its software and Apple addresses the shortcomings in a future software update. At least let me use the iphone at work on the wifi network there. Sigh...

  • by rucs_hack (784150) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @09:07AM (#21982420)
    if they did that a lot of the mobile phone networks would go out of business pretty fast. They over estimated the extent to which they could fool people into believing that the mobile phone was a device that needs replacing every few months, now all they have is phone charges and huge debts to service from license purchases.

    Mobiles are all but commoditised now. Face it, all phones are pretty much identical. If this were not the case, then why are the major selling points not phone features at all? Cameras mp3 players and external looks? I'm amazed people are fooled into replacing their phones at all, but I know people who avidly follow this faked technology advancement and replace their phones each time something 'new' appears.

    Apple have screwed that anyway, by going a whole new way and removing the analogue keyboard completely. That was about the only thing left they could be different over.

    Not that I want to buy an iphone. 8Gb? You've got to be kidding, same for the ipod touch, screw that, I want my 160Gb.

  • by Marcion (876801) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @09:18AM (#21982480) Homepage Journal
    if they did that a lot of the mobile phone networks would go out of business pretty fast

    If that is the case then good. They will be replaced by better ones.

    I think it is ridiculous that if you go between two EU countries, you either have to swap out the SIM cards every time you cross a border (meaning different phone number) or pay to receive a call. Paying to receive calls is stupid.

    However, I think if roaming charges where abolished completely then overall they would make more money, as people would make more phone calls. When I am at home I make several mobile calls a day, when outside of my own country I do not make any at the moment because of the receiving calls problem.
  • Re:Android FTW! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Luscious868 (679143) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @09:36AM (#21982624)
    Android is nothing more than a buzzword at this point. Wake me up when it's actually on the market and we'll compare it to the iPhone and see which is better.
  • by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @09:53AM (#21982764) Homepage
    Bullshit. The new 6th generation, of which my iPod is one, encrypts both the database index and the firmware. The database encryption was lousy, admittely, and thus hacked, but the encryption of the firmware is much better and thus alternatives like Rockbox or iPodLinux are not working on the 6th generation and the 2 and 3rd generation nano's and they have no plans supporting it, partly due to this encryption.

    The encryption of the database is meant purely to force customers to use iTunes and to make alternative ways of putting music on and especially pulling music OFF your iPod impossible. If this isn't DRM enforcing, pray tell me what is.
  • by rbanffy (584143) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:01AM (#21982864) Homepage Journal
    I think this internet thing mostly did away with that other thing of national borders and geography.

    In the end, every article and every discussion here and on every other discussion-centric site has different demographics.

    I use Ubuntu and I don't think of it as American, European or African.

    For the rest of the world, it's interesting to note how the stranglehold of the telcos (due to probably insuficient consumer-protection laws) has held the US back in respect to mobile telephony.
  • by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:14AM (#21983034)

    Europe's like what...the size of Texas? If we had that many folks living in such a small area, then different types of coverage wouldn't be an issue.
    But for that vast amounts of rural area the US has, CDMA makes providing service that much easier. Even where I live, wedged between two metro areas 50 miles in each direction, CDMA is much more reliable than any of the other protocols.
    Your comment displays your ignorance of America (much like most American's ignorance of Europe is so frequently pointed out.) The country is freaking HUGE.

    Spain is about the size of Texas. Europe is a bit bigger than US...4 million square miles versus 3.5-3.7 million.

    Your point that the large rural areas in the US affect telcommunications there is valid, but your first comment was nuts.
  • by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:17AM (#21983094) Homepage
    Ok, I'm exagerating, but just because of the grudge I hold with Apple because of my iPod fiasco. Here how I think it would be in a perfect world:

    You go to the store, pick up your iPhone, activate it in the store or outside, using the code in the package. You then call your family, friends whatever to tell them about this great piece of hardware you got.

    Then you proceed home, and copy your music, films, whatever onto the phone USING WHATEVER FILEMANAGER YOUR OS COMES WITH!

    Because, let's face it, this tie-in of iPhones and iPods to iTunes stinks. I want apples hardware not the dumb software and the idiotic restrictions (thanks RIAA) the place on the use of the hardware via their crippled software.

    End of rant.
  • by wchatam (1167565) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:25AM (#21983216)
    From TFA: Engineers looked carefully at Linux, which had already been rewritten for use on mobile phones, but Jobs refused to use someone else's software.

    Really? That never stopped him from using FreeBSD or Mach in OS X.

    My guess is that it was the GPL that kept Linux out of the iPhone and OS X. This is not meant as a flame against the GPL or Apple, but I am curious if OS X or the iPhone would be based on Linux if they could have gotten it with a BSD license.

  • Re:is it just me? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Admiral Ag (829695) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:26AM (#21983238)
    It's a game changing device, same as the original iPod was. There were mp3 players before the iPod, but they weren't the sort of thing the ordinary person would buy. The vast majority of users like the iPod/iTunes combo because it takes about 10 minutes to learn almost all of the features. The iPhone is the same for smartphones. I have a Samsung smartphone. I live in Korea, so it does TV and everything else, but the manual is over half an inch thick. Anyone who watches Apple's 15 minute iPhone movie already knows how to use it. How many people have a PDA or a smartphone? Not that many, and the main reason is that the learning curve is too much for many people.

    The most important thing is that the iPhone isn't primarily a phone. It's a Newton that happens to have phone capabilities, and solves a lot of the problems with the original Newton devices (like input).

    Unless you've seen a jailbroken iPhone/iPod, it's hard to appreciate how much potential it has as a portable computer and gaming device. Some of the jailbroken stuff is cool (like the etch a sketch simulator). The SDK is the equivalent of releasing iTunes for Windows. It's the thing that will put the iPhone over the top. For example, the touch screen and accelerometer will make for some awesome games. Apple should really hire Nintendo to write some, owing to their success with the DS and their ability to make cool games for it.

    Jobs made the right bet on the interface. The versatility of a portable device is proportional to the flexibility of its interface. While people are correct that it is slightly easier to type on a proper keyboard, the versatility more than makes up for that. My PSP is a great device, but it is never going to be as versatile as my iPod Touch. I can't wait to see what 3rd party developers will do with it.

    Of course, the iPhone won't suit everyone, and there are plenty of legitimate reasons for not using one, or for waiting for the 3G version/software updates, or waiting for a rival product, but that doesn't stop it from being a game changing device. I seriously doubt that in 5 years it will be easy to find a portable smart device that doesn't have a multitouch interface.
  • by Tom (822) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:42AM (#21983490) Homepage Journal

    but they have fallen short in features.
    Which doesn't have to be a disadvantage. I'm reading "The Design of Everday Things" at the moment, and can very much recommend it. It's a few years old, but it's still very much true - more features doesn't mean a better product. Not if you don't get the user interface design right and your cool features are unuseable - as most of the "smartphones" and more and more of the normal mobile phones are.

    To me, what makes the iPhone special is that it's the first mobile phone where you can actually use all the features it has. Setting up a phone conference recently was simple and straightforward. Someone later tried to explain to me how I could've done the same on the old Nokia company cellphone, but he couldn't remember all the proper steps. That is the difference that counts for me, and even though there's one or two things I'd like my iPhone to be able to do, it's more important to me that what is there is useable.
  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @12:08PM (#21984876) Journal
    ... if what you say is true. Here's the part that makes OpenMoko flawed (again assuming it is accurate) ....

    "you are the root user"

    This makes it a great "GEEK" thing, but normal users (bless their hearts) will screw it up.

    What most geeks forget is that they are geeks, not normal people (bless their hearts). Being a geek is seriously not "normal". Being a geek, there are things I like to do that my wife would never do. She is not a geek. She doesn't even know what root is, or what that really means. I can assure you that if my wife had anything with root, she'd either wouldn't use it (too hard, complex, not user friendly etc) or really screw it up.

    This has been the long term problem with Linux, and many other Geek toys. And unlike other people, I don't look down upon non-geeks because they don't understand that one can buy an MP3 player for less than iPOD that has more of everything. They don't care if they don't want to use it, because it is too complex.

    And the geek market is much much smaller than the market for "normal" people(bless their hearts).

    OpenMoko may end up being a geek's best friend. Normal people (bless their hearts) just want a _____ that works, easily. We as geeks tend to look down upon anything that isn't a bitch to get working, and thus establishing our geek cred when we finially get it to work.
  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Thursday January 10, 2008 @12:51PM (#21985614) Journal

    Then I could call, pretending I was him (because otherwise, they wouldn't even talk to me at cust. service)

    The nerve of those bastard CSRs at T-Mobile, not being willing to perform actions on your bosses account when you called. I mean it's almost as if they want to talk to the account holder or something.....

    I was informed I'd have to wait 24 hours for the code to be emailed to me

    I had to wait 48 hours for mine. What of it? The CSRs don't have access to them. In many cases I'm told that T-Mobile itself doesn't even have access to them and they have to request it from Motorola or Nokia and wait for them to respond.

    On top of all that, I was informed that they'd only provide these unlock codes to people who called within the first 90 days of cancellation

    Just how long after you leave SHOULD they invest resources into you? Three months seems fair. If you don't get your phone unlocked within three months then it obviously isn't a priority for you. If I buy a carrier dependent phone I'm going to get it unlocked ASAP, I'm not even going to wait to leave them.

    There's a lot that's wrong with the wireless industry in the United States but I don't think the unlocking policies of either T-Mobile or AT&T are part of that. Contrast it to the CDMA side of the pond, where you can't even use your phone on another carrier at the present time (though that could be changing).

  • by WillAdams (45638) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @01:49PM (#21986690) Homepage
    I would like for multi-touch to continue to function as it does, while in addition to that, it would be an _option_ to use a stylus for HWR, inking &c.


  • by ssstraub (581289) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @01:56PM (#21986884)

    If you want a nice phone, get an unlocked Nokia N95-3; you get 3G speeds, a 5Mpixel camera, stereo speakers, GPS (works with Google maps), a Safari web browser, and lots more.
    And yet it doesn't have a touchscreen or a full keyboard, which makes input a major chore in comparison.

"It's like deja vu all over again." -- Yogi Berra