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iPhone Forcing Open Wireless Networks? 291

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 Marcion ( 876801 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @08:19AM (#21982154) Homepage Journal
    Europe and most of the rest of the world has GSM and GSM alone. You can take a SIM card from any carrier and put it in any phone. It has always been like that.
    • by 4D6963 ( 933028 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @08:28AM (#21982204)

      You can take a SIM card from any carrier and put it in any phone.

      Provided that your phone is un-simlocked, yes. Besides when you say "GSM alone" does it exclude GRPS and UMTS? Cause we have that too. Not sure if we have EDGE tho.

      • by Marcion ( 876801 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @08:41AM (#21982270) Homepage Journal
        I simply meant that it is not like America where there are different phone connection protocols with different levels of reception depending on where you are, there is just one across the whole of Europe. Of course, if you actually try to use your phone across Europe then they kill you with the roaming charges, but at least it means if you buy an unlocked phone then you can use it anywhere.
        • Of course, if you actually try to use your phone across Europe then they kill you with the roaming charges, but at least it means if you buy an unlocked phone then you can use it anywhere.

          Not having used a cell phone in Europe, I'm a bit curious about this.

          The ability to take a phone from one carrier to the next isn't as important to me as the ability to take my phone from one area to the next. Since I have no demand for any of the higher phone features (in fact, I had to search out one w/o a camera) for m
          • by cheater512 ( 783349 ) <> on Thursday January 10, 2008 @09:43AM (#21982688) Homepage
            Its not just Europe, its the entire world.

            I can take my Aussie (where I live) phone and bring it to Turkey (where I am atm) and it will work fine.
            I also have the option of swapping SIM cards to a turkish one to save money.

            I actually didnt know that the US wasnt like this.
            Seems kinda (well *really*) stupid to me. :)
            • by EggyToast ( 858951 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:03AM (#21982878) Homepage
              ATT (Cingular) is GSM, as is a few other companies. They have essentially identical coverage as the other companies, so it will work -- you just won't be able to buy "any ol' SIM"
          • by rbanffy ( 584143 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @09:54AM (#21982774) Homepage Journal
            "Since I have no demand for any of the higher phone features"

            It sounds suspiciously like the folks who thought they didn't need a cellphone because they never had one before ;-)

            I too didn't knew how nice is to have web browsing, high speed data connections or e-mail in my pocket until I had a phone with a full keyboard and a decent screen.
            • It sounds suspiciously like the folks who thought they didn't need a cellphone because they never had one before ;-)

              I also own a pocket PC. I've taken it apart, messed with the OS, installed voip software and use it as a phone/television remote in my house.

              No, I am quite aware of the features, and there are people who like those features. But for the cellphone I carry I don't need them. ... (mostly because I also carry a laptop almost anywhere I go. I like the larger screen)
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Atti K. ( 1169503 )
        By GSM he probably meant GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS. But there also exceptions, like them. [] They offer CDMA in the ex-NMT 450 MHz band. The downside, limited set of phones, and you can leave your phone at home if you travel outside the country (and take your GSM with you)... kinda like in the US :)
      • by LKM ( 227954 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:17AM (#21983086) Homepage
        I live in Switzerland. Every phone I've ever bought (from different carriers) has been sim-unlocked. I think it's possible to get SIM-locked phones, but you can easily get them unlocked. When I leave the country for any significant amount of time (which is often, as you can't spit in Switzerland without hitting three other countries), I buy a local pre-paid SIM card. A few months ago, I went to Cuba for two weeks, and my Swisscom SIM card actually worked, including Internet access (which is kind of a joke - my phone had faster Internet than the local, foreigners-only Internet cafés).
      • by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) *

        You can take a SIM card from any carrier and put it in any phone.

        Provided that your phone is un-simlocked, yes. Besides when you say "GSM alone" does it exclude GRPS and UMTS? Cause we have that too. Not sure if we have EDGE tho.

        For Americans who are new to SIM concept, it isn't necessarily evil thing to have a device SIM locked in Europe.

        Networks buy huge amounts of high end, mid end, low end phones. They sell them for amazing cheap (or even give free) when customer guarantees they will use their network. Of course as they want a guarantee that guy won't make their rivals earn money with their sponsored handset, they get phones with "will work with that sim only" firmware/eeprom.

        This is not a evil thing unless they are robbing pe

    • many phones are "locked" to a particular network. Officially you need to pay the network to unlock the phone to use it on another network. Unofficially there are plenty of people who will "unlock" your phone for a much smaller fee (£15 compared to £100).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 10, 2008 @08:30AM (#21982212)
      The UK actually still has a number of handsets per operator that are 'locked' to that network. Whilst it's true that you can get these phones unlocked to take any SIM, it's not free to do so and it's often available from some pretty dodgy looking places.
      • if can be free if you search the internet for the software and do it yourself.
      • It's not always free (depends on how long you've been a customer) but it's quite cheap. My N95 cost £15 for the carrier to unlock.

        Not sure what you mean by 'dodgy'. It's absolutely standard for a phone shop to unlock phones (of course the ones tied to carriers will only unlock their own).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Britz ( 170620 )
        Those are called SIM-Lock and Netlock. I couldn't find any English sources (I am from Germany) to explain them, so here it goes:

        SIM-Lock locks the phone to a certain SIM. It does not work the other way around. So you can put your SIM in any GSM phone and use it. The SIM carries your number and your PIN. It doesn't matter which phone you use. The reason behind this is that the carriers subsidize the phones. With a "normal" contract you mainly pay off the phone with the monthly base charge. That base charge w
    • GSM is a perfect solution when I travel outside the US. I carry an unlocked GSM phone and my first stop in country is for a SIM chips. To date I've used my GSM phone all over Europe as well as the Caribbean. I'm ready for Verizon to make the change to GSM.
      • by Marcion ( 876801 )
        Exactly. All we need now is for the EU to totally abolish roaming charges so you will only need one SIM card for the whole of Europe.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rucs_hack ( 784150 )
          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 m
          • 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
          • I'm amazed people are fooled into replacing their phones at all

            In Britain, most people replace their phones when they get a new contract, as the cost of the phone is absorbed within the contract itself. A new contract every 12/18 months and a new phone at the same time. The rest of us have pay-as-you-go phones and natural wear and tear (my butterfingers) means a replacement every couple of years.
            I am amazed that people are willing to buy an iPhone at full price AND a pay for an expensive 2 year contract. No wonder Apple is making hatloads they have made people pay tw

            • It's often far cheaper to change phone/provider every 12 months than stay with your current one anyway. The 'new customer' deals are pretty good.

              If you're a heavy user of course you can get great deals sticking with your current provider.. I know a guy that got a free N95 and zero line rental. Then again he makes about £2000/month in phone calls so they didn't really want to lose him..
            • by LKM ( 227954 )

              I am amazed that people are willing to buy an iPhone at full price AND a pay for an expensive 2 year contract. No wonder Apple is making hatloads they have made people pay twice.

              Well, it's either that or not have an iPhone, and since the iPhone is, for a lot of people, so obviously superior to any other cell phone, it's worth its price.

              I live in Europe and I did buy a US iPhone, and interestingly, it's the cheapest phone I've ever owned. Despite of them being subsidized, I paid more for my previous cell phones (which include a P800, a Treo 650 and a P990i).

  • 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.

    • actually i like those pda phones designed and built by htc.
  • by jhcarnelian ( 889433 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @08:38AM (#21982248)
    Those carries have been open for a long time: I've been using unlocked GSM phones on them for years. The iPhone is a big step backwards: it's carrier-locked and non-programmable. Far from moving the industry forward, Apple has been taking it backwards.

    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. You aren't locked into a contract or carrier, and you can put in a different SIM card when you travel.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by King_TJ ( 85913 )
      What do you mean AT&T/Cingular and T-Mobile are "open" carriers?

      Just last week, I had to fight to get my boss's Motorola W400 phone unlocked. He had it subscribed with T-Mobile originally, but after his contract ran out, he got a new (cheap) phone with an AT&T contract. He didn't like the free phone they included, so he wanted to swap SIM cards and use the W400 on his new AT&T contract.

      Immediately, the phone balked, complaining it was subsidy locked and prompted for a PIN code to unlock it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shakrai ( 717556 ) *

        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 resour

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ssstraub ( 581289 )

      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.
  • by ed.han ( 444783 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @08:39AM (#21982252) Journal
    ...or with the spate of news articles about how revolutionary and paradigm-changing the iphone is, is anyone else expecting to start seeing an "iphone = chuck norris" meme?

    "the iphone is so cool, the ISO is creating a new temperature scale based around it."

    "the iphone is so powerful, it can cure cancer...once unlocked."

    "the iphone is so versatile, it can not just play music, be a phone and browse the web, but imagine a beowulf cluster of them!"

    is it just me? i mean, i think the iphone is pretty darned cool, myself, and i don't even own one. but there's been a great deal of fawning over it. not that apple doesn't deserve accolades for it, but jeez guys...haven't we collectively crossed the threshold of justifiable praise into fanboyism?

    • 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.
    • []
  • Android FTW! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by multiview ( 124831 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @08:39AM (#21982258)
    1. The headline is horrible. iPhone didn't contribute to wireless networks that are open by some means.

    2. iPhone won't open the market. Android will. Reason: Android is fully customizable. Soon or later Skype[1] or any other VOIP/instant messenging app will be available. Data traffic will become more important than regular POTS calls. Eventually one carrier might step out of line and get out of the entrenchment by offering reasonable data traffic packages. The game theory for this is a prisoners dilema, and we know that all participating players will lose at end. But that's just good for the customers. Technology will dictate it at the end, and it's Google Android that will take the lead here; not iPhone that is tied to carries by contracts.

    [1]Skype itself is a total horrible vendor lockin, but hopefully the protocol gets reverse engineered one day and we will all enjoy open clients. Everyone that uses a multi-protocol client with MSN/ICQ/AIM/JABBER knows that suddenly a single protocol becomes quite easy to replace and hence its power to dictate the rules (as it so for skype at the moment) vanishes.
    • OpenMoko FTW! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Marcion ( 876801 )
      Android is fully customizable

      Are you sure about that? The OpenMoko is fully customisable because it is a fairly standard embedded version of Linux and you are the root user. I'm not sure Android is like that. As far as I know (which is not far), you can customise one layer i.e. what runs inside the Java sandbox but that's it. For me that is no more interesting than Symbian (i.e. not interesting at all really).

      I'm waiting for the OpenMoko
      • ... 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 as
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Luscious868 ( 679143 )
      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 wbren ( 682133 )
        Agreed, but I think it will be very interesting to see exactly what the iPhone SDK will give developers access to. I can just picture Apple locking down applications, only giving them access to a very limited set of API calls, and forcing everything to be sold in the iTMS. As an iPhone owner, I really hope that doesn't happen. For now, I'm sticking with my jailbreaked 1.0.2 iPhone. As for Android, it shows promise, but I will be interested to see what the carriers do to foul things up (as they always do).
    • by ConanG ( 699649 )
      The summary may be bad, but the article is pretty accurate. The Wired article is basically saying that some of the latest developments in the cell industry are due to the iPhone. They are saying that Android wouldn't exist without the iPhone to break the carrier death grip. Yes, Android may get it done, but not without the iPhone laying the groundwork for it. The iPhone has fundamentally changed the way the carriers look at their business. They see that they can make money off of something like Android now.
    • Re:Android FTW! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Bert64 ( 520050 ) < ... NBSDom minus bsd> on Thursday January 10, 2008 @10:04AM (#21982886) Homepage
      I don't even see why people are using skype...
      As you point out, it's a horrible lock-in protocol, and is tied to a single service for relaying calls to regular phones, a service which isn't very competitively priced.
      Personally i use SIP, i have accounts with several providers for outbound calls and i switch whenever a better deal comes along, the reason i have multiple accounts is both for redundancy and because different suppliers offer different rates to different places. I also run my own asterisk pbx, and connect to it using multiple hardware voip phones (cisco 7960s, nokia n95, and a few cheap brandless ones) and have it connected to a physical elephone line.
      I wouldn't have any of this flexibility if i was locked in to the skype protocol.
    • by LKM ( 227954 )
      Android is nice, but it can't do what the iPhone has done. Well, actually, that is wrong. The iPhone didn't do anything, Apple did. And Android has no Apple. The whole point of the article was that Apple went to AT&T and basically told them "We'll give you exclusivity if you allow us to do whatever the hell we want." Android can't do that.
    • Adroid won't open the market. Skype won't open the market. VOIP wont open the market. If you think what is being sold is cell towers distributed evenly across huge geographic areas not the device, the device is just the shiny object that will catch your eye in the store. Although models sold in US stores aren't that shiny or cool because they have first been sold to the operators buyer and then to final customer. In US operators can offer crappy service to customers. They sell a cheap product upfront and
  • When Jobs killed the Newton, he promised that having those engineers available for other products would create innovative and break-through portable computing devices --- all I've seen are iPods, admittedly nice (but traditional form-factor clamshell) laptops and the iPhone. From: []

    >Apple's hardware engineers had spent about a year working on touchscreen technology for a tablet PC

    Where is it?

    I'd buy an iPhone today if only it allow
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pete-classic ( 75983 )
      Handwriting recognition is for the birds. Using a stylus sucks. I have had two Palm OS devices and an iPhone. Now, no one understands better than I that Graffiti sucks. Hard. But handwriting creates certain problems that can't be solved by any software. Lost styli. The need to always use two hands. Difficult editing. (How do you backspace?) Okay, maybe that last one has a software solution. But you see what I'm saying.

      I've had my iPhone since release day, and it took me about two weeks to really
  • iPhone Owner here. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @08:58AM (#21982374)
    I love how Apple has managed to sell the phone at their apple stores, and all you need to do is pick it up, plug it into itunes and fill out a form and you're all setup on at&t very easily.

    The setup is a very nice experience. No need to go to some at&t store for anything. If you dont have an apple store, you can order from apple online, have it shipped to your house and you can turn on the at&t service yourself through itunes. Its just a nice way to do things.

    The iphone is awesome, but its not everything it could or should be. Apple has created a great platform but they have fallen short in features. It looks as if Apple is going to continue to support the iPhone by adding more applications thanks to the upcoming SDK, and they will be adding new features to existing phones as well as future versions. The iPhone looks like a platform, rather than a phone.

    Right now, the iphone is lacking a lot, but it does somethings extremely well. Whats interesting is how people are willing to look past the shortcomings just to have an iPhone. In my case, and in many others, we werent aware of the shortcomings. I mean come on, how can it not have cut and paste?

    Apple isnt being aggressive enough in adding features that the iphone lacks. Copycat phones are showing up, they're stealing a lot of ideas from Apple, and they are adding more functionality faster than Apple is. Granted these copycat ui's arent as elaborate or graphical, but they a made by the known players in the cell industry... and they can move very fast.
    • Pray tell me, what's so great about having to download an application that is almost totally unrelated to your phone to have to activate it? A process, moreover, that requires you to have a PC, an internet connections and an OS by either Microsoft or Apple. I'm not an american, but I can hardly imagine what other carriers put you through to activate your phone. Bureaucracy? Huge amounts of money? Torture? Hell? A look into the abyss?

      You must be getting sick of the comparisons to Europe and the rest of the w
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        "Pray tell me, what's so great about having to download an application that is almost totally unrelated to your phone to have to activate it?"

        The application is related to your phone, it is how you put music and other things on the phone. Now i think Apple does need to improve iTunes a lot, but the application does relate to the phone. The phone is not just a telephone but an mobile media player as well.

        You still do have the option of going to an AT&T store and activating it there as well.

        It's just nice
        • 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 LKM ( 227954 )
        Like the iPod, the iPhone is useless without a PC. Synchronization, backup, music, podcasts, videos and so on all require a PC.
    • Apple isnt being aggressive enough in adding features that the iphone lacks. Copycat phones are showing up, they're stealing a lot of ideas from Apple, and they are adding more functionality faster than Apple is. Granted these copycat ui's arent as elaborate or graphical, but they a made by the known players in the cell industry... and they can move very fast.

      I'll second that. I'd like to see Copy & Paste, MMS, SMS to more than one person, the ability to take video with the camera, and even though it

    • Missing Features? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LKM ( 227954 )

      Apple isnt being aggressive enough in adding features that the iphone lacks.

      I'd argue the "lacking" features are what makes the iPhone good. The copycat phones which look like iPhones b ut offer all the features of Windows Mobile are missing the whole freaking point of the iPhone: It's simple and easy to use.

    • 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 Coopjust ( 872796 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @09:01AM (#21982394)
    As much as I hate Verizon Wireless for crippling their phones, if Verizon had 62.1 million subscribers in June 2007 [] and 63.7 subscribers as of January 8th, 2008 [], how can they be "hemorrhaging" customers?

    AT&T may be clobbering them, adding new acquisitions to 67.3 million lines [] (from 63.7 in June 07), but Verizon has a turnover rate of less than 2% and they've increased the total # of subscribers since the iPhone release.

    The fact that the iPhone shookup the wireless industry and forced others to innovate and improve is true, but Verizon isn't dying. They DO need to play catchup with AT&T though; AT&T is widening their lead.
  • 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...

    • I carry both in my pocket. If you could merge the two it'd be great. I couldn't use the iphone on its own.. Every day I use Bluetooth Data (for my satnav), MMS, SMS to multiple recipients, GPS (telling my friends where I am).. all of which the iphone doesn't have yet. OTOH It's a nice browser and the video viewer knocks spots off the N95 one - altough the iphone frustratingly doesn't support live video streaming (largely due to the lack of 3G I suspect).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) *
      I own a Nokia 9300, Symbian S80 which is a lot "business" phone than N95 so there isn't huge activity. As Nokia moved to S60 on their mini laptop like devices, it will be unlikely.

      So I was not watching Symbian scene a while. Yesterday I decided to browse and shop for some stuff, I couldn't believe my eyes. VNC client became open source and free, directly from Nokia along with a Symbian POSIX framework. Symbian added a open source, sourceforge like site, Nokia finally decides to give more iSync plugins direc
  • by Tzinger ( 550448 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @09:49AM (#21982734) Homepage
    The thread about whose phone is open and whose is not has no effect on the point of the article. The impact of the iPhone was that the phone maker got to set the rules instead of the service provider. This is a major change in the behavior of the service provider.

    Verizon, conversely, expects that everything you would do with your phone should include a network service function. They own services for pictures, video, music, even your calendar and address book. As a result, they have disabled many of the features provided by phone equipment providers. Furthermore, you cannot buy a phone from an equipment provider and then sign up for Verizon service. This is a really terrible situation for the customer and not likely to last once the market starts to gravitate to separate smart phones and configurable services.

    Lastly, don't assume that GSM is the solution to all phone service problems. The sim card is a good idea so that phone service is portable. It is a difficult standard to adjust to higher data rates where CDMA is easier. I suspect the GSM folks will get it figured out, but the phone you have today might not be the one you need in a few years. The battle is not yet fully played.
  • 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.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @02:07PM (#21987142)

    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...

    Apple demanded? Apple gave up potential iPhone sales to people who may have wanted an iPhone but didn't want AT&T. Apple is bricking phones that have been modded to work with different providers or attempt to use 3rd party apps instead of AT&T services. Apple is taking all the heat for this nonsense while AT&T sits back and collects the revenue. From where I sit, it appears that Apple's lips are firmly affixed to AT&T's backside.

    The whole "we're opening up out networks" crap is just that. Cingular/AT&T's network has always been 'open' so long as you are willing to supply your own unlocked phone. I know. I've been doing that for years. The iPhone is a move in the other direction. Once you spend big bucks on one, you are much less likely to switch away from AT&T. In my case, when I travel abroad, I re-chip my phone (a RAZR) with a local account. An iPhone would be useless to me. I wonder how many other sales to people who travel a lot and want such features (typically higher income) Apple lost.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @02:30PM (#21987558) Homepage

    Nobody talks about Helio, but they did most of the iPhone things before the iPhone, and better.

    • 3G networking - Helio has it, Apple doesn't.
    • Social networking integration - Helio has it ("Myspace integration"), Apple doesn't.
    • GPS/map/social networking Helio has it ("Buddy Beacon"), Apple doesn't even have GPS.
    • Video camera Helio has it, Apple doesn't.
    • Music downloads Helio does them over the air, Apple doesn't.
    They both have music, video, phone, camera, etc.

    Helio also has much more Web integration (IM, POP email, RSS, etc.) than the iPhone. The problem is that they had to put a pop-out QWERTY keyboard in the thing to deal with all the web stuff.

  • by dlim ( 928138 ) on Thursday January 10, 2008 @06:22PM (#21991586) Journal
    I thought it was the the US Government, specifically the FCC forcing open wireless, if not for the entire network then for the 700 MHz spectrum [] that the wireless companies are trying to purchase. Google lobbied the government to get open access rules added for this spectrum.

    I did find this amusing (emphasis mine):

    The iPhone cracked open the carrier-centric structure of the wireless industry and unlocked a host of benefits for consumers
    Funny choice of words because you have to crack the iPhone to unlock it for use on other networks.

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