Charlie Stross has a blog post up that tries to make sense of the mobile phone market and where it's going: where Apple, Google, and the cellcos fit in, and what the point of Google's Nexus One may be. "Becoming a pure bandwidth provider is every cellco's nightmare: it levels the playing field and puts them in direct competition with their peers, a competition that can only be won by throwing huge amounts of capital infrastructure at their backbone network. So for the past five years or more, they've been doing their best not to get dragged into a game of beggar-my-neighbor, by expedients such as exclusive handset deals... [Google intends] to turn 3G data service (and subsequently, LTE) into a commodity, like Wi-Fi hotspot service only more widespread and cheaper to get at. They want to get consumers to buy unlocked SIM-free handsets and pick cheap data SIMs. They'd love to move everyone to cheap data SIMs rather than the hideously convoluted legacy voice stacks maintained by the telcos; then they could piggyback Google Voice on it, and ultimately do the Google thing to all your voice messages as well as your email and web access. (This is, needless to say, going to bring them into conflict with Apple. ... Apple are an implicit threat to Google because Google can't slap their ads all over [the App and iTunes stores]. So it's going to end in handbags at dawn... eventually.)"
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