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Verizon Joins Linux Mobile Foundation

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the progress-is-progress dept.

Linux Business 100

An anonymous reader brings news that Verizon Wireless has announced plans to use a Linux-based software platform for phones on its network. Verizon is the first US mobile carrier to join the Linux Mobile Foundation, the goal of which is to "collaboratively develop a comprehensive Linux-based mobile software stack that can be modified easily and used at no cost on a wide range of hardware devices." Many had expected Verizon to go with Android, but according to the Register, Verizon feels Android "isn't as open as it would prefer." Continuing: "Yes, Google bills Android as open. And, yes, it's backed by the Open Handset Alliance, another industry consortium calling for the open development of mobile apps. But [Verizon spokesman Jeffrey] Nelson argues that at this point, Google is calling the shots. 'Google said "Here's the plan. Sign on the dotted line if you support." It may end up being collaborative. It may end up being collegial. But it need not be.' He actually has a point. But maybe Verizon just wants more control over the situation. It should be noted that the company made sure it has a place on the LiMo board. In any event, Verizon says that customers will be free to attach any device and any application to its network by the end of the year - provided those devices and applications met certain minimum specifications. So, in theory, you'll have free rein to attach an Android phone even if you don't buy it from Verizon."

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Android not as open (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431636)

Verizon feels Android "isn't as open as it would prefer."
Translation: Google won't let use lock Android phones down, so we made sure we had a place on the LiMo board to ensure that we can continue to control everything the way we've always done.

Re:Android not as open (3, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431656)

More translations:

provided those devices and applications met certain minimum specifications
Minimum specifications: we can lock the device down.

Re:Android not as open (1)

SultanCemil (722533) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431926)

This is so something Verizon would do too. Why is it that the large telcos feel the need to not let users do what they want with their own devices....

Re:Android not as open (2, Informative)

Trigun (685027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431990)

because they'll find a way to text for less than what they're paying now.

Re:Android not as open (1)

SultanCemil (722533) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432058)

True, but I've said this before and I'll say it again - the more you try to lock users down, the more they realize that they hate the prison they're being put in.

Re:Android not as open (3, Insightful)

BVis (267028) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432360)

I couldn't disagree more. These are American consumers we're talking about here. They care more about what color their phone is than how much more they get screwed as compared to cell phone customers in any other civilized country.

I'd say they don't care about something until it costs them money, but here they don't know that there's any other way, since most Americans think other countries are fictional.

Re:Android not as open (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23432588)

Who marked this as Insightful?
Ignorant is more like it, but there isn't an option for that so Flamebait would be more accurate.

Re:Android not as open (1)

spectre_240sx (720999) | more than 6 years ago | (#23435456)

I would have marked it insightful again if I still had mod points. He may be going a little far, but it's absolutely true that the general public in the US doesn't care enough to do anything about it. How do you think we got into this situation in the first place?

Re:Android not as open (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23437176)

But it's true. We Americans really do pay for text messages, and I rarely hear people complain about it. Maybe it's "ignorant" (i.e. I haven't actually conducted a serious poll) but those really are my real-life observations, also.

Maybe the lack of complaints is due to there not currently being any competition, though. (All the carriers overcharge, so if you shop around, no carrier's prices look particularly bad.) When open phones become usable, I can see the situation changing. Maybe. (I hope.)

Death to SMS. Long live Jabber. Hopefully in conjunction with OpenPGP.

Re:Android not as open (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 6 years ago | (#23442054)

True, but I've said this before and I'll say it again - the more you try to lock users down, the more they realize that they hate the prison they're being put in.
It's only possible to recognize you are in a prison if you've been outside of one. In the U.S. of A., every cell phone is a prison.

Re:Android not as open (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#23434384)

The days when you could open a phone and modify it without phear were a lot of fun. A new age of phreaking is upon us!

Re:Android not as open (2, Insightful)

Spokehedz (599285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432804)

It's all bad with VZW locking down their phones. By not letting every single phone have every single feature, people actually have to pick and choose phones based on how easy they are to hack to get the phone working with what they want.

By hanging onto the theory that people buy ringtones for $4.99 because there is no easy way to copy over the MP3 files because you disabled bluetooth OBEX... That's just crazy talk.

It's about time they were talking about openness. They've been a closed book for too many years.

Re:Android not as open (5, Informative)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431720)

Android may be open source, but the fact that it's based on Linux is more or less irrelevant to the programmer. The native API is Java-based, Android applications run under the JVM, and you can't expect to run anything but Java applications on Android. It's not a "Linux phone", it's a "Java phone" that happens to use Linux in its implementation.

Re:Android not as open (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432246)

yes and no. Remember running Java means you run Java byte code. If you are willing to write a compiler you can turn any language you want in to Java byte code(It might not be nice but it can be done). So the phone should be able to run Python, Ruby, Smalltalk and several others. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JVM_Languages [wikipedia.org]

Re:Android not as open (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23434934)

If you are willing to write a compiler you can turn any language you want in to Java byte code

There's an accumulated 35 years worth of software written in "C" for the UNIX API that includes pretty much all the software that I'm personally interested in running, one way or another.

Writing a compiler for a subset of C that would make even a fraction of these programs work would probably be a bigger job than creating Android was.

Re:Android not as open (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23436888)

http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?OtherLanguagesForTheJavaVm [c2.com] That page gos in to it a bit more. C is nearly ASM so it's very hard to turn it into a language like Java that is so automatic. I'm sure it can be done but the people who like C see no reason to use something as wasteful as Java and the people who like a Java see no need for this kind of difficult project. "Why translate the C to Java Byte Code when we can just rewrite it in nice portable Java?".

In the end I don't think it is a bigger job then Android just one that has lacked demand until now. As it is I get the feeling that once Android is here a lot of people who were angry that they can't run their favorite C programs on their phone will find reasonable Java equivalents that they did not know existed. I would expect that any that do not exist will be written just for Android. The world has a ton of Java programmers right now.

Android is a Java phone, Linux doesn't matter (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23437518)

I'm sure you could write a simple C compiler for a JVM, after all there was one for the Burroughs A series. It wouldn't be very useful, and would run like molasses with a big old byte array simulating memory (which is what the Burroughs one did). Writing one that generated code that ran fast enough to be useful requires solving problems that so far as I know nobody's really addressed, and all that work would be part of the effort...

And even if I'm wrong, and you could do it with only (say) twice as much effort as implementing Smalltalk on the JVM, the fact that it would require that kind of effort to run UNIX (or Linux) programs on top of Android is just proving my point. It's not providing a Linux environment, it's providing a Java environment, the fact that Linux is involved is irrelevant to either the end user of the Android application developer: the API would be the same if it was implemented on top of Windows CE. It doesn't matter to people who want a Java environment, because they don't want a Linux one, and it doesn't matter to people who want a Linux environment, because it doesn't provide one. It only matters to Google because they can muddy the waters by talking about Linux.

Re:Android is a Java phone, Linux doesn't matter (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438160)

That's very fair. Calling an Android phone a Linux phone is misleading. However Androids goal was to make the cell phone the device it should be, not to make a 'Linux phone'. Linux was a tool not the goal. Java was used because of the things it does right. It's very cross platform and as of late as open as Google would need it to be. Plus the issue of protecting the phone from dumb code can now be done with one interface, the JVM. If the Java byte code being run does something bad it can be stopped before it crashes (or worse, bricks) your phone. It's gonna have problems but letting raw C code run it would have been worse.

God forgive me, I'm defending Verizon. (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438472)

However Androids goal was to make the cell phone the device it should be, not to make a 'Linux phone'.

That's fine, but the whole thrust of the slashdot conventional wisdom here is that Verizon is doing something underhanded by going with a "different Linux phone" instead of Android. And that's where I'm coming from here: if you're looking for a platform to run Linux software on a cellphone, then Android isn't the platform you're looking for, and castigating Verizon is, well, not fair.

Re:Android not as open (4, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432266)

Wrong.

You can already easily use native libraries in Android, even though it is officially unsupported. Android has a perfectly good security system which makes it possible.

In future, it should even be possible to extend the Dalvik VM (its sources are not available right now).

Re:Android not as open (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432686)

Mod parent up. See, for example, this thread [google.com] .

Android isn't about Linux (3, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23435126)

You can already easily use native libraries in Android, even though it is officially unsupported.

I can use native libraries in Mono, too... that doesn't mean that the fact that Mono runs on Linux makes a .NET application a Linux application.

The Android API may well be a better one than the UNIX API for a cellphone, by the way, so I'm not saying that this is necessarily a drawback to Android. What I'm saying is that it doesn't matter all that much to the developer whether the OS below the Android runtime is Linux, Windows CE, Windows PE, whatever the Symbian OS is called this week, Palm OS 5, BeOS, or Amiga.DE.

The whole "Android is Linux" meme is just muddying the waters... Android isn't using Linux as anything but an implementation tool. Android isn't about Linux. Android is about Android.

Re:Android isn't about Linux (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#23435656)

Not exactly, currently, Android depends on *nix security system. Some features (powersaving, graphics, sound) also require cooperation between Android and the kernel.

It's not much, of course. But you can also argue that you can run Symbian OS applications on Windows if you care to port its API and binary loader.

Re:Android isn't about Linux (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23435896)

Not exactly, currently, Android depends on *nix security system. Some features (powersaving, graphics, sound) also require cooperation between Android and the kernel.

That's interesting when one is considering the quality and details of the implementation, but unless it's exposed through the API in a way that depends on the fact that it's Linux under the hood that doesn't change my point. Android provides an Android environment, not a UNIX one.

But you can also argue that you can run Symbian OS applications on Windows if you care to port its API and binary loader.

Why yes, you can. Though UNIX is a better example: I can run UNIX applications on Windows NT using either Interix or Cygwin. When I am doing this, as far as I'm concerned, I am working in a UNIX environment, not a Windows environment... and I normally dscribe Interix as a hosted implementation of UNIX under Windows NT.

Re:Android not as open (3, Informative)

tobiasly (524456) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432932)

The native API is Java-based, Android applications run under the JVM, and you can't expect to run anything but Java applications on Android. It's not a "Linux phone", it's a "Java phone" that happens to use Linux in its implementation.

Partly correct, except it won't use the JVM. It will use a different virtual machine called Dalvik, so that they can get around Sun's ridiculous JME licensing, MIDP profiles [betaversion.org] , and everything else that sucks about running midlets on phones today (such as the overzealous security restrictions that keep me from easily running a program I wrote on my own phone.)

Re:Android not as open (2, Insightful)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23433130)

That's the nice part about running Java on the phone most people don't seem to get. By having the Java wrapper they only have to secure Java from doing anything wrong not try to secure random code that will be running as compiled. Why Java and not C++ or [insert favorite language here]? Because Java came with a wrapper (the JVM) and it's the biggest language right now(This might just sound like me showing a preference but TIOBE backs me up on this. http://www.tiobe.com/index.php/content/paperinfo/tpci/index.html [tiobe.com] ).

Re:Android not as open (1)

eean (177028) | more than 6 years ago | (#23433996)

You have to recompile your Java apps and library to work on Android, since they're using a different Java bytecode. They've also developed a whole new GUI toolkit apparently.

They do have some performance reason for the change, but it's hard not to suspect some politics.

Re:Android not as open (2, Interesting)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431724)

The anti-Tivoisation is perhaps the most controversial clause of the GPL3, but as embedded Linux becomes more common, perhaps also one of the most important. It will be interesting to see how this sort of thing is affected in the longer term.

In the short term, they can probably stick with GPL2 software easily enough, if they feel they need to. But if and when a critical mass of FOSS is being released under GPL3, it will be harder to achieve full lockdown of the platform.

Re:Android not as open (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432392)

1) The Linux kernel itself is and shall probably forever remain GPLv2. At least that's what Linus says, and since he's in charge, well, that's it. GPLv3 code can't be added by third parties (GPLv2 and v3 are incompatible).

2) I predict a "L/GPLv2 and later" fork of large parts of the GNU project, particularly glibc, fileutils, binutils, etc.

So, no, I don't think the anti-tivoisation clause will end up stopping Verizon in the near term or long term. Remember: Verizon is on the board of LiMo, so they, at least in part, get to influence the direction of LiMo.

Re:Android not as open (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23434276)

Of course Verizon wants to promote an open platforms because it provides endless choice. The choice to restrict its end users in endless ways from using built-in phone features like WiFi and GPS.

Who cares about Verizon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23434542)

Verizon isn't going to be making the phones, so who cares what they prefer?

My guess is their junky rebranded phones with their custom programming will just be a huge cash cow for them, since they can make sure you only have the ability to download music and ringtones from the Verizon Store.

Real "open". Gotta love how linux is being used to give even more control to people who already have total control. But hey, anything and everything is justified in order to stick it to Microsoft.

Re:Android not as open (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439330)

Yes and this can be summarized even more: The more open it is, the easier it is to close down.

I think, this is what "GPL vs. BSDL" debates boil down to:

  • BSD: We are the most open.
  • GPL: We are harder to abuse and/or close down (the way Microsoft and Apple do).

But does this mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23445194)

That I can buy a phone from Verizon without paying Microsoft for Windows Mobile?

That's my largest complaint against the major laptop manufacturers. They don't care if I load Linux myself, provided that I purchase a copy of Windows with the computer.

Forcing me to purchase something I do not want, do not need, and would not choose to purchase should be illegal.

Verizon? (4, Insightful)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431646)

Of course, this will only be of any benefit to the users if they leave the 'modified easily and used at no cost on a wide range of hardware devices' aspect open to the users.

Judging by the past performance of Verizon, they will do anything possible to lock it down and maximise their profit stream/control over the platform.

At least it should make the devices more hackable though! :)

Re:Verizon? (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431698)

Yeah, I discovered this week how much Verizon wants you to mess with their phones. Try loading BREW apps on a LG VX9900 (enV) using BitPim sometime.

Re:Verizon? (4, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432340)

That's why I'm an AT&T customer now.

I was interested in the XV6800 (an HTC Windows Mobile device), but Verizon was delaying it for months and months after Sprint released the same device for "network certification issues".

I learned my lesson the hard way what "network certification issues" means from Verizon delaying the Treo 650 by 6-9 months from Sprint release - It means "the phone's software hasn't been crippled to our satisfaction yet".

So if the phone you want is released on Sprint but Verizon is delaying it for "network certification issues", find another phone or switch providers, because the phone you get from Verizon will NOT have the features and functionality that the Sprint variant has.

Hans and Linus meet Verizon (2, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431652)

Hans: Can you hear me now?
Linus: (pretending it's a bad connection) What?
Hans: Can you hear me now?
Linus: What? What?
Hans: Can you hear me now!!!!???
Linus: Sorry Hans, I can't hear you. Why don't you "have a talk" with that stupid Verizon guy.

Re:Hans and Linus meet Verizon - mods: -1, Unfunny (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23431808)

This isn't remotely funny.

Re:Hans and Linus meet Verizon - mods: -1, Unfunny (1)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431890)

This isn't remotely funny.

What's funny about this?

Re:Hans and Linus meet Verizon (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432466)

What? Do they let you have cell phones in prison?

US catches up with the rest of the World. (3, Insightful)

krischik (781389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431658)

will be free to attach any device and any application to its network by the end of the year - provided those devices and applications met certain minimum specifications.
So finally the US caught up with us....

Re:US catches up with the rest of the World. (2, Insightful)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431696)

No, the US is merely saying something that makes it *look* like a bastion of freedom and democracy and ice-cream-covered puppy kisses and unicorn farts. In reality, the moment that someone releases a free application for a Verizon phone that enables some cheap and wonderful functionality, the higher-ups at the company will shit themselves in outrage and find a way to make sure that their flag-waving freedom-pimp network is able to triple your charges the next month for having the audacity to use your phone in the manner that *you* want without having the decency to give them a wheelbarrow full of cash first.

Re:US catches up with the rest of the World. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431992)

Where in the article or anything related to the article is anybody speaking for the US?

Re:US catches up with the rest of the World. (1)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432114)

Yeah, my post is a bit wonky in that regard, but if you take a wee glance at the one I'm replying to I think it's a bit obvious why I wrote it the way I did.

I'll try to be clearer after I've had coffee...

Re:US catches up with the rest of the World. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432514)

I'm pretty sure that it has been possible to use whatever GSM device on AT&T since it was Cingular.

They still sell phones that are locked to their network, but I don't think they have done much to prevent people from using unlocked phones.

Re:US catches up with the rest of the World. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432612)

IIRC (and the "C" could be faulty), didn't Google recently force the winner of the FCC's recent spectrum auction to abide by an open-access rule that Google (rightly) weaseled into the bidding rules?

As long as the devices use that chunk of spectrum, Verizon may not have had a choice.

Re:US catches up with the rest of the World. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23435070)

First off this isn't really new - T-Mobile is GSM and allows any GSM phone to run. I think AT&T (also GSM) might also but I haven't checked. People routinely transfer SIM cards in the US. Just not on Verizon, Alltel, or Sprint - those use CDMA.

Out of the five telecoms I've mentioned above, guess which one actually will allow Android phones on their network? (Yes, ONE.) I'll give you a hint: it's not using CDMA.

That's right, T-Mobile [news.com] . So T-Mobile, who already is fairly open with the phones they support, is willing to support Android.

No one else is. (No, not even Sprint, who has made noise about Android but doesn't actually support it.)

Re:US catches up with the rest of the World. (1)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 6 years ago | (#23435982)

I don't know about USA, but here in the UK, T-Mobile, does the least "Branding"/"Lockdown" of phones sold.

Ok, I admit I do not like what they do to the Icons (they have a standard icon set) but normally they do not remove features. (They tried at first with the N95 and its in built SIP functionality, but were forced via a lawsuit to put it back in!)

They DO Sim lock the phones, but considering they do give a HUGE discount, that is fair, and its not too difficult to unlock most phones, and they have an official way of doing it, when your commitment period is over.

I tend to get my T-Mobile upgrades from Carphone Warehouse, as they give me unlocked unbranded phones, but to be honest, there is usually not MUCH difference.

Germany frees the States (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23444254)

Do you know that T-Mobile is a subsid of the German National Telekom? No? Well,have a look: http://www.telekom.de/ [telekom.de]

Martin

Re:US catches up with the rest of the World. (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 6 years ago | (#23442338)

I really do love that sentence.

It's GSM - which is about a decade old and is the same thing, except it also works across networks, countries, and even continents.

Whereas Verizon is only a pillar of freedom... on Verizon. And in the States.

Very confusing (5, Interesting)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431702)

I've been a Verizon customer now for about 5 years. The coverage is excellent here (Indianapolis) and the price is decent, so I've stuck around.

Really the only complaint I've had with them thus far is that basically every phone they sell is locked down and/or has it's interface completely changed when compared to the original phone, or the same phone sold to another carrier. Additionally, they are very choosy about how you can connect to their data network.

This "customers will be free to attach any device and any application to its network by the end of the year" seems like a complete 180 to that mindset. The only way I see them pulling that is if some huge charge is added to your data plan to allow it. They already nickel and dime you if you want to tether a phone instead of using their air card.

It just seems fishy to me.

Re:Very confusing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23432012)

I've been a Verizon customer now for about 5 years. The coverage is excellent here (Indianapolis) and the price is decent, so I've stuck around.


Really the only complaint I've had with them thus far is that basically every phone they sell is locked down and/or has it's interface completely changed when compared to the original phone, or the same phone sold to another carrier. Additionally, they are very choosy about how you can connect to their data network.


This "customers will be free to attach any device and any application to its network by the end of the year" seems like a complete 180 to that mindset. The only way I see them pulling that is if some huge charge is added to your data plan to allow it. They already nickel and dime you if you want to tether a phone instead of using their air card.


It just seems fishy to me.

Yes, the phones are locked down. I used to own a razr and changed the firmware to alltells version. It really improved the phone and was a fun process. Recently I switched to a blackberry because it is not locked down by verizon.

Re:Very confusing (2, Interesting)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432132)

As an employee for VzW I agree to that the phones are horribly locked down. If you know what you are doing though they are easily hackable. I for one am looing forward to the "open" phones. I do believe that with the new software they will be even easier to hack. This is why I have Verizon phones as well. Yeah, I can't txt you a ringtone, but 5min with a cable and a computer and I can open the phone and you can D/L any thing you want to it. LGs are the best, IMO, to mess with(9900)

Re:Very confusing (1)

Durrok (912509) | more than 6 years ago | (#23433404)

What program do you use, something provided by Verizon or something else? All the ones I have grabbed do not support my model of phone (LG ENV)

Re:Very confusing (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23433636)

BitPim [bitpim.org] lists the VX9900 (enV) as supported, but I haven't had enough time lately to really get into trying it out. If you run across something that works better let me know.

Re:Very confusing (1)

Durrok (912509) | more than 6 years ago | (#23435954)

Thanks, I'll give it a shot.

Re:Very confusing (1)

KiltedKnight (171132) | more than 6 years ago | (#23433438)

Except that the LG phones (and several others) have proprietary connectors, require special versions of USB cables, etc. Why can't they all just use a mini-USB connector? It would make the phones much easier to manage and you wouldn't have to go buy a new cable every time you got a new phone.

Re:Very confusing (1)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23434510)

Why can't they all just use a mini-USB connector?

The answer to this question is right there in your post: "you wouldn't have to go buy a new cable every time you got a new phone."

Re:Very confusing (1)

abolitiontheory (1138999) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432490)

This "customers will be free to attach any device and any application to its network by the end of the year" seems like a complete 180 to that mindset. The only way I see them pulling that is if some huge charge is added to your data plan to allow it. They already nickel and dime you if you want to tether a phone instead of using their air card.

Yeah, exactly. I've been with Verizon for almost 5 years on a family plan, now up to 5 phones and it's been one of the worst experiences in terms of hardware and upgrading. Every two years you get the chance to upgrade to another proprietary, locked-in phone, and if you want to buy a better phone or upgrade before, you're paying an arm and a leg for even the most basic phones, and renewing your subscription for two more years.

I'd love to see cell phones become like cell phone numbers: you can them whereever you go. Hardware should be carrier independent. It's not like my ISP makes me buy a computer which only works with their network. My TV works with any cable provider. But my cell phone?

It's just kind of sickening to see a business (or industry) which is so baldfaced in its callousness towards its customers.

Re:Very confusing (4, Informative)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#23434070)

I'd love to see cell phones become like cell phone numbers: you can them whereever you go. Hardware should be carrier independent. It's not like my ISP makes me buy a computer which only works with their network. My TV works with any cable provider. But my cell phone?

Um, you can, more or less. It's called GSM. You can use any GSM phone that supports 850/1900 with any GSM carrier in the US. Most GSM phones sold in the US are 850/1800/1900, which means that you can even use those in other places like Europe. Just pop out the SIM card, put in a new one that you buy once you get to your destination, and viola, no roaming/international charges.

This is the sole reason why I'm sticking with T-Mobile. I get a Verizon discount at work, but for the value of the discount, it only brings the phone bill down to what I'm paying with T-Mobile. I'll use the discount on FiOS and a landline, maybe TV as well, but Verizon is staying hella far away from my mobile.

Re:Very confusing (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 6 years ago | (#23442360)

And the GP comment (don't take it personally) shows why the world is laughing at the US cellphone market.

Swapping your regular, subscriber SIM for a pay-as-you-go SIM when you get off the train in your destination isn't even a technical task in Europe. It's just what you do - walk in to a O2 or Orange store, grab a PAYG SIM and slap £20 of minutes on there

I did it when I went to London from the States, worked great. I paid a grand total of the £50 - while my parents paid $600 in roaming.

Re:Very confusing (1)

limaxray (1292094) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464846)

And the GP comment (don't take it personally) shows why the world is laughing at the US cellphone market.

If this were the case, then I'd think the US would have good reason to laugh at the world's ignorance. In the US, you can travel from coast to coast, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands all without roaming, so there is no need to have to swap SIM cards on any regular basis.

In Europe on the other hand, you can only get a couple hundred kilometers from your home before you're roaming and paying out the nose. This makes SIM cards a necessity for the reasons you mentioned.

Personally, I have a cheap quad-band GSM phone for when I go abroad to do just this. When I'm in the US though, I'd much rather have the higher quality and reliability of a CDMA based network over the inherent issues one faces with a TDMA based network.

Re:Very confusing (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23434500)

I have the same complaint about the phone. I love the service, I haven't dropped a call yet. I got an excellent deal on my phones when I started my contract, as well.

Then, when I started playing around with Bluetooth for the first time, I realized how much I couldn't do. My girlfriend and I had the same make and model phones, but we couldn't transfer files between them. In fact, I had to install BitPim (love it) on each computer just so we could transfer wallpapers and ringtones without having to pay for whatever service they brand that as. (And at least this way I got ringtones and wallpaper I wanted.)

I'd also like to see them embrace the GSM model, though. I find it more convenient to be able to swap out a card if my phone dies or I upgrade, rather than transfer the information manually. (BitPim was also helpful in backing up all of that information.) Good signal, good clarity, good phones, bad lockdowns.

Re:Very confusing (1)

limaxray (1292094) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464536)

Actually, Verizon will be switching to GSM to use LTE for their up-and-coming 4G network. If I had to guess, I'd say this is the main reason they're starting to open their network.

If they want to abandon closed proprietary technologies for an open international standard, they're going to have to make the same change to their handsets and open them. Might as well get your consumer hardware infrastructure ready for the change before hand.

Re:Very confusing (1)

Atario (673917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23444236)

This "customers will be free to attach any device and any application to its network by the end of the year" seems like a complete 180 to that mindset.
I think it's pretty obvious what happened. Verizon has gotten so lock-down-happy that their intensity-of-lock-down-ness variable wrapped around and now they want to be open-up-happy.

Most AnyPhones are GSM... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23431734)

OK, so Verizon says you can BYO handset, but who actually makes CDMA handsets that are sold directly to end users, and not through Verizon or Sprint?

Re:Most AnyPhones are GSM... (2, Informative)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431884)

I think Nokia [nokiausa.com] might sell you one.

Re:Most AnyPhones are GSM... (2, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432408)

Nokia has almost no cdmaOne/CDMA2000 phones. They're a GSM/UMTS shop.

In addition, previously only Sprint had an ESN whitelist that would prevent them from activating phones not sold by them. I have heard that Verizon also does this now in order to prevent feature-superior uncrippled phones from using their network (bypassing the overpriced replacements for the features removed from Verizon's version of said phones - see Treo 650 Bluetooth DUN as an example.)

Re:Most AnyPhones are GSM... (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432668)

Nokia has almost no cdmaOne/CDMA2000 phones
Keyword *almost*.

Oh, you want a *choice*. I see ;)

I would also imagine that this would change, if there were a sudden market for them. I notice that Nokia CEO claims [infoworld.com] the market isn't viable (for them) and that's the reason - of course that was a couple of years ago, so things are undoubtedly different these days.

If this move is as it seems, then I guess it will change a lot of things. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Re:Most AnyPhones are GSM... (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#23434456)

Nokia has almost no cdmaOne/CDMA2000 phones. They're a GSM/UMTS shop.
Then look for Nokia's other countries that use CDMA. I know that Japan uses/used CDMA (don't know if they completely got rid of it now that they're 3G.) Hong Kong uses CDMA as well, and their Nokia site is in both Chinese (I'm guessing Mandarin, but I really have no clue) and English. Just go to http://www.cdg.org/worldwide/index.asp [cdg.org] and check out what other countries use CDMA, and then check out those countries' pages for Nokia or any other large company like SonyEricsson

Re:Most AnyPhones are GSM... (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23441962)

and their Nokia site is in both Chinese (I'm guessing Mandarin, but I really have no clue)
FYI, Mandarin is a spoken language, and they speak Cantonese in HK (mostly)[1]. The written languages are 'traditional Chinese' and 'simplified Chinese', for former being what they use in HK (and Taiwan?).

[1] IINM Cantonese is a English 'corruption' of the word Guangdongese, Guangdong being the neighbouring province.
Having said that, I can't see it's all that similar a word. So, like "Peking" being the western word for "Beijing", I wonder if it isn't that the Chinese are now using a different word, or pronunciation has changed. I'd be interested to know, if anyone has any knowledge on the matter :)

Why I'm excited about Android (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431782)

A friend and I were trying to have a conversation with an old friend via loudspeaker on a Symbian based phone. If you've ever tried this, you know how difficult it is to hear the each other. What's especially annoying is that we had more than one phone on hand, but setting up a three way call is painfully difficult and expensive, but more importantly, it's completely unnecessary. There's no reason why any number of handsets can not be linked via bluetooth and only one make the call to the third party.

This is one example of the creative ways communications problems can be solved.. but only if you have an open platform.

Re:Why I'm excited about Android (2, Interesting)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431914)

What's to stop you from implementing this on a Symbian platform?

The SDK is free and I'm fairly sure you can do that sort of functionality. Of course, you have the SymbianSigned gauntlet to go through, and you will if you want to do that sort of thing, but I would say it's possible.

Re:Why I'm excited about Android (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23431974)

Shya, like you can do *anything* remotely cool with bluetooth on Symbian.

Re:Why I'm excited about Android (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432792)

With a Sybian OTOH ...

Re:Why I'm excited about Android (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23441986)

I'm genuinely curious why you think 'cool' things aren't possible on Symbian. I have had a look and there are some restrictions which could account for your position, but I'm wondering what *your* reasons are.

Re:Why I'm excited about Android (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23442026)

Cause its a proprietary platform.. you're required to talk to the hardware via opaque layers of software. If there isn't an API for what you want to do you are simply shit out of luck.

Re:Why I'm excited about Android (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23442222)

"what you want to do"?

It seems like your saying that Symbian doesn't allow 'cool' applications, so long as 'cool' is defined as applications you can't develop.

Talking about S60 here (UIQ is also Symbian), there *is* a bluetooth API of course. There's even a bluetooth point-to-multipoint example [nokia.com] . The FAQ [nokia.com] (which seems a little out of date to me) says :

# Do Nokia's phones support point-to-multipoint?
#

Nokia phones having Symbian OS support point-to-multipoint as a master. Thus, it is possible to develop an application that establishes multiple links from a Nokia phone to other devices. As a slave, the phone can only have one active Bluetooth connection. A master/slave switch is not supported.

Series 40 devices support only point-to-point connections.
(Note that Series 40 is not Symbian)

This [nokia.com] also mentions multiplayer games using bluetooth, so I can't help but wonder how they work, *if* what you say is true :

Bluetooth technology....
developers can, for example, create exciting multiplayer games, industrial and remote-control applications, and wireless enhancements.
Also, IINM, while Android is open in the sense a 'window' is open, it isn't open in the sense that a 'door' is open. IE, you are also reliant on the API being available - you cannot add your own or bypass it. Yes, you can see how it works, and spot bugs/etc. You might also be able to develop a hack or other (as people do with Symbian actually, though there's more guess work), but I don't think you're really talking about hacking here, are you? In any case, don't Android apps run in a virtual machine - which would mean that they can only access the resources in the virtual machine which is via an API (I'm not clear on this)?

Re:Why I'm excited about Android (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23442366)

Dude, the entire Android stack is (or is going to be) Open Source.. in the capitalized meaning of that word.. that means you can take any part which has poor support for what you want to do and change it to do what you want, and then put it back on your phone, provide patches for others, contribute it back to the project, etc, etc. That's what I'm talking about.

As for using point-to-point data to do voice over bluetooth, yes, you can do that, if you want to re-invent the wheel, just don't expect any sane operating support to do it because Symbian supports voice over bluetooth to headsets only, not to other handsets. Or at least it did when I was a Symbian developer, they might have add support since then.

Re:Why I'm excited about Android (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23442438)

Dude, the entire Android stack is (or is going to be) Open Source..
Oh, ok. That's news to me. I thought the reason Verizon doesn't want to join Android is because it isn't open. We'll have to wait and see, I guess.

As for using point-to-point data to do voice over bluetooth, yes, you can do that, if you want to re-invent the wheel, just don't expect any sane operating support to do it because Symbian supports voice over bluetooth to headsets only, not to other handsets. Or at least it did when I was a Symbian developer, they might have add support since then.
So, you don't know then. I don't either, actually. It's plausible, I suppose, but things change.

Re:Why I'm excited about Android (1)

Brikus (670587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23434720)

The Android API is a Java API. If you're programming for a JVM, how much actual control of the hardware do you think you are going to get?

itsatrap (3, Funny)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432100)

itsatrap? anyone?

Re:itsatrap (2, Interesting)

abolitiontheory (1138999) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432342)

itsatrap? anyone?

Yeah, I've been with Verizon for years and this sounds way too "nice guy" for them. It would be incredible if it was true, and maybe Verizon is feeling the pinch from iPhone subscriptions and the prospect of future Android defectors, but I doubt it. Think Microsoft OOXML vs. ODF: I think its similar.

Outsorcing phones while charging for the privilage (4, Insightful)

maggard (5579) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432228)

will be free to attach any device and any application to its network by the end of the year - provided those devices and applications met certain minimum specifications.

For a fee.

Yep, Verizon built a US$20 million lab to 'certify' products submitted for use on their network, and expects to recoup that investment by charging for their certification services. So unless someone with reasonably deep pockets is gonna back your whatsmawhoseits it won't going on Verizon's network. Compare this to, say, T-Mobile whose policy is pretty much if it takes a SIM plug it in and they'll be happy to bill you for it.

What is Verizons real goal?

Getting out of the phone business.

No carrier likes to be in the phone business - it costs money for all of those stores & racks of phones & inventory management and huge support overhead, not to mention the complex subsidy plans that everyone loathes. So Verizon's plan is to outsource it all to the phone manufacturers. Sure, buy any Verizon 'certified' phone (same as the rest of the world using GSM enjoys) and plug it in. Got a problem?? Call whomever you bought it from, or the manufacturer, just not Verizon.

It's an easy way for Verizon to expand the offerings on their network, at no risk or cost to Verizon, while shifting the overhead of supporting those phones elsewhere. Verizon will charge for the service, that lovely pricey plan, just now you'll be buying from their list of 'certified' products, not their Verizon-branded phones.

Expect in a few years to walk into Verizon stores with minimal selection of phones, just enough range to cover the basics for those too out-of-the-loop to buy their phone elsewhere. Or even a sublet strategy where phone manufacturers pay for square footage and supply their own staff to sell their brand phones.

But innovative homebrew startups etc.? Not on big red it'll be expensively certified products paying for the Verizon privilage thankyouverymuch.

Re:Outsorcing phones while charging for the privil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23436704)

I was with Verizon 3 yrs ago, and their high prices and policies of not allowing "unsupported" handsets on their network made me switch over to T-Mobile and I haven't looked back since. I've got 3 unlocked phones with T-Mobile SIMS and the great thing is, I'm using their HotSpot@Home service so all my calls made at any WiFi hotspot go through VOIP and don't cost me a penny or use up any of my 1000 minutes! Verizon will never be an open company.

Re:Outsorcing phones while charging for the privil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23437224)

Run on sentences much? Painful and confusing as shit to read x_x

Re:Outsorcing phones while charging for the privil (1)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 6 years ago | (#23438938)

Getting out of the phone business seems all the rage these days [eweek.com] .

I've been really suspicious of Verizon's sudden turn to openness since the original announcement. The contrast between its announced future plans and its past actual behavior is stunning.

I'm also wondering where OpenMoko falls into all of this. Are they just whistling in the dark while the carriers line up behind Linux Mobile, Android and Apple?

Walky-talky? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23432394)

Will android allow us to use the antennah for other uses than connecting to the service provider?

Would be awesome to have free walky-talky functionality (direct signals between the phones instead of relying on the infrastructure) with anyone that has an android phone!

Re:Walky-talky? (1)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 6 years ago | (#23436050)

No it wont, for security reasons the radio stack will NOT be a part of android! :)

I was thinking about a Centro... (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 6 years ago | (#23432584)

...to replace my Treo 650. I've got a 'two-year upgrade' due, and I like PalmOS, despite its limitations. But a Linux-based phone - assuming it wasn't totally locked-down by Verizon - would be even better. Maybe I'll hold off a while. :->

Re:I was thinking about a Centro... (1)

Petaris (771874) | more than 6 years ago | (#23433072)

Off-topic, well kind of, but supposedly the next version of PalmOS is going to be based on Linux as well. On another note I have Alltel and I would love a Centro but I am a bit worried about signal and also being able to use the features (web based) I want as Alltel doesn't offer the Centro yet. Does anyone know how compatible the PRLs from a 755p would be for use with a Centro?

Will the day finally come (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 6 years ago | (#23433210)

where I'll have a dual-boot phone?

Re:Will the day finally come (1)

kemushi88 (1156073) | more than 6 years ago | (#23442784)

I believe this is actually possible with OpenMoko and another OS on the Neo 1973.

What about Apple? (1)

SeaDuck79 (851025) | more than 6 years ago | (#23433850)

There have been some references to Google being the competition, but what about Apple? Certainly the fact that Google AND Apple plan to introduce a new, more open model to devices puts pressure on Verizon to follow suit, doesn't it?

I'm a Verizon customer who also doesn't like the control-freak mentality there. They may be dragged into OS kicking and screaming, but I think they finally realized they don't have the option of not opening their devices if they want to remain one of the top-tier providers.

With the iPhone, they only had to worry about a small segment of customers possibly defecting to one other provider (AT&T). With the Google phone coming, all bets are off, and Verizon has to - HAS TO - follow a new model of openness. I'm more optimistic than I was before.

Woman Joins Linux Mobile Foundation?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23435448)

I was flipping through my RSS reader, read the title, and I'm in complete disbelief! Wait...

Ah, I was flipping too quickly the articles it appears... Woman Indicted In MySpace Suicide Case makes far more sense...

Never mind, I'll resume my basement dwelling browsing.

Verizon over GSM (1)

davesays (922765) | more than 6 years ago | (#23439288)

I use Verizon (with several phones) because I travel over large areas and they have the best coverage for me. I can't say if they are going to open things up as they seem to be saying. However, my father-in-law works on the actual cell equipment for VzW and he told me that they are supposed to roll out a nationwide GSM network. I can't remember the timeframe, but I think it was in the next two years. Don't quote me on that...

Be aware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23441070)

Be very aware. This is a tactic. Nothing more. Keep in mind who VZ is, keep in mind past. Keep in mind future.

Steps to get their source (1)

onekopaka (1249746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23442448)

1. Change the Linux kernel's license to GPL.
2. Sue Verizon.
3. Enjoy the source!

Raising a flag... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23447200)

This is a joke, most certainly it must raise a flag - "The enemy is exploring the building..."
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