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Why Open Source Phones Still Fail

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the strange-and-spooky dept.

Cellphones 322

adeelarshad82 writes "Truly open-development, open-source phones like the Nokia N900 will never hit the mainstream in the US because wireless carriers in the country hate the unexpected, writes PCMag's Sascha Segan. The open-source philosophy is all about unexpected, disruptive ideas bubbling upwards, and that drives network planners nuts. So, you get unsatisfactory hybrids like Google Android, which uses some open-source components but locks third-party developers into a crippled Java sandbox. The bottom line is that while Linux the OS, the kernel, and the memory manager are attractive to phone manufacturers, Linux the philosophy — and users banding together ad hoc to create new things — is anathema to wireless carriers."

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322 comments

Open their blinders with amazing apps (3, Insightful)

alain94040 (785132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331094)

No carrier wants geeks. Geeks use up a lot of network resources, try to find ways around rules, and create problems for tech support.

Yes. But geeks also build new cool applications never before thought possible, that become next year's must-haves.

In a sense, the iPhone app ecosystem is proof to that, despite its less-than-open review process. Palm and the PC as well, if you want to go back in history.

How hard can it be for the base-station to monitor bandwidth and avoid taking the whole network down?

--
Meet co-founders [fairsoftware.net] for your startup

Why they fail (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331172)

Let's see - linux failed. Gnu has failed. Why should phones be any different?

Re:Why they fail (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331618)

It's not that this will be different it's that you're dealing with morons who still don't get that after 15+ years their little pet project has gone nowhere. Linux has failed in the consumer market because the same reasoning they use to cling to Linux is the same reason the consumer market rejects it. Consumers want predictable. Consumers don't want to have to be engineers to use a machine. Consumers don't want to have to keep up on geek trends.

There will never be a year of Linux on the desktop. Linux has lost in the consumer market. It's over. But if a bunch of losers want to keep on going at it I won't stand in their way. They can keep on losing.

Re:Why they fail (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331954)

Thanks for the trolling, Steve. Nice to see your paid moderators are still on the ball with the "Insightful" mods.

Now how about we move on to an intelligent comment?

Re:Why they fail (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331972)

...then how do you explain MS-DOS and the first several generations of Windows.

All of this "but it's so hard" nonsense sounds nice if you just fell off the turnip
truck yesterday and have never actually used Linux. Otherwise it's simply absurd.

If what you say were really true, Apple would have put Microsoft out of business a very long time ago.

Now it might be accurate to say that people favor "predictable hard to use malware infested CRAP that they are used to" versus anything else. They would rather eat the dirt they know rather than try something new. THAT would be an accurate observation based on the actual facts.

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (5, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331228)

There are many reasons to lock shit down.

Fear of teh hax0rs taking down a tower.

Fear of pirates sucking up your bandwidth, and getting all your apps for free.

Fear of zealots circumventing traditional pay schemes by getting voice, data, and other services off network (and thus free).

Fear of the russian mob using the phone hardware to spy on or disrupt other people's communications.

Fear of lawsuits when it gets out that you illegally used copyrighted shit when making the phone's os image.

Fear of people finding out that you rig the fucking battery display to show higher than it is, or that you rig the reception indicator to show full bars when it shouldn't...until you make a call.

Fear of Bob deciding to take his shiny new toy to another network.

While virtually ALL of the reasons center around the company being afraid of people exploiting the company's stupidity, they are still valid concerns - the companies are stupid.

However, TFA is completely incorrect. Companies don't fear the unknown - they know EXACTLY what we'd do with open phones.

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (2, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331348)

Open source phones will take off. They will take off when someone delivers a model that uses a mesh network to render the existing carriers obsolete, at which point most of the existing carriers will go out of business. Pretty obvious if you think about it.

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (5, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331476)

Then do it.

Get the FCC approve your devices for use.

Get any sort of decent battery life out of a mesh network with no towers while still maintaining access to the PSTN and emergency services.

Sell the device at a profit.

It's so easy why didn't I think of it?

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (0, Troll)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331526)

Get the FCC approve your devices for use.

Get any sort of decent battery life out of a mesh network with no towers while still maintaining access to the PSTN and emergency services.

Hahahahahaha.... that's funny.

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (2, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331550)

I was thinking something more along the lines of give the devices away for free and to hell with the FCC and the profit too...

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331720)

Well as long as you're giving them away for free I'l ltake one.

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (2, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331724)

Money:

Manufacturing electronic devices costs it.

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (0)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331926)

Riiiight... I'm sure people *love* blowing millions (or billions) of dollars to hand out free electronics to all and sundry. Tell me, what else is different in your world?

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (2, Interesting)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30332104)

That's not going to work terribly well when the FCC sends certain other government employees after you and those who operate these unlicensed devices. Unless, of course, you find the prospect of "two hots, a cot, and fending off dudes in the shower" appealing.

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (4, Interesting)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331798)

>

Get any sort of decent battery life out of a mesh network with no towers while still maintaining access to the PSTN and emergency services.

If it isn't a "public" phone system but was more like a large voip network they might be able to find loopholes.

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331850)

Open source phones will take off. They will take off when someone delivers a model that uses a mesh network to render the existing carriers obsolete, at which point most of the existing carriers will go out of business. Pretty obvious if you think about it.

We don't even have mesh internet yet.... and that would be infinitely easier - you could have driving cars with their antennas act at mesh points... (Please don't bring up OLPC.)

The problem with any mesh network is to get decent latency, there eventually has to be a big local pipe that acts as a pipe so your message doesn't have to bounce around a million different devices (not that TCP/IP even allows that AFAIK, believe their self-destruct counter runs down from 256 max IIRC). Back to square one - someone always has to buy a connection for the rest of the mooches, dole out bandwidth, and all that. As well as deal with legal hassles.

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30332110)

Yeah, that lockdown approach has worked so great for MS and their closed source.

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (1, Redundant)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30332118)

Hey mods: the parent comment is only at +3 as of this writing. It really ought to be at +5.

This is one of the most honest and informative posts I've seen on Slashdot in a very long time. I use Linux day in and out for both work and personal hobbies, but there are many valid reasons why companies won't completely open every platform on Earth. This will apply as long as resource scarcity is in forth; the good news is you can have all the completely open, mesh-networked, unencumbered communications you want just after the Singularity arrives.

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331254)

But geeks also build new cool applications never before thought possible, that become next year's must-haves.... Palm and the PC as well, if you want to go back in history.

But look at the Palm, which is dying. Look at the PC, where Linux adoption to the desktop hovers for a decade at a few percent. There is no control-freak network provider to blame there. Why doesn't open source take over then?

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (4, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331322)

There is no control-freak network provider to blame there. Why doesn't open source take over then?

There is a scapegoat for every problem. Microsoft, vendor lock-ins, corporations, bad managers, bad employees, government, society, temporary insanity, depression, depression medication, education, teachers, family, finances...

Not to say we can't perhaps put our finger on real problems that prevent open source from "taking over," but just saying that one can reason and argue for a whole lot of perceived problems that may not actually be the reason.

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331848)

I ranted on comp.os.linux.advocacy about all that for years, but but now I have realized that most people simply prefer the elegance and predictability of a walled garden to chaotic freedom. This explains everything from why mp3 players never became a mainstream phenomenon until the iPod came along, to why there are no direct democracies. Life is too short for individuals to make decisions on every little thing so they need integrated "solutions" that offer some level of control.

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30332062)

That is sorta true. I think it is more like people didn't buy mp3 players before the iPod because they didn't know how or couldn't rip their CD's to work on them. You see, Apple (I will never buy an iPod and I hate Apple products) had the foresight to know that to make the iPod successful they had to provide the music people listen to as well. So they did.

I guess a car analogy would be BMW owners, they think when they buy a new BMW that this road it is on comes with it.

Anon to preserve mods...

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30332032)

/puts of flame proof long johns/ You want to know why Linux hasn't had a snowball's chance in hell at retail? It is actually quite simple: You can't shop for Linux devices at Walmart without playing the paperweight roulette, which scares the living hell out of consumers!

If you really want Linux to have that critical breakout, then get the heads of all the major distros together, have them shake the living hell out of Linus and the other kernel devs, and nobody is allowed to leave the building until an agreed upon standard is written and approved to where you can just put a "Linux 32/64" folder on the driver CD and be done with it!

There are PLENTY of shops like mine who would LOVE to sell Linux machines, there are plenty of mainstream customers that could use Linux security, but I can't sell it and they won't buy it. Why? Because you can't answer these questions-which wireless USB cards on sale at Best Buy work in distro foo? Printer? Sound cards? Can you give me a 100% guarantee that my customers can shop at Walmart/Best Buy/Staples and have ZERO chance of getting a paperweight? You can't, because Linux and the driver situation is all fucked up. The kernel developers should be worried about the kernel and NOT maintaining fricking printer drivers!

With Windows I can say "see this pretty little flag on the box? See how it says "certified for Windows 7"? Yeah, that's you. Just look for that and you are good". It takes a customer all of 5 seconds to look at the box and shop with confidence. same thing with OSX, just look for the little Apple and the "10.whatever" and if it lines up with what you got? Hooray, you're all set to go. With Linux you get the "fun" of trawling forums before you can even buy a damned thing (which if you believe mainstream customers are gonna research before purchase I got some swampland in AR to sell you) and Deity help you if the "driver" which usually needs some serious fricking tweaking and CLI foo to get going was written for firmware A and you got firmware F, because guess what? Enjoy your paperweight!

Just make it simple guys. Remember KISS? Make it so hardware manufacturers can put Linux drivers on the CD and a penguin on the box without having to keep an assload of driver developers on hand just to try to keep up with the shifting sand that is Linux right now. Make it so ANY customer WITHOUT needing to do research or put in a metric crapload of CLI commands can simply walk into Best Buy and put a device in their cart and know 100% that it will work on Linux. If the "inferior" Windows and OSx can do that, then surely you guys can too...right?

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331310)

We already have a handful of platforms that have the ability to make apps in a free or near free environment with no review process... By your model the blinders should have already been off and iPhone's model should have failed.

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (4, Insightful)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331324)

The Iphone ecosystem is a good example. An example of a phone where I'll have to install anti-virus for my relatives and make sure they are up to date on patches, otherwise their phone will get owned and I'll have to waste a weekend fixing it.

Let's not go there.

So true (0)

LockeOnLogic (723968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331694)

I build myself computers and install opensource software. I tell me relatives to buy macs. Mac is like bowling with bumpers. Sure it's a poor skill-less representation of the game, but at least the kids won't cry.

Re:So true (2, Interesting)

WiseWeasel (92224) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331808)

On the Mac, the bumpers are removable, so the kids can eventually learn to play like the big boys at their leisure. The iPhone has them welded in place, requiring no small amount of effort to pry them loose.

Re:So true (1)

agnosticnixie (1481609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331958)

You haven't used a mac in 10 years, amirite

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 4 years ago | (#30332094)

Are you talking about the jailbroken iPhones getting owned because the owners didn't change the SSH password?

Re:Open their blinders with amazing apps (2, Informative)

sootman (158191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30332120)

Or maybe he's talking about the theoretical privacy issues that MIGHT happen if AN APP YOU DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL decides not to be nice and IF Apple decides not to address this situation. [slashdot.org] Either way, it's a long way off, and I don't see how he got a +5 for that.

It's a dispute onr Content delivery. (0)

NRAdude (166969) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331362)

Don't let anyone fool you that it's about limited resources in a capitalistic availability. People get what they pay for, yet you have a phone network being throttled by network service technicians to limit how quick the technology agresses to perfection just so they can collect a more fine unit of currency in every change they make to the underlying Content delivery in their network.

They want to sell their software, but selling it too fast to people that payed more than others would make their technology look dire and unproven.

They want to sell their revision of software, but Open Source platforms have already skipped that delapidated development model by re-implementing what is already written.

They want to own all the rights to their software, but let's not forget that the network is not the same as the Administration that itself also bought rights to utilize that amount of network and conditionaly grant as a carrier for whomever subscribes to their accounting.

They want to control what hardware uses their accounting, regardless of the network capabilities just so they can guaruntee the use of their sold consoles will be obsolete and well-used that the next underlying technology of their network would obsolete the prior one in some extent of operation.

They want, want, want, and we don't need. A NEO OpenMoko FreeRunner PDA/Phone, a Motorola A1200 or Symbol MC7xxx/MC9xxx are perfect examples of equipment that have little tying them down to the network that these carriers hold ransom. Consider something more prevalent in theory as a Sony MYLO to a WIFI hub on a mountain, or even better a console that actually modulated a Chat room with a sleek shorthand communications protocol to a distant operator/moderator on a channel hosted on a mountain top. Does the network need to be proprietary than off-the-shelf components in the natural world of tools, or do the tools need to be proprietary to an open network?

I await the day that DARPA realizes that the people create their own redunant network of peers upon a natural layer that can't be shutdown by even the P-Resident of the Ournighted Straits of Mymerica over in the Tower of Washishington District of Criminals that like to round-up my account airtime units despite using less than 30 seconds in a call and there being a decimal point only utilized by text messages as it seems.

Re:It's a dispute onr Content delivery. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331592)

Don't let anyone fool you that it's about limited resources in a capitalistic availability. People get what they pay for, yet you have a phone network being throttled by network service technicians to limit how quick the technology agresses to perfection just so they can collect a more fine unit of currency in every change they make to the underlying Content delivery in their network.

They want to sell their software, but selling it too fast to people that payed more than others would make their technology look dire and unproven.

They want to sell their revision of software, but Open Source platforms have already skipped that delapidated development model by re-implementing what is already written.

They want to own all the rights to their software, but let's not forget that the network is not the same as the Administration that itself also bought rights to utilize that amount of network and conditionaly grant as a carrier for whomever subscribes to their accounting.

They want to control what hardware uses their accounting, regardless of the network capabilities just so they can guaruntee the use of their sold consoles will be obsolete and well-used that the next underlying technology of their network would obsolete the prior one in some extent of operation.

They want, want, want, and we don't need. A NEO OpenMoko FreeRunner PDA/Phone, a Motorola A1200 or Symbol MC7xxx/MC9xxx are perfect examples of equipment that have little tying them down to the network that these carriers hold ransom. Consider something more prevalent in theory as a Sony MYLO to a WIFI hub on a mountain, or even better a console that actually modulated a Chat room with a sleek shorthand communications protocol to a distant operator/moderator on a channel hosted on a mountain top. Does the network need to be proprietary than off-the-shelf components in the natural world of tools, or do the tools need to be proprietary to an open network?

I await the day that DARPA realizes that the people create their own redunant network of peers upon a natural layer that can't be shutdown by even the P-Resident of the Ournighted Straits of Mymerica over in the Tower of Washishington District of Criminals that like to round-up my account airtime units despite using less than 30 seconds in a call and there being a decimal point only utilized by text messages as it seems.

In english please.

Oh for.... (5, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331128)

"The open-source philosophy is all about unexpected, disruptive ideas bubbling upwards, and that drives network planners nuts."

Open source phones are about being user configurable, extendable and customizable. Wireless carriers like to charge for features, by the feature, and they don't like forking over what you've already paid for. That's pretty hard to do when you don't control one end of the transaction, as others have found out.

No buzzwords or BS about "disruptive ideas bubbling upwards" required.

Re:Oh for.... (5, Interesting)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331330)

As always, follow the money.

However, there's more to it than that. You should have said American wireless carriers. European wireless carriers don't get to play that game, nor do South American carriers, nor Asian carriers. So really the PCMag columnist is pretty myopic. The utterly bizarre wireless market that exists in the United States is nearly unique in the world, and the majority of the world's population lives somewhere else. Open source phones will do just fine because there are great big markets for them on every continent except North America. And since it's not like the Nokia N900 or any of its components are manufactured in the United States, the greedy graspy control freak US carriers can't affect it in the slightest.

Re:Oh for.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331536)

I am interested in your views and wish to subscribe to your newsletter. You speak of the US version of 'cellphone' as if it is different to the rest of the world's idea of 'cellphone', and as someone who resides in the rest of the world, I want to know these differences you speak of. What's so different about using a cellphone in the US? This is a genuine question.

Re:Oh for.... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331660)

You have to pay to receive calls. You have to pay to get the GPS/WiFi/Bluetooth on your phone unlocked. You can't buy a SIM without a phone, or a phone without a SIM. If you do somehow obtain an unlocked phone, it won't work unless it is one the operator sells anyway, since they whitelist by IMEI of approved models.

Re:Oh for.... (2, Interesting)

herojig (1625143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30332116)

You can go to any corner phone store, have a selection of hundreds of phones, and then pick a carrier sim card of your liking, and within seconds you are on your way making calls - that's what's really different. You have complete control over what you call/play with, what you pay per call, and you can change your mind in an instant. That's what is different about the USA and the rest of the world as Areyoukiddingme points out. Phones are "unlocked" (an Americanism) out of the box, and you are not breaking any laws or EULAs when you want to modify the phone. The American way of using phones is just pure insanity, and I don't understand why the people there put up with it. If they tried it here, people would be burning tires in the streets and burning down the parliament building.

Re:Oh for.... (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331636)

"Open source phones will do just fine because there are great big markets for them on every continent except North America."

Do you think so? Well, I won't tell otherwise then, except that you don't know the European market (at least the European market which is the one I know): implementation details are, of course, different, but European carriers are as much freak controls and as much in control as their USA counterparts.

They control the media and they control the way to access it with ease. I for one am starting looking for a new terminal: the ones I'm considering are in the sorroundings of 500 or 50-70 under carrier contract. Even me, well known of the carriers practices I'm having a hard day to convince myselft to go after a free terminal, imagine the sheep. So even in Europe you will have (for the most part) whatever the carriers want at the prices they want; network effect will do the rest.

Re:Oh for.... (2, Insightful)

LockeOnLogic (723968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331796)

Open source phones will do just fine because there are great big markets

1% of the most profitable users > 30% of razor thin profit margin users. That is why the iphone is a success, it has nothing to do with userbase. It's all a function of effort to profit. Most users aren't that profitable. Fat middle aged housewives using a $1500 iphone to occasionally call starbucks to see if they left their purse there where the $$ is at.

Re:Oh for.... (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331980)

Fat middle aged housewives using a $1500 iphone to occasionally call starbucks to see if they left their purse there where the $$ is at.

Wow... Just... wow!

Re:Oh for.... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331866)

They don't get to play that game.

No, I said what I meant. Make no mistake - if government regulation, public opinion or actual competition weren't stopping them, Asian and European carriers would LOVE to play the game that Canadian and American (not sure about Mexico) wireless carriers play.

Re:Oh for.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30332178)

Or more succinctly:

Telecoms don't want to accept their new role as a provider of a new commodity: generic bits.

Uhum (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331142)

The open-source philosophy is all about unexpected, disruptive ideas bubbling upwards, and that drives network planners nuts.

More like corporate executives don't like competition.

Truly open-development, open-source phones like th (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331144)

The N900 will never hit the mainstream in the US because the frequencies it uses for UTMS/HSDPA/etc are only supported by one major carrier in North America.

I knew a lot of people who wanted to purchase a N900 some of which weren't 'geeks' but just people who really enjoyed the Nokia brand name, and who thought the N900 looked like a wonderful alternative to the BB/iPhone. However like myself, being limited to EDGE while mobile was a deal breaker.

Re:Truly open-development, open-source phones like (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331236)

The N900 is by no means limited to EDGE, it's got HSPA 10 Mbps down, 2 Mbps up.

Palm webOS (4, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331148)

Palm webOS is also Linux kernel based. That is the proprietary environment based on a Linux kernel, not Android. Android components by Google are distributed under the BSD license, that is the reason there is so much variation between vendors. That was the price to pay to get HTC and the other hardware vendors to jump in the Android bandwagon.

Not really (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331156)

I don't agree with the sentiments of the article. It is true that carriers would like to limit what people can do with the phones but that cat has effectivly been out of the bag for quite a while now. Carriers are content with charging large monthly fees for data plans.

Googles andriod uses java/sandboxing because it protects the phone from potentially "evil" applications.

In terms of radio/carrier network access all phones still use RIL (Radio Interface Layer) to communicate with the business end of the device which is *not* linux or open source so there is little to fear in terms of carrier radio interop.

Re:Not really (2, Interesting)

get_your_guns (1380583) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331266)

I agree with this Anonymous Coward that the radio controls for the actual communications are firewalled from any app writter. What I don't understand is why someone has not come out with a sidekick to the cellphone that runs on a compact linux box. I mean there are linux servers that are no bigger then an ac outlet, why not continue the idea and create apps on this sidekick that only use the bandwidth of the cellphone through a USB or bluetooth connection. I could see many different apps running on this sidekick with a IPod like touch screen that the carriers would not be able to control. The sidekick would be another thing to carry, but it would bypass this app approval from the cell phone carrier. But, I think every carrier is actively monitoring their data band to ensure apps are not running that conflict with their pay apps. Look at what problems google has had with offering voice in the data band of a cell phone. I get unlimited data from my carrier for less then unlimited voice plans. I can do conference calls and transfers and other features with the data side that the carrier charges for in the voice band.

It's called "Proper Planning" (3, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331176)

because wireless carriers in the country hate the unexpected

So does any network admin worth his salt. This isn't a failing of wireless carriers, it's not even a negative. I want them to be like this, this attitude makes me a happy customer. Think about the alternatives; a completely open platform which would allow a wireless consumer to do ANYTHING on the network, possibly disrupting other customers. Namely, disrupting ME.

So no. Allow them to be cautious with their network, as long as they continue to provide decent service ( verizon, excellent network where I am ). I could stand lower costs, but that's not what this article is about.

Re:It's called "Proper Planning" (2, Informative)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331278)

Proper planning is easy. Hint: wireless bandwidth is currently outright exploding in usage.

The problem is that doing it right is expensive.

Re:It's called "Proper Planning" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331500)

There's already a working example of this the model is quite profitable...

It's called the internet. A bunch of service providers give out *relatively* unregulated bandwidth in limited amounts such that ppl CAN do whatever they want without killing the infrastructure. Complete, total, and unfounded bullshit to believe they can't just calculate: user.bandwidth = tower.bandwidth / average_users_per_tower

Their business model, just like every other is an evolution of what they're familiar with: regulate everything down to the minimum, charge to give it back. We no longer have manual switchboards that require paid labor to operate, you can make a call to the other side of the planet for the same cost as next-door but they still charge more cause it's what people are used and it is profitable.

Carrier will or won't adopt a Linux phone based, not on merits of it's operating system but their ability to market it. Most people never heard of Linux, most nobody has heard of maemo, and there aren't any mass appeal apps to it. The lack of a specific extraordinary (massively appreciated) quality makes it a competitor to every other large-screen keyboard phone out there, in which case just sell one of them which everyone is already familiar with (e.g. another WinMo phone). The sad fact of the matter is the most people still see cell phone as just phones, they don't care that you can install bittorrent and dl pirated movies straight to your pocket. I sure as hell do which is why I bought one, but despite explaining this to other people all I get is: "so you can fix my computer?"

Re:It's called "Proper Planning" (3, Interesting)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331748)

Wireless bandwidth is extremely limited compared to a wired infrastructure.

Not just a little bit, but many orders of magnitude more limited.

Companies know exactly how much bandwidth will serve all of their users. If you'd like to read about the math behind it, it's here. [wikipedia.org] The problem is that at peak times, network usage nears 100%, by design. The companies would be losing money if this weren't true.

Re:It's called "Proper Planning" (0)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331454)

You're using Verizon as an example of fair, beneficial rules to customers? It's not that I suspect you're a shill...I think I'm in the area of influence of Peo's Law ( http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Poe's_Law [rationalwiki.com] )

BTW, you conveniently forget that there are countries with excellent coverage (despite having two times lower population density than US, Finland for example), fair prices, great quality of service and...unlocked phones on the network.

On the second thought, you might be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome...

Re:It's called "Proper Planning" (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331670)

Wow, I guess if you are going to help me prove my point I have to say thank you. But for clarity's sake, follow closely;

Finland is remarkably smaller than the US AND has a lower population density. Which means fewer towers needed overall to cover the country and, thanks to the lower pop density, lower per tower utilization rate.

Compare this with the US, with HIGHER pop density and much larger surface area to cover...ya. But you are right, maybe I am being too kind to the carriers. They do lock you in to draconian contracts and you get relatively little compared to other countries ( for reasons already specified ). However, after the hell that has been wireless over the past couple decades, I'm happy to have found a service which does what I need it to do, even if the cost is a bit higher than I am comfortable with.

Re:It's called "Proper Planning" (4, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331732)

Heh, I don't think you realize what "two times lower population density" in Finland means in context of cellphone carrier.

It means much higher costs per customer. A need for more infrastructure just to cover vast, almost empty areas.

And they still have better service % lower prices. Heck, they even passed a law defining fast broadband access as a right... (and, no doubt, large part of it will be provided wirelessly

Re:It's called "Proper Planning" (0, Troll)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331774)

So is it your position that finland is actually a harder market to implement in than the US?

And the fact that the government is mandating ANYTHING is a negative in my book. The government can fuck up a wet dream, and has no business making promises for a private company's resources. That'd be a bit like me promising that Windows 7 will cost 5 bucks, and be free to anyone with brown hair. It's not mine to give away.

Re:It's called "Proper Planning" (5, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331854)

This is not my position, this is reality...

Worse economic position (at least when they were starting to invest in their communication network), much more costly to build and operate...and they still beat you. By a long shot

But hey, I see where you're coming from; "bad, commy" gov interventions, regulated market, etc. (why do people like you can't get over the idea that governments are simply a reflection of...society itself? If the latter seems to be functioning decently, so will the former)

Re:It's called "Proper Planning" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331768)

You forgot that Finland also has lower population count than US. Therefore, combined with their lower population density, more towers are needed in Finland compared to the higher-density, higher-population-count, bigger US.

Re:It's called "Proper Planning" (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331722)

How can they do "anything"? the phones have to follow standard protocols to talk to the towers. Without the towers, the cell phone is worthless..

Kinda like you have to follow TCP/IP to use the internet. You might do different things with it, but to communicate with others, you have to follow the spec. All the phone companies have to do is publish the specs and protocols and standards that they will enforce.

Re:It's called "Proper Planning" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331966)

Carriers simply need to charge based on a variable price. The more demand and less availability at any given moment the price goes up. Sort of like the stock market. When the demand goes down and the availability goes up the cost goes down. This would make people think twice about making calls or accessing services at peak times and encourage it at night/during non-peak hours. The carriers could then broadcast the cost and cellular users could even select between different carrier networks at any given time. This would be too straight forward though. The other thing is it would also encourage companies to spread out to places where no network availability exists now.

The N900 is a computer milestone (5, Interesting)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331198)

Whether or not the N900 reaches iPhone numbers is irrelevant to the fact that it will stand in computer history along with the Kaypro II, PDP-11, SORD IS-11, Altair 8080;

I don't care if AT&T likes it or not.

If you actually get your hands on one, you will understand that it feels good to actually own something, and not pay to carry the wireless equivalent of a cable box.

If people in America were "customers" and actually were allowed to decided what they wanted, and not "consumers" to be culled by the wireless carriers, then the N900 would on it's merits be the best selling mobile computer of all times.

Does anyone really like the fact that all you can get from the big wireless carriers is what they want you to have, and not what you want?

Those that go out and buy an N900 will understand.

Re:The N900 is a computer milestone (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331258)

Don't be too much of a fanboi, pal.

Six lines of praise and not one single tangible reason someone should feel that they're holding a "computer milestone."

Re:The N900 is a computer milestone (2, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331552)

Six lines of praise and not one single tangible reason someone should feel that they're holding a "computer milestone."

Check his sig.

Re:The N900 is a computer milestone (1, Funny)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 4 years ago | (#30332076)

thats not a review, its a digital ejaculation of fanboism

The writer expects me to believe that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331556)

It's funny this article came out today - I was just wanted buy one today.
So I go to the nokia store: http://store.nokia.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/productdetail_10500_10101_-1_10000367?cid=dev-fw-lec-micro_maemo_01-con-na-maemo-us-na-n900_003 [nokia.com] , and they are "Temporarily out of stock".

They can't be selling all that badly then...

Re:The writer expects me to believe that? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331644)

they are "Temporarily out of stock".
They can't be selling all that badly then...

That depends on how many phones they had in stock before running out of stock.

Re:The writer expects me to believe that? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331936)

My brother pre-ordered one (from Amazon) over a month ago, and is not expecting it to show up for another few weeks. I don't know how many they are selling, but they are certainly having difficulty meeting demand.

Re:The N900 is a computer milestone (1, Informative)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331918)

His email address is ...@ovi.com. Ovi is the name of Nokia's internet services brand, so it looks like this is just astroturfing.
(That said, I do agree that the N900 is phenomenal and plan on buying one soon)

Re:The N900 is a computer milestone (4, Informative)

B47h0ry'5 CuR53 (639887) | more than 4 years ago | (#30332188)

His email address is ...@ovi.com. Ovi is the name of Nokia's internet services brand, so it looks like this is just astroturfing.

Either that or he just happens to have signed up for a free ovi.com email account [ovi.com] .

Re:The N900 is a computer milestone (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331922)

Linux locks third-party developers into a crippled Java sandbox.

Linux is a joke not a platform then. Isn't even this Java proprietary ? I see no freedom whatsoever in Linux.

Carriers hate offering services (3, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331260)

If they had their way, we would be paying them large amounts of money for nothing whatsoever. It's up to us to show dissatisfaction by either political action demanding open access or refusing to buy smartphones until a completely open one comes to market.

Too costly (4, Insightful)

Medgur (172679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331294)

No.

It's because they cost hundreds of dollars.

I want an open source phone, I really do, but I can't justify spending 500 on little more than a PDA + phone. I already had a PDA once, hardly used it, and phones that just work as phones are less than a hundred these days. Make an open source phone that's a reasonable price and I'll buy it.

Re:Too costly (1, Informative)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331652)

maybe we just look at things with the wrong perspective.
for example I have a netbook and a 3g dongle that costs 20 for 15gb of data. I have skype installed and if I want I could have skype out or a sip phone. I can make international calls with skype for a couple of cents a minute with skype-in you can call me from your cell phone or land line. with bluetooth you might not even see that i wasnt using a mobile phone.

actually it would save me a lot of money each month if i was to do this.

Just because I need to go via a gateway doesn't mean I can't largely have the same functionality as a mobile.
   

Re:Too costly (5, Interesting)

Yrrebnarg (629526) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331726)

Here you go. A port-o-rotary [sparkfun.com] for $200. They provide full source and schematics. You can even buy a 6000mAh battery to run the thing for weeks and you don't have to deal with any PDA functionality. Any more complaints?

Radios are expensive. The only reason phones are cheap is because they're heavily subsidized or because they're a simple little phone produced a million at a time from a small handful of highly-integrated mixed analog/digital ASICs. "Open-source" devices are small-run devices with hopelessly obsolete radio hardware because it's all they can get documentation for and manufacturers aren't looking to release their secret sauce to just anybody.

And on top of all of this, most of the open-source types are desktop or server programmers. On the desktop, you don't have to think about low-power code. Everything changes when you're running off a battery. There just isn't the expertise there (yet). Having said all this, I love my rooted T-mobile G1. I built a scratchbox environment for it and ported a few important CLI tools and it's now perfectly capable of being all the pocket Linux machine I need and it's not very difficult getting Debian running on top of the Android environment.

Re:Too costly (1)

digsbo (1292334) | more than 4 years ago | (#30332132)

Right on. The amortization of development costs is overlooked when people forget about the integration and test work that needs to be done. FCC approval alone is well beyond the means of a typical OSS team.

Re:Too costly (4, Insightful)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331730)

"No.
  It's because they cost hundreds of dollars."

You think you are arguing against the thread when you are instead conceding.

"I want an open source phone, I really do, but I can't justify spending 500 on little more than a PDA + phone."

You seem to forget that *all* PDA+phone-like devices cost 500+. If you get some WinMo or iPhone almost for peanuts is because they are heavily subsidized by the carriers (wich, of course, get their ROI and way more on the long run). And as long as you (consumers in general) concede to the carriers' game you will get whatever is in the best interest of the carriers, not yours. And as long as your (consumers in general) concede to the carriers' game, device makers will produce them to the carriers' expectations, not yours.

Obvious, isn't it?

Re:Too costly (1)

vxice (1690200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331814)

your current phone costs $500, if you got one of those fancy pda ones less if it is a less advanced phone, you just don't pay for it directly. Instead you enter into a contract with the phone company which you pay a monthly fee. Part of that monthly fee is payment for phone service the other part is essentially to pay off a loan on that phone. Service providers know you are not big on large up front costs so they pay $400 for the phone give it to you and charge for your monthly service and then another $34 a month to pay off the phone for a two year contract.

Re:Too costly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331826)

Little more than a PDA? Seriously?

Smaller than a PDA. Hardware keyboard. Great display. A phone. Skype. A built fast(ish) internet connection. A browser. Email. An MP3 player. A Satnav. A camera. A RSS aggregator. Podcast downloader. A SSH client. Open Transport Tycoon. All the time. Whereever you are. In your pocket.

It's such an immense step forward for both users and developers.

Don't compare it to a PDA, compare it to a netbook that fits in your pocket that has awesome connectivity and has a better graphics chipset.

Re:Too costly (2, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30332096)

Fine. Don't pay $500 now. Pay thousands of dollars later in additional cell fees, and lock yourself into a two-year contract that's probably ill-suited for you and purposefully crippled by your provider in many hidden and unforeseen ways. Go ahead, I'm not stopping you. Go buy a brand-new car on credit while you're at it. Get a mortgage you can barely afford. Get all your furniture at Rent-to-Own. And buy all your computers, plasma TVs, and monster cables at Best Buy. No one is stopping you from screwing yourself in the long-run -- if that's what you really want for yourself.

By the way, if anyone is thinking about buying the N900 through Nokia USA, realize that its maximum speed will only really work on T-mobile (it's some kind of frequency band thing, and T-Mobile's network is the only one that operates that band). Let's face it, Nokia is still not focusing on the US market right now, otherwise other providers would be supported -- not just T-Mobile's band. That being said, if you buy an unlocked N900 and get T-Mobile as your provider, you will have the fastest smart-phone on the US Market -- hands-down.

I'm assuming that only a few people will do that, at least in the US, in the rest of the world -- the N900 will be selling like hotcakes. So in that sense, the original article is right that the N900 won't be that big in the US, it's just not for the reasons it mentioned.

That being said, there are still many good reasons you should get yourself an unlocked phone, even if it's not the N900. There are many good quality smart-phones out there, and assuming the American currency goes back up to its previous level, and you do a little bit of research, you should be able to buy smart-phones directly from Asia, or directly from Europe, that should work just fine in the US and still make all your iPhone friends jealous.

They don't fail (4, Insightful)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331304)

They fail in the mainstream market because there's such a small market for them. The Nokia n900 is a geek's dream, but most people want a phone, not a handheld computer. Most as in 99.99% of the marketplace. And even fewer want a multi-hundred dollar handheld computer/phone. So I'm sure it sells well in the market it was designed for...that .001% of the population that wants a hackable, programmable micro computer that makes calls. So it succeeds where its market is. Saying it fails is like saying the Audi R8 supercar failed. Though, at least that made it into Iron Man.

You could say the iPhone is a failure as well: it only has 1% of the cell phone market. But I think most of the U.S. will disagree with that statement.

Re:They don't fail (2, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331564)

Most people want a lot more than a phone, like an MP3 player, MP4 player, camera, video recording, MMS, email, social networking and many more things that haven't been thought of yet. You're massively underestimating the appeal of having one device that can do everything you want, especially to young and not so young wannabes.

Re:They don't fail (3, Interesting)

cpscotti (1032676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30332064)

Fun thing is: the personal computer could be described exactly in that way some twenty years ago.
What we should expect is that every happy geek realizes their responsibility (woa) in making software/proving that the n900 platform is better than any other.
The n900/Maemo is the chance cool people (e.g. geeks) have to prove their point with support from a major player in the cell phone market. In some way (since it is all this "open"/"free"), if the n900 fails, the open source community/cool people/geeks are also failing.
The article is right about it's historical background and all but lacks some optimism... hehe

My prediction (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331350)

They'll get over it (eventually).

Only "Open Source"? US only?... (4, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331364)

The summary almost hints that there do exist popular phone platforms which, while not open source, certainly allowed for quite open development and modification by users for a long time. Many Nokia phones for example.

But I've heard that US carriers didn't really want to offer them in unlocked state, and Nokia wouldn't castrate its products; so the carriers went with RAZR... (and look where Motorola is now)

So this really seems like your local problem. Since Nokia almost completed open sourcing of Symbian and more than 50% of smartphones run that OS, I'd even say that the article is quite irrelevant on the larger scale.

Merging of the smartphone and the laptop (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331446)

I suspect open development phones will become more mainstream as the smartphone and the laptop merge. As phone hardware improves, it's not so hard to imagine a phone with, say, a DisplayPort mini connection (or perhaps a pico projector), USB support, and bluetooth support will displace laptops as the mobile computers of choice. Perhaps instead of buying a laptop you instead buy a widescreen monitor and USB keyboard and mouse and plug those into your phone. Perhaps you just plug your phone into your HDTV and use a bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

For me, the Nokia N900 represents the beginning of this trend. It really is more of a mobile computer which happens to have a phone function. However, longer term, I don't think this necessarily means Linux will be the dominant mobile computer platform. If Intel's Atom CPUs improve their power usage to the point where it's reasonable to put them in devices of the N900's class, then you'd have to suspect that Windows will become the dominant operating system as it is for laptops today.

Why should the OS matter? (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331456)

Right now most if not all major carriers offer some sort USB stick that connects to their networks, this opens up to Windows and (not sure of support) possibly Linux. This opens the door to the 'dreaded' bitTorrent protocol and of course malware and viruses running from laptops, netbooks, et al. So as form factors get smaller and smaller what is stopping me from making my own mobile device out of off the shelf components? VOIP and net access is really the fundamental building blocks for these devices and as this becomes more apparent more manufactures will be getting into the market.

Maybe one day Asus will come up with a smaller netbook and a baseband chip / usb slot? Maybe some one else will do the same? The components required to make such devices are getting more and more generalized, cheaper and easier for the end consumer to get their hands on (call China ;) ) . These providers should start taking their network and their advertised capabilities more seriously now, give it another 5 years and people will start demanding their advertised speeds rather than just shrugging and waiting while the download ticks.

These providers have it easy now selling people some imaginary 10-20mb/s network so they can email and twitter but it's going to catch up to them quick and make people look for alternatives. So open source phones will not fail but will be reincarnated when ARM really starts ramping up its low power alternatives and companies start pumping out their SoC designs.

I know it sounds like a "Year of the Linux!" type post but Linux is the most fluid solution right now and with the right hardware its small, quick, tested and easy to deploy and update so it is the right solution but it will be waiting in the wings for a bit longer.

Wow (0, Troll)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331486)

I probably should have known this, but I didn't realize that Google Android cripples the phone by requiring Java. I thought it was a truly open environment where you could write native applications like the iPhone.

Well, there goes any chance of Android getting the same level of applications as the iPhone. And no, I don't believe Java apps are ever going to be as fast and good as native apps. I thought I might be tempted to get an Android phone someday, but not as long as they don't have native apps.

(Queue the Javalytes telling me that "Java runtimes are getting really fast, and they'll be as fast as native code <i>real soon now...</i> In fact, even FASTER than native code, because the runtimes are so amazingly smart at optimization...)

Re:Wow (4, Interesting)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331512)

They don't. You can write native code for Android phones. You just need a small java wrapper nothing more.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331946)

Not even close to accurate.. you can run "logic" in native code (speed up calculating/algorithms etc)

You cannot however create an app that is truely native..

http://developer.android.com/sdk/ndk/1.6_r1/index.html is the pertinent info for those that do not feel like trusting the google fanbois bias

Android is DOA especially with it allowing carriers/manufacturers to pick and choose versions to use.. the fragmentation alone is gonna crush whatever momentum they had going.

Re:Wow (3, Interesting)

mzechner (1351799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331952)

Android features it's own custom vm which is far behind the sun's vm. While the main gui stuff on android has to be done in java there's a very nice and easy to use native developement kit that allows you to write the performance critical portions of your code in c/c++ (with some limitations). As of NDK version 1.6 you can also access OpenGL directly, paving the way for truely performant 3D games. I could provide you with some links but i don't think they'd work with your brain anyways...

It's obvious why (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331508)

The phone companies, as mentioned, don't want you to have freedom but also that most people don't actually want freedom either. They can't use computers well enough to handle it.

And yet... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331584)

...the same carriers will let you plug a mobile internet stick into your laptop and run anything you want over their 3G network. No sim locking... No "per message" charges. The stench of hypocrisy is hard to miss.

The public message is that protectionist activities like SIM locking, sandboxing and removing features from phones is about "network security". The reality is that it is about MONEY. Carriers want a cut of everything you do on their network and this requires them to control the handset and the user experience. They will fight tooth and nail to ensure they maintain whatever control they can. BlackBerry, iPhone and Andriod are chipping away at the edges but it has been a long hard uphill struggle. In the end, the customers are the ones who lose.

N900 fail? (2, Insightful)

svanheulen (901014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331588)

Yeah, the N900 will never hit main stream. That's why they had to delay the release because Nokia was over whelmed by pre-orders, right? Because that's a clear sign no one is going to get it.

Android and native software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30331686)

Google Android, which uses some open-source components but locks third-party developers into a crippled Java sandbox.

not true [wikipedia.org] anymore.

what do you call "truly open" there?? (5, Insightful)

JoSch1337 (1168265) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331712)

"Truly open-development, open-source phones like the Nokia N900..."

are you kidding me???

what is "Truly open-development, open-source" about a platform that has

* proprietary power management (bme)
* no docs for the gsm modem interface (and no source code for the apps using it)
* proprietary powervr graphics drivers
* proprietary osso-dsp-modules

read also:
https://bugs.maemo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1584 [maemo.org]
http://wiki.maemo.org/Why_the_closed_packages [maemo.org]

i'm not so much pissed by proprietary applications as i can replace the rootfs by a free and open source one what pisses me off is the undocumented hardware used and lacking communication with upstream kernel development.
dont call this device "truly open"-blah... it is definitely NOT.

there are a few devices that strive to be as open as a linux phone should be:
openmoko tried and indeed even though the calypso is undocumented they provided a implementation of how to interface it and thanks to it one can use all of its hardware without binary blobs - NOT POSSIBLE ON THE N900!!!
then there is the FLOW by gizmoforyou which uses a gumstix overo as the base and added a telit modem for which you can download the FULL DOCS from their website - hey guys at nokia, this is the kind of modem you should have picked if you wanted your device to be called "truly open"!
the modem used in the n900 uses ISI for which no reference interpretation in oss exists.

is it only me or did the slashdot crowd forget what "truly open" means and is now all over a device that is open on the top but not if one wants to really start messing around with it?

Re:what do you call "truly open" there?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30332114)

It's open enough. It might not be open by Debian standards, but I think most Linux users don't really care that much if their device drivers are closed. What matters is whether you can use it or not. Yes, I realize that it's a good thing for the whole, if those things are opened. But as a user, I just want it to be opened to the extent that I can develop whatever I wish.

4G LTE Networks To The Rescue (4, Interesting)

WiseWeasel (92224) | more than 4 years ago | (#30331894)

One of the stipulations that Google managed to have placed in the FCC license for commercial 4G LTE spectrum is open device access, which is absent in current wireless spectrum licenses. They did this by getting approval for a clause that if a certain minimum bid for the spectrum was met, that that open device access rule would go into effect, then they bid that amount, and then proceeded to let Verizon outbid them, ensuring that clause would go into effect. Carriers may have been able to get away with this type of draconian control over their networks in the past, but it seems that's coming to an end with the shift to 4G LTE already underway. With this open device access regulation, actual user-accessible open source handsets may finally be able to see widespread use.

Why do you care as a customer? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30332028)

As a customer, why do you care that carriers don't like a certain phone model? Just buy the phone and buy a SIM card from your favorite carrier.

Buy N900 Today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30332058)

Pick one at www.nokia.com today

It's just like they want their "internet2" to be (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 4 years ago | (#30332122)

There are pretty much 3 reasons for that, one they're many times oversubscribed with their bandwidth. Just see what the iphone did to AT&T, mobile networks are not
really looking for the next killer app. Two their infrastructure is way not as reliable as people might think, I know of a bunch of NT4 machines that were handling text msgs
at a German network in 2006 and I'm sure there still there. Three and this is what I believe is the most important reason:

They maintain a consumption culture where they are in control not only over the network and the services reachable through it but also the device itself (pay 4 apps, ringtones etc.) while
locking out the competition and keeping their customers in the app store. Locked down devices, usage restrictions, "AUP" "acceptable" use policies, chicanery and arbitrary
prohibitions - your mobile phone experience today is a taste of the "Internet2" joys to be forced on you tomorrow (if you let them).

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  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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