Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Making Sense of the Cellphone Landscape

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the handbags-at-dawn dept.

Cellphones 185

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

cancel ×

185 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30502538)

fp

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30502774)

Re:fp

Re:fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503078)

jack ass!

I Just Did... (5, Interesting)

LearnToSpell (694184) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502540)

Picked up an N900. T-Mobile unlimited for 10 bucks a month. Could probably get away without it anyway, since there's so many open hotspots around in NY. I hate AT&T. Hate Verizon. Probably hate T-Mobile in a month. :-) There's no way I want to pay 80-120 bucks a month though. Ridiculous.

Re:I Just Did... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30502572)

What does the 10 bucks get you exactly?

Unlimited 24 hours a day calling nationwide? Any restrictions?

Re:I Just Did... (2, Interesting)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502582)

How often do you call 'nationwide'?

Re:I Just Did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30502658)

I call all over the United States everyday.

Re:I Just Did... (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502702)

I live on the west coast and all my family is in the midwest. So I make at least an hours worth of nationwide calls a month.

Re:I Just Did... (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502882)

    It really depends on who you are. If you're 18, just out of high school, and all your friends are still in town, then not you. For someone like me, I have friends all over the country (and in a few other countries), so my phone book almost looks like an index of all the area codes in the US.

    The old restrictions on dialing long distance were annoying and costly, so I used to shop for who gave me the best plan. Now, most cell phones are free long distance, and many landline providers offer a cheap upgrade for unlimited national long distance, so it's a lot easier.

    I was shopping for unlimited data plans on wireless devices. Good luck there. All of them I looked at limit you to 5Gb/mo, so if you were to work a lot (like I would with it), I'd be hit with huge overages. Boost mobile does offer unlimited data with no limits, but it's the old iDEN network, and it's slower than dialup. I tethered a phone to my laptop just to see, and it was pathetically slow, even in an area with excellent coverage. I was shopping for USB devices, not tethering, so someone may offer something good on the phone's plan itself.

Re:I Just Did... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503444)

You're right. I hate to talk on the phone and my average call length is about 20 seconds. I might be able to get away with a plan that has few "minutes". But I would really like to be able to use handheld broadband. 5Gb/mo isn't going to do it.

But that's just it. Those of us who would like to use our phones outside of the limits of the "unlimited" plans are the juiciest part of the profit for the phone companies.

We're the ones that give them that extra few billion they use to lobby against net neutrality and consumer protections.

Re:I Just Did... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503350)

I visit my sister three states over two-three times a year, and call her on a regular basis( a couple times a week). Nationwide phone calls while a bit of a stretch means it is cheaper to call from my cell phone than to call from any landline. besides that the best time for both of us to talk is during our commutes home. We get pleasant conversation to wind down the work day that isn't the people we see when we do get home.

Nationwide wide coverage basically just kills all long distance charges for you. Even if your the one far away from home.

Re:I Just Did... (1)

LearnToSpell (694184) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502656)

Unlimited data, sorry. So, if you make a lot of distance calls, Skype's probably the way to go. To be honest, I don't even want a cellphone. This is more like a mobile computer. sshfs mount to my home network, so I can just stream tunes that way, and don't even have to figure out what to keep on the phone (which is your favourite child?). Probably not for everybody, but I'm digging it on day 3.

Re:I Just Did... (1)

kiloechonovember (1704288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502694)

Cheapest unlimited data-only plans from Tmobile I could find are $40, AT&T is $35. I assume with a Blackberry or other device using Google Voice one could potentially cut their monthly costs in half.

Re:I Just Did... (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502746)

When we can get VOIP over 3G on an open smartphone, current providers that milk their customers dry are going to shrivel like the wicked witch of the West in a torrential downpour. I'm not surprised they were upset that Google gamed the spectrum auction.

I would rather have Google for my phone company, but if they can get me what I want without spending money, more power to them. What I want is progress.

Re:I Just Did... (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502956)

When we can get VOIP over 3G on an open smartphone

Why do you say when? The First Post was from a guy with a n900 - he can already do voip over 3g on a (mostly) open "smartphone".

("smart" in scare quotes 'cos it's not smart, it's fucking brilliant!)

Re:I Just Did... (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502982)

I have to admit that I'm not up to the minute on Smartphones. The N900 is brilliant, but at 600MHz [softpedia.com] its processor is somewhat limited. These days we like more than 3.5" display size and at least 720p resolution with our cell phones, and HD video that doesn't lag. That's not the N900, sorry.

Re:I Just Did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503158)

...at 600MHz [softpedia.com] its processor is somewhat limited. These days we like more than 3.5" display size and at least 720p resolution with our cell phones, and HD video that doesn't lag.

What currently shipping cellphone do you know of that has those specs? The only phones with greater than 600MHz CPU are the Toshiba TG01 and the HTC HD2, both of which has a screen resolution of 800x480 -- same as the N900.

Reviews of the N900 have consistently praised its UI for being very smooth

Re:I Just Did... (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502830)

Tmobile has an "unlimited web for phones" for $9.99/mo. It's intended for non-smartphones, basically so you can browse the web on normal phones' tiny screens, or use a Google Maps app. But it can also, apparently, be used with unlocked smartphones, like the N900, that have no way of enforcing a specific premium data plan. Judging by forum chatter, people with jailbroken iPhones are also successfully using the $10/mo plan.

Re:I Just Did... (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502858)

Replying to myself, here's [amazon.com] a thread buried in the Amazon reviews for the N900 that seems to have mixed experiences of people getting various tricks to work. It sounds, based on that, like T-Mobile is just being somewhat lax about checking what phones are allowed to connect to the $10 plan, so I'm not sure I'd count on it as a long-term or generally available solution for cheap-data smartphones.

Re:I Just Did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503764)

If I could really get a $10/month plan (just give me X GB/month, without regard to what's in those GBs) I might consider getting an N900 (nice open Linux based platform, not so locked down as an iphone). Today I have no cell phone at all.

But threads like that make me really nervous - it seems almost impossible to understand what they're selling me, how to buy what I want, and how the plan might change (will they cut off my phone in 4 months for no longer being a "supported" one?)

It seems that everyone else must be able to figure this out, but I haven't been keeping track of phone things for a long time and now it looks bewildering to me. I just want to say, "I'll give you $X for Y GB/month. You just give me IP connectivity. That's the whole agreement we have, no more than that involved on any level". *How do I do that??*

Ooh (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502870)

Can it be used with netbooks with cellular wireless technology like Gobi [wikipedia.org] ? That would rock.

Re:I Just Did... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503472)

Are any of the mobile carriers offering actual unlimited data?

Re:I Just Did... (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503946)

It's intended for non-smartphones, basically so you can browse the web on normal phones' tiny screens, or use a Google Maps app.

Not relevant to your point, but as an aside note that many of the dirt cheap "non-smart" phones selling today have full size touchscreens (as one random example, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_S3650 [wikipedia.org] ) - indeed, this is yet another reason why the "feature" versus "smart" distinction doesn't really mean much and is rather abitrary (except for Apple fans wanting to inflate the Iphone's market share by looking at a smaller segment).

Re:I Just Did... (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502906)

    Check the fine print on those. "Unlimited" is 5Gb/mo.

    It look like Tmobile's price is higher than that too. That's a teaser price. Their site is messed up today, so I can't go through the paces of trying to purchase one to see the details. It won't let me add their USB wireless device to a cart, to get the data only pricing. (doesn't work in Chrome, Firefox, nor MSIE). It does show it's more like $79 for unlimited data, with unlimited voice also.

Re:I Just Did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503380)

No. You can get a basic plan for $30/month and piggyback a cheap data plan on it with no contract. That's what he's talking about. Check the prices again.

Re:I Just Did... (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503614)

    Well, that's what I was saying about the fact that I couldn't get through their cart. If I went straight to plans, it showed me everything including voice.

Re:I Just Did... (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502634)

till this day N900 remains by fare the best acquisition (app wise to pick up apple's line)! a truly open platform.

Re:I Just Did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30502802)

How's Sprint? I'm considering a Palm Pixi.

Re:I Just Did... (5, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502808)

Yes, and no mention of Nokia in the summary (and quite dismissive in TFA).

It's not only about Maemo, it's about a phone manufacturer that has 40% of total market (of which smartphones are what, 15 - 20% now? Why do you talk only about them?). Over 50% of smartphone market. The only phone manufacturer that keeps itself comfortable financially (others are either struggling or mobile phones aren't their main product; except RIM perhaps, but they sell corporate service rather than phones). Only one their product (1100) is the most popular consumer electronic device in history, it vastly outsold families (like "iPod") from other manufacturers. A year ago there were 3 billion phones in the world, now there are around 4.6, and it's largely thanks to Nokia. Phones, companies which enable this kind of uptake is what's defining 21st century landscape.

Re:I Just Did... (1)

jfanning (35979) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503130)

Everyone in the US has such a total blind spot about Nokia it is truely astounding. I was listening to the FLOSS Weekly (ep 100) this morning and they were fauning over Android as being "the" opensource phone platform (it was a Google discussion though). Barely a mention about Android not actually being Linux at all and nothing about the only Real Linux distro on a phone (with any actual market share), ie Maemo.

Comments from the US about the mobile market either make me laugh or cringe. Usually both in equal amounts. The US analysts don't have a clue about anything except their own totally blinkered view of the world and the US fanboys of Android and iPhone are equally clueless.

The parent comment is totally correct. For most of the world Nokia IS the mobile phone. There are no alternatives. If you really want to know what is going on in the global mobile industry follow someone like Tomi Ahonen.

Re:I Just Did... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503340)

There's a blind spot because Nokia isn't a huge brand in the US. It's no different from Europeans having a giant blind spot about Wal-Mart: the major players differ from market to market.

The fact that Nokia is the 800-pound gorilla of the world market means little in North America. I've never even seen a Nokia N series or E series phone in the flesh except one owned by a friend who lives in Switzerland.

Re:I Just Did... (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503400)

It's not a case of usual "differs from market to market". US is practically the only of major ones where Nokia doesn't dominate the landscape (I don't know the numbers but I guess you could also include Japan and S. Korea, they are quite isolated from the world at large when it comes to cellphone trends)

Ignoring Nokia when talking about "future of mobile phones" isn't some small regional peculiarity, it's talking solely about your local market (while not giving that impression, perhaps even not realizing)

Re:I Just Did... (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503620)

Actually, due to second-hand exposure through American media, most Europeans should know about Wal-Mart. We even had it in Germany for a while but they sold off their assets because (ironically) the Wal-Mart business model was too expensive over here.

Re:I Just Did... (2, Insightful)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503588)

Probably hate T-Mobile in a month.

Verizon pissed me off by never letting me use my own camera for free. They had good coverage, though. With the Motorola Droid, I'd consider going back to them. AT&T pissed me off by screwing up account details with Apple, which eventually led to my iPhone being borked by Apple. T-Mobile has been good to me, with voice coverage at least as good as AT&T, and reasonable G3, and excellent EDGE coverage. When I wanted to go to Europe and use my G1 with another SIM card, T-Mobile send me the unlock code for free, with no fuss. My plan (voice + unlimited data) is only $60/month, a full $10 less than AT&T or Verizon. I hate my G1 (the hardware sucks big-time), but I'm super-excited about both the Nexus One and Sony Ericson Experia X10. Well... I'm a LOT more excited about the Nexus One. Give me one of those, and I'll probably be a long-term T-Mobile user.

So, I predict that T-Mobile will not piss you off in a month. It will probably take three.

Awesome.... (2)

desmogod (792414) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502542)

I can't wait for someone to deregulate the Australian telco business. I'm with Telstra due to my remote location, and I pay exorbitant prices for voice and data. It's disgusting.

Re:Awesome.... (2, Interesting)

lewko (195646) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502632)

It's too hard due to the land size.

Whereas in Europe or the Middle East, you can establish a network with 100% population coverage quite easily, the same size network in Australia wouldn't cover a single state.

Same goes for broadband networks. It's too hard which is why nobody has ever really competed with Telstra.

Re:Awesome.... (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502760)

becasue telstra got paid to cover area's that weren't immediately profitable, and then raped everyone with outrageous prices.

Re:Awesome.... (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502912)

becasue telstra got paid to cover area's that weren't immediately profitable, and then raped everyone with outrageous prices.

True words. Yes, it's much more expensive to try and cover a larger landmass with less population, of course. But Telstra didnt have to pay that expense, the tax payers did. Now telstra pretends they paid for all this out of pocket and have to charge extortionist rates to make back that investment even though they never made it in the first place. The big ISP/Telcos in the US play the same game. The taxpayers have already paid for the infrastructure at least twice, and the ratepayers continue to be charged for it as well. It's a sweet scam, getting paid over and over again for infrastructure you didnt even pay for in the first place.

Re:Awesome.... (3, Insightful)

Garble Snarky (715674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502896)

I'm with Telstra due to my remote location, and I pay exorbitant prices for voice and data.

Isn't that how utility distribution works? If you live by yourself 400 miles from the nearest town, why shouldn't you pay exorbitant prices for a company to run 400 miles of line/pipe/whatever to serve only you? I don't know anything about your situation or whats going on with Australian telcos, this is just an honest question.

Re:Awesome.... (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502940)

    Don't forget that most things won't work down 400 miles of anything. They'll need relay points along it.

    I've known people in the US who are in the same situation. They can't get power run out to their homes, so they run on generators. They don't have phones, and they use well water. Needless to say, they'll never read this, because they can't get Internet service either. :)

I know what (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30502554)

I want an Android's brain in an iPhone's body.

Re:I know what (3, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502880)

Modded funny, should be insightful.

Re:I know what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503414)

I want an Adroid's brain in an iPhone's body.

...with multitouch capability and GSM (European flavor) in addition to being CDMA for those of us who travel frequently.

All in the data (5, Interesting)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502568)

Pretty soon, we'll be buying phones with data plans and the voice plan will be optional (if needed at all).
All we need is Google to get their phones coming with a VOIP client as standard. Big unique selling point that no matter what network, or if you're not even on a network but just have wireless at home/work/in car/train/plane, you can make/receive calls.

Using phone numbers and keeping a local phonebook of addresses makes as much sense as using IP numbers in a browser to get to a website. Google providing their DNS to allow new services to be added like this was another one of the steps needed to be done. Google Voice is a stopgap, their newly acquisitioned VOIP stuff is the next step.

Shortly, it'll be standard to call someone using an email address and the data-networks will route as needed to their phone/home/business.

Re:All in the data (5, Interesting)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502608)

When I call up the phone app on the n900, the menu asks what typr of call I want to make:

cell
skype (dial out minutes required)
google talk (to some ones computer)
sip (I have a gizmo5 account liked to my google voice number)

The N900 can also get incoming calls from any of those, and treats them the same as a cellular call.

If I wanted to pay moe at Skype for a call in number, it would handle that to. All of these work over 3G or WLAN.

It is seamless to the user.

Re:All in the data (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502648)

>>Pretty soon, we'll be buying phones with data plans and the voice plan will be optional (if needed at all).

Yes, because data plans are so cheap from Verizon and their "competitors" in the market. :p

I think last time I checked, Verizon made about a third of its money from overcharging for data access.

Re:All in the data (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502736)

Good luck building an infrastructure that would support that.

Re:All in the data (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502958)

And good luck financing that without voice tolls to subsidize the data plan.

I really love it when VoIP users complain about our crappy infrastructure. Yes, let's do everything we can to not pay the tolls that would go into the pools that would pay for upgrades and then complain loudly about not getting upgrades.

I really love it (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503922)

when people believe what the telcos, who bought the data folks years ago, and which we now think of as the data guys.

If the telos tell you they can't make money on a simple data network, you should be busy looking under the other shells.

There is only one things you an be sure of with the telcos: They are not telling the truth. They never, ever do that.

They cannot support their bloated payroll and archaic systems on just data? OK, I'd buy that. Then the business model of hiring as many people as possible to influence politicians (and therefore spending as little as possible on systems which don't require humans) needs to change.

Your telco needs to adapt. Its failure to adapt is not an indication of an impossible situation -- It is just an indication of its lack of desire to adapt.

Re:All in the data (1)

jfanning (35979) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503140)

Um, in Finland now I can get a 10EUR /month data plan (1 Mbit/s 3G) and the voice plan is optional. If I make voice calls I just pay per minute, same for text messages and MMS.

In Finland the data plans are typically uncapped, but limited by speed. So they range from 1MBit/s up to 5 or so.

Remember US != World.

Re:All in the data (1)

chammy (1096007) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503176)

Mod parent up -- just because the US cell network is garbage doesn't mean it's impossible to get good service for cheap!

Buzzwords! Buzzwords! Buzzosphere! (1)

adbge (1693228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502588)

I fail to see how this puts Google into direct competition with Apple. When did Apple become a telco?

Re:Buzzwords! Buzzwords! Buzzosphere! (2, Insightful)

Dravik (699631) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502604)

Apple depends on the "walled garden" approach to sell apps and music. When the mobile telcos go the way of AOL, apple's walled garden goes to the same place AOLs walled garden went. Oblivion.

Re:Buzzwords! Buzzwords! Buzzosphere! (4, Interesting)

Dracos (107777) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502690)

I thought of this also when I was reading TFA. The Internet tears down all garden walls, AOL is only the most obvious example.

The Internet tore down the walled garden of every BBS that ever existed, and the operators were glad of it for the most part.

It's tearing down the MAFIAA's walled garden of distribution. Movie studios dislike NetFlix and they hate Red Box. The music cartel really doesn't like iTunes, but they tolerate it because they get a cut. And they all despise The Pirate Bay, et al.

The Internet is tearing down Microsoft's walled garden of software (which is what they mean when they say "ecosystem"). Don't like Windows? Go download any of a handful of BSD's or several dozen Linux distros. And you get the opportunity to make better whichever you choose.

(Which is why I laugh every time I see a Win7 commercial... MS is actually touting the fact that Win7 wasn't their idea. Now, about that monolithic kernel...)

Re:Buzzwords! Buzzwords! Buzzosphere! (2, Interesting)

ScottForbes (528679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502872)

Not really. Apple's relationship with the music industry (and, to a large extent, their handling of iPhone apps) is more like Volvo's relationship to the petroleum industry... if the entire petroleum industry had failed, in spectacular fashion, to come up with a workable means of delivering gasoline to consumers, had spent half a decade suing anyone who tried to deliver gasoline to consumers, and then Volvo had stepped in and opened the Volvo Gas Store. Apple started selling music online because the RIAA wouldn't, not because they wanted to compete with music retailers - although it certainly didn't hurt that the music industry morons accidentally gave Apple enough pricing power to made 99-cent tracks the new sales model.

In other words, Apple is in the business of selling hardware; the music is just a commodity to them, and their only purpose in selling it is to drive more sales of Apple hardware. On the internet bandwidth is already a pure commodity, and Apple's music store is no danger of fading into oblivion: If anything the opposite is true and Apple is dominating online music sales, again thanks to the music industry morons who gave Apple an insurmountable lead (and made the even dumber mistake of allowing DRM that locked the music to the Apple hardware, but that's another story).

It's also telling that iPhone apps quickly raced to the bottom of the pricing scale: If a 99-cent app delivers more than a dollar's worth of value to the customer, then the app has effectively added value to the phone, and Apple pockets the difference in increased hardware sales. If AT&T Wireless became a pure-bandwidth provider, the only thing Apple would do is to stop turning away apps AT&T doesn't like - Skype, Google Voice, Slingbox, etc. - and let those apps add value to the phone as well.

The only thing that might endanger Apple's walled-garden approach to selling iPhone apps would be a competitor with a wide-open app store that attracted more developers, led to more interesting apps, and threatened to reduce the value that third-party apps currently deliver to the iPhone. The Nexus One is a signal that Google wants to go there (and, in passing, that Verizon and other carriers will fight tooth and nail to prevent opening their networks), but the most likely outcome here is pressure on Apple to make their app rejection policies more transparent and developer-friendly.

So I don't think there's a scenario where Apple's music and app stores fade into oblivion, even if wireless bandwidth becomes a commodity - again, bandwidth is already a commodity on the wired internet, and both the music store and the iPod Touch are thriving.

Re:Buzzwords! Buzzwords! Buzzosphere! (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503652)

Except Apple turns a profit in Germany despite the fact that our telco market has razor-thin margins. And this is in a country where Nokia dominates the mobile phone market so you can't even assume that people just don't know about Maemo-based smartphones.

Apple's stack works not because of vendor lock-in but because it delivers the kind of experience the users want. At least that's my impression.

Not a fun conclusion... (5, Interesting)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502596)

Here's one reason for the Nexus One that I haven't seen yet.

Google wants it's employees to use Android and test new versions and be inspired to come up with interesting applications. The best way to do this is to give all your employees phones. If you're doing that, you might as well come up with a cool phone. It's not like Google doesn't have the money to do this.

So, no, there's no ulterior motive about breaking the cellphone companies' grip on the market. There's no plan to sell it through T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, or even Mosaic telecom [mosaictelecom.com] . All there is a phone that Google can give to their employees for testing and being creative with. That's it.

I know, I know. It's far more fun to believe that these corporations are doing all of these things as a battle that we can sit back and enjoy. But the reality is usually far more mundane.

Re:Not a fun conclusion... (1)

Romancer (19668) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502618)

So you'd think that a business would research and develop a phone to give to it's employees to come up with great ways of using it, and then not sell that phone to comsumers, just the software?

Really?

We've seen what the other vensers think of an open system and room to play. They give it the "Misery" treatement. It's be better for Google to release the phone under an open source hardware license to get it out there for others to improve on, and use their software on! Best deal for them and for gaining market share.

Re:Not a fun conclusion... (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502806)

Your theory does not jibe with Google's involvement with the FCC spectrum bidding a year or two ago.
Remember how they lobbied to get extra conditions imposed as a contingency for licensing?
They only got a watered down version of what they wanted, but it was still enough that the spectrum licensee had to accept 3rd party devices on their network. Devices just like an unlocked phone from some company other than the telco.

Re:Not a fun conclusion... (0)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502936)

I'm not disagreeing with you here.

It was last year [wired.com] . It turned out better than we could have hoped for.

Not only did Google win the ability to attach any equipment to the network (itself as huge a win as the Carterphone [wikipedia.org] decision), but the biggest deal - a nationwide block of 700MHz spectrum was not won by any bidder and still remains available.

So if the incumbent providers won't deal with Google fairly, Google can buy a single block of spectrum and give us what we want - truly open communications capability. Google has the cash to buy it, and the history to back up that if a provider won't give them what they need to meet our desires they'll go around them [electronista.com] .

/btw, it's "jive," not "jibe". Jibe is a sailing term that means "To shift a fore-and-aft sail from one side of a vessel to the other while sailing before the wind so as to sail on the opposite tack." cite [thefreedictionary.com] . In the colloquial Jibe! is a command to shift the sails so as to change direction promptly. It is in no way synonymous with "jive" which in this sense would mean "agree".

Re:Not a fun conclusion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30502964)

"jibe 2 (jb)
intr.v. jibed, jibing, jibes Informal
To be in accord; agree: Your figures jibe with mine."

-Captain Pedantic

Re:Not a fun conclusion... (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502984)

Correct. I surrender the point.

Re:Not a fun conclusion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503892)

Reminds me of the first few weeks when the Generation 1 iPhone was released. Apple gave one phone with some corporate plan to many employees (>2000) that literally brought the telco's middleware to its knees. Things complicated further when a certain API would take a long time on a call to the corporate account because it has to fetch details of all the accounts underneath. It was really humiliating to ask Apple (to ask their employees) not to activate their phones en-mass. Oh those memories - justfying and interpreting tealeaf logs to directors - literally once in a life time opportunity - glad I was part of that :)

What Makes Sense (5, Funny)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502606)

So for the past five years or more, they've been doing their best not to get dragged into a game of beggar-my-neighbor

Because the game of "bugger-my-customer" is so much more fun...

Re:What Makes Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503474)

Posting AC so as not to threadjack, but what in the world does "beggar-my-neighbor" mean? I'm American and I've never heard that expression in my life, so I'm assuming that it's something not from these shores.

Re:What Makes Sense (2, Informative)

Dravik (699631) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503814)

It's an expression used to express options that give short term relative boot to an individual by causing damage to his neighbors. You'll hear to expression a lot if you look into the great depression economic and trade policies. Most beggar-thy-neighbor actions can be taken by all individuals and thus come back on those who implement them. As it applies to the cell companies: The first one to embrace the data pipe only model would gain significant market-share and revenue initially, but when the other companies responded with the same cheap data only plans every cell company would end up higher capital costs and lower revenue. The first mover company would see a short term spike in revenue and then it would collapse to lower than before they made the change.

what if ? (2, Interesting)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502630)

Scary or neat?? that is the question. here's a thought, what if they (cel/tel cos) are already packet switching and making people pay for circuit switching?

Re:what if ? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502924)

are already packet switching and making people pay for circuit switching

Which they have been doing for more than 10 years.

What if customers were to complain about being raped?
They have been doing for 100 years.
Who own your congress-critter?

f**k the telcos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30502642)

As soon as I can buy an unlocked Google Android phone for $199 I'm in. Worse: I have $250 fidobucks (my carrier basically gives me $4-6 a month towards a new phone, and it's been a few years) so I could get an iPhone for almost free at this point, but I'd rather have an unlocked Android (I suspect I may get the iPhone to sell to someone to recoup the cost of my Android) that does WiFi then some crap data plan from fido (currently 600 megabytes a month on the *ahem* "unlimited" plan).

3G will be the next standard feature (2, Insightful)

sl149q (1537343) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502662)

As WiFi migrates from Laptops to Desktops 3G chipsets will start to be standard items in Netbooks, then Laptops. This will help push data only plans down in price. And then 3G will migrate everywhere. Your car, your GPS (handheld, bike, car), cameras, etc etc.

Five years from now your 3G provider bill will have a list of your many 3G enabled devices. Perhaps one or two might have traditional voice plans. All will have data plans.

Carriers that allow you to aggregate devices and total transfer at reasonable prices will survive.

Carriers that stick to the current voice plus optional (expensive) data will not.

The only question is how long it takes to get there.

Re:3G will be the next standard feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503166)

heh, it's already like this in China. unlocked phones, and plenty of cheap netbooks that come with plenty of RAM and a nice data only 3G card. I guess the "free market" in the US ain't so free.

And my lame prediction... (1)

macslut (724441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502688)

AT&T and Verizon become the main bandwidth providers. T-Mobile and Sprint will cease exist on their own. Google provides services as Google does Anything Google can monetize via ads is something Google goes after. This doesn't make Google a direct competitor to Apple or any other handset maker as long as the handset maker adopts Android or at least Google services. The iPhone has Google Maps, YouTube and Google Search by default. Google can provide other apps on this platform and with Admob, provide advertising services to 3rd party apps. The X million iPhones that have been sold to date have added to Google's bottom line just as much as each Android that has been sold. Google's desire to develop Android was solely to get a platform out to manufacturers that would fully adopt Google services. From Google's perspective, they're saying, "the iPhone is great, RIM is ok, but what happens if WinMo gets most of the other handset manufactures?"

What's the value of an unlocked US cellphone? (4, Informative)

jerryasher (151512) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502714)

Is there something I don't understand? I don't think unlocking a US cellphone has any additional value than an unlocked US cellphone. The phone's most value is on its original network and it's almost worthless on any other network.

All GSM is not equal. Unlock a T-Mobile cellphone and move it to AT&T and you get a degraded EDGE speed. And I assume that's true in reverse. An unlocked AT&T cellphone presumably has poor speed on T-Mobiles network.

All CDMA is not equal. A Verizon phone cannot necessarily be switched to Sprint -- my experience is that Sprint has to support that phone explicitly in its own network, including a possible new firmware load. And presumably vice versa.

And of course a GSM phone cannot be activated on a CDMA network or vice-versa.

So even if you can unlock your phone, there doesn't seem to be ANY interoperability with respect to carriers. Your unlocked phone has the most value on the network it came from, and almost no value on any other network.

So what's the point of unlocking it?

Please feel free to correct me and point out all the things I don't understand about cellphones. Cause I don't get it, and I assume it's due to my ignorance.

Re:What's the value of an unlocked US cellphone? (2, Insightful)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502874)

Is there something I don't understand? I don't think unlocking a US cellphone has any additional value than an unlocked US cellphone. The phone's most value is on its original network and it's almost worthless on any other network.

Why would you think that? How is a phone worthless on another network? Do you even understand what unlocking is?

Here in the UK, lots of little shops offer to unlock your phone. And people pay for it, because its worth moneys to have an unlocked phone.

Re:What's the value of an unlocked US cellphone? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503290)

T-mobile and AT&T are the two GSM providers in the US. They have different, incompatible 3G data frequencies. A phone from one will at best get EDGE speeds at best on the other's data network. Sprint and Verizon are the two (major) CDMA providers. Only Verizon has promised to activate any device that will work on their network - Sprint's policy is not to activate any device that doesn't have a Sprint logo on it. So parent was correct: an unlocked phone in the US has very few advantages over a locked one. That's different if you need one for overseas use, or if you use only voice, but the first market segment is wealthy enough to buy a cheap GSM phone for travel and the second is shrinking.

Re:What's the value of an unlocked US cellphone? (2, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502930)

    Unlocking works if your phone is capable of working on other networks. That's why the manufacturers advertise how many networks they work on.

    I had Nextel back in the day, before Sprint bought them and started raping their customers with extra fees. (I was getting $300 for various things, even though there was no service at my house, and the phone sat on my desk with a dead battery). A friend of mine bought two unlocked Boost Mobile phones, because she thought they looked nicer. She gave me one, and I used it on the Nextel network without problems (like, since they were the same network anyways).

    Even a nice world wide "standard" like GSM, has 14 different frequency bands, so your phone may or may not work in a particular location.

    A long time ago, I bought a GSM phone in Europe. It only worked on that provider, in that country. After I got back to the states, I gave it to a friend who was traveling to another country in Europe. Even though that provider had service in that country, it wouldn't work. It was the cheapest prepaid phone I could get my hands on that day, so I didn't really expect much of it. It suited it's purpose (having a cell for the week I was there).

    Some phones are more cooperative, because they work with multiple frequencies, or they happen to use the same frequency. I knew someone who lived in Europe, who would come to the states, and his phone became a US phone as soon as he got off the plane. :) They were completely unrelated providers, but it worked, so he was happy.

Re:What's the value of an unlocked US cellphone? (4, Insightful)

jfanning (35979) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503154)

Your GSM phone was probably locked to the original provider. That is why it is important to buy an _unlocked_ phone.

All operators in Europe are basically on the same frequencies. I can go to any country in Europe and my phone "just works". If I don't want to pay roaming fees then I can stick in a local SIM and it "just works".

The problem in the US is that your stupid providers choose/got assigned different bands to operate on. So phones physically have to be capable of working on those frequency bands. In most cases Nokia will make them work on one or the other (so AT&T or TMobile), but not both.

If you want to find what frequencies each network supports you can check them all out at GSM World. They also cover UMTS 3G networks. http://gsmworld.com/roaming/gsminfo/index.shtml [gsmworld.com]

Re:What's the value of an unlocked US cellphone? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503272)

    If I remember right (which it's been quite a few years), they were different frequencies, so we were just out of luck.

    As contrary as I may have sounded, I am all for the portability of cell phones. I always considered it asinine that I had to make an investment on a cell phone, just to be locked into that company for as long as they'd like.

    Now, I'm not quite in the same position. I bought a cheap prepay phone. Their plan is unlimited everything, so I can chatter away as needed without worrying that they'll tag me for extra fees. If I don't pay the bill when it's due, they cut me off. They don't send me to collections. They don't make mistakes in billing and I have to spend hours on the phone trying to straighten it out. There's nothing for them to screw up, and I'm really good with that.

    I wouldn't be able to use the Google phone with it (not GSM), but there are prepaid accounts for others, so I could change as often as I'd like.

    I liked your link. Wikipedia has This List [wikipedia.org] of GSM frequencies and what countries they're serviced in. There are actually 14 bands used. I assume the Nexus One will be a 4 band phone, so it will work almost everywhere. That will limit it's usefulness in some countries though. Well, you can't satisfy everyone. :)

    Some people have asked me why I don't have a Blackberry, iPhone, or Android phone. Well, I don't want to get tied into a contract. The way the economy has been, I don't know that I can pay for service a month from now, much less 2 years from now. What happens if I move into a poor coverage area again, like I did with Nextel. They didn't want to let me out of the contract. I fought with them for weeks. Like, an hour a day for over two weeks. I stood by the statement, "If you provide service in my area, so I can use the phone, I'll pay you." I ended up paying a token amount, but not their outrageous early disconnect fee. They realized they weren't going to get anything, so getting at least something from me was easier than letting it go to collections where I'd never pay (and I told them so).

    I actually like the Blackberries. Two different companies I worked for gave me one. The T-mobile phone worked for the most part, but my house was a weak coverage area. The other was a Verizon phone, which worked very well at home. With the Nexus One, I'd be able to say "This won't work for me", and just buy another sim and be on the new network. It may take some time experimenting, but in the end, I would have a phone that worked well for me.

Re:What's the value of an unlocked US cellphone? (1)

Dravik (699631) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503844)

Verizon is CDMA, but sprint is a GSM/iDEN hybrid. The phones don't cross because they are different formats. As for T-moblie/ATT, they are both GSM. If your phone is capable of the full GSM spectrum then you shouldn't have any trouble moving back and forth. The cheap pay-as-you-go phones are intentionally designed to only be capable of the spectrum owned by the carrier selling them. That's why they are so cheap.

"Apple are..."? (0, Troll)

Grandmaster Mort (731817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502750)

Seriously, WTF is wrong with people's grammar these days? Collective nouns such as company names are almost ALWAYS considered to be singular. Yet I have seen a rash of idiotic grammatical errors due to someone trying to be cute and different with subject-verb agreement.

Look it up.

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/plurals.htm [commnet.edu]
(under "Collective Nouns, Company Names, Family Names, Sports Teams")

So just in case you could not figure out the proper subject-verb agreement, it is "Apple is..." in your last sentence.

Re:"Apple are..."? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30502820)

Seriously, "Apple are ..." is correct in British English. Not everyone lives in the US or speaks American English.

Re:"Apple are..."? (1, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502928)

British English used to be considered the standard outside the yankee infestation, but crap like that is exactly why it's increasingly considered irrelevant. It's absurd, illogical, ungrammatical, and serves no purpose at all except to make sure your reader knows you are a pommy wanker.

Illogical? Ungrammatical? (2, Informative)

jjo (62046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503262)

Two points:
  1. The British usage in this case is reaching through the corporation (Apple, singular) to the ultimate meaning of the corporation (Apple's management and employees, plural). To insist on the exclusive correctness of the singular would be to insist on the exclusive validity of the legal fiction that is a corporation. That would be absurd.
  2. It's an idiom! Idioms are, by definition, grammatical.

Re:Illogical? Ungrammatical? (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503492)

Uh, no.

Imagine if this were applied consistently. It would convert ALL nouns into plurals.

A corporation is composed of many people in a certain sense, yes (although see below.) A person is composed of many cells. An object is composed of many molecules, a molecule of many atoms, even atoms are composed of other things. By this logic we would eliminate the singular cases entirely and simply treat every noun as plural. We would be saying "I are going to those store." This is broken English, nothing more. I is a singular noun, and it doesnt matter how many individual things we can distinguish making up that I, it's still a singular noun. You can say "all the cells in my body are going to the store" if you want, just as you can say "all the employees of apple are x" and that's fine, because the subjects in those sentences are grammatically plural (cells and divisions) but "Apple are" is just as broken as "I are".

And your explanation, even if it were valid (see above, it isnt) still is mistaken, because if we follow your suggestion and read the statement with the singular noun "Apple" with "Apple's management and employees" we change the meaning of the sentence quite a bit. "Apple are a threat" or properly "Apple is a threat" doesnt meant the same thing as "Apples management and employees are a threat" - it may look close if you are a sloppy thinker, but they still arent the same thing. The first refers to Apple as a corporate entity - the threat comes from Apple as a company, not from the individuals who work for it. In fact, it seems certain that is exactly what the OP intended to say - you could fire and replace every employee of the company, management and otherwise, but the company itself would continue to be (or not be) a threat regardless.

Re:Illogical? Ungrammatical? (1)

Sri.Theo (983977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503586)

Your argument is pretty stupid.

Just because we break things down to the level of the _individual_ doesn't mean atom's and molecules get a say. We do the same for team's "Arsenal are amazing, Manchester United are shit", treating it as a collection of individuals (which they are) makes as much sense as treating them as a single entity.

So calling it "broken English" is pretty ridiculous.

Re:Illogical? Ungrammatical? (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503710)

Your argument is pretty stupid.

NO U.

We do the same for team's "Arsenal are amazing, Manchester United are shit", treating it as a collection of individuals (which they are) makes as much sense as treating them as a single entity.

Did you even read my last paragraph which directly anticipated and refuted this before you even scribbled it?

A team can be amazing without having any standout players (this is called "teamwork,) and on the other side a team of "all stars" can play like shit (if they lack cohesion and play as individuals, rather than as a unit.) In other words "Arsenal is amazing" tells us about the qualities of the team as a team not necessarily anything about the individual players, coaches, etc.

Re:Illogical? Ungrammatical? (1)

Sri.Theo (983977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503760)

But surely there's no difference? The qualities of the team are that of the collective of players, teamwork is as much of a skill as anything else.

The whole isn't greater than the sum of its parts. Although I'm not sure how much this matters, my beef was more with you calling it "broken English" Which it isn't as thats how everyone that speaks British English speaks.

And since when has grammar obeyed the rules of logic :-)

Re:Illogical? Ungrammatical? (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503834)

No, there is a huge difference. Anyone that's played any team sport competitively would know that. "There is no I in team."

If everyone in Britain now speaks broken English then I suggest you start importing teachers from a country that hasnt forgotten how to speak your native language. And shoot all the nitwits that told you lot that singular nouns take verbs in plural case. Immediately.

Apple's patents pre-emptive? (3, Interesting)

linuxtelephony (141049) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502840)

You know, if I were the paranoid type, I might be prone to think there were some high level shenanigans going on.

Remember the Apple patent enforcing ad viewing [slashdot.org] or the Apple patent on OS advertising [slashdot.org] ?

Google is known for its advertising business, and has been putting ads everywhere. Eric Schmidt was on Apple's board from 2006 to 2009, when he resigned (or was forced out?) due to Google's entering "more of Apple's core business" with Chrome and Android. The new, unlocked, Google phone has plenty of speculation surrounding it, but one of the more interesting bits was that it could show up in two forms: (1) expensive, not subsidized, and (2) cheap, with advertising subsidizing it somehow, perhaps forced ad viewing or something?

Given Schmidt's time on the board, I wonder if he deliberately or inadvertently revealed any of these plans, or if Apple found itself aware of these plans through some other means. Regardless, if Apple has a patent on OS-level ad displays and/or forced ad viewing on a device, it would seem that they would be in a position to try and extract money from Google if they go forward with an ad-subsidized phone.

So now this begs the questions: Was Apple's patents on these concepts the result of information about Google's upcoming plans (either acquired legitimately or otherwise), or were they plans they had for a device of their own? Tough to say.

Personally I'm all for the carriers to be reduced to a conduit provider only. It's about time too. If they all had to compete as nearly identical providers of bandwidth instead of a myriad of services, then perhaps we'd see some improvements in the network quality. In fact, they'd have a lot more network capacity if they'd deliver one type of service instead of fragmenting it between different technologies. A friend and I often lament the poor audio quality people have come to expect from wrieless phones now that we are 100% digital. Sure there's no more "static" - but audio quality has suffered to get there.

I'm hopeful LTE will improve things - though I'm not holding my breath for it. It's going to be an expensive network upgrade that won't happen overnight. Sprint is banking on wimax and outsourcing their network, Verizon is claiming latter half 2010 for LTE. And along the way comes Google's Android and the exclusivity of the iPhone on AT&T nearing expiration (was it renewed? last I read it was all talk but I didn't see anything come from it), perhaps we'll finally have some heavy hitters that can break the carrier strangleholds. Should be interesting if they can.

We need a Debian Atp-Get model for phones (2, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30502926)

Google really needs to rip off Apt and Synaptics and make a version for their phones. All the way. Not only do they need to make multiple version specific repositories (and tested, don't let Debian and its ability to break stable regularly set to much of an example). The ability of users to add custom repositories for our apps that Google wont stamp with approval would be nice as well. We really need the carriers and their inability to do anything but lump surcharges on top of crap out of the way.

Re:We need a Debian Atp-Get model for phones (2, Informative)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503002)

Google really needs to rip off Apt and Synaptics and make a version for their phones.

What, you mean like Nokia already does?

Re:We need a Debian Atp-Get model for phones (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503170)

As a non-Nokia user, that's news to me. I like the idea though.

Re:We need a Debian Atp-Get model for phones (2, Informative)

jilles (20976) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503718)

Well, Maemo is essentially a Debian derivative with the fully functional debian package management tools installed and configured to be used with Nokia software repositories for over the air apt-get updates & upgrades (i.e. no need to flash the device with new firmware, you'll get updates as they are made available). You can install a package from the officially supported (i.e. no need for hacks to accomplish this) list of packages to get a root shell after which you can modify sources.list to e.g. add one of the several repositories for free (OSS) goodies or even your own repository (which is really nice if you are developing for the device).

http://repository.maemo.org/ [maemo.org]

This is right now the only device that is truly open to modification and usable as an actual phone at the same time. There are many linux phones on the market but most are either intended for developers and barely functional or intended for end users and completely locked down (e.g. pretty much any Android phone). The N900 is not locked down, comes with official support to get root access, excellent linux based SDK, an excellent mozilla based browser, excellent multimedia and multitasking support, and it is a pretty good phone too.

disclaimer: I work for Nokia but just check the many independent reviewers for some more or less unanimously shared enthusiasm about what this phone can do.

Re:We need a Debian Atp-Get model for phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30503436)

Android doesn't have a gnu userland so it's not possible. It boots a linux kernel but other than that, there is little resemblence to your typical distribution. I doesn't even have a compatible c library. Nokia's maemo is derived from Debian, uses an xserver and so forth, so it's natural that it uses apt for software management. And I don't get your beef with Debian Stable, it's about as stable as linux gets...maybe a close second to RHE. Or for that matter which version? Etch? Lenny?

Re:We need a Debian Atp-Get model for phones (2, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503634)

I had Lenny installed before it became stable. All was good. When Lenny became stable, I kept it. They decided to do a "patch" on the firewire drivers. My Firewire quit working.

My sound worked perfectly on Lenny and for that matter Etch when I first installed it. There was yet another update that broke my sound. If I jacked with that for an hour or two I could get it to work, in a few programs, but then it would break again after a reboot or two. (I actually shut my laptop down when I'm not using it)

On another machine the "going stable rush" caused a package cram that broke testing so bad I couldn't fix my system in any easily seen manner, so, considering the way I kept /home as a completely separate drive I decided to just reinstall stable from the standard web install disk. THEY HAD BROKE STABLE SO BAD I COULDN'T INSTALL IT.

I personally thing Debian is the absolute best Linux distro out there. I used to use Testing as my normal distro (whichever testing that happened to be at the time) but I got tired of battling broken packages and things getting merged in that weren't quite ready. I understood that's what testing was for so I decided to just stick with stable. Stable did it also - using my firewire and sound as an example. I'm rather good at troubleshooting. If I can't figure something out, I'll shotgun it, do a complete package removal, even config files, then I'll go into my ~ and delete local configs. If it's bad enough I'll do complete remove even on dependent packages even if it means X is no longer on my system by the time I'm done. This is how I got my sound to work half assed again.

Every time I hit "mark all upgrades" it's a game of Russian roulette. I don't want to just not mark all upgrades occasionally, security reasons, holes get fixed and I really would like a more up to date browser or something on occasion. My current laptop has pretty standard Centrino hardware, it's a Toshiba Tecra A5. I have Kubuntu on it right now and it's working great. I seriously don't like Ubuntu, it's a good OS, I recommend it to beginners, but to me it feels like I'm back to using training wheels. I can fix almost any problem I run into and I can look online for known fixes if I can't figure it out for myself, but developer name calling and squabbles show up in the end product all to often of Debian. Most of the downstream distros use the working packages and mix versions that eliminate most of the internal Debian squabbles, which unfortunately once a borked package goes out on Debian it tends to stay broke for quite a while. (use ZSNES for an example)

As for the Apt reference, I was talking about concept, not code. I knew the code wouldn't work.

One last note, I certainly am not a Red Hat fan.

Tired of Highlander biz analysis (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30502968)

I'm so tired of the PC-style ignorant logic that there cam be only one of anything. HBO and ad-supported TV co-exist quite nicely, and so do Apple and Google. Even with the Windows PC and Microsoft's deliberate monopolization and lemming tech industry, the Mac has done very well. In phones, there is even less chance of us ending up with only one system because the uses are more diverse and the user base is many times larger.

It is also tiresome to keep hysterically talking about how Google is going to kill everyone in phones. It's 5 years since they bought Android and they have less than 2% of the US market, less than 2008-2009 Palm.

Having said that, I agree that Google wants data only. Why wouldn't Apple want that also? iChat is about 8 years old. In 4G we will probably see the entire market move to data only because voice calls will require only 1% of the 4G pipe and video calls will be more popular.

Blackberry anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30502970)

My blackberry already did this.
I can download whatever I want ever, written by whomever, whenever I want.
All I have to do is pay for bandwidth and the basic voice package..

Which phones are actually any good? (2, Funny)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503244)

The really annoying part is trying to get a phone that actually is any good. Because of spotty coverage, different phones on each carrier, etc. it is remarkably difficult to figure out which phone actually works the best just for "making calls" by any absolute measurement, which gives makers a lot more leeway on quality (since they don't really have to compete against any standard).

Google Phone Feature Request (1)

keneng (1211114) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503578)

While the GOOGLE PHONE is USB wired to the computer, not only could the phone get recharged, but it could:
-use the computer's ISP network to make wired VOIP voice calls without using the expensive 3G network.
-act as an adjustable WEB CAMERA. This would eliminate the need for a microphone/webcam accessories because they are built into the phone already.
-act a secondary adjustable hands-free conference speaker. This would eliminate the need to use the stereo speakers because there's a LOUD RINGTONE speaker built into the phone already.
-stand on its own. No stand required.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

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

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