Monday, July 09, 2007

iPhone - Expensive Closed System

"Hacker Jon Johansen claims he can activate a brand new unactivated iPhone without signing up for AT&T service."

Apparently, you are not supposed to be able to use the iPhone for music or web surfing without a two-year commitment to AT&T's cell phone service.

This is a good example of why I hate the current cell phone industry. If I buy an electronic device, shouldn't I be able to use it the way I want without committing to a monthly subscription? Especially if I pay $500 or $600 for the device! How would you like to sign a two-year contract on a new car forcing you to buy gas only from Exxon?

Google is also not happy with the current state of the cell phone business. Here is the way Google thinks the business should work:
In Google’s view of the future, consumers would buy a wireless phone at a store, but instead of being forced to use a specific carrier, they would be free to pick any carrier they wanted. Instead of the wireless carrier choosing what software goes on their phones, users would be free to put any software they want on it.

See: New York Times - Google Pushes for Rules to Aid Wireless Plans, July 21, 2007

I wouldn't buy a digital picture frame back when they required a monthly subscription. I won't buy a Tivo as long as it's only useful with a monthly subscription. And I really hate the way most cell phones are locked to a carrier who wants to charge you for every little trivial thing like putting a ringtone on your phone.

I'm waiting for an open phone that I can OWN rather than merely USE. Apparently, a completely open phone powered by Linux is on the way!!! It's supposed to be mass-market ready by October 2007. Being open means software and hardware developers all over the world can build applications and improve the phone. I can hardly wait.

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