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The mobile market reminds me of biology at times rather than technology. Species are just as as hard to define as mobile devices are (an Ipad has all the trappings of a mobile phone except that you can't make calls with it) and the changes come and go faster than you can keep up with them.

Indeed, the numbers are big, very big. But so far most of the players (except for google, maybe) seem to be very busy to try to create a walled garden with as much lock-in as they can get away with.

That's a real pity, because 'mobile' to me should be synonymous with more freedom, and in many cases it seems to be synonymous with less. I think it should be more free because the big difference between a computer and a phone is just that the one has a bunch of wires and a size that hold it down and a phone does not.

Mobile phones are coming from an appliance background, not from a computer background and telcos have historically been some of the most anti-competitive entities out there.

So now you get these alliances between hardware manufacturers, media companies and telcos trying to place you, the user in their virtual restaurant where every dish costs you money by virtue of the easy way in which they can bill you (and make those charges stick).

Bandwidth gets sold at insane prices, phones are routinely crippled in both capabilities as well as connectivity, applications that are available for free on regular computers suddenly are available only for sale and so on.

I'm still holding out for that open source phone, the one that gives you all the freedom with none of the hassle, where the only thing you pay for is the bandwidth that you use (and a reasonable amount!).

There have been a few attempts in this direction but so far nobody has managed to really make a go of it. I really hope that the size of the market will attract someone bright enough and with deep enough pockets that the open source model will take hold permanently.

I know that Android attempts to fill that niche, and maybe it will succeed, but for now I think it is too beholden to Google to really succeed.

I'm more thinking along the lines of a bunch of maverick hackers that have no ties to any major corporation that will create a platform that is truly free and open.

Apple, RIM, Google, Microsoft, Nokia the telcos and so on they all probably have their own agenda and do not have the users best interest and/or freedom at heart. That should change.

Phones should be IP devices (IPV6), and all voice calls should be VOIP connections, also on the mobile networks. Why bother making a distinction between voice and data traffic, voice is data. No more per minute fees, no government mandated encryption breaking, phones are powerful computers (more powerful than anything you could buy for ordinary money up to 5 years ago) so let's use them as such.




I'm still holding out for that open source phone

I too hope Openmoko will make it.

http://www.openmoko.org


I've looked at their phone and the hardware platform is too anaemic to be able to compete in todays market.

At a minimum they should add a camera and a GPS module, the openmoko phone would have been fantastic somewhere in the mid 90's.


Or perhaps they should aim at the non-smartphone market.


That's possible, but the 'hack-potential' of a non-smartphone is quite limited. Once a fully open sourced phone with that sort of gear on board hits the market I'm fairly sure that hackers would flock to it.


I used my iPad quite effectively with a VOIP phone while in Italy last month. It was €5 for 3GB data and we barely used half of that.

The market is definitely broader than “pure” phones.




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