You can fix this! Just buy more unlocked phones. Since 1994 I never bought a net locked phone. Subsidizing does not have to be linked to a net lock. Subsidizing was never (AFAIR) linked to a net lock in Germany. The iPhone was a first for us (here in Europe). From here it looks like the iPhone brought this consumer-unfriendly practice to us. Thank goodness no Android phone is net locked here in Germany at least no net locked only.
In my experience, if you buy an unlocked phone, you hand the carrier a bonus payment of the cost of the phone. They don't give you any cheaper service.
And, when I went to replace a Nokia POS that died 3 days after warranty, I discovered that Verizon even subsidizes their prepaid phones: you can get an LG VX5600 for $40 with new service, but to replace the Nokia with the existing account, they wanted $200. (Allegedly, they "don't sell" the Nokia in question as a prepaid, and thus couldn't offer a direct replacement; which raises the question of why phones they "don't sell" come with their branding and work on their network.)
The slider let you choose between low initial price, high monthly payment (top position) and high initial price, no monthly payment (bottom position).
No matter what, the phone is always unlocked.
The only exception is this one
which is only sold with a high monthly payment, and locked for six months.
So I don't really see Apple as saving us from the tyranny of the carriers, in this part of the world.
In addition to getting it cheaper for prepaying each month, I get $5 off for letting them bill my card automatically.
(Incidentally, T-Mobile is a German company).
(But if you are just going to put it on your credit card and pay it off over those two years, then you lose. T-Mobile lends you the phone at a very low interest rate. Or gouges you on service for the unsubsidized phone.)
t-mobile has visual voicemail and billing apps for android. i think they're the only carrier to "get" this whole android thing.
I mean, you have the freedom to change carriers at will, but I wonder how often that's exercised.
If every phone existed as an unlocked/unsubsidsidized variant -- those would still hardly move. Why pay $500 for a phone, when you can get the same phone for $199, but you simply have a two year contract. I've been with the same carrier for 10 years, despite having the option to leave at many points in time.
In many regards, I think our subsidized mobile phone system trumps the systems outside of the US.
As long as the phone is bundled with, say, a 24 month service you'll definitely end up paying more and the nominal "plain phone prices" can be arbitrary. You don't get $500 for "free" as the real price of the phone would be much lower. Or, alternatively, the monthly charge would be much lower without the phone if there was competition there.
It's just that contracts are too lucrative for telcos and they all know it, and nobody wants to start the competition.
It would be like Comcast subsidizing my purchase of a TV if I kept Comcast for two years. I'd jumpt on that deal now (assuming the subsidy was $300+ dollars), because I anticipate keeping Comcast for two years (even with the coming internet TV threats). And certainly for the past 10 years, it would have been an even bigger no brainer.
Yes I've been with the same carrier for 6 years, but I'm using a pre-paid plan, and I get better deals than customers with contracts. I can also scale down my monthly payments ... i.e. I'm only paying for included 3G traffic when I need it.
And, yes all this for $300. The choice you've made is to presumably pay $500 or more for the phone, and then maybe marginally cheaper monthly fees. Although I'd argue that my monthly fees are quite likely cheaper than yours, although its in a plan you can no longer get. But Sprint still grandfathered contracted customers with it.
And last time I checked, all of the major cell phone carriers allow you to buy the phone w/o a contract. So feel free to spend the $500 for a phone. No one is stopping you.
Actually I'm not spending $500 for a phone who's battery only lasts for a single day and has signal issues ... most smartphones are like that, I know ... unfortunately for all their capabilities, are kind of uncomfortable for making phone calls.
I do have an iPhone 3GS, but I consider it a handheld with 3G connectivity that happens to be able to make phone calls.
I'm paying 9 euros for a data plan with 1 GB per month / ~ 7.2 Mbps (the actual speed I'm getting, the plan is for ~11 Mbps).
Of course, I live in Europe where prepaid plans are much more popular, being an area with lots of competition ... which makes sense since the cost of switching is low.
Why do you thing they never made much headway in the USA? Because Verizon and AT&T spent more money greasing the congress, and Nokia didn't want to give up.
What other phones can be updated without manufacturer support?
Even for the ADP1(G1) and the N1 you need some binary-only files from HTC.
I was successful in building Froyo for my N1. Not so much for the ADP1. (No GSM and no Wifi) I am missing some binaries that seem not available in the stock 1.6 image for the ADP1.
So the locking is an exclusivity / subsidy component.
It seems clear to me, by studying Apple's patents, that they originally wanted the phone to be unlocked and on every carrier, they even tried to end the subsidy system by selling the iPhone direct....
It was a bargaining chip.
If this is actually considered important for folk in the US, then they're going to have to stop the Apple fanboys in the media using it as a stick to beat Google with and face up to the reality that Apple has failed to change the carrier business model too, just as Google's Nexus One failed. I seem to recall that just like the Nexus One, the iPhone was supposed to be sold direct to consumers at the full unsubsidized price.
Excellent point. It was sold unsubsidized initially, but people were apoplectic about spending $600 for a phone. Apple quickly realized that joining the subsidy model was better than fighting it, so they announced the price "cut" on the 3G model and got glowing press, while hardly anyone noticed that with the monthly rate increase customers would be paying more over two years.
Apple has far better taste than the carriers, to be sure. But both agree that you should not have control over "your" hardware.
Yes, it annoys me I have to have a folder of "stuff I don't care about" on my iPhone, but I know Apple and/or AT&T didn't put it there to pad their pockets at my expense and that makes all the difference.
I'm not in the US so I've no first hand experience so maybe this app is some kind of spyware but I'm not sure how spamming people with sports coverage works as a business model and I've seen various people quite pleased at one or other of the "crapware" things they've got. (It seems like a killer app for the iPad is some baseball app, so I can see how people might think that sports coverage is something people actually want.)
Not sure about that dichotomy: unsubsidized, both cost roughly the same, and for both, root/jailbreaks are free.
Or if your carriers behave. In most parts of the world they do nowadays.
But I find this argument naive:
"But this pipe dream is being crushed quickly. The carriers, after giving up ground initially, are fighting back. They are using Android’s openness against the company."
The point is: if Google hadn't done that, the carriers may very well not have supported it. Let's remember that although now we consider Android a strong contender, at the time Android was neither that strong, nor the only contender. I'd be ready to bet that other carriers supported Android as much to hurt Apple as because they knew they could control it.
Personally I'd go as far as to say that Google developed Android the way they did fully aware that this could happen: the bottom line is that Google doesn't make money from Android, and as nobody holds the market in the palm of their hand Google is happy... even though it may mean basically subsidising other companies fight against Apple (at the time).
I don't buy this argument. This is one of those slippery slope arguments that are used to justify everything. Let's say you're a Cisco and you want to sell routers and network gear to the Chinese. You can either give their government back doors to spy on traffic and make it easy for them, guaranteeing the business will go to you, or you can take the moral high ground and refuse to build these features into your products. Too often big companies like Cisco, Google, and Microsoft take the approach that money trumps all morality concerns, and we end up with a big brother police state enabled by the very technology companies that were supposed to save us from this future.
Google should do what Apple did and stick to their guns - refuse to let carriers mess with Android.
Google could have stuck to their guns, but the situation would be unchanged.
I think both want to break the carriers power and end up with open networks, but their strategies are very different.
I'm not sure how much they've modded it though, or if it can be as easily unlocked/rooted as one bought straight from Google.
Still, if you you liked the phone, then get one via another carrier.
Also, It's pretty easy to install apps through the .apks and unofficial markets. Aptoide is an alternative to the Official Android Market.
The reason we're in the spot we're in, and the carriers have so much control, is that the FCC issued only three licenses for each goegraphic area in the spectrum auctions. This limits competition and ensures a near monopoly pricing power for the big three carriers. Subsequent changes have loosened this a little bit, but not a lot.
The real problem here is the idea that spectrum can be "owned" and that our government gets to dictate (based on bribes- which is what spectrum "Sales" are really) who gets to "own" the spectrum.
Apple tried, and I believe google tried recently, to create unowned spectrum. Spread spectrum technology lets people share space-- hell Wifi works on the same frequency as microwave ovens, and still manages to work when the microwave is running. I cant think of a harsher environment than that!
So long as government has a ruthless grip on spectrum, and forces us to deal with the three headed monopoly, there is a limit to how much freedom of choice we can have.
The difference between Apple & the carriers is that Apple is far more competent in its control, carefully avoiding short term gains at the expense of long term gains. Locking crappy adware apps into your phones is an obvious long term mistake that Apple would never make.
Being more competent, Apple is much more dangerous.
For instancen we can keep our number when switching carriers or unlock phones after the contract's finished.
I'd say regulations are needed in order to keep the market from degrading into customer-slavery. :)
This has also been possible in the U.S. for as long as cell phones have been widespread. Presumably there is a regulatory reason because I can't imagine a strong reason a carrier would implement it otherwise.
For values of "as long as" shorter than fourteen years, that is:
In the US, local number portability was mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1996 with the First Report and Order on LNP and Number Pooling.
Those of us who owned cell phones in the early 1990s remember very well how screwed we used to be.
The time when regulators gets their eyes open to this problem, is about the same time that regular customers do the same and get ready to leave the incumbents. Best case, you've regulation that says the carriers are supposed to do something they were already going to do, worst case you stripped a potentially disruptive play of it's advantage.
Netherlands: cheapest rates, entrenched incumbents, good service, unlocked phones, number portability
US: more expensive, entrenched incumbents, middling service, locked phones, number portability
Parent's model more closely matches reality! We have a winner!
This particular market has never been free in the way you seem to think, and the "disruption" you are hypothesizing has some extremely high barriers to entry (first rollout a national infrastructure, second ...), which have prevented it from occurring at all.
This is also reflected in the outrageous prices for roaming - this market is not opened up.
I suspect the case in the US is that the carriers aren't forced to open up in the same way.
But, the essence of my disagreement with the GPs post is the idea that entering a two-year contract to get a subsidized phone is "customer-slavery", "clearly" in need of regulation. Just get an unlocked phone and a monthly/pay-go plan. (Putting an APR on the contract I could get behind, though).
I've done that, and with my actual usage pattern it's significantly cheaper over two years (actually, I've been upgrading more like every year for a while), because I also don't need the big plan I'm forced into when buying subsidized. I haven't done the math counting in interest on buying the phone, but I'd be surprised if it didn't still come out cheaper.
Quite disturbing that "the user" is not one of the plausible answers.
Maybe some people don't want to be helped, either.
Jobs deserves credit for convincing the carriers to relinquish some control (despite the fact we might not like who he made those deals with). It would be tragic if things went back to the way they were before.
I come from India, the second largest mobile market in the world. (Its a complete mystery why we got 3G just a few months back, but atleast we re getting there). The key in India is that the providers are just that, regulated pipe providers and one only pays for service. I m free to go buy whichever phone I want and do whatever the hell I want with it. I dont have to be in "contract" and I dont have to keep going near windows to make phone calls.
But I think the paradox of choice kicks in, somewhat, in that users really like the iPhone world's somewhat-curated experience, and that you get a base set of well-built apps that are provided by Apple for the basics (phone, texting, web, email) and they form the core of your mobile usage until you start adding in your own apps.
Having said that, I'd love to be able to pick a carrier for my iPhone, but I don't want the fractured environment/ecosystem of Android.
They'll obviously fight that to the death, hence the customising of phones, the exclusive models, the provision of non-transferable services, handset subsidies and doing everything they can to prevent the average user seeing the alternatives.
The problem is that so long as they keep doing handset subsidies, they'll likely keep winning. I know someone who has just bought a Dell Streak on a two year contract. He got it free but over time he's going to pay more for it than he would for an iPad. Now he's a smart guy - if he's not thinking in those terms you can bet the average consumer isn't.
Basically the networks are providing cheap credit to tie people in to overpriced telecoms services and the consumers love it because it means that for $50 a month (which you can afford) you can have a $600 phone (which you can't, at least not easily).
We need to stop the carriers (through banking regulation, ideally) from behaving like incredibly dishonest banks the way they are now. At the very least they should be forced to break out the handset subsidy amortization on your bill - IOW your bill would show $25 for your voice service, $25 for your data service, and then $15 for your handset amortization. Moreover they'd have to list a proper interest rate and how much of your principle is left with each bill.
Once people visibly see the handset amortization on their bill, they can reasonably ask, "if I didn't upgrade to a new phone, why am I still paying handset amortization?"
Telcos are already a commodity, there's just a bit of cognitive dissonance going on.
I think any change will be more gradual, each carrier having to relinquish little bits more control over time to please users and other companies in the market (such as Apple and maybe Google who could threaten to withdraw funding for Android if the carriers keep screwing with it so much).
I am not a fan of Android because each individual maker gets to decide if you can have an update or not. That would be like buying a Dell PC and then having to go through Dell, not Microsoft, for Windows Updates.
So for now, I will keep going with my non-smart phone. At least until things change.
You do know they will activate for you in the store and then only time you ever have to use iTunes again is when an update comes out? Now, this means your phone will not get backed up, but if you set Google up as an Exchange server all your emails, contacts, and calendar items are stored on the cloud anyway.
You still need iTunes to put music on your phone
Doubletwist also syncs music on the iPhone.
Then you can always download music directly onto the phone or use any of the streaming apps.
The continued existence of non-commodity broadband providers is going to be a pain for everything on top of the stack.
As far as Android, I get the sense that Google is not happy with this situation and they do have one big stick they can use, access to Android Market.
I'd also like to remind the ridiculous Google haters that it was Google that fought the FCC and the carriers to get open access rules added to the bandwidth auctioned off in 2008, those rules should loosen at least what Verizon does in the future.
Ugh, people who don't fall in love with the same things you do aren't necessarily haters.
I hope google changes, and starts getting control over os installation.... But I can't see that happening.
In this case, the openness of android works against google.
As an app developer, I'm keen to put products out for android, but the combination of fragmentation and very slow adoption of latest releases by the android mass market are two of the biggest hurdles.
Apples market has little fragmentation and high hardware consistency.
But I digress. Without google imposing some licensing terms, android users are always going to have a poor os upgrade experience, it seems.
And I thin android is at risk of carriers introducing bloatware that you cannot uninstall.
Prior to the iPhone, loading your own apps and changing settings on your smartphone was standard practice. What Apple did was bring the featurephone practice (jumping through somebody's beaurocracy to get to consumers) to the smartphone market. Suddenly, being in control of your own smartphone is an "openness feature".
Now, to loyal Apple fans, who love and trust Apple, this transfer of power/control from AT&T to Apple is the same as them (the Apple consumer) seeing benefits. To other people, it just means dealing with someone else, without any change in the fact that you still have to go through somebody.
Consider: When Verizon doesn't allow mp3 ringtones ... well, you just don't get phones with mp3 ringtones on their network .
When Apple doesn't allow mp3 ringtones, Verizon is compelled to open the door to Android phones that happily allow mp3 ringtones so that they can compete.
The only reason Verizon and AT&T have rolled back any of their customary phone-crippling practices is because other phones must compete with the iPhone.
Consumers have 'won' to an astounding degree since the iPhone released. I don't know anyone who's purchased a phone in the last three years, that didn't wind up with a device head and shoulders more capable and well designed than what they had before.
Frankly, I can't think of anything remotely close to a 'regression' that actual consumers would have been forced to swallow post-iPhone.
 Yes, I completely discount the existence of unlocked unsubsidized phones on US networks prior to the iPhone. 1. they were horrible, 2. there was no break on service fee for having an unsubsidized phone, if not an outright charge for bringing your own unlocked phone, making the effective price wildly prohibitive.
I dont really trust either the operator or the phone manufacturer to restrict my phone experience, why should the choice for the consumer be a lesser of two evils when the obvious solution is right there, that is, no lock to either (if the consumer so chooses), i dont see the difference between restrictions imposed on sideloading regardless of the source
Frankly i consider not being able to change the default OS keyboard (say use swype instead) or default music player, or be forced to use Itunes a regression. Not to mention i have to connect it to a computer (an Authorized one at that to update the iphone, again forced to use that awful piece of software forced on me by the manufacturer)
If we suppose that the competition with the Iphone creates a better ground for consumer freedom, then it would not suffer from new players, on the contrary, it might force the iphone to be more open as well.
But you have none of those limitations on an Android phone. So how has the market regressed? Many, many more people are enjoying device freedom well beyond what your windows CE phone enjoyed and you're calling that regression just because one vendor doesn't?
Has the market regressed if Windows Phone 7 ships without replaceable keyboards? Was it regression when the Pre shipped without that?
Is it a regression of Android if a single Android handset ships with unremoveable crapware?
Or is the state of the market still improving, because even gimped android devices are head-and-shoulders better than consumer phones three years ago, non-gimped Android device choices abound and a new MS Phone and Pre are around the corner?
I guess you could argue that it wasn't the iPhone that forced Verizon (and AT&T) to offer these newer, better handsets without locking them down as they often would with even Windows CE and Blackberry phones (consider the state of data plans in the pre-iphone world).
But to that I would simply direct you to the lag between the G1 and the Droid, the lack of a Nexus One on Verizon, the rate of handset innovation in the last three years compared to the previous 7 and to the timing of the 'open network' pledge vs the iPhone announcement.
Without the iPhone upending the Apple cart, would you get a Pre? Would Microsoft be pushing Windows Phone to consumers? Would the Blackberry have a decent browser? Would Verizon be advertising consumer phones that aren't locked to their app market, ringtone market, etc? I just don't see it.
If the service provider chooses to block sideloading on android, then they diminish the quality of the device. if the device has disabled sideloading by design by Apple, then it is also diminished in quality, to claim that restrictions made by one are preferable to the other just doesn't make any sense to me.
Apple surely had a great effect on the quality of manufactured devices as well as the range of offering, but i doubt that they had much of an effect on the openness of said devices.
If i understand the article, then the gist of it is that the quality of Android is stymied by service providers, that is true, but it is also true that you can compare apples to apples here, that is, which network provides me the best android experience, and that is a competitive advantage, there is no such option for the Iphone.
Put simply, let the service provider who offers the best most open and reliable experience win. Somehow there is this idea gaining audience, that the Android's "openess" is actually detrimental to it advancement, i just dont see how that can be true on the long run.
Right now, because we are stuck with oligopoly of cellular providers, there is little choice, this will not change until more service providers enter this field.
The statement above "Apple is going to exert the power to control the carriers. Apple is about the only company that can, or will, exert this kind of power" is naive.
Apple has no such power, quite the contrary, it is locked to a single US service provider that doesn't give their clients the best quality of service, consumers that are on AT&T that dont have the iphone dont seem to flock en mass to get one, and consumers on other networks, dont seem to migrate en mass to AT&T just to get it, so the market for Iphone in the US is increasingly limited.
A game of chicken of sorts, we will see who blinks first. The service providers limit access to device hardware in their stores the same manner that apple limits access to software on its online store, it is the practice rather then the practitioner that is at fault here.
The gist of the article is that all phones are stymied by service providers. Even Apple, for all the ground it's gained for its own interests, has been hamstrung by arbitrary carrier requirements and restrictions.
You may have faith in the market alone to deliver unencumbered Android devices. I do not. The short history we have to this point has shown the US duopoly interested in competing only on how much functionality each successive device can gate off.
The carriers have every financial incentive to carve out functionality and wall it off behind premium fees. They have an incredibly strong incentive to not allow themselves to become commoditized data pipes. And they have demonstrated repeated preference for sharing the market over 'playing to win' at a lower rate of profit.
If the US duopoly is willing to collude on gimped android, as all evidence has shown, there is no market threat in not shipping an unencumbered Android phone.
 it needn't be official collusion; merely a lack of strong competitive moves in an area, as long as the other holds the line. E.g. the situation with US plan pricing, data plan policy and pricing, tethering charges, texting rates, feature-phone features prior to 2007, etc.
There is, but it only distracts you from understanding that you should be the only one in control of your phone.
You can know that you should be able to load an arbitrary mp3 as a ringtone on an iPhone, and still prefer the current state of affairs to the state of things a mere three years ago. I do.
It is in our long term interest to have as much control of our "digital assistants" (which includes both smartphones and personal computers) in order to ensure that they assist us, and not some other party.
Enter the iPhone, the first smartphone to achieve mass market. The iPhone requires a premium data plan. The iPhone requires an additional data plan to tether only on AT&T. AT&T may have gotten veto power over certain apps in the AppStore. They certainly had input on the maximum file limits over cellular. You see that Apple has considerable power, and that AT&T still has power, but what you don't see is that the consumer has more power in this equation than in the Android formula. Android users can't even install a vanilla OS or their own updates half of the time.
Overall the consumer may have less power than in previous smartphone systems, but to lament this is to assume that the carriers would allow a previous smartphone system to become as dominant as the iPhone without imposing restrictions similar to the state of Android.
I would attribute the uptake of smartphones to the standard, endless evolution of technology. And while they fell behind, there is absolutely no doubt that Blackberry blazed the path after Windows Mobile faltered.
The consumers did see a change. The phones beacame usable (pleasure to use) from being unusable (pain to use).
I think people forget that before the Apple AppStore there really were very few apps for phones.
What you're describe is the featurephone app model, which Apple made more user and developer friendly and brought to the smartphone arena.
I used to have a blackberry (and yes, I had both apps and games on it) and when I bought the original iPhone, I had to jailbreak it in order to be able to do the same things I could do before. That's a regression.
really? i've owned a palm treo and nokia e71 that both had hundreds of applications available that i could just download and install right from the device's web browser. no market, no restrictions.
Fewer than today, sure. But Windows Mobile had thousands of apps and a pretty decent app development ecosystem.
So, with Android proving itself to be a decent competitor to the iPhone, it has reduced Apple's bargaining power with operators. That, added to the fact that the "openness" of Android ironically allows the operators to lock it down, means that we may very well be seeing the end of a very short era where handset manufacturers could dictate a decent amount of the user experience. If the difference between the iPhone and all previous phones is an indicator, this is a great shame.
Why would this be ironic? It's very obvious that the more open you are the more people can do exactly what they want, and that includes locking down.
Edit: Just to make it clear, I agree with the article. I don't mean to say that Google/Android will fix everything. The real issue is still the carriers. However, I think Google is a better example of open than Apple, even if that works against them sometimes.
Seeing Apple's behavior as evil is just not rational. It is a simple, obvious trade off. By having the control they do they can control the iPhone experience and make sure as few people as possible have a bad experience (and since they're selling phones they want to make sure no uninformed user can blame the phone for a bad experience. The only way to do that is try to make sure they can't download misbehaving apps). The cost are: people can do every possible thing they would want to and may not like that, developers have to wait for their app to be on the store, it may get rejected, etc.
Android chose the opposite, an app marketplace that's almost completely open (I'm assuming they don't allow obvious malicious software). This is not more or less evil, it is simply a different trade off. The costs are: people can do anything they want and will sometimes do bad things (accidentally or on purpose), etc.
People need to take the emotion out of the argument. The iPhone isn't becoming a legislated requirement or anything, there is no reason to get emotional about it.
The thing is, Apple charges $99 a year for the privilege. Get a developer account, and run whatever you want.
In order to have any security, you need to sign executables, and Apple's $99 essentially covers the cost of doing that. This is much better than the $100 per app up to many thousands that previously you'd have to pay.
Maybe unsigned executables is a risk you're willing to take on, but given the level of derogatory misinofrmation that people spread about apple as it is, I understand why they want to limit the potential damage. The media does not distinguish between some code downloaded over the internet for jailbroken phones and something from the appstore, as it is.
And everyone is apparently very eager to make hay whenever they can blame something on Apple.
What the app does does, is turn the iPhone into a normal usb drive when connected to a computer. On top of that, your music is available in normal folders, that you can drag to your computer. Additionally, you can drag music onto that drive, and the music will be playable on the iPhone after you disconnect.
(Yes, iPhoneBrowser and DiskAid kind of allow you to do this, but I'm talking about having the iPhone handle it natively.)
And y'know what?
I blame Apple for this app not existing.
$100 doesn't allow me to run whatever I want if it doesn't exist.
Actually, Android is doing not doing worse if not better than iOS here thanks to over-the-air updates of android. To update your iOS you need to connect it to a PC and sync it with iTunes, too much for many people whereas Android updates automatically over the air which makes updates applied very fast once available, check out the numbers here:
> Apples market has little fragmentation and high hardware consistency.
>But I digress. Without google imposing some licensing terms, android users are always going to have a poor os upgrade experience, it seems.
Again, I couldn't disagree more. Not having to use iTunes and over-the-air updates is such a better experience than updating an iPhone, so much that Android users update their OS sooner than iPhone users. Plus if you look at the stats, most of the big phones got their update 1 to 2 months after the official release of Froyo, so it's not that bad. And if you have a Nexus or a rooted phone, it's instant upgrade.
I had an iPhone and just switched to Android. After a couple of days Android is annoying me. With my iPhone, after unlocking my phone I hold the home button then click on a name to make a call.
On Android, I unlock the device, click Phone, click favorites, click the name, then click call. I went from 2 clicks to 6. Its just not as usable.
My fiance got a Palm Pre and despite the lack of "apps" I like the interface way more than Android phones.
Another thing is that Android's extensibility automatically lends itself to your being able to customize your personal user experience in a vast multitude of different ways. If you really wanted to maintain the "hold the home button and get contacts" behavior of the iPhone, for example, you could replace the stock launcher with a third-party application like ADW.Launcher or Launcher Pro and then modify the home button behavior.
On iPhone, every single person is pretty wealthy, and more importantly, has a credit card entered into iTunes. On Android, the first app you buy usually involves inputting CC information.
If Android can't address this issue, then the handset measure is meaningless. Android will need to sell 100 or 1000x more than iPhone to create the same market for developers like me.
The problem with Apple is that they signed an exclusivity agreement with a single carrier. I'm sure that if Google told Verizon, "The only place an Android phone will be for the next four years is Verizon", Verizon would jump through hoops for them.
But by getting the phone on all carriers, yet still doing 90% of what Apple is doing on a single carrier is impressive.
And MS has taken this a step further with the hardware requirements and no skinning, and one centralized market. Yet, they're doing this across all carriers.
By the time Google had to make a deal, Verizon was seeing their customers moving to AT&T and needed something to rival the iPhone. Before the iPhone Verizon is said to have told Apple that its contract (to have a Verizon iPhone) were not acceptable. I doubt Verizon would have replied like that had the roles been inverted.
Anyway, the exclusivity will hopefully end soon. What will be your stance at that point?
In any case, my point is simply that exclusivity of a phone OS to a single carrier IMO is not a net win.
And my additional point was that MS is getting most of the win that Apple has today, but is applying it across all carriers.
I think Apple ending the exclusivity will be a great thing. You seem to imply that I'd think otherwise.
Nowadays the situation is completely different. Apple had showed that their vision of smartphone is successful: Microsoft (or Google) don't need to prove that anymore. Also carriers have lost a bit of their power, and are more afraid of ending up with a world controlled by one company than before.
The point of the exclusivity is that if it runs out in a few months as many expect, that's pretty much when the new MS phones will come out (give or take a couple of months). So I don't see what damage Apple made.
I never said that Apple damaged the market. Someone made this comment, "Apple is going to exert the power to control the carriers. Apple is about the only company that can, or will, exert this kind of power."
I said I thought the opposite. That the power to control the carriers will be stronger with Google and MS. Largely because they will be on all the carriers, and while imposing looser requirements on the carriers, capture the core requirements (again, MS in particular -- Google less so).
Lets be clear. I'm not saying Apple has done anything bad, but I do think that their impact has been weakened with their exclusivity for four years on ATT. I find it hard to believe that Apple couldn't have negotiated a shorter exclusivity deal, while losing almost nothing.
My guess (and it's purely that) is that the deal was extended (maybe one year... dunno) in exchange for the iPad deal. Not a great move, I agree.
Finally, I agree MS stands in a strong position too. But not Google. As long as Android is open, and as long as there are many manufacturers of Android phones, you have a situation where the very few phone companies have an oligopoly on demand and hence have the upperhand: if Motorola doesn't play along, they can go to Sony, or HTC, or Samsung, or LG... and others are coming up soon. Then Motorola can either lose a lucrative business without little harm to the carrier or is forced to oblige.
That said if one particular brand would become the most appealing for some reason, that company would definitely regain some bargaining power.
And MS has taken this a step further with the hardware
requirements and no skinning, and one centralized market.
Yet, they're doing this across all carriers.
That doesn't mean I like it. Just as locking down devices and forcing apps through the App Store, although beneficial to Apple, doesn't make it good for consumers.
Ultimately, I want an open phone that works on the carrier of my choice. I just don't know if that formula could ever win.
Nonsense. Consumers don't want to have to know all kinds of useless details just to be able to use their device. Personally I hate installing software on windows. There is a vast amount of it, but there is no one there making sure it's not going to damage my system (for the most part, of course you can restrict yourself to only software that has the MS seal). On OSX this is slightly better, but I still hate it when that little box opens up asking me to grant access.
On iOS however, I install without much thought. I know that anything I download there has been vetted by someone with a strong interest in making sure their platform doesn't look bad (among some other interests that are less to my benefit). For me the trade off of not ever having to think about this stuff is worth missing out on things like Google Voice.
I don't think the reason Android has been doing well in the US has anything what so ever to do with silly "open" dogma, but rather that it's cheaper and isn't tied to AT&T.
Consumers are not hackers. Consumers do not really understand technology that well. The appstore provides a safe buying experience for consumers, and now, rather than the app marketplace being infintesimal, it is massive and growing quickly.
Apple lit a powderkeg there. How is this not good for consumers?
Imagine if Apple had not provided any protections? You'd have malicious apps all over the place, and constant stories about how bad and dangerous iPhone apps are, and a lot less consumers using apps.
I don't really buy that the iPhone is closed. Any app I can think of that is not evil, Apple will approve for sale on the store. If I want something that doesn't make sense to sell, then I compile it myself and sign it myself with the developer certificate.
The random consumer is not going to be even installing XCode, let alone figuring out how to build even open-source software. So, the $99/year for the keys to sign apps is not really a big deal to me.
Your positive regard for the App store may be partly based on ignorance of Apple's stated conditions.
It's not unreasonable for the carriers to charge those who use their networks more extra. It's all data but the differences between top end and bottom end users is massive.
(I work for a very large global telco)
In many markets payback time for mobile infrastructure is a few years.
If no-one bid high prices for licenses, then they would be cheap. It is surely the expectation that consumers will over pay that creates the problem.
EDIT: For those without any sense of informational discretion, let me extract the pertinent pieces-
-Apple made an exclusive deal with AT&T. Meaning they bound themselves to a carrier to a much greater degree than historically normal.
-Facetime doesn't work over anything but WiFi -- this is not a technical limitation. Tethering doesn't work without a tethering plan, after finally, grudgingly, being rolled out. Google Voice was strongly believed to be blocked (along with similar apps) because AT&T vetoed it.
-Apple's original resistance to the whole concept of apps was sold on the idea that apps would go crazy and destroy the network. This, again, was bowing to AT&T.
-Apple absolutely and completely controls everything you install on your device. Comments about AT&T not allowing side-loading seem extraordinary when the champion example is Apple, which simply bars that universally. At least consumers can choose to buy a different Android device, perhaps on another carrier. That option isn't avialable for iOS.
-The fact that the Skype example keeps getting brought up points to the extraordinary shallowness of this argument. Skype got paid money by Verizon, presumably, to provide software for its handsets. This is software business-as-usual as long as time. This has nothing to do with Android, and that it keeps getting conflating as some counter example of openness is pure stupidity.
-The installation of Bing on some Verizon phones is exactly what the Android ecosystem allows. In fact Gruber some time back sarcastically (as such is the level of his wit) opined that maybe Android would get Bing given its "openness" (the point clearly being that of course it never would), yet here it is. That's the point. Consumers can choose to go elsewhere. Microsoft can completely coopt Android for their own purposes if they want, and that is how it is supposed to work.
Android is built on the assumption of competitive forces. Verizon's heavy-handedness on the Galaxy S will lose them customers.
Many of the comments in this discussion point to the extraordinary ignorance there is about the pre-iPhone world. Way prior to the iPhone I worked at a business where we distributed Windows Mobile applications: We required no blessing or grant from Microsoft, and on the handset we had pretty much universal control.
Apple's recent moves have made them decidedly less evil, but these current pro-Apple talking points are outrageous, and quite simply deceptively ignorant.
The core problem is that people still have a mentality that handsets should be from $49-$199, which means that you're going in with the carrier on your device. Of course most carriers let you bring your own device (if this isn't legally mandated, it nonetheless remains the practice), giving you an actual claim to own the device.