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Why I Hate Android (parislemon.com)
345 points by johns on Jan 10, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 202 comments

So, Google had a pipe dream about turning carriers into dumb pipes, and had to face reality when the carriers wouldn't let them. Therefore, MG hates Android.

I just don't know what MG wanted to Google to do. We all have our own ideas about how the world should be. The options for Google seem to be a hardline tactic to get exactly what they envisioned and subsequently have a dead on arrival Android OS, or work within the system. Apple had a similar grand ambition when the iPhone first launched with no carrier subsidy. They backed off when it didn't work, so why doesn't MG hate the iPhone?

I agree with MG that the iPhone wrestled power from the carriers. I just disagree that gave it to us (other than indirectly). The article relies on a viewing of carriers as absolute evil and Apple/2007 Google as beams of pure good and light. I don't. There are shades of grey everywhere. iPhone brought a great OS with no crapware, a decent update schedule, and a handy app/media store where Apple gets a say in and a cut of everything, with one hardware option. Android brought you an OS that runs on multiple devices with a relatively open ecosystem, with the drawbacks of a less smooth experience and allowing carriers/OEMs monkey around with Android. Carriers have their own set of priorities that also have a bunch of pros and cons.

Don't get me started on the logical hoops MG must jump through to view a compromise on a policy proposal for net neutrality as the ultimate betrayal while a device that requires the manufacturer to approve all software that runs on it is A-OK.

> Don't get me started on the logical hoops MG must jump through to view a compromise on a policy proposal for net neutrality as the ultimate betrayal while a device that the manufacturer must approve all software that runs on it is A-OK.

I see this as two different things. Google buddying up with Verizon to change net neutrality in the mobile space has an impact on everyone while Apple preventing software from running on their devices only affects Apple users.

"This is exactly why I hate Apple. they apply a totalitarian control on their devices; and it affects their users (who are not always aware of that) and carriers have at least competition."

Emotion based arguments like "I love, I hate x" are making top news at HN; which is sad. Especially if the article clearly comes from publicly known fanboys.

Did you even read the article before criticizing? Seriously, I hate to ask things of that sort on HN, but Siegler specifically points out that his problem with Google in this matter is they use the faux idea of "open" to rile pro-Droid folks like yourself at the expense of true progress vis-a-vis the carriers. Call people fanboys all you want, but it's just a copout on your part. 

You hate totalitarian control on your devices? Explain how you're okay with Verizon telling you that you can't have Google Wallet on the Nexus, carrier-dictated releases of upgrades, locked bootloaders, mandated two-year contracts and various other anti-open dictates that Google just goes along with because they're the carrier's bitch. 

Say what you will about Apple, but at least they've always been consistent about the experience they're going for with the walled garden ecosystem and they have wrestled control away from the carriers. Meanwhile, Google sold us all out of net neutrality for marketshare. 

I'm not sure I understand what's so "faux" about the openness of Android.

It's not just an idea: http://source.android.com/source/downloading.html

Being that it's an open source project, why wouldn't the carriers have the freedom to add or remove what they want? I don't necessarily like the carrier builds, but they're free to do with Android what they please. That's the general idea behind open source.

I'm not disagreeing with your conclusion that Apple is consistent. And there are certainly closed source Google Apps for Android. But your implication that Android isn't open source is a bit silly.

> But your implication that Android isn't open source is a bit silly.

I'm don't think anyone is arguing this fact. Android, generally, isn't 'open' in the sense that it is totally controlled by the carriers.

I would like to introduce you to



two efforts among many that demonstrate that it isn't "totally" controlled by the carriers.

I agree with you, but the fact that you have to root your phone and only a few of the handsets seem work well with the open source builds limits how open it can be.

Not saying this is google's fault.

True, but I think there are things google could do to alleviate many of the problems here. My understanding is that drivers appear to be a significant contributor to the portability problems of Android across devices. This is the same problem that Microsoft had for years and thankfully seems to be largely resolved with 7.

The fix is relatively simple, all "certified" devices must register their driver software with Google so it can be centralized, pooled, shared and reused without restriction.

Another problem is the bizarre proclivity of manufacturers to encrypt their boot loaders, then release a "fix" for it a month later. Just require manufacturers to not lock the bootloaders, that easy. Locked boot loader? No license. Done.

Note: Insterestingly, I believe it was HTC that accused Google of requiring the encrypted boot loaders to comply with the DRM'd distribution of media through Google's market.

Don't forget the fact that they use Google's closed source software like GMaps, GMail, Market... and strictly they don't allow you to run that on custom firmware.

"and strictly they don't allow you to run that on custom firmware"

That is strictly incorrect. I have all of Google's proprietary software on my rooted devices with custom roms, and didn't have to do anything special except get them from the Market after installing the roms. Just like I did when I got the phone from the carrier in the first place.

That's also not true. They don't allow custom ROM developers to illegal distribute copyright protected proprietary apps, no.

But they haven't C-D'd anyone rehosting the GAPPS zip files, nor do they care about the backup and restore script in CM to back them up from an existing Google-packaged ROM and restored into a custom one.

Thanks for this. Been using Cyanogen since I had my G1. Hadn't heard of MIUI before.

And you do realize the reason that the two custom ROM projects still exist today is because not many people are using them, right? Do you think the carrier would do nothing if custom ROM grows beyond being a niche and grandmas start talking about rooting their phones, which is purposefully locked by carriers? You think carriers lock their phone for fun and would not fight back when 50% of the customers would circumvent the lock?

This is like listing two dissident blog posts on the Chinese internet to argue that the Chinese government does not have total control of the people's life on the internet. You would not see these blog posts gain any real traction inside China because by that time a dozen people will be in jail and the intelligence of the great firewall will be upgraded to block more.

And you do realize the reason that the two custom ROM projects still exist today is because not many people are using them, right?

This sentence makes no sense at all. Care to explain?

""And you do realize the reason that the two custom ROM projects still exist today is because not many people are using them, right?""

What? That sentence doesn't make any sense. Oh wait, are you implying Google would come along and DMCA them or something? Do you even get what is going on? CM is built on top of AOSP. Google has tipped their hat at them, the lead dev now works for Samsung.

There are (edit, at least a) MILLION of installs of CyanogenMod alone. http://stats.cyanogenmod.com/ Those are opt-in only, it's not enabled on any of the CM9 kangs, and that's not counting the dozens of other AOSP ROMs that don't have stat tracking.

According to this article[1] written in last July, CyanogenMod had 4k installs per day. At the same time, Andriod saw 550k activations per day. That's clearly less than 1%.

[1] http://www.phonearena.com/news/CyanogenMod-sprints-past-the-...

Again, your point is? You're trying to use that statistic when the original argument was "Android isn't open".

Gorbzel, I read this and many articles by MG, who turn out to be full of tricky rhetoric to prove the same point again and again; "I love Apple, and I hate everything else."

Android source code is open, Carriers, Amazon (Kindle Fire), B&N(Nook), zillions of hardware manufactures are freely copying android source code to do whatever they want. Although I like the Nexus, and non-Carrier based versions and independent ROMS I admire the possibility that someone other than Google may come one day with some more innovative stuff based/forked on Android. Although I do not like most of them, I like diversity and the potential that better stuff will come up. I myself plan to use Android source code to create small robots with central intelligence. An opposite to "faux open", If you and MG defend "vrai Open", please give me the iOS5 source code and I promise I ll try to use it instead of Android in my project.

Your fallacy is this; you hate Carrier control; I hate it too, in addition I hate control from the Software producer (Apple/Google) & I hate manufacturer control (Apple, HTC, Samsung).

Your concerns about Verizon etc are right, but It would be ridiculous if you believe few years of AT&T/iPhone deal was more open and good for everyone. AT&T and Apple "consistency" you admire is simply due to a single product/single manufacturer/single carrier(was). I am for diversity for anything in my life. I know that the single biscuit they sold in some Soviet countries provides consistent, non-fragmented, smooth experience every day. But I am for diversity; I am for the guys who jumped from the Berlin wall (ed garden) to experience diversity and openness and freedom.

One last word, if you are not yourself a proponent of "Open", and you defend "Walled gardens and total control", why you or MG/others spend your words to convince me that Google is not open with Android. Leave the word to people like me who know the value of freedom and openness; believe me we shall criticize Google and Android harshly and better; by not forgetting that Google has come with Android open-source and not closed. At least they have a good starting point compared to Apple.

Please notice that, while you complain that emotion based arguments like "I love, I hate x" make it to the top of HN, you yourself started your comment with That is exactly why I hate Apple.

Ahh that was the rhetoric, to show everyone how it sounds.

"I hate Apple, because" or "I hate Verizon because" - type of arguments can be used interchangeably with a simple change of subject. Here the writer has an emotional affinity to Apple, or Verizon and accepts any weird policies coming from one, but does not at all trust the other.

Color me confused, I love(or hate) X isn't an argument. It is a statement of position. The part after the because is the argument. Hopefully that part isn't interchangeable.

Check this postmodern deconstructive text to show the confusing arguments in the current case; "I hate Verizon for their control(crappy software) on my device, I hate Google because it lets Verizon control my device, but I love Apple because they don't let Verizon control my device, because they control my device and kick competing platforms, and porn from the app store; and doomed me to use only AT&T for years, so I hate total control, and I hate Apple because of its total control, they control everything; but they do it for me, and Verizon does it for money or for its customers?"

I did not notice the quotes when I read your comment the first time. Did you add them afterwards? Of course that changes the meaning of your post.

Love & hate as an argument is recently a lot common at HN, especially MG is making headlines several times a month, with just another way to show his love for Apple and hate for .. anything else.

Amen brother.

> Google buddying up with Verizon to change net neutrality in the mobile space

Nothing changed about net neutrality in the mobile space. We went from "no net neutrality" to "net neutrality in wired networks, but not wireless networks".

I really don't get HOW and WHY people want government regulations, the same government that is pushing for SOPA.

Government regulations of the market are only useful in one case only: to prevent abuses from established monopolies. However, wireless Internet is not monopolized. And you should checkout the competition in Europe. It's absolutely crazy.

     Google buddying up with Verizon to change 
     net neutrality in the mobile space ...
Actually they haven't "changed" anything. They just left things as they were before. The Internet is not were it is today because the government told ISPs how they should operate. Customers did.

I really don't get HOW and WHY people want government regulations, the same government that is pushing for SOPA.

Opposing SOPA --> "I don't want corporations regulating the internet."

Supporting net neutrality --> "I don't want corporations regulating the internet."

They are identical positions: "hands off my internet".

Not all laws by the government are "regulation". Is making murder illegal the "regulation of killing", and thus murder "shouldn't be regulated"? No, that's absurd.

The idea touches on positive and negative rights[1]. Real world examples have shades of both, yet the principle remains: sometimes you want someone (particularly the government) to do something; other times you want them to not get involved. In a specific instance, both might be desired to further a single purpose.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_and_positive_rights

>However, wireless Internet is not monopolized.

In the USA? You're kidding, right?

And you should checkout the competition in Europe

"Europe" is a big place, but here at least regulation is aplenty, to promote competition. An example is the law that forces carriers to unlock phones of SIM restrictions for free if the contract has already ended.

People would be fighting for unlocking laws like that in the US, if it actually mattered. The only providers that use SIM cards are T-Mobile and AT&T, and they use different 3G frequencies so most phones aren't (fully) compatible between them anyway. Europe has choice, the US doesn't really. You choose a provider, you're stuck with their phone options, for the most part.

The Internet is not were it is today because the government told ISPs how they should operate.

Actually, they did. They told them don't interfere with it and if you do you are liable.

You don't need to be a monopoly to dump lethal levels of arsenic into groundwater. Regulation takes many forms for many reasons, and even minor players can be vary destructive.

>The options for Google seem to be a hardline tactic to get exactly what they envisioned and subsequently have a dead on arrival Android OS, or work within the system.

The problem is that Google hasn't been working within the system to change anything. Android gave back the power back to the US carriers and the OEMs have skinned the OS which brings us back to the old days where you would never get an OS update after you purchase the device.

The top selling Android phone in the US is the Galaxy S and their owners will never see an update for the life of their device and contract unless they are willing to jump through hoops and install custom ROMs.

Doesn't the Google Nexus S include updates? There was all this talk about the update to Ice Cream Sandwich.

Of course that's just a single google phone.

There's a "Google Nexus S" and a "Samsung Galaxy S" which share roughly the same hardware.

The Nexus S is already running ICS, Samsung is releasing an update for the Galaxy S that will provide some of the features of ICS, but will not actually be ICS. (I believe the phone originally launched with 2.1 and has since been updated to 2.2 and 2.3)


Maybe the commenter is talking about the weird carrier-specific Galaxy S models that are available in the US, but otherwise it is one of the better supported models as far as updates go.

> Android gave back the power back to the US carriers and the OEMs have skinned the OS which brings us back to the old days where you would never get an OS update after you purchase the device.

It's J2ME all over again!

Don't get me started on the logical hoops MG must jump through

I don't think there are any hoops. This post is just plain and simple nerdbait.

edit: Or at least I hope so. I'm not familiar with much of his other writing, but for someone in his position the only real explanations I can come up with for posting this other than nerdbaiting question his credibility.

This is as well thought out, rational and meaningful as his writing ever has been.

Thats depressing. Then why do people listen to him?

What MG deosnt seem to realise that is the USA's Phone both Landline and Mobile is crap the deregulation was botched and allowed local monopolies. European telcos take great fun in laughing at the ineptitude of ATT Sprint etc and dont get me started on USA and mobile caller pays to recive FFS which moron came up with that idea - the FCC should have steped in and baned that and also made sure that those responsible neaver worked in the industry again.

Someone always pays. Just because it's different doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong. If you're receiving a call you're still using up airtime. If you don't pay then the caller does. Why is this such a big deal?

In the USA both the caller and the callee pay for airtime.

In Europe the caller pays for air time.

While I vacation in Europe (Netherlands) I have a pay as you go SIM card that I use. I've used it the past 4 years, I've put no money on it since I bought it and I've used up all of the minutes, I get 10 free texts. When people want to get ahold of me they can call me and I can answer my phone, even-though I have no "minutes" left on my SIM card. I can receive text messages, and it won't count against my 10 free texts. I can use those 10 free texts to prompt people to call me.

That is beautiful. In the United States if I get a pre-pay sim card the money on it expires after 90 days if I don't use it, and at that time the number becomes invalid too. Unless you pre-pay $100 dollars onto the pre-pay card. I've had the same number for the last 4 years now, in The Netherlands, and it hasn't expired.

There are tradeoffs: In Europe it's more expensive to call a mobile phone compared to a landline. In the US, the caller doesn't have to worry about what kind of device they are calling, the price is the same.

This argument is pointless, because it's about only the U.S, which is a small proportion of phones used in the world. The rest of the world does not have the insane carrier monopolies and unusual pricing structures that are prevalent in the U.S. For the rest of the world, phones sell on the merits of their software and hardware - and that's what android should be measured on.

And when it comes to that, android is winning.

Came here to say exactly this. OP doesn't hate Android, he hates the mobile landscape in the US.

I live in Australia with a fully unlocked Android handset. I pay $16 / month for my no contract dumb pipe and that's that.

Android has nothing to do with the issue that the OP hates...

Exactly the same where I am. I have vanilla ICS on a Nexus S with a pre-pay that I can leave for a better deal at any time. This guy's article is totally off looked at from a global perspective. The billions rising out of poverty into the global middle class will never be able to afford an iPhone, Android is going to totally dominate in these markets. That's multiples of the US population. Apple has no hope at all in clawing that back.

Same in Sweden. And I too have vanilla ICS on a Nexus S.

Why won't they be able to afford an iPhone? Are you are implying that they can afford an Android phone because they will be $0 if you sign a contract? iPhones have this option nowadays as well.

What makes an Android phone easier to get a hold of compared to a iPhone? Both phones are $500+ if you get them standalone.

Actually one can get off-contract Android phones for as cheap as $99, or maybe even cheaper. They aren't top of the line devices, but they work. The only time an iPhone is that cheap is with a carrier subsidy.

ah OK if we're talking about phones that don't compare to the iPhone then yeah Android has a lot of options.

You referenced Nexus S with ICS so I thought we were comparing that to the iPhone.

I live in Australia too. Carriers are still able to have their way to some small extent.

I was regularly inquiring about android handsets for the last couple years. There were still carrier exclusives (for x number of months), and no one would sell me a high-endish, unlocked handset (e.g. Galaxy S).

The easiest way to get an unlocked Android handset is buy it online (be careful you get correct handset variant).

If manufacturers weren't capitulating to carrier demands silly things like this would not happen.

If you want an unlocked iPhone you go to an Apple store and just say so and it works on all carriers.

There's no such thing as an unlocked iphone. I get what you mean, carrier unlocked, but the implication you can get one that is unlocked in the same way as an android phone can be unlocked is not true. And you're right, even in Australia if you absolutely positively insist on dealing with the carriers at retail, they will try to screw you almost as hard as the people in the US get screwed. You don't have to put up with it though, just buy online.

I came here just to say this. Why do people in the US continue to ignore the rest of the world? Only in the US does this carrier branded phone bullshit occur.

I live in Australia and I'm quite content with my unlocked Galaxy Nexus on my $40 Amaysim plan. Sure, it would be awesome to have paid $99 for my Galaxy Nexus and have the rest of the $700 I actually spent on it subsidised by Google, but that's the way it is at the moment. If anything you should hate your own stupid US carriers.

I'm not entirely clear on how it works in Australia, but in Greece you can either pay the full amount and get an unlocked phone, or get a carrier subsidy with contracts. The amount of the subsidy depends on the plan you choose, with higher-costing plans getting higher subsidies.

For example, a two-year, 50 EUR/month plan gets you a free iPhone 4S or the equivalent android phone, if I remember correctly.

Also, not a single phone, at any price range or contract status, is locked. Carriers don't care about locking the phones, you've got a contract with them and you're probably going to get a new phone at the end of it anyway.

In Ireland you can buy unlocked, or get a discounted locked phone with a contract. However, after your initial contract runs out the carrier legally must unlock the phone. In practice, getting them to unlock the phone is a bit like getting the direct debit on your gym membership cancelled, but you get the idea.

Same here in Portugal since 2010.

I'd love that in the US.

Here, you can get a phone unlocked (in most cases) for a higher fee, but the plan rates don't change. You can get an iphone for $800, unlocked, but it will still only work on AT&T in the US, and you still pay $50+/month. Or you can get one for $200 if you commit to $50/month for 2 years. No monthly price diff. :/

Ouch. Over here, if you don't want the phone subsidy (maybe you like your current phone), a certain amount is deducted from your monthly payments (so you still get the money back).

That's not strictly true -- T-Mobile US does offer a discounted plan if you bring your own phone.

Upvoted - didn't know that. Is it significantly different?

Same in Canada, but substitute $50 for $80 (and our dollars are at parity with yours), and subatitute 2 years for 3 years.

They write about what they know - they know about the mobile landscape of the United States. They likely don't know about the mobile landscape of the rest of the world and, if they were to comment on it, they would most likely get it wrong.

To be fair, MG does concede that Android as a product has gotten much better in recent years:

""" So that, ladies and gentleman, is why I hate Android. It has nothing to do with the actual product (which continues to improve every year and is quite good now). It has to do with a promise that was broken and swept under the rug. """

Though I agree that his art.icle only really applies to the US.

It's pretty much the same here in the UK, carriers tend to dictate conditions which the manufacturers must adhere to, except for Apple of course.

I don't think that that's accurate. There's far more flexibility and choice in the UK carrier market than the US. It's pretty identical to the rest of Europe.

Isn't he wrong though? What first offended me so much about the original iPhone was just how restricted it was at the behest of AT&T.

I can take my Android phone on any carrier and use tethering. I take my iPhone, and it randomly disables tethering depending on the carrier. Apple have also disabled downloads of apps and podcasts over 20 MB on the behest of a single carrier with a poor network (AT&T), applying the restriction to all phones, worldwide. My carrier doesn't care if I happen to download a 100 MB file, why would Apple ever want to restrict that?

Google only lets carriers screw with the phones the carriers themselves sell. Which IMHO is the prerogative of the carrier. If people don't want crapware, they don't buy phones from your carrier! Apple lets carriers screw with the feature set of all iPhones, regardless of where you bought it.

"Apple have also disabled downloads of apps and podcasts over 20 MB on the behest of a single carrier with a poor network (AT&T), applying the restriction to all phones, worldwide"

That's horrible.. is it true? Can anyone confirm this?

Yeah, you have to use Wifi to download apps over 20 MB. The podcast restriction only applies to the iTunes app, you can use third-party apps to download larger ones (except in the early days of the App Store, when third party podcast apps were forbidden)

Actually IIRC the whole iTunes music store is also disabled when you're on 3G and not Wifi. (edit: double-checked, yeah it's disabled for me http://db.tt/YT0w0rNQ )

Downloading apps/videos over 20MB on 3G isn't allowed, but you can browse the iTunes music store an buy songs (unless they're over 20MB, which is rare).

It seems to me like a sanity check. If a user accidentally downloaded a few 100MB files, they could easily get over their data cap. This restriction is not device wide, just on the iTunes App/Music store.

> Actually IIRC the whole iTunes music store is also disabled when you're on 3G and not Wifi.

you didn't recall correctly (at least not for my carrier).

I guess that's another thing Apple randomly disable or enable depending on the carrier http://db.tt/YT0w0rNQ

Yes, I just tried to download a 34MB game over 3G and this was the result


You got to be kidding me! :O Really you can't download anything over 20mb! I can run a torrent and download anything i like on my android!

You can run a torrent client if you want, but some of the Android Market apps are flagged as Wi-Fi download only - the switch may be carrier specific, but see https://market.android.com/details?id=com.escapistgames.star... - this app will only download over Wi-Fi on my Nexus S (ICS, AT&T)

Yeah, and if everybody did that the network would melt in 2 hours, and you would be bitching about how slow it is...

Exactly my situation; I use my Android in 2 countries and I can change carriers, country and language. I always avoid crapware loaded by carriers.

M.G. Siegler wants to get rid of the different mafia syndicates that make his life miserable. His solution is to give all the power to a single syndicate that will rule us all.

Who has the absolute control in the Android ecosystem? My cell carrier has certainly not. Google cannot even stop me from installing the Amazon market app. The device manufactuers may seem very powerful: They make and service both the hardware and the (Android-based) operating system. But even the manufactuer does not control the system more than any of the other parties. They need Google's services, they need the carriers, and they need us.

The user. We can decide if we want to buy our devices from Verizon or from Samsung or from Google. But most important, we can choose what software we install on the device.

Never before had so many users that much power over their mobile experience. The user rules the desktop PC, and now, thanks to Android, he get's to rule the mobile PC as well. We're not there, but we're getting there.

M.G. Siegler wants to replace the control of many software providers with the control of a single one. This is short sighted.

Android gave us a democracy instead: It's sometimes slow to get something done, because every decision has to be fought over with the different partie's interest. But we, the users, can vote. And we have rights.

>Instead of going to the store of a single carrier and having a dozen shitty phones shoved in your face by salespeople that made commission, you’d be in total control of the process. The end result of consumers getting to choose their carriers (and phones and plans) was clear: major competition and subsequently a rush of better deals from said carriers to ensure customer activation and retention.

>Or, you could buy whatever phone you wanted unlocked. Eventually, pay-as-you-go SIM cards would pop up in the U.S. as a result.

Well, I hate to break it to the author, but in Europe (at least, here in Central Europe), that is pretty much the standard and possible with both Android and iPhones (and Window 7 phones). You can buy the locked subsidised phones here, and actually, more people are doing it now than in the past, but the most are still unlocked.

The fact that it doesn't work in US has more in common that customers don't want that, not the carriers. With the pricey smartphones, actually, more people here in Europe are buying subsidised phones than with the cheap dumbphones of the past.

I just thought it's worth mentioning.

MG Siegler (and many of us who travel) are well aware that in Europe, there is a lot more freedom regarding carriers and pay-as-you-go SIM cards. He explicitly added the "in the US" to make that clear.

I assure you that most of us realize that the $199 iPhone we are getting with a 2 Year $70/month contract locked to AT&T is really a $1879 contract value.

And yet.. He still hates "Android" instead of US carriers and non-existing regulation.

Perhaps "most of" the tech enthusiasts. The average person has no idea.

It's starting to work in the US as well. You can now buy a full price unlocked iPhone directly from Apple and prepaid plans are starting to get better.

I was really excited about buying an unlocked iPhone 4S. And then I read this:

The unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint. [1]

Until an unlocked phone means I can switch between the major US carriers, it doesn't mean anything for me. I don't travel internationally, and when I do I'll hopefully be able to jailbreak and unlock.

[1] http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_iphone/family/iph...

Don't count on jailbreak and unlock. Jailbreaking is easy, but unlocking a phone with a new baseband will prove quite challenging.

Verizon / Sprint use a completely different cellular technology than AT&T and T-Mobile. (Most acronyms have been intentionally left out for simplification)

There are two distinct hardware versions of the iPhone 4S (and other phones like the Samsung Galaxy S 2) that need to work with the different sets of carriers.

The situation will kinda/sorta be fixed with the next generation of technology, because most of the major carriers are adopting LTE, but there will still be issues with global roaming.

I believe the 4S did away with distinct models for GSM and CDMA. The cellular chip it uses can handle both, much like the Galaxy Nexus. (Unsure as to why the Nexus supports T-Mobile's AWS bands and the iPhone doesn't though, maybe the antennae.)

I would speculate that the reason carrier unlocked phones do not work with CDMA is related to their agreement with Verizon (and/or Sprint).

Well, I'm slightly surprised at that, but if anyone can do it, Qualcomm can.

As for 3G bands, it is common enough to make a 3G system that supports 3 frequency bands. Supporting 4 is difficult, and 5 bands usually entails significant performance compromises. So since the carriers aren't all on the same bands, you usually have to pick and choose.

The iPhone 4 previously had design issues with its antenna system anyway. They fixed it, or at least people don't complain about it anymore. But major fixes (like supporting an additional frequency band) might not be possible without significant re-design.

There's only one version of the iPhone 4S (it does CDMA and GSM/UMTS/HSDPA), but the two large US CDMA carriers do not generally allow phones they didn't sell on their networks.

"""Apple, for all the shit they get for being “closed” and “evil”, has actually done far more to wrestle control back from the carriers and put it into the hands of consumers. Google set off to help in this goal, then stabbed us all in the back and went the complete other way, to the side of the carriers. And because they smiled the entire time they were doing it and fed us “open” bullshit, we thanked them for it. We’re still thanking them for it!"""

Really? Apple has put control back into the hands of consumers? Ahhh, yes - the fog is lifting now. Apple locked themselves into the worst carrier in the US which, in turn, locked their customers into bad service for a good phone. Oh, oh and wait - there's more. Apple has done the industry a fantastic favor by fueling the tipping point of the intellectual property patent war that's been oh so rightly just for the good of all humans.

Yes, yes - I see the point of this article now. Because I was told to.

But in all reality - Google took the shot, Apple never wanted to share the ball in the first place. Chew on that hate MG.

Worst carrier? By what metric? Data started to degrade on AT&T mostly because the suddenly popularity of smart phones people actually wanted to use for music, video, web. I was on AT&T before the iPhone was announced after switching between T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon.

Also, I believe Apple talked to Verizon first about the iPhone but they wouldn't play ball.

Worst carrier on the front end and the back. Your personal experience may be the way you measure carriers - however all metric based analysis shows AT&T as being the worst overall (data, voice, customer service).

Clearly you did not read the article with regards to my "Google took the shot..." comment. What I meant was that Google attempted to break the carrier model, as clearly explained by MG. Apple, on the other hand, embraced business as usual in terms of how consumers buy a phone - with the exception of wanting to sell the phone within their boutique stores. However, the latter doesn't help the consumer in any way other than buying experience (which is an entirely different topic).

Not sure why I just wasted brain cycles on the unsubstantiated or informed commmenter, but - at least I clarified. o_O

Could you waste some more brain cycles and add some links to these studies that show AT&T had the worst everything around 2007 when the iPhone came out?


It's called Google and there's an option to search within date ranges. Highly complex stuff - AT&T has consistently rated among the bottom rungs of providers since, well, forever. Sure - they've gotten a bone thrown to them a time or two based on regional comparisons (Southwest US is where they've been known to have better service), but overall they've pretty much sucked. Just like your uninformed comments.

Having used Tmobile for years, AT&T is NOT the worst carrier. Even here in SF, AT&T is better than tmobile in terms of indoor data delivery.

If you had better visibility in the transport and spectrum viability for capacity and future upgrades you might think otherwise. Again, just a comment based on perception than "actuality".

Actually.. Apple paired with Cingular. Because, as it turns out, Apple too had problems convincing carriers to take on the idea.

AT&T bought cingular, realised it was a good thing and got exclusivity in exchange for better plans for consumers.

"AT&T bought cingular" is not really accurate.

Sequence of events:

2000 - SBC and BellSouth jointly create a company called "Cingular Wireless".

2002 - AT&T spins off a company called "AT&T Wireless".

2004 - Cingular buys out AT&T Wireless and merges it completely into Cingular.

2005 - SBC buys out AT&T, and rebrands themselves as "AT&T". So at this point Cingular is jointly owned by AT&T and BellSouth.

2006 - AT&T buys out BellSouth. Cingular is now wholly owned by AT&T.

2007 - Given that, Cingular rebrands itself as AT&T (legally "AT&T Mobility").

>Apple has done the industry a fantastic favor by fueling the tipping point of the intellectual property patent war that's been oh so rightly just for the good of all humans.

And, also, made it seem normal to have to get a hardware vendor's permission - and pay them $99/year - to applications you've personally developed on it. Bleh.

> Google’s original vision for the Nexus One. Google intended to sell it for $99 without a contract and unlocked.

Right... Nobody in their right mind should be able to believe that Google planned to sell hardware at a loss of hundreds of dollars, in order to gain a user worth a couple of dollars a year, for a couple of years. But not only does Siegler appear to believe this, but he considers the non-appearance of that phone as a betrayal.

One of his major issues seems to be Google not coming through on the topic of net neutrality, and that his overall opinion of Android is coloured by this. But an honest genuine question (I don't know the answer)- what did Apple do to further net neutrality?

It seems like MG expected a lot of Google, and Google let him down. But what did he expect of Apple, and did they deliver? Because last time I looked Apple were championing all the wrong things.

I think it's extremely unhelpful, in these discussions, to resort to "well Apple does bad things too, so how can you prefer Apple?"

Ultimately I think the point the article's getting at here is that Apple's at least been relatively honest in their marketing; they never delivered an open stack based around principles of software freedom, but they also never promised us they would. Google did promise that; they promised it seven ways to Sunday, and then failed to deliver in a variety of ways, not all of which can be attributed to innocent mistakes.

So the criticism of Google is not rooted in "this other platform is more open". The criticism of Google is rooted in "gathering this huge following by loudly trumpeting principles you won't follow" is rank hypocrisy.

I think it's extremely unhelpful, in these discussions, to resort to "well Apple does bad things too, so how can you prefer Apple?"

I was aware when I posted my comment that it might feed into the Android-iPhone flamewars, but I didn't intend it to. It's more specifically that MG is such an Apple fan.

Personally, I prefer an organisation with high aims- that it is unable to reach because of business reality- to an organisation that never even aspired in the first place.

So, to use a metaphor. Let's say you have two people: - one criminal who steals most of the time to earn a living but does not claim to do otherwise. - one person with high moral standards, who, once in his life, resorts to stealing because he had to in a set of specific circumstances.

...it is ok to prefer the criminal just on the ground that he is faithful to himself rather than the person with high moral standards, because that one failed to keep to their ideals ?

That's a extremely contrived sense of reality.

Sorry, but even if Google do compromise in many ways lately, they are STILL more of a champion of Net Neutrality than Apple has ever been.

That's a extremely contrived sense of reality.

That's an extremely contrived metaphor that doesn't really fit the situation at all, and doesn't help attempts to discuss it.

I wanted Google to be a champion of Net Neutrality, like they originally were. Period. Not just better than Apple.

Ok. So why is there any comparison to Apple in the first place, since this is a debate about achieving ideals of Net Neutrality ?

Because you were the one who made the comparison in your previous comment, which I was responding to.

MG Siegler is the one that brought up net neutrality in comparing Google to Apple. If you have a problem with the comparison, talk to the guy whose article these comments are referencing.

While I think the metaphor needs a lot of work, I'd actually prefer the first guy to the second. The first guy I know where my limits are. I'm not letting him in on my alarm password, and I'm not loaning him my car for fear that he's going to take it.

Aside from that, I know exactly where the boundaries are, and I can meet him at a bar, have some drinks and have a generally good time.

Apple does the same kind of thing, regarding promisee: "You don't need that function, trust us... until we build something that has that function. Then you need it and can't live without it." Just like google, Apple makes promises that later turn out to not be true.

I've never bought into the argument that an honest arsehole is better than someone trying to be nice and failing, 'because at least they're straight up about it'. It's nonsense, and Apple deal in duplicity just like Google do. But anyway, please don't paint them as honest, because they're not.

Well - the difference here, of course, is that Apple later delivers functionality that it hadn't committed to, whereas Google is failing to deliver on promises it made.

I can live with the first - I'm getting more than expected.

> It seems like MG expected a lot of Google, and Google let him down.

I don't buy it. He will always find ways to fault Google, if his writing style over the years is any indication.

> "All of this backstory knowledge fuels my rage. When I see Google talk about how “open” the platform is, setting it up as the foil to the “closed” (and framed as “evil”) iPhone, I want to scream and rip someone’s head off. It’s not only the most extreme example of being disingenuous that I can ever recall seeing. It’s nuclear bullshit."

Maybe that talk is in relation to Android being open code whereas iOS is closed and encumbered with horrible shit (iTunes, App Store)? The iPhone is an incredibly "closed" device unless you jailbreak it. That's not nuclear bullshit, that's the fucking truth.

>"Apple, for all the shit they get for being “closed” and “evil”, has actually done far more to wrestle control back from the carriers and put it into the hands of consumers. Google set off to help in this goal, then stabbed us all in the back and went the complete other way, to the side of the carriers. And because they smiled the entire time they were doing it and fed us “open” bullshit, we thanked them for it. We’re still thanking them for it!"

Thinking the majority of consumers care about Net Neutrality or carrier issues is hilarious. The only time they care about the carrier is when they have issues with said carrier. And as mentioned above, what has Apple really done to "wrestle control" from carriers?

This article reads like it was written by a butthurt 15 year old.

Interesting how someone who despises Google for not being a champion of Net Neutrality prefer Apple with its uber closed and "WE have to approve what you do with your phone" ecosystem. Android has done much more than Apple to open up the mobile space for developpers, let alone users who do not have to rely on a unique and official "Appstore".

One can prefer Apple products for a number of reasons, but taking the angle of "net neutrality" to justify one's position is hardly understandable in this case.

Apple, for all the shit they get for being “closed” and “evil”, has actually done far more to wrestle control back from the carriers and put it into the hands of consumers.

Don't think i agree here. Apple wrestled control from the carriers to put it in their own hands, not consumers. Just as any other profit oriented company would like to do... but it was no altruistic move. In fact you went from several carriers having to compete to one company calling the shots for the majority of the mobile market for awhile. Android has realistically been one of the few things that has kept the mobile market from being a monopoly (which would have been far worse than it was ).

He also makes the point that Apple is a retail store where you are the customer and Google is building a advertising platform where you are the number in a spreadsheet of a guy who sells ad space.

It's a fair point. Android isn't free. Sooner or later people will realize that they're the product. Google is building/has an amazing database of your life, your browsing habits, your app habits, your emails, your calendar, all of it hooked up to your phone when you first turn it on.

They make literally billions helping advertisers find you.

Apple makes billions selling hardware.

Honestly, I prefer the demon I know. I have no idea what Google is doing and is capable of, and what decisions they will make in the future with my data to protect their advertising revenue.

With Apple it's simple. They want me to buy another device, and they're willing to make a good enough device to convince me to upgrade.

If you don't like what Google is doing with Android, install a custom ROM. You can recompile it and strip out any code that you don't approve of.

Try doing that on your iPhone.

I've always wondered why +MG Siegler disliked Android so much. After reading this article, I find his arguments to be less than compelling. He equates Android's failed dream of turning carriers into dumb data pipes, with the worst sort of insidious backstabbing. I'll admit that I was angry when Google sided with Verizon on axing Wireless Net Neutrality, but it wasn't going to happen any other way. Does he honestly think that Google was the deciding factor for the FCC? Does he think that the FCC was going to say no to Verizon, but since Google said that it was OK, they decided to skip on Wireless Net Neutrality? I'm not defending Google's decision, but I'm confident that Apple and Microsoft would have done the same thing if they were in the same position. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous.

Also, what does Android being open source have anything to do with his argument? He sneers at Android calling itself open. Why? Sure, Google made a bad decision by supporting Verizon's take on Net Neutrality, but how does that make their source code less open for modification? It may mean that we can't treat carriers as dumb data pipes, but that fact makes Android less open?

>Does he honestly think that Google was the deciding factor for the FCC? Does he think that the FCC was going to say no to Verizon, but since Google said that it was OK, they decided to skip on Wireless Net Neutrality?

Genachowski used Android as part of the reason for killing net neutrality.

Genachowski: "We recognize that there have been meaningful recent moves toward openness, including the introduction of open operating systems like Android"


Fair enough. I still think that the FCC would have sided with Verizon even if Google hadn't.

I hope he knows that Android is sold world over, including countries where there is no concept of subsidy.

Also I hope he knows Android is being used for many more things than just elitist phones.

I seriously dislike vitriol like this in general. It makes it sound like Apple was entirely benevolent in wanting to wrest control from the carriers but Apple, like any other corporation, wants to make money. There is no altruism in business - it's dollars all the way down. And Apple, in bending carriers to their will, did not give control back to the end user, but rather back to Apple.

You see the "evil" behind Android because you WANT to. I see the evil behind iOS because I WANT to. The truth is, they're equally evil - which is to say, they are the yangless yings.

Exactly the same idea as my comment about emotions (which is downvoted). A deep emotional connection to a company makes us see all of they do as right (Apple, 30% cut, weird app store policies, SOPA support etc).

A bigger question arises. Since we now know that his Android feelings comes from hatred of Google and their policies, how do we trust his opinion on the actual devices? I guess him not being a full time staffer at techcrunch anymore helps with that. But what about past reviews from when he was?

"Trust" doesn't, and should never, enter into the equation in matters such as these.

"Apple, for all the shit they get for being closed and evil, has actually done far more to wrestle control back from the carriers and put it into the hands of consumers."

What Apple did was to gain control for themselves; not the user. You need look no farther than Apple's opposition to the DMCA exception for smart phone jailbreaking to see what they think of user control.

I saw this on my feed, opened the tab on the background, saw it was from MG Siegler, closed the tab.

I don't deny he doesn't have some genuine insight. I just find that the amount of work I have to do to sift past his bias is so draining that I prefer to outsource it to people who _can_ tolerate his... foibles (read: bullshit).

The fact that he's saying that apple tried to put carriers afterwards and lookout for consumers first is total bull. ATT iPhone exclusivity. His whole essay is invalid.

Apple tried to control everything. That's the truth. Google interfered and shit hit the fan.

This guy just likes apple and hates android. Like a true apple fanboy.

Thanks, AT&T was exactly the point in my mind; and this exclusivity. Apple doomed its US users to one carrier without any choice for years.

Sometimes folks need to realize that there are parts of the World that aren't the US


Same here in Norway, although I believe carriers have control similar to the US in larger European countries such as UK and Germany, at least.

Carriers (operators to us non-Americans) do actually have a similar control in all of Europé, including the Nordics, as well as in Asia and Oceania. While as a consumer you may have seemingly more open options for pre-paid etc, for a handset manufacturer you cannot shift significant volumes without subsidies and POS space in operator stores. A lot of people cannot afford a handset at retail price and that is what keeps the power with the operators despite having some of the most horrendous customer service of any industry.

All I see is the 99e chinese android-sets on the shelf (free if you take a contract) and 15e/month unlimited data-plans (without a speed cap. Practically offering 1mbps to 6mbps depending on area.) If you want to talk, one can get a flatrate for that too. (actually not flatrate, but a price cap of 1e/24h, so monthly bill won't exceed 30e).

They might have shitloads of control, but I'm not complaining.

If anything, I think the US carriers should be blamed for the imprisonment of mobile technology. It doesn't matter how advanced the Android OS becomes if the hardware on the market can't handle it. Consumers are locked up for 2 years with outdated devices, and the OS developers need to intentionally lag themselves to suit the entire market.

I understand that the carriers are only doing their job, but I feel like a new system needs to take place - maybe sign a 3 year contract, but allow updates each year with discounts.

I don't exactly know what other ramifications such a system may cause, but I for one would love it. I don't see myself changing carriers unless something major happens, so I would be happy to sign for a longer "enslavement" for the tradeoff of being able to update my phone more regularly.

MG Siegler vastly overestimates the importance of the Droid deal with Verizon. There are hundreds of Android devices running on dozens of carriers around the world. The Verizon deal is completely inconsequential.

> But I cannot respect their decision to continue to work on this platform that perpetuates our imprisonment.

This sentence about Android coming from an iPhone enthusiast is priceless.

There's a gap in his flow, at the beginning of the point where he goes off the rails.

"To be clear: Net Neutrality was thrown out in the wireless space because Google sided with Verizon’s ridiculous and horribly conflicted stance on the matter."

There is a strong and viable position that net neutrality is bad policy. In NN government declares winners and sandboxes areas where innovation is allowed.

You might not agree, but that's besides the point I'm seeking to make.

What's important is this: opposition to net neutrality is often falsely characterised, as here, as a pure corporate marketdroid position. It's not - it's a position with a firm idealogical basis that you may happen to disagree with.

The writer here borders on conspiracy mode here, "The open spectrum enemy, turned Net Neutrality enemy, became Google’s bedmate thanks to a business deal. Straight up. Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." The available evidence doesn't support that conclusion. It might be true, but the writer should hold his emotions back for things where the facts support a conclusion.

    > But I cannot respect their decision to continue
    > to work on this platform that perpetuates our
    > imprisonment. 
It's not good for anyone to have too much power. I don't want to live in a world where carriers dominate, but neither where a Microsoft or Apple can dominate through control of the software stack. We've only just emerged from a situation of Windows being all-powerful - by some interpretations it still is. Android is a great countermove to Apple's play to dominate the next twenty years. Even if there are some tradeoffs it's good for our freedom. Think church and state.

> What no one knew at the time, and I only heard months later, was Google’s original vision for the Nexus One. Google intended to sell it for $99 without a contract and unlocked. Yes, a $99 unlocked phone, subsidized by Google ads.

haha... that's a good one.

Can anyone really think that a phone that sells for more than 500 without subsidy can be sold for 99 with ads making up for the difference?

"But in the case of Android, 'open' has been hijacked and wildly contorted so as to mask the shady side of what’s really been going on."

I hate when people bitch that Android isn't open. I guess it depends on your definition of "open" but whatever way you look at it, Android is the most open in my opinion because it's the only smartphone platform I know of where you can build your own modified ROM or kernel and replace the one on your phone with it. So maybe it's not perfectly open but it's the most open and I like that about it.

Edit: as someone else here has mentioned, we have Android on hundreds of different phones, as well as Nook and GoogleTV devices. That's not something you see with BlackberryOS or iOS.

I know a prison when I see it. Paying carriers a little more than if they had been turned into dumb pipes is not prison. Having my content restricted to Apple's disneyfied subset of the world is as close as any prison metaphor gets to the real thing.

Oh please, let's not get out of hand.

If Apple is a prison it's the most liberal open prison in the history of the justice system. It may be constrained but it's hardly four to a cell and making sure you don't drop the soap in the showers.

I guess you're also unhappy about the "jailbreaking" metaphor then, or about "opiate for the masses".

I was just responding to this phrase from the article: "But I cannot respect their decision to continue to work on this platform that perpetuates our imprisonment"

To be honest (and this isn't aimed at you), I'm just bored of tediously overstated metaphor across the board when it comes to the Googe / Apple discussions. I think it does nothing for useful debate and just flames the tribalism and I think that there are genuinely interesting things to discuss that are being obscured.

That and wanting to make the soap in the showers gag.

But as I say, not specifically aimed at you, I'm just getting increasingly anti-metaphor in what should be factual discussions between technical people.

I can see where you're coming from, but meta discussions about the use of metaphors aren't going help. As I see it, you have obscured my actual point by starting a debate about the wording.

Apple's narrow minded content restrictions are a real and serious limitation of what I can do professionally as a developer. Carriers overcharging for some services is not, so the choice is very clear to me and it's the choice between less freedom and more freedom.

I do not insist on using the "prison" metaphor for that and I didn't invent it either. I merely responded to someone who did use it and he even criticised people for continuing to work on Android. If that is not over the top I don't know what is.

I disagree. If people are using unhelpful metaphors it's worth pulling them up on. As I say, it's not specifically you (and I perpetuated the metaphor too so am similarly guilty).

In terms of obscuring your point, what I'm saying is that I don't understand your point precisely because you've compared prison to two things neither of which, to me at least, are remotely like prison.

I do agree with you that I don't think the way in which he describes certain models of carrier as like prison is accurate, but I don't understand how it really applies to the iPhone. Apple places a small number of restrictions on one very specific element of your life (your smart phone). Prison is a very poor metaphor for that unless there's something I'm missing.

Personally I've been an iPhone user for three years now and I've never felt remotely "imprisoned" (and in the pro-Google camp I've been a G-mail user for 10 years and have never felt like a "product" and believe that metaphor to be equally faulty).

We could go looking for better metaphors obviously or we could frame the debate in terms of straight forward facts that smart, technically aware people can understand and avoid either the lack of clarity or the incendiary comments.

I think you do understand my point better than you care to admit. Here's me, there's my customer and smack in the middle is Apple in a position to veto everything I sell to my customers and kick me off the platform whenever they want without even owing me an explanation.

Depending on this kind of all powerful middleman is not just "a small number of restrictions on one very specific element of your life". The element of my life we're talking about is my professional and financial existence. Or rather it would be if I built my startup on top of iOS or a similar platform like Facebook.

The impact of this kind of dependency on small software companies can hardly be overstated.

OK, so the first thing is I assumed you were speaking as a consumer, not as a developer. As a consumer I have a choice to sell my iPhone and buy something else if I don't like it. That's a massive freedom that Apple can't constrain. It's probably the single biggest issue with the lock in argument - the fact that you can walk away at any time (even in contract - an iPhone will almost certainly have a higher resale value that a decent Android phone so sell the iPhone, buy a non-Apple replacement and stick the SIM in it).

Speaking as a developer you have similar freedom - you can choose to develop for another platform. Apple are up front about their policies, certainly now that they've stabilised. Yes they've messed a few people about (and that sucks, I accept) but a vast, vast majority of people writing software for iOS are able to do so with no real fear. Yes Apple might stick whatever functionality your app has into iOS but Google might do that with Android, MS with Windows and so on.

And it's not all negative - they provide a very simple distribution channel to a massive market of proven, paying customers and cover off billing, payment and a whole load of other things.

There are many businesses that have a dependency on a middleman (which is what Apple are) but they accept that dependency because on balance the opportunity outweighs the downside.

But even if you take away the other positive stuff there and only look at the negatives, that choice, essentially the ability to ignore them completely and do something else, is what stops it being remotely like a prison, because the one thing that you can't do with a prison is just walk away from it.

As a developer, I cannot easily ignore one of the most widely used platforms. Their policies are not upfront at all. They are not even published for everyone to see. They are vague and open ended.

Apple is known for kicking people out simply for competing with Apple itself or its selected partners. They also throw out apps simply because someone makes a copyright infringement claim, regardless of merit. You cannot know if these things will happen to you. It's outside of your control, even if you stick slavishly to the rules.

I do appreciate the positives, otherwise I wouldn't bother to argue about this in the first place. But these positives are not predicated on mandating the App Store as the exclusive distribution channel.

As a consumer, it's not that big a deal for me, but it is regrettable that I cannot use Apple's mobile devices as I am a Mac and iPod user. I just can't have some device maker censor the content I put on _my_ device.

I get all that, my argument is not that Apple are right, just that the commonly used metaphor, as well as being inflammatory, isn't really an accurate reflection of the real situation.

You say as a developer you can't easily ignore one of the most widely used platforms but I've made a very good living as a developer for 20 years without writing a single line of code for iOS as I'd venture have most developers in the world. If I don't like iOS as a developer platform I can write for Windows, or Linux, or Windows Mobile or Windows Phone or Android, or Unix or Symbian or any other of the multitude of platforms.

What you're saying is that you really want access to that market because it's interesting and potentially lucrative but don't like the restrictions.

That's fine but it's not some unavoidable choice, it's just a decision that has to be made. You've decided no and that's great, I respect that, but I don't think it should be made out to be more than it is.

I'm concerned about Apple's success attracting copycats (like Microsoft) who may think that being as nasty as Apple is somehow a prerequisite for success.

It could also attract lawmakers' interest, as tight control over client devices provides a possible angle for law enforcement in democratic and not so democratic countries alike.

At the end of the day, what Apple's model means, if it becomes standard, is the greatest possible loss of freedom for developers and users alike. That's what prison stands for when used as a metaphor.

But I certainly hope that my fears are overblown and you turn out to be right that it's not such a big deal.

If you hate what Google did with Android, then fork it and make a company that does with it what you believe is right.

The whole idea of open source is here in trimbo's comment. Android does not empower even Google to a total control; anybody forks (Amazon, Nook) does what they want. iOS can't do this.

He seems to confuse several things. What has the openness of Android to do with whatever deals Google strikes with some random carriers? They are completely separate things.

Also wondering what Apple's stance on net neutrality is - I suppose they support it, as long as all content passes through the iCloud with a fee attached first.

Can someone explain this article to me? If I understood it well, the author hates Android because Google made some deal with an American carrier. I don't exactly understand what deal that really is, he seems to imply that we all know that.

I'm in Europe, where Google made no deals with carriers that I know of, but I'm genuinely interested: should I care? Should I hate Android for the same reason, whatever that may be? I mean, right now the closedness of Apple products is the only thing keeps me away from Apple. Am I being an ignorant hypocrite?

That's exactly what I was thinking - when I saw the headline, I thought this would be another "Android lags, Android's UX sucks" post.. instead, it's some abstract rant about net neutrality and openness - I say, let the users decide.

I thought he hated his commenters for their bile comments. Then why is he writing bile posts himself?

it amazes me that anyone listens or cares what MG has to say. His posts are full of factual inaccuracies and personal opinions stated as fact.

What's the difference between a personal opinion and a personal opinion stated as fact?

It seems like a cheap critic technique to take discredit someone's opinion by claiming they "state it as a fact" when nobody ever writes "IMO" before or after everything we say.

His posts are full of [..] personal opinions stated as fact

I claim this is your opinion stated as a fact, therefore meaningless and I can dismiss it.

Which of his statements do you find to be factually inaccurate?

The ones that are his opinions - which is the majority of it.

Do you seriously claim that he is not allowed to post his own opinions on his personal blog?

ah, this is just icing on the cake:


what a clown.

Hmmmm its interesting, when iPhone 4 was slammed for signal death grip issues, MG argued, people use phones as computers nowadays, so voice/carriers are not important. Now, He hates android, because carriers are screwing android ecosystem. I sense a contradiction here.

This is exactly why I buy all my phones SIM-free, unlocked. Carriers ought to be treated as dumb pipes.

People who speak a lot on the phone would have to pay a big premium for this, but if you don't talk much on the phone, PAYG data plans in the UK have really cheap, sufficient broadband. I reckon here in the UK people do unlock their phones a lot and this keep the market very competitive.

It's not just carriers that dislike competition. Makers also want to artificially "differentiate" their phones. (Translate: try their best to lock you up). This is all fair and part of the game. It's users who can make the market more competitive by favouring less crapified phones and doing it clearly, or doing their best to strip their phones of crap.

I must say, after a whirlwind career of bashing android for all the wrong reasons it seems like the cognitive dissonance has reached a point where even his bullshit excuses were not acceptable to his internal meter anymore and this just comes across as a "Why I'm Still Right About Android" post.

The article even goes to great lengths to point out the responsible party for the situation with the mobile market in the US, and then fails to make the obvious leap and blame them instead choosing to blame google. The average american consumer is who to blame for the shitty situation the US market is in, and frankly that's a kind of poetic justice.

The title feels like link bait.

"Why I Hate Android"

2nd paragraph in, "Believe it or not, I actually don’t hate Android."

Two sentences later, "What I hate is what Android has become."

Not linkbait, just clarifying that he doesn't hate the OS, he hates what Google has done with it. I'm by no means an MG Siegler fan, and I think he's being facetious here, but there is a legitimate point to be made that Google's capitulation to the carriers has come at the expense of their vision for Android and its users.

What do you think is Google's vision for Android?

Android is in the hands of hundreds of millions of people.

It is the cheapest smartphone that even people from Africa can afford to buy an Android phone sans contract.

Google made a lot of compromises but I believe the original vision will still be achieved which is to bring computing to the masses.

"Google made a lot of compromises but I believe the original vision will still be achieved which is to bring computing to the masses."

Isn't Google's vision to bring ads to the masses? Getting everyone to use smartphones is a way to accomplish that. Android Market has the highest proportion of ad-supported apps (70%) of all the major platforms, and most of the ads are served by Google.

Funny that Seigler neglects to mention what Apple did in the great net neutrality fight: nothing.

You can't let someone down if you don't build them up.

Google fought for years on net neutrality.

And they caved completely on it to make Android popular.

Apple didn't help but they didn't say they would. You're welcome to criticize Apple's inaction but that's very different than spending years promising to the world and fighting for a cause, only to do a total 180 and sell out what you claimed were your core values for the sake of market share.

I judge companies more by what they do than what they say. Yes Google said things that let folks down: absolutely. But Apple is actually doing things that poison the technological ecosystem: its zealous patent-wielding and its changing people $99/year to develop software for their own hardware. So in the realm of technology, who to hate more seems an easy choice. Seigler's focus is pretty narrow.

That being said, Google may end up being a greater historic villain given where it has positions itself in terms of access to our personal information and its legal obligation to divulge that to the state.

Apple, for all the shit they get for being "closed" and "evil", has actually done far more to wrestle control back from the carriers and put it into the hands of consumers.


All emotion and no logic in that post.

MG, enjoy your slide into irrelevancy. The torrent of negative rhetoric will only get you so far in journalism.

Eh, who am I kidding? It's made Rupert Murdoch rich!

can you really not purchase a pay as you go SIM card in the US? I've successfully bought these in many countries around the world (UK, Australia, New Zealand, pretty much anywhere in Europe, Thailand, Malaysia, etc.) When visiting a foreign country I usually buy a local SIM as a matter of course in order to avoid excessive roaming charges. Surely this is also possible in the USA?

You most certainly can buy a pay-as-you-go SIM in the US. See http://amzn.to/wKySJq for example. The issue is complicated here however by the CDMA/GSM split, incompatible signal bands used by different carriers and not-truly-unlocked unlocked phones. Something like a million people in the US bought full-priced, unlocked iPhones to use on the lower cost T-Mobile netowkr but they don't get 3G bands. See http://blog.t-mobile.com/2011/09/26/about-the-iphone-a-lette...

Sounds like the US cell phone carriers need a bit more regulation to me, together with a bit more sharing of frequency allocation. I really don't think this is the fault of Android. For example, in the UK I think pretty much all 3G carriers run within a common 2100MHz band.

I'd be appreciative to read a more informative and well-formed counter-argument instead of pages of thinly veiled attacks on the author.

I for one recognise that they're all the 'devil'. It's about time we stopped pretending that these companies are trying to do us a favour. They don't report favours and hugs in their quarterly earnings results.

this is neither manufacturers fault, and the blame lies strictly in the consumer. Change comes from where the money is spent. Instead of upgrading to the latest hardware , getting stuck in 2 year contracts and giving carriers passive income, for all those minutes, data, and text you don't use. Consumers do need to go with phones that work for them and prepaid. Once carriers don't have this hold any more they will have to compete on features and price. This is the real path to change.

I'm really hoping that webOS becomes a viable alternative. Come on, HP, roll out a generous license and promise to support the project already!

I don't seem to understand the author's intent in the realm of entrepreneurship. Is this an business related article or is it an editorial?

This article in not about Android, yes Google lost battle. Hope they win war.

It's well past time for widespread usage of programmable SIM cards.

Low contrast text is a pain to read, and if I'm already annoyed at how you've presented your rant, I'm less likely to be swayed by your arguments, regardless of merit.

exactly 'why i hate mg siegler'

"I hate Android because Google doesn't market/sell it how I like" ?

He objects for seemingly, what, "moral" reasons? Yet he merely argues that Apple is "more open" via a closed ecosystem because of the power the carriers currently wield? His post chronicles the truths of this situation. Google tried to sell their phones directly, that failed miserably because Americans refuse to understand how contracts work and buy unsubsidized phones. So, they tried something else. I'm happily running a custom rom on an `oem unlock`ed phone as I speak. It doesn't bother me that my friend bought a locked Android phone, he's perfectly happy too.

I don't understand this post. Did he expect Google to give up or fail for ideological reasons? The way he hyped this on Twitter and his last post at TC, I wonder if he is just a troll anymore.

And an implication that Google is going to... do what exactly, in the patent war? Somehow they're siding with the carriers and they're worse than Apple or Microsoft in the use of their patents. I honestly don't understand what is being alleged or suggested by that paragraph.

So, Google compromises with Verizon = "[Android being open] nuclear bullshit.", that's what this boils down to, right?

Summary: MG says he doesn't give Android a fair chance when he compares it to the iPhone not because he loves Apple but because he hates Google.

Matt Siegler: his wanky, self-applied moniker made me curious enough to find out his actual name.

Oh, it doesn't stand for Mini Gruber? :-)

Really? I was completely expecting this to be a tear down of Androids horrible UX. Color me surprised.

Look at a v4 device. They've come a long way from Android 1.0.

That's what I'm hoping to find when it's available for my phone, honestly unlike the other response suggests (and two unwarranted fan boy downvotes) I can safely say unfamiliarity has nothing to do with it. 2.x is terrible when pitted against even the 4.x iOS.

Oh come on. I'm getting really sick of hearing about this. The problem win android ux is (and this also applies to gripes with ios ux for people coming the other direction) your own infamiliarity with it and a few pet issues that are largely inconsequential.

The problem with the Android devices that I've used* is that they just feel cheap. When scrolling does not occur smoothly, that's a serious UX issue.

*I haven't had the opportunity to use ICS yet.

When scrolling does not occur smoothly, that's a serious UX issue.

For certain definitions of serious, where serious means "the most serious issue in a list containing completely inconsequential items", yes.

Its a pet issue for people exaggerate or look over as needed to support their already held beliefs. I use both ios and android every day, of all the legitimate gripes there exist about android, the scroll stutter is not one. I use my devices to get things done, the only usecase where the menu thing even presents itself is when I'm stoned as hell and just playing with slowly pushing things around on the screen, otherwise I've already scrolled to where I wanted and move on without slowing down to lament the fact the thing that worked perfectly didn't look pretty enough.

You put a touch device which doesn't scroll properly - halting, not properly moving with the finger - in someone's hands, and they'll say it just doesn't feel right. That's a serious UX problem.

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