Linked by snydeq on Wed 6th Jan 2010 20:08 UTC
Google InfoWorld's Galen Gruman writes that the main potential game-changing attribute of the Nexus One - that Google is selling the device direct - does nothing to move the industry past carrier lock-in. "At first, I wanted to credit Google for making a tentative step in the direction of smartphone freedom. But that step is so tentative and ineffectual that frankly I think it's a cynical fig leaf covering the usual practices," Gruman writes. At issue is a political battle regarding walled gardens in the U.S. cellular market, a fight that will take years to result in any true consumer freedom. "The only way we'll ever get the ability to choose a smartphone and carrier independently is for the platform providers that count - Apple, Google, and RIM - to first develop only multiband 'world' smartphones and then refuse to sell their devices (or in Google's case, use its Android license to forbid the sale of devices) to carriers that block or interfere with device portability."
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RE: The title says it all...
by FellowConspirator on Wed 6th Jan 2010 20:55 UTC in reply to "The title says it all..."
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As far as lock in, all you need is your favorite sim.

That would be great if it were true. The lock is in the firmware of the device, not (only) the SIM. You can't take a locked AT&T phone, exchange the SIM with a T-mobile one and have it work without AT&T first releasing the lock on the phone (which they will do if your contract term is expired, but not before).

The carrier's position is that without such a feature on the phone, a customer could purchase a $600-$700 phone at $199 (with a 2-year contract that pays off the subsidy), and simply drop the service and move to another carrier without paying. Of course, they can do that now too (but they need to get another phone). Of course, try to buy from them an unlocked phone at full-price and they will balk AND not give you a lower rate (you wouldn't be paying the subsidy, after all).

What the market (in the US) needs to move to is a model that's more open. All the vendor phones should be multiband/multinetwork so they can be sold to work for any carrier. Carriers should be required to separate out the charges for the phone and the service, and provide the subsidies as an optional loan / installment payment. You would then be able to walk into "Bob's Phone-A-Rama" and have your pick of any phone and know exactly how much the hardware's going to set you back. You could buy it on your credit-card, lay-away, or in installments like any other purchase. Then, once you've got your phone, you call / visit a carrier kiosk to sign up for service, just provide your IMEI and SIM numbers and billing information. If your carrier jacks up prices, you can walk that same day to a different carrier and transfer.

That's how it should work.

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