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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The main problem with the US model of treating the phone as a commodity is that there is no real incentive for phone innovation.

What are you talking about? Every year we get new phones with more features and better functionality. The most innovative phone was developed in the US.

The heavy subsidies make basic phones free but they also allow smart phones to be marketed to a wider audience. Most wealthy people I know wouldn't even buy a $500 phone. I would actually suspect that cutting a $500 smartphone to $250 would result in at least a 5 fold increase in sales. Americans are known to be finicky when it comes to purchasing electronic devices that cost over $300. The vast majority will wait for the price to come down or buy something cheaper.

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