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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Member since:

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.

Reply Parent Score: 2

darkstego Member since:

I was talking about the pre-iPhone era. Phones being sold in the US were archiac in comparison to the rest of the world. In the US carriers would dictate to the manufacturers what features would be on the phone. Whereas elsewhere in the world phone manufacturers would provide many different phones with different feature sets and let the customer decide. Before the iPhone carriers weren't all that convinced that people wanted phones with tons of features so they simply didn't provide them.

As an example, push emails on phones in the US seem to have only come up with the introduction of Blackberrys. While at the same time many of the mid to high end phones being sold here had email and push email capabilities. In Japan nearly all phones supported emails for many years.

I was just trying to point out that if the market only sold phones through carriers then they would dictate what the phone market would look like. Since they make money off the service and the handsets are just something they would subsidies, then they would like the handsets to be as cheap as possible. This has changed now with the iPhone. So while the iPhone basicly brought about the whole smartphone market in the US, the rest of the world already had a wide selection of smartphones to choose from. Granted they weren't as polished as the iPhone, but at least the market had choices.

Reply Parent Score: 1