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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

WALT SAYS LOCK NEEDS BREAKING



The venerated Wall Street Journal (WSJ) technology columnist Walt Mossberg recently commented (view the clip above) that the unholy alliance between handset makers and the cellphone networks needs to be broken. Absolutely!

The coercive effects on innovation the control by networks has had became much clearer when Apple came out with the iPhone, a palm device that much more than just a cell phone. The iPhone is truly a computer in your pocket with a content delivery system unrivaled in the past by any other hardware designer -- Motorola, Noika, LG, NEC, Samsung, Kyocera, Blackberry, etc. While these manufacturers tried to provide limited multimedia tidbits, primarily in the form of ringtones and wallpaper, they never came close to providing a rich environment that is open to video, music, graphics, web surfing, Google mapping, YouTube, email, and personal photography that iPhone amazingly provides.

By rich environment, Apple has created a cellphone operating eco-system that will allow third-party developers and vallue added retailers to write applications that do not come installed on the iPhone when you purchase it online, at the Apple store or from ATT. In Janaury Apple will release the software deveopers kit (SDK) for the legends of programmers who currently write widgets, plug-ins, full-blown GUI applications and open source projects currently for the Macintosh.

If the consumer can enjoy the freedom of being unchained from the dreaded calling plan a huge transformation of content delivery and mobile computing is awaiting them. New forms of creating and delivering stories as well as practical information will evolve. The irony with iPhone is, as Mossberg asserts, Apple was forced to make "a pact with the devil" ATT and lock iPhone to a restrictive service plan. Attempts by hackers and third-party developers to "unlock" the iPhone have resulted in hostile actions with software upgrades to "brick" iPhones and void the warrantee. But the cat is out of the bag. Law suits will follow. Mossberg puts out a siren call for government to step in and/or for disruptive technology to continue -- basically encouragement from WSJ's tech-guru for hackers to continue with their mission.

And with this new computing device and its power to deliver to the handset a variety of media, it is clear cellphone service providers have stymied technological advancement with their strangehold over the market. The iPhone is the first cellphone with an operating system developed independently from the cellphone netwoks and it is groundbreaking for that reason. But the battle is still not over. Listen to Uncle Walt. Break the lock!

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