Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cell Carriers Frustrate All

Crippling devices is a cornerstone of differentiated pricing. Printer manufacturers are known to install chips to slow down printers - they can make one model, but charge different prices for different speeds. This makes a lot of sense, because consumers can pay for what they want in the market. What is frustrating is when a communications company cripples devices for control. I have high hopes for the future of "Wireless 2.0," where platforms that allow for open cooperation beat the pants off of those that try and control how users interact with the network.

Robert Cooper of O'Reilly On Java notes,

If you buy a V300 or RAZR or whatever from any major carrier, it comes crippled. They only want you to use ringtones, wallpaper and –god forbid– applications that they sell you. Lots of phones in the carrier specific versions are crippled beyond belief. I don’t think the fault is J2ME’s so much as the way we use cell phone networks.

I hate to bring the whole political aspect into this, but this is directly on point with the network neutrality debate and the Trusted Computing/Paladium issue: the hardware and the network should be there for what you want to use them for, not some highly managed, highly structured regime. One of the reasons I, personally, consider the NetNeutral intitiative important is I donÂ’t want my Cable Modem service to end up looking like the cell phone networks.

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