The Unlocked Phone Movement Gets A Big Boost

Mobile phones here in the US are sold by carriers and often locked down so that the device and the network are hard wired to each other. The iPhone is the best known example of this technique. I've written a lot about this bundling of device and network and why I think it is bad for consumers and software developers.

Yesterday the news starting leaking out that Google is going to break with this tradition shortly and sell its own Google branded phone unlocked and without a carrier partner.

Google is not the first device manufacturer to do this in the US. Nokia has been doing it for a while without much success. Unlocked phones are more expensive to the consumer because they have no carrier subsidy. So it is not obvious that consumers will take to this way of buying phones.

But there certainly is a minority of users who prefer to buy unlocked phones. I am one of them. I buy a fair amount of phones for myself and my family and I never take the subsidy if I can help it. I want to be able to run my phones on whatever networks I choose.

I believe the carriers should focus on making their networks as fast and reliable as possible. Device manufacturers should focus on building the best and most innovative hardware configurations they can deliver. And software developers should focus on building the best operating systems and mobile applications and services.

This is the PC architecture and I've been hoping we will see it emerge in mobile. I think the Google phone is a big step toward getting there.

I'll end this post with a reblog of part of a Fake Steve Jobs rant on A&T. This is the point:

So let’s talk traffic. We’ve got people who love this goddamn phone so
much that they’re living on it. Yes, that’s crushing your network. Yes,
3% of your users are taking up 40% of your bandwidth. You see this as a
bad thing. It’s not. It’s a good thing. It’s a blessing. It’s an
indication that people love what we’re doing, which means you now have
a reason to go out and double or triple or quadruple your damn network
capacity. Jesus! I can’t believe I’m explaining this to you. You’re in
the business of selling bandwidth. That pipe is what you sell. Right
now what the market is telling you is that you can sell even more! Lots
more! Good Lord. The world is changing, and you’re right in the sweet
spot.