Locked Down Endpoints

Of all the great points made by Bruce Schneier in his talk at Google, the one that bugs me the most is locked down endpoints. So much so that I've got not one but two Firefox OS phones coming to me in the next week.

Through friends I connected with folks at Telefonica and they are sending me the new ZTE Open which runs Firefox OS.

And our friend Vruz sent me a link to this Peak+ phone which I promptly ordered.

I am also quite interested in trying out an Ubuntu phone but am not quite sure how to get one.

The truth is that Android isn't very locked down and that's why I have always preferred it. But when you think about the "cloud+locked down endpoints" picture Bruce paints, Google has me every which way but sunday right now and that's not particularly comforting.

So I am starting my quest for a truly open smartphone and focusing initially on Firefox OS. That has the added advantage of being an HTML5 based mobile OS which also has a bunch of advantages for "openness".

The challenge for me and everyone else will be the lack of apps for these phones. Twitter has a fantastic HTML5 version. I suspect gmail will work fine in HTML5 as well. But I know you can't check in via Foursquare's mobile web app. In fact, they don't really even have a mobile web app, you have to run their desktop web app if you want to run Foursquare on your mobile browser. I suspect that will be the case with many of the mobile apps I use everyday. And so that will be frustrating.

But I am going to try to make one of these phones work for me for a while this year. And I will probably go back to Android in frustration. But I will keep coming back in hopes that someone can make an HTML5 based phone work. Because if they do, it will represent an endpoint that can't be locked down. And that's a good thing for me, for the market, and for all of us.