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.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    google plays whack the mole very well, but moles are resilient little creatures with lots of friends in low places.

  2. William Mougayar

    I like the smell of where this is going. If HTML5 smartphones take off, that could also spells some trouble for Apple.Gmail works perfectly well on the browser as html5, actually so well, that if looks almost like an App. Have you tried it in your Android browser?But the issue with running html5 well is two-fold & this is from experience building one. 1) it requires local strong java script processing (that’s why Androids run it better than iPhones), 2) it requires really fast servers to serve up these Apps because there’s lots more I/O going on.That’s why Gmail & Google Maps even are some of the few really good HTML5 Apps. But I hope overtime, more & better HTML5 Apps emerge.

    1. fredwilson

      twitter has a really good one too

      1. William Mougayar

        Yes, they do it very well.I can hardly tell if it’s the native or the html5 when twitter opens in the browser. Someone ought to be working on fast html5 server-side processing or hosting. That’s a bottleneck currently unless you’re a big co. like Twitter, Google, LinkedIn & a few others,- your Html5 app will be sluggish otherwise. Mind you, another way to make an App work well in the browser is to do Responsive design really well.

      2. Richard

        Any idea as to the % of twitter users accessing via HTML?

    2. kenberger

      Actually, Apple has pushed for html5 very hard. There is a video you can find of Jobs (3 years or so ago) swearing it as the way to go, although his clear agenda was to kill Flash at all costs.For some html5 magic today, check out what these guys are doing. Getting major traction too:http://famo.us

      1. William Mougayar

        That was a cool thing on famo.us. I signed up for the beta. You’re the mobile king, ken.But why is the iphone sluggish at running local scripts? Will it get better? Is it processing power, RAM or iOS related?

        1. kenberger

          I am personally much more of an Android guy, no secret. A big reason is the huge variety of devices, and frequency of their release, giving me vastly more power over the hardware issues of my mobile tech life.Which doesn’t answer your question but instead I will leave you with a graphic related to that mobile king compliment:

      2. Richard

        These guys have been around for more than a year? Do you know any Apps that are built on the platform?

        1. kenberger

          I know their backers pretty well, can’t speak for the company but I know that they are on fire right now. we’ll see.

      3. Elia Freedman

        Thanks, Ken. I signed up. It will be interesting to see. I also wonder how they do it.

      4. ShanaC

        is that background done in html5 – if so, impressive

        1. kenberger

          yep, my team has played with it and it can do impressive things. Good all around to see standards-based solutions advance.

    3. Elia Freedman

      In 2007 Jobs proclaimed that the iPhone would only run HTML5 apps. Less than a year later he backed down and released the App Store. I’ve been asking myself why for six years now. One possibility is that he always planned on an App Store but it just wasn’t ready yet.My instinct, though, tells me that someone within Apple convinced him that the experiences he wanted were not possible with HTML5. This is a very technical discussion but in depth look at why Javascript will never be fast enough on a mobile device:http://sealedabstract.com/r…Maybe he is right, maybe he is wrong, but there are significant concerns for today’s apps. After all there is a reason Twitter and Facebook build mobile apps instead of telling you to go to a web page.

      1. William Mougayar

        Yup. Great insight, and I remember that turning point. I think even Steve Jobs acknowledged that it was a mistake they corrected early on.That’s a great paper. I only skimmed it, but didn’t see specific references to what Firefox O is doing on mobile & HTML5 specifically. Speed is so critical. In your opinion, is it really a “never”, or is there hope it might improve?

        1. Elia Freedman

          The author believes it is never, at least for gaming and other graphic and fps (frame per second) intensive type stuff. He also feels that we have maxed out its ability on desktop as well.I just completed an HTML5 project for a new mobile platform and, to be generous, the UI is laggy even though the hardware is Samsung S4 quality. This is a productivity app so doesn’t have the kind of intense needs as a game. Maybe that’s an OS thing and maybe it’s just HTML5 being slow. I don’t know.On the other hand, the human spirit is a pretty amazing thing. We seem to accomplish the unbelievable when we need to.As for me personally, I have been writing more hybrid apps for a while. We are working on something new where the primary interface is all HTML5. I just re-wrote it last week and still need to test on mobile, but given the benchmarks in that article I’m hopeful it will be okay.

          1. Elia Freedman

            I did a quick benchmark test on iPad in a browser and it runs quite smoothly. No animations, though, and nothing that would push the GPU of the device.

      2. ShanaC

        that’s crazy talk – it makes it sound like arm can’t catch up to x86 in terms of speed without massive power drainage.He tries to defy moore’s law. Which is something that we currently can’t escape

        1. Elia Freedman

          I don’t know if it is crazy talk or not. I also don’t know if Moore’s Law is still applicable. Seems we have deviated lately.

  3. whatever

    “I am also quite interested in trying out an Ubuntu phone but am not quite sure how to get one.”Send $24,000 here: http://www.indiegogo.com/pr…Or you can supposedly install it on a Galaxy Nexus or Nexus 4https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Tou…(I don’t know if that results in a device that can make phone calls.)

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, i saw that. it will be interesting to see if they get that project funded

      1. whatever

        Well, I hope they do, but it sure is an awful lot of money for crowdfunding.Competition, especially with alternate linux phones, would definitely make Android better. (I think.)

  4. whatever

    One feature I would like to believe exists in HTML5 phones and/or firefox phone and/or ubuntu phone is a more consistent UI than what Android provides.I like my various Android phones, but they never feel like a natural device, like an extension of my body, and if I want to do something I haven’t done in a week, I always have to ponder a bit just how do I do that, and how do I do that in this app, or will it just exit again.

  5. William Mougayar

    Unbuntu & Firefox OS are a perfect case of the Innovator’s Dilemma biting Apple & Android.I just read-up on them, and I’m lining-up to get them too. The caveat with Unbuntu is it’s a 2014 delivery. But I’m still worried about the lack of enough processing power on the Firefox phones to run HTML5 properly.

  6. nilb

    I wonder how you will feel about everything.me the “search engine/app” of Firefox. I tried it on my Android and it felt too obtrusive. (Not sure it is the same version or same experience on Firefox OS)One issue is games – while html5 can work well with apps (where it is video, pic or forms) – working well with games is another story. Most games are horrible, and i don’t know what is the status of Flash and FirefoxWaiting for your follow-up…

    1. William Mougayar

      It depends. Firefox OS is specifically focused on improving the HTML5 experience. There’s lots of attractiveness with the idea, from a distribution point of view, and programmers’ productivity.Some games have done a really good job on HTML5. Have you tried the Uken games? http://www.uken.com/And read this: https://blog.mozilla.org/ap

  7. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I don’t know if I want to live in a world where Fred Wilson can’t check in on Foursquare.

    1. ShanaC

      how will i find cortados

    2. fredwilson

      i don’t either

      1. fredwilson

        that’s great!

  8. kidmercury

    the trend is the opposite, more integrated. the open/closed beef has been squashed — it’s a draw. the real winner is governance, i.e. finding the entity that manages the platform/cloud with values it clearly expresses, lives up to, and thus attracts a like-minded audience.perhaps the economic necessity of greater integration can best be understood through the spectrum problem. under the current system in which frequencies are not shared and treated like exclusive property, the threat of bandwidth scarcity will be an ongoing issue — deloitte has forecasted demand being greater than supply under the current system by 2016. as stuff like google glass, wearable computing, android in everything, and RFID kick into high gear, demand is not just going to increase — it’s going to accelerate. what is really needed is infinite spectrum, and infinite spectrum is only possible when frequencies are shared and integrated systems are how undesired communications are filtered out.

    1. William Mougayar

      Hmm. Are you sure?I saw the Firefox mobile OS as driving a wedge, right between Closed (iOS) and Messy (Android). It’s more open than iOS, but not as messy as Android.Unbuntu is plain flanking, in marketing speak. The are emerging in an uncontested area. Too early to tell about success, but they have a draw appeal with their approach.

      1. kidmercury

        i don’t think open/closed is a useful dichotomy to compare these ecosystems. they are all closed, it is only a matter of how much you trust them to be closed in the ways you like.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      For more effective bandwidth locally forwireless devices, can separate signals onboth frequency and space. That is, forthe space part, do a lot of ‘beamforming’.I outlined how in http://www.avc.com/a_vc/201…And there may be other solutions possiblealso.

  9. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    The question is how many people actually care about being locked down. I am not an apple fan boy but I have a preference for their products and don’t necassirly feel trapped. If their product quality drops then I will change. My endpoint is having something that works well with little hassle on my side.

    1. Richard

      What annoys me more than anything today is battery life and the AT&T bill.

      1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        I don’t have AT&T but give me great battery life and I will happily be locked down 🙂

        1. ShanaC

          do you think that is possible or only a dream

          1. Elia Freedman

            14 hour+ battery life is only a matter of time.

          2. ShanaC

            I will be a much happier camper then

          3. Richard

            I be happy to go 2X in phone thickness for 4X in battery life.

          4. LE

            Why not just get one of those power attachments then?

          5. PhilipSugar

            My iPhone battery lasts three days I talk about 2hrs a day and check email 4 times a day.I use google maps but get the directions and turn it off while I drive.If you have all of the crap installed that most people do, allow push and notifications, and constantly surf you get the battery life you deserve, about 4 hours.

          6. Richard

            constantly surf? OF COURSE I DO. The iphone is 1/3 browser (See Jobs keynote 2007).

          7. LE

            Agree. Most people aren’t sophisticated enough to even know what to shut off (and when) on their phone to save power (bluetooth, wifi etc.). Others simply aren’t going to take the time even if they do know. Consequently those people would answer the question (the grandparent comment by Abdallah) “how many people actually care about being locked down” with an answer of “what are you even talking about?”.There are people who care about this but not the masses for sure.”all of the crap installed”It’s like bling. Some people like gizmos for the sake of gizmos. It’s an art and enjoyment for them.As far as the battery life you can always keep an external battery pack and charge up when the battery runs low.By the way battery is similar in a way to gas in the car. Most people aren’t going to feel comfortable with the battery at 29% they will feel they are “out” and want to charge up and keep it topped off. I generally do this since you never know when there might be a power outage just like you might fill the car with gas before a storm or not run it to empty.

          8. robertdesideri

            do you still get three days when it’s disconnected from the mains? ;-/

    2. Elia Freedman

      In my experience, we don’t care about being locked down until there is something we want to do that the carriers/hardware companies/OS vendors won’t let us do. Then we care a lot.(Feel free to substitute cable company, record company, movie studio or anyone else for the carrier/hardware/OS triumvirate.)

      1. ShanaC

        right now, that thing doesn’t exist on mobile

        1. Elia Freedman

          Really? Maybe it is different as a developer. I have tons of things I want to do that app stores won’t let me do. There is market realities, though, and app stores are a market reality.

          1. ShanaC

            most popular apps are ported back and forth. I don’t know of a killer ap for either platform that makes or breaks the choice for large chunks of people

          2. mcbeese

            I think iMessage is a major deciding factor for a lot of people, including me.

      2. kidmercury

        yup. just like the no fly list in the US. nobody cares that such a list exists. until they get put on it……

        1. LE

          Right and the probability of being put on that list is quite small. Does anyone suggest that we spend our day worrying about things with a minute chance of happening?

          1. kidmercury

            i wouldn’t expect you to worry about it, though those educated in history know where this path leads.

          2. LE

            You’ve got my number!As George Cohan said:I don’t care what you say about me, as long as you say something about me, and as long as you spell my name right.

      3. LE

        “until there is something we want to do that the carriers/hardware companies/OS vendors won’t let us do.”To which I would say that the majority of people don’t fall into this camp at all.

        1. Elia Freedman


        2. falicon

          well except for those that live in China (where jailbroken phones appear to be norm)…but hey that’s a small market anyway right? 😉

  10. jason wright

    do consumers think ‘open’?

    1. Andrew Kennedy

      I think they think ‘convenience’. I do.

    2. Pete Griffiths

      No. They never have. They think cost and apps.

  11. Semil Shah

    I applaud your contrarianism here, but feels like the entire world is not only moving to native apps, but that consumers prefer it for the utility, because of screen limitations, and it takes advantage of the hardware/GPU in ways that HTML5 will not. That said, there are some interesting startups that may be of interest to you in this vein:*Famo.us, by Steve Newcomb (Powerset) has architected a breakthrough by rewriting HTML5 to access the GPU and allow for native-like experiences right through the browser.*Propeller – angel funded and founded by a Thiel fellow, offers a way for people to have a Weebly for apps, with the caveat that Propeller then converts those apps into native code and creates a submission to iOS to be in the App Store.

    1. fredwilson

      i agree

  12. John Frankel

    You can pre-order the Ubunto phone here: http://igg.me/at/ubuntuedge – though with only $8mm raised so far it is not certain they will get to their $32mm total and build the phones. That being said the more people talk about it and pre-order this phone that can boot into Ubunto or Android the more likely you will be able to get one.

  13. Richard

    If Google has a you “Every which Way” now, wait till they offer free data plans.It’s all coming around full circle. We started out with free data plans, radio and broadcast television, then went to paid plans, cable etc., now we are heading back to free. And guess what, it will be much less intrusive than version 1.0’s 25 to 30% commercial time. (Thanks to data collection of course.)

  14. ShanaC

    Actually, hardware lockin is much less interesting of a problem as data lockinTransferring data back and forth from the cloud is no simple manner, unlike backing yourself up from a harddrive. It is never fully yours.eG: I’ve been shuffling around my contact book (yay python for cleaning), and even though they claim to us Outlook formatting, the book itself is a mess. It is easier to let it just sit there in gmail.And that is a huge lock in problem

  15. vruz

    I think HTML5 will do just fine for almost all consumer apps, except for sophisticated video games and multimedia apps.The main limitation is not HTML itself, but Javascript. All recent developments point in a direction that indicates Javascript may never be able to approach native or near native performance, not even close. In addition to that, all modern HL programming languages have a garbage collection problem. (** see footer note for a longer explanation)The industry knows or at least suspects that there will eventually be a technological reckoning day, there are some alternatives to Javascript being developed like Google’s own Dart, and Mozilla’s Rust programming languages. ( http://dartlang.org and http://rust-lang.org, respectively)Other approaches to this problem have been explored, Google has been putting NaCl in every Chrome browser (Native Client, a technology not very different from Microsoft’s ActiveX of yesteryear, that allows a web page to embed a native code application, minus Microsoft’s security nightmares)Javascript is HTML5’s bottleneck, it has been for years, but the designers and open source communities reacted against Adobe Flash, at the very moment Flash was starting to get some things right as a mature VM technology that could have allowed us to write higher performance multimedia applications.It didn’t help that Adobe suck at all, marketing, open source and mobile implementations.I highly value the openness at the heart of HTML5/Javascript but still, Flash was very clearly technologically superior to HTML5, five years ago.Adobe’s marketing incompetence, reluctance or inability (for financial reasons) to open up the Flash platform together with Steve Jobs’ zeal and designers/open source community are ultimately responsible for putting the clock 5 years back, starting from scratch with HTML5, relearning a number of lessons that had already been learned. Some guys had already ported Doom to Flash in 2008 by recompiling its C++ code targetting the Flash virtual machine (AVM2, its actual name).Google also has an interest in keeping the client terminals thin and doing all the processing and information hoarding in their servers. (see how their Chromeboxes work, for example)Everybody had their own good reasons, but this is where we are now and the result is we will have HTML5 apps (a few good ones, millions of horrible ones) and some indie games, but we won’t be able to see high performance games or seriously good multimedia apps on mobile for a while, because instead of taking wiser technological decisions that could have spun off entire new industries, we made some other choices based on politics and financial interests alone.Part of the reason I shelved my own games startup until I see the right window of opportunity, by the way.At this point Moore’s Law is the only thing that can possibly help, which is to say, only time can help to make these problems go away.That, and getting rid of Javascript. Maybe it will happen by the time HTML6 is a buzzword and the hip kids market it as if it were Apple’s new toy.And that’s why you’re starting to see quad core phones which can’t run any decent games nor creative apps.If you’re interested, here’s a good recap of the ongoing discussion:http://www.infoq.com/news/2…Before believers of the Javascript cult cry foul, here’s what Brendan Eich said:https://twitter.com/Brendan…Developing Rust “for reasons”.** for the uninitiated, the use of memory garbage collection is basically a feature that enables the ability of a programme to use memory without having to manually micromanage and keep track of every bit of memory you reserve. You use disposable memory without caring what happens to it, the memory garbage collector will pick up your dirt for you. Java, Javascript, Python, Ruby are some languages which have made memory management easier for programmers, but letting the virtual machine or operating system do that task for you means the system may decide to perform memory optimisations right in the middle of your game (Java games usually do) degrading performance and breaking the deal of suspension of disbelief.See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wik

    1. Pete Griffiths

      A good summary.Basically JS sucks. It is a miracle that incredibly smart programmers have made it perform as well as it does. It was designed as a scripting language for tiny in page applets and has become a poorly designed assembler for the web. And the problem isn’t just performance – as Anders Hejlsberg pithily observed – “You can write large programs in JavaScript. You just can’t maintain them.”Basically for a given hardware platform you will never get the same performance with a multi-layered software framework as you will writing to the metal. The question is only whether hardware gets to fast that even tho the native version is way faster humans can’t perceive the difference.

      1. vruz

        Don’t get me wrong, I like Javascript **for what it was designed to do**, basically, to dynamically manipulate bits of hypertext elements.I like prototype-based programming and I like closures as language elements. That being said, I don’t know if I’d call it a “miracle”, more like infinite stubornness :-)It’s an incredibly lousy idea to use it for systems programming and a shot in the foot of global proportions.

        1. Pete Griffiths

          Totally agree.

  16. Mark Gannon

    You might have a look at Tizen. Its got a lot of support from Intel and Samsung. There should be a phone available in Q4. I’ve played around a little with the SDK and it looks pretty polished.

    1. Pete Griffiths

      Tizen is interesting. It is currently unclear just what ‘a lot of support’ means tho. Samsung has to have a project like this in case things go badly with Google but they can well afford to sink tens of millions in insurace to cover that risk and never seriously release it other than in market testing drips and to keep google honest.As for its heavy HTML5 emphasis – I don’t buy it.

  17. kirklove

    Very few (statistically almost 0%) of cellphone users could care less about endpoints. It never even enters their mind. In fact, the market has spoken that they very much prefer the safe confines of an established eco-system (iOS and Android). These ecosystems afford many things that are far superior to having a mythical “open” one, most notably a consistent UI, standard usage conventions, tech-support, developer communities, strong app galleries, and native apps that are fluid, responsive, and just work. And of course, the biggie, carrier support.Put another way to the general public – HTML5 sounds like a boy band, root access means jack and Ubuntu sounds like a bad foot disease.An all-HTML5-world seems nice on paper and suggests an even playing field, though it’s not that simple. In fact it would be a splintered nightmare for customers, and a fragmented landscape for developers. And even if it did exist, you still have the carriers who control the pipes. The very reason cellphones have exploded is because of solid endpoints. Users don’t have to do any thinking. Yes, it means giving up control (again most people could care less) though you get a streamlined, efficient, frustration-free, it-just-works experience, right out of the box.

    1. Tyler Hayes

      An all-HTML5-world seems nice on paper and suggests an even playing field, though it’s not that simple. In fact it would be a splintered nightmare for customers, and a fragmented landscape for developers.Exactly. Drew Crawford recently did some crazy extensive analysis on why mobile web apps are slow: http://sealedabstract.com/r…. An excerpt:I’m not going to guarantee that this article will convince you, nor even that absolutely everything in here is totally correct–it’s impossible to do in an article this size–but I can guarantee this is the most complete and comprehensive treatment of the idea that many iOS developers have–that mobile web apps are slow and will continue to be slow for the forseeable future.Consumers aren’t banging down the doors for “open”/HTML5 apps for the same reason developers aren’t: they’re far less performant than native apps.It’s more difficult to develop great Android apps than great iOS apps.It’s more difficult to develop great mobile Web apps than great Android apps.

      1. kirklove

        Right. That may change. Though right now, your ranking is solid. Things like phonegap are impressive, though still leave a lot to be desired compared to native apps.

      2. Pete Griffiths

        Great piece by Drew.

    2. mcbeese

      Strongly agree. I think a strong ecosystem consisting of components that work well together trumps any one of the individual components. I prefer my Nexus 10 tablet to my iPad, but iMessage keeps me tied to the iPad.

      1. kirklove

        As my brother said… who is non-tech and sums up the general public well when I said he should check out Chromecast… “I’m very comfortable inside Apple’s walled garden”.

        1. fredwilson

          until he isn’twhich will be someday soon

          1. kirklove

            you don’t know my bro.

          2. fredwilson

            truebut i know my brothers and they are the same way

          3. kirklove

            FYI: Wasn’t trying to be curt. Just meant he’s pretty content staying “put” in pretty much all aspects of his life.

    3. fredwilson

      All true. But as I tell my kids just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean you should. Plus I want to be on the bleeding edge

      1. kirklove

        #punkonoclast(though to call you out, while pithy, that response is a bit of a copout)

        1. fredwilson

          wrote it on my phone.what i meant to say is that i want to think differently. just because the dominant paradigm is native, doesn’t mean it will always be. and if you want to see what replaces native, you can’t be on native.

      2. Matt A. Myers

        As I just replied to Kirk, I think it’s possible if it’s done a little differently, like Apple has done, which has allowed it to be successful, understandable, self-perpetuating, etc.. There’s room for improvement from the last attempts to make “open” platforms – they’ve all been missing some key ingredients.I’ll be in NYC for the September meetup, going to try to make it for a week or so – am planning to meet with Albert to about some political/economic ideas I have, though maybe could meetup with both of you at some point to share my where my projects are leading (business, etc) – or maybe good to keep them separate conversations?

    4. Matt A. Myers

      I agree with every point you made except that an open one can’t be superior.

      1. kirklove

        Never said open can’t be. Someday maybe. Though it will be very, very difficult. Just look at Linux, nearly 25 years old and still very much relegated to a hobby/sideline. If I’m missing an example where open > closed please let me know I’d love to know about it.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Apple uses Linux, it’s just done a little differently which has allowed it to be successful, understandable, self-perpetuating, etc.. There’s room for improvement.

          1. kirklove

            Linux, or Unix?

          2. Matt A. Myers

            I always thought it was Linux, though the difference is somewhat a moot point, no? 🙂

          3. kirklove

            Actually think that makes the point about propriety systems > truly open ones. Apple took Unix and made a better platform with it. People call that “closed” which is silly. It’s just better.Ok, it’s Sunday. Enough AVC. Enjoy the day out in the “open” air 😉

          4. Matt A. Myers

            Making it better isn’t the same as making it closed.I’m in Amsterdam right now, so it’s about bed time. 🙂

          5. Pete Griffiths

            ‘Making better’ very frequent is making it closed. In fact it pretty much always is. Mac OS is based on UNIX but it is absolutely not an open system.

          6. Pete Griffiths

            It is/was UNIX but it doesn’t matter for the purposes of this discussion.

    5. BillSeitz

      VoIP means you can switch (at least on your end) from the telco-pipe to whatever-wifi-is-local….

    6. ObjectMethodology.com

      Again these devices are just small PCs. So as the PC went so goes the small PCs. More and more open… Whatever that means. Is what people will move toward. The desire for freedom it’s inside all of us and it’s something we can’t deny. Even if open isn’t as good it represents freedom and just like food we *need* it.

    7. Sean Hull

      Well said!

    8. Michael Elling

      How do you explain the success and pervasiveness of 802.11? I think you are confusing vertical integration (which can be de-generative and stifling) with horizontal scale, vertical completeness and unlimited generativity. I could take you through a history of mobility over the past 25 years (which I painfully analyzed through peaks and valleys) and debunk much of what you just said. At present there is a lot wrong with the controlled endpoint model you refer to. Put another way, all of today’s market standards evolved out of uncontrolled end points.

      1. kirklove

        If I could invest in me being wrong, I’d be a very, very rich man. 😉

        1. Michael Elling

          Likewise. And I could buy you Abramovich’s yacht to boot!But seriously, discussions like these reinforce the need for common, objective frameworks around which to discuss these issues and align perspectives.One player’s edge is another player’s core. The history of information velocity is a constant tradeoff of switching vs transport, edge vs core, upper vs lower, and software vs hardware. It is true whether we go back 170 years to Morse (the first digital networks), or before to printing presses and even farther to transportation/communication networks in Roman times.Hence, why I refer to horizontal scale and vertical completeness as the best ways to clear rapidly changing technology (supply) and constantly evolving and growing (infinite) demand.The last 30 years appear revolutionary only because we were in a 70 year holding pattern until the concepts of digital “open-ness” began to scale in the early 1980s by breaking up the Bell Monopoly. But the same natural and biological laws have held throughout: Moore, Metcalfe, Zipf, etc….Open access, equal access, net neutrality, open systems are all relatively the same thing, but differ based on what layer and boundary point you are on. Some depth on this: http://bit.ly/13pkZ23

    9. Matt Brubeck

      Every user who has made an effort to jailbreak their phone cares about “locked-down endpoints” even if they don’t use those exact words. According to most surveys I could find, that includes around 5% to 10% of iPhone users worldwide — much higher in some regions. Not a majority, but much more than 0%.

  18. Peter

    See http://html5test.com/result… for the list of mobile browsers rated by the quality of their HTLM5 support. You’ll be surprised who’s rated #1.Oh, and they also have a native mobile Foursquare app – maybe you should try them out for a while.

    1. William Mougayar

      Actually, I’m not surprised. I tried a Playbook last year and was very impressed by their browser which behaved pretty close to a desktop’s experience.

  19. Roy Bahat

    Fred, best way to get an Ubuntu phone I think (and champion the cause of an open phone OS generally) may be to back their crowdfunding campaign for Ubuntu Edge… http://www.indiegogo.com/pr

    1. fredwilson

      they picked the wrong platform sadlybut you can flash an android with ubuntu which i will try

  20. Max Yoder

    So excited to try out the Firefox phones. That organization has a soft spot in my heart.

  21. Alex P

    What about blackberry? Q10 looks good, ability to have Android apps sideloaded is great. QNX underneath it is promising. Add to it the security which Android simply doesn’t have…

  22. BillSeitz

    Are there any issues with a foreign-targeted phone using US 4G?

  23. BillSeitz

    Part of what attracted me to Android was the inherent synch with my gmail address book, having that integrated with my phone number contact list.Do you know what FirefoxOs offers in terms of single Contacts list for phone, email (and other channels), and (encrypted) synch potential for access by your other devices?

  24. Pete Griffiths

    It will be interesting to see what Samsung, Intel etc do with Tizen.

    1. mcbeese

      I don’t give it much chance of taking off, although Samsung certainly has deep pockets to push it. More likely that Blackberry will recover to some degree. For content developers, Tizen would be 5th on the list behind Android, iOS, Blackberry, and Windows.I wish Google would buy Blackberry and migrate it to Android.

      1. Pete Griffiths

        Completely agree wrt Tizen.Good luck w Blackberry. 🙂

  25. Roland Turner

    Getting an “Ubuntu Phone” is not currently possible. The Ubuntu Edge is the first serious swing at commercial availability of one, but its crowd-funding goal http://www.indiegogo.com/pr… is starting to look a little too …ambitious. (Have you backed this yourself yet? :-))The other approach is to install an Ubuntu Touch pre-release on one of the 4 supported Nexus devices https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Tou… , but this is absolutely an engineering exercise, not a commercial product.

  26. falicon

    What about going the jailbroken iphone route? I believe there are even a few emerging app stores for that route (at least internationally if nothing else).It would give you solid hardware, keep you out of complete google control, and also keep you fairly free/open from apple’s claws as well…

  27. davidpitkin

    Hi Fred, if you’re looking for an Ubuntu phone email me at david.pitkin at canonical dot com. Anyone can flash a Nexus 4 with our daily images and we are also running a Indiegogo campaign to build it ourselves, 8 million raised so far so it looks like there is a healthy demand for open endpoints. http://www.indiegogo.com/pr

    1. fredwilson

      will do

  28. SubstrateUndertow

    DNA doesn’t run cloud software via a mothership it run native ?

  29. Gene Vayngrib

    Yes, squeezing performance out of mobile HTML5 is damn hard. But HTML5 apps do not need to close this gap completely. It just takes one open source framework to re-engineer how Gmail, Twitter and LinkedIn did that and millions of other apps will catch up.With the good enough performance, here are 5 main reasons why native apps are not such a sure thing anymore:1. Mobile HTML5 apps had limited access to Device APIs. Firefox OS breaks that spell. Google will be hard pressed to port to Android its Chrome Device APIs, available today only on Chrome OS and desktops.2. Native apps have no view source (and no inspector, firebug, etc.). This is how armies of web developers are trained. Remote view source for mobiles is finally available in Firefox, Chrome and Safari 6.3. Skype-like and many other P2P capabilities are extremely hard to replicate in native mobile apps. WebRTC is about to give web apps a huge advantage. Other mobile HTML5 advances like Web Push Notifications and WebGL are around the corner.4. CIOs love HTML5 for a reason: instant updates, lower dev cost, higher control, better access to talent, cross-platform, no 30% tax.5. Native apps are not team players. They do not interlink, do not mashups, are not SEO friendly, and most importantly, native apps do not share data well. We almost forgot how we marvelled 3 years ago at the advantages of sharing data via the Facebook Graph. Facebook Platform may be out of vogue today, but a new Graph is coming and it will lift all web apps.

  30. catwell

    I think Mozilla is misleading everybody when they say Firefox OS is “open”.First, remember when, a few months ago, they were ranting about Microsoft’s APIs not making it possible to develop an efficient competing browser on WP8 and saying this was an issue of “openness”? Do you think it is possible to publish an efficient competing browser on Firefox OS?Locking everyone into a browser on hardware that is capable of much more is not open at all. I would rather call it a golden jail.Moreover, do you think Firefox OS is a platform where everyone can publish their own applications independently of an app store, and Mozilla’s is just an option? Probably, because they keep repeating this. But try to actually develop for the platform and look at its security model… Mozilla has figured out doing both “open” and “secure” was hard, too hard for them, and they could not give up on secure.So *they actually have an Apple-like application validation model* if you want to obtain some permissions. These permissions include everything they feel is “hard to explain to an average user”. This includes, for instance, systemXHR, the thing that allows you to call any API that doesn’t belong to you…It is a good thing you have decided to try Firefox OS, but do not be fooled about its so-called “openness”. It is definitely not about openness, but a vehicle for the Web platform in its fight against native code. Android is IMO more open, and the “most open” mobile platform is probably Sailfish.

  31. deancollins

    I wonder whatever happened to the SavaJE mobile phone O/S ip rights… Yes I was there for the 2006 launch.

  32. liuche

    Regarding foursquare, I recall recently reading an article about someone’s first FirefoxOS marketplace app – for simple foursquare checkin.http://ruk.ca/content/my-fi

    1. fredwilson

      omg. this is so awesome. made my day

  33. kellan

    Fred, if you want to play with a Firefox OS device before your phone arrives, we’ve got a couple of them in the device lab at EtsyHQ that we’ve been actively testing with.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks Kellan