Thursday 11 January 2007

Some more on the ApplePhone

There's some serious nonsense being put forward in this Steven Levy interview with el Jobs.

But it’s not like the walled garden has gone away. “You don’t want your phone to be an open platform,” meaning that anyone can write applications for it and potentially gum up the provider's network, says Jobs. “You need it to work when you need it to work. Cingular doesn’t want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.”

This kind of thinking is positively stone age in this era of global cellular roaming and it's the type of drivel you only see today coming from US cellular providers. There certainly are some risks involved in allowing "open" platform handsets on your cellular network but it's not as if Cingular are bravely holding the wolves at bay by forcing this sort of policy on their subscribers - as an international GSM\UMTS roaming user I can (and have) happily connected a bunch of "open" devices to Cingular's network in the past when travelling to the US and I'm going to be doing so again shortly when I go back in February. The lock down is to enable profiteering not security.

This is a deliberate deception by Steve Jobs and poor reporting by Steven Levy. Both Cingular and Apple have a strong commercial interest in keeping the ApplePhone locked down as it will keep users tied to both providers as the sole suppliers of data, software and services. The intention (obviously) being that Cingular want to recoup significantly more than the $400 or so subsidy per device that they are paying Apple up front by selectively charging way over the odds for additional services and Apple themselves want to ensure that the customers can't break free of the iTunes\Apple Store ecosystem. There's nothing wrong with this by the way but I really do wish that Apple at least would be honest about their reasons.

I still want one but Eddie forwarded on some info on the Cowon Q5 earlier today and I'm thinking that this might be much more desirable depending on its eventual price. It isn't as ultra compact as the ApplePhone and runs Windows CE 5 rather and OS X but it solidly trounces it on every other specification.
  • 5" 800x480 16million colour touch screen. ( vs 480x320)
  • GPS ( vs not featured on the Apple)
  • HSDPA (thats 1Mbps+ 3G UMTS vs < 100kbps for the Apple)
  • 30-60 GB storage depending on model (vs 8GB max)
  • Wifi, Bluetooth and Infrared (vs WiFi+Bluetooth)
  • USB+USB2Go Client and host (vs iPod proprietary sync )
  • DMB (TV) receiver (vs not featured on the Apple)
  • FM-Radio (vs not featured on the Apple)
  • Available from February. (vs June possibly in the US
  • No Cellular lock in (vs 2 year lock in to Cingular\Vodafone)
And this one runs Windows CE 5 so developing homebrew apps may well be pretty straightforward. It is big though as you can see in this very short CNET video review.

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