Don't you hate it when long-anticipated products fail to live up to their advance hype?
When I was a kid, I desperately wanted a chemistry set. I had visions of making incredible new discoveries that would set the field of chemistry buzzing like a bee banging its head against a window -- although I had no idea what they would be. When it arrived, the chemicals included were so mundane I was forced to fantasize about using the ones marked "poison" against any burglar who might enter our home and threaten my family while asking me to get him a cup of tea.
The iPhone turned out to be a great design, but was crippled when Jobs decided to line his own pockets while punishing his customers with an exclusive relationship with AT&T.
Google will have the opposite problem. The Wall Street Journal reports today that the Google phone could be announced within two weeks. The difficulties it will face, says the Journal: Google "will have to overcome resistance from wireless carriers and deal with potentially thorny security and privacy issues."
Forget the security and privacy issues. Most people just don't worry about those. The Journal is just trying to make sure it mentions all possible difficulties. After all, we don't want to overestimate Google, do we?
The Journal says that Google wants "to loosen the grip wireless carriers have over the software and services consumers can access on cellphones."
Now, that's where it will run into problems. This arrogant company wants to force cell carriers to let us decide what features we want. Mother Bell knows best.
Aside from including the obvious features -- its search engine, Google Maps, YouTube and Gmail email -- the Journal says Google wants to take the "radical" step of making "the phones' software 'open' right down to the operating system ... That means independent software developers would get access to the tools they need to build additional phone features."
Gasp! allowing entrepreneurs to innovate on a cell phone? Not on my overweight monopolistic behemoth phone company! Phone companies bring a whole old meaning to the word "mashup." It's what they'd like to do to Sergey Brin's head.
Steve Jobs had to be kicked in the teeth and dragged to the altar by rebelling customers before allowing outside developers to marry new features to the iPhone.
I say: Bust those monopolies! End the forced two-year contracts just to replace a phone whose planned obsolescence has arrived and whose keyboard no longer works! Let us choose the features we want instead of paying for a host of unwanted features just to get the two we really need! Hang the cellular executives by their thumbs!
But I digress.
Google actually wants its phone to be available to all carriers. But it will have trouble dragging them along. What does it say about the state of American free markets when, as the Journal reports, "In the U.S., [Google] has the most traction with Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile USA."
Good old mom-and-apple-pie Deutsche Telekom.
ComputerWorld shows optimism with the headline: Has a wireless upheaval begun? According to industry analysts, says CW, "Google's entry could signal a more open system where a customer buys the Google phone and then chooses a carrier."
What a concept! In my socialist view, carriers should be forced to head in that direction.
CW quotes an IDC analyst who says "It's possible some carriers will work with Google. AT&T seems to be more open already with its iPhone support and other things, while T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel may be more open than Verizon Wireless."
I refused to get an iPhone because it doesn't work with my carrier, Verizon, which gives me the best signal. That was Steve Jobs's choice.
Now the Google phone probably won't work with Verizon either. That's Verizon's choice. I may have to switch carriers just to make the point that they can't manipulate me that way, just as I avoid the iPhone to let Jobs know he can't manipulate me that way, either.
This is one revolution I support. If only the reality can live up to the hype.
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