In my initial post on what I think it will take to bring all the right criteria together for a phone that solves all the problems for a market leading smartphone, I wrote the following:
- Must have QWERTY keyboard for email and text.
- Must have push email
- Must have sync tools to PIM on desktop
- Must have decent high speed internet
- Must have good voice quality
- Must have good design/ form factor: has to to work ergonomically correct as a phone and emailer
- Decent battery life
- Decent Network (ideally verizon)
I have since changed my mind about the Verizon requirement, though I regrettably still use it. The recent creation of the Gmail mobile app was a wake up call. I hadn’t been fully aware of how absurd the Verizon Wireless BREW walled garden is. Simply stated, Verizon wants to control EVERYTHING you put on your phone…all applications, additions, etc. Many of the 3rd party apps built for most phones and Blackberries are not BREW enabled, which means they won’t work on Verizon’s closed system (though, I did finally get the gmail mobile app working).Verizon wants to charge you to use your phone for everything. Their mentality seems to be that they actually own the phone, that you are just paying to use it and their network. They hide behind the security curtain to say that they are really looking out for their customers. Here is a very interesting post that outlines the issue.
A quick abstract from that post:
After buying the new v710, many consumers quickly discovered they were unable to perform several basic functions which other similarly equipped phones, from other carriers, were capable of doing. Simple functions, such as sending a phone book record to another phone or a picture to a laptop computer, exist only in some locked area of the v710 no one can access. This is because some critical Bluetooth profiles have been deactivated on the handset; primarily OBEX (Object Exchange) , OPP (Object Push Profile), and SPP (Serial Port Profile). These services are responsible for transferring photos and phone numbers or performing synchronization with a PC wirelessly. Lack of these feature has also caused many vehicles with Bluetooth support (such as the Prius, Acura TL, and BMW) to malfunction. The only sure-fire way to transfer anything to or from the phone, in fact, is to shell out $60 for a TransFlash memory card – and new versions of Verizon firmware are being leaked out showing this feature has already been crippled in future releases. Looking around for the POP3 email client or instant messenger? It was advertised as a capability by the manufacturer, but you won’t find it either, because Verizon had those features switched off as well. The irony is that Motorola, who doesn’t sell these handsets directly to the public, has done a significant amount of advertising on their own for a handset that, thanks to the carrier, will never exist in its advertised state.
I highly recommend reading the entire post, as it reveals a lot about the way Verizon views/treats their customers. Its fair to say that my next phone will not be on the Verizon Network.
Isn’t everyone doing this? No. There are plenty of other carriers that don’t seem to have the same control issues. Most GSM carriers provide a full set of features in the phones they sell. The Bluetooth-enabled phones offered by Cingular Wireless include a full set of services, run whatever games you like, and even include an email client. Other major carriers including Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T provide similar quality phones lacking any significant restrictions. No, the tactics Verizon has shown to use in driving up revenue is only characteristic of the carriers in many third-world or communist countries such as China (China Unicom), Taiwan (Vibo), Argentina (Movicom), and Nicaragua (BellSouth Nicaragua) where the Orwellian form of government has been nurtured and propagated. And if Verizon has their way, they’ll become the little Machiavelli of the telecom industry. These customer strong-arming tactics are what originally got Microsoft in trouble, and seems to be the signature of some now-dying carriers such as Cellular One. In America, Verizon’s profitability appears to have a short life expectancy.
See prior entries on the Smartphone Mashup here: