• viswanathgondi

    Google did open up the phone. But did that a few years back when it invested in CLWR and led the takeover by sprint.

    Look for Clearwire to launch a phone network that will only continue open up. The other will have to follow suite once voice moves over to LTE. It will take a few years though.

    Can’t wait for the Epic 4G on Clearwire this holiday season.

  • http://bayjinger.com Bayjinger

    Generally agree with your article. Google quickly realized if it wanted to be a presence in mobile it can’t compete with handset manufacturers (Apple) and carriers at the same time – so they decided to partner with carriers. Kinda shame. And I would argue Google has made far more concessions to carriers than Apple. Apple was quite bullish in its initial iphone launch – it didn’t allow AT&T to meddle with the software (no bloatware – compare this to Android phones today), and it got a cut of user revenue from AT&T (again, opposite to what Google does today), in exchange for the exclusivity. Overall not too bad a deal for a 1.0 product.
    On the topic of the “universal phone”, I don’t know the cost implications, but coming from China where we’re not locked into contracts (but have to pay full retail price – so that’s a real trade-off), I still have not seen any good universal phones. Yeah there are some “dual sim card” phones which can run on both GSM & CDMA, but the models look really clunky. For all its top models, Nokia (40% market share in China, in line with global stats) offers both CDMA and GSM versions, but never an integrated version – so I assume there are some technical / manufacturing / cost issues preventing this.
    Anyway, iPhone’s exclusivity with AT&T should be coming to an end soon – then consumers will at least have a choice of carriers, if not contract lock-in. Frankly I think the 2-year contract lock-in in the US is hard to change – consumers are used to the subsidies, so asking them to pay $600 for a smartphone instead of $200, just to get the option of switching networks in a 2 year timeframe – that’s a hard sell. Of course, it would be great if consumers at least had this option – paying full retail price to get an unlocked phone – but I doubt its impact overall. It would be appealing to people like me who travel a lot (switching sim cards all the time), but not necessarily to the general consumer

  • http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/ foremski

    The carriers have all the power which is why I suggested several years ago that Google must become a Telco otherwise it will be locked out by the carriers. I guess making deals with the carriers is another strategy…

    The carriers don’t want to be PC-ized in the same way that Intel and MSFT aggregated all the profits (60% plus profit margins) in the PC industry while the PC makers dropped to single digits (Dell profit margin is 3%, HP 7%, Apple 22% – avoided MSFT).

  • http://www.geise.com PXLated

    While I agree with the frustration, a couple of questions/nits…

    “Had to live with AT&T “- Remember though, Verizon turned it down because they couldn’t control the device. Not exactly Apple selling out. The price they paid to change the entire industry at that point was an exclusive which was very common anyway.

    “Choice. That’s what this is all supposed to be about, right?” – Is it? You’re comparing two different industries and two different networking systems. Has there ever been choice in phones/carriers here in the U.S.?

    Shouldn’t your frustration be with the FCC/Congress for allowing all this madness?

    Keeping it short as Bayjinger’s covers everything better than I could.

  • http://ARMdevices.net Charbax2

    Google cannot be a manufacturer of phones. They have to play with the market to advance things.

    It was not up for Google to decide the pricing of the Nexus One, or to decide on which networks it could operate and at which costs.

    Though by installing Android as the dominant platform among current major cell phone manufacturers and carriers, now Google can also enable cheaper Android handsets to be made through competition, which means we can soon buy totally unlocked Android phones for below $200 that have no contract plans. For example, carriers that do pre-paid plans will soon be selling Android phones at $99 or $199 where you simply pre-pay for whatever usage you want to use on those and have no monthly minimum subscription plan.

    Next step as well, hopefully Google has a good plan for how to implement White Spaces worldwide. They can deploy it cheaply by installing Fem2cells in all people’s homes and have those reach outside of people’s homes for covering the whole planet with free wireless broadband. For example, a while city can be covered by White Spaces network for just a few hundred thousand dollars, each Fem2cell doing White Spaces costing $10, Google just needs a few tens of thousands of residents in each city to install the router on their home ADSL or Cable connections, just like http://FON.com they can cover the whole city with one-login one-authentication system and still overall manage bandwidth for the wireless network. And they can add capacity with their fiber network and make the White Spaces routers a big mesh network eventually, not even requiring existing ADSL and Cable connections to work.

  • khim

    US people just don’t deserve freedom from carriers – it’s as simple as that.

    Google is just the latest company which suddenly found out that people in US are all hot air and no bite as far as mobile telecoms are concerned.

    Think about it: unlocked phones are offered in US by the biggest maker of phones in the world. It’s sells more smartphones them RIM and Apple combined. It’s market share (both in dumbphone market and smartphone market) grew so far in 2010. But it’s deemed “failed brand” in US and people are mostly ignoring it.

    Why? It’s easy: even biggest player can not fight carriers without help of customers – and they just don’t care about mobile freedom. Well, if people don’t care about freedom why Google should care? Google is powerful company, but it’s not God. It can not fight carriers if customers of that same carriers don’t support it.

    I don’t know why Google even bothered to create and sell Nexus One – perhaps they were naive enough to expect help from US people? Well, US citizen ignored the fight when they had their last chance so this means they don’t deserve mobile freedom.

    Google just admitted the obvious.

  • jdo

    in many countries around the world, phones are sold unlocked, including smartphones. So what Google and Apple do in each market depends entirely on the laws and regulations in that country.

    in the US, the mobile consumer is screwed in more ways than just carrier lockin. People elsewhere find it very strange that the US consumer pays for incoming calls — and not for landline.