Neither iPhone or OpenMoko are revolutionary

Ted Lemon mellon at
Thu Jan 18 04:43:48 CET 2007

On Jan 17, 2007, at 7:37 PM, David Schlesinger wrote:
> The NEO's not _cheap_, exactly: there was a recent survey of 1,800  
> recent
> purchasers of cell phones, and 21--not 21 _percent_, mind you, 21,
> period--paid over $400. Not many more paid as much as $350.

To me what differentiates the NEO from a typical $400 phone is that  
when you've plunked down your money for a typical phone, you're locked  
into your provider (this is how it is in the U.S. - I know it's  
different in at least parts of Europe).   On top of that, if there's  
anything you don't like about your phone, that's too bad, because when  
they fix the problem in the next release, the only way you're going to  
get it is to buy the new phone.   Compared to the OpenMoko situation  
where even if you aren't a geek yourself, at least when some annoying  
UI glitch gets fixed, you can update your software.

Also, since you're paying for the phone, not your provider, you are  
the customer, not your provider.   I currently have a Samsung t809,  
which is a D820 flashed with t-mobile's firmware.   The phone is  
supposed to be really nice - it has an MP3 player, for example, and  
bluetooth, and supports EDGE as well as GPRS.   But none of the  
features that I wanted actually work.

I can't use a stereo bluetooth headset on it, because the version of  
the firmware t-mobile ships doesn't support that.   So the mp3 player  
is useless.

The apps on the Samsung don't interface with my PIM on my laptop, so I  
can't update the phone book on the phone - it's a dead end data  
store.   When I lose the phone, I have to re-enter all that data.    
The calendar isn't interoperable, so same problem.   The AIM client  
uses SMS, so it's $0.10/message, even though I'm paying for unlimited  
GPRS/EDGE.   The PPP implementation doesn't work with my laptop, so I  
can't even use GPRS/EDGE for anything except from my Nokia 770, which  
I usually don't carry.

So yes, not many people have bought expensive phones.   Why?    
Because, by design, they suck.   The customer is the provider, not the  
user.   So whether you're into open source or not, the OpenMoko/NEO  
phone is a much more attractive value proposition.   When a product  
isn't selling well, it might be because it costs more than the market  
will bear, but it's also possible that it just sucks, and so nobody  
wants it.

It really will be interesting to see what happens with the NEO.   I  
think we will learn a lot.

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