IPhone fun, yet again

For anyone who’s missed this:

Teen Releases First Jailbreak App for iPhone 3GS

You’d figure Apple would learn eventually and stop trying to lock down it’s products… Oh, wait.



Just because it’s mobile, doesn’t mean you should move it…

Two tidbits caught my attention today:

1. According to Engadget the Autonet Mobile router, which turns your car into a wifi hotspot, will now be sold via Amazon for the paltry price of $299 (plus a $29 monthly fee.) The move was announced after both Chrysler and General Motors, who had been Autonet business partners, have recently gotten into financial trouble. While personally I have to applaud the company for it’s tanacity and customer empowerment , I still have to ask: Who ever came up with the notion that this is a good idea? Have we really become so connected that having Wifi IN THE CAR seems like something we absolutly need?

2. A recent study by SquareTrade finds that over 20% of IPhones have been damaged by accident within 22 months of purchese (report published on Techcrunch.com) .  According to the study, 66% of the accidents involved dropping the phone on a hard surface, while and additional 25% involved water damamge, such as dropping your phone in the toilet. In the face of such numbers, I do feel that one has to ask: Is it possible that some of these “accidents” weren’t so accidental? Could some of it be just the end results of IPhone users trying to actually get some use of their phones? Just wondering.


Upward mobility

These past couple of weeks have been significant in the world of mobile communications. With the introduction of the Apple IPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre (in addition to the already-out Backberry storm) it seems that the days of the cell phone as a true  “Mobile computing platform” are finally here. Hooray Hurrah! it’s 1983 all over again!

Except that it’s not. 1983 saw two major advancements in the field of personal computing that complimented each other: First the IBM-XT personal computer. A truly flexible computing platform that combined power (such as there was at the time) and a price attractive enough for regular people, the XT (and it’s successor the IBM-AT based on Intel’s 80286 cpu) was not only a great computer, but the fountainhead of a whole new industry: IBM clones. These “PC-compatible” machines took what was just one of many competing computing platforms, and made it into the de-facto standard for computing till today. Even though IBM no longer makes personal computers, the x86 architecture on the desktop has endured magnificently over the last three decades, in large part due to the availability of cheap, inter-compatible  hardware, readily bought from your nearest distributor.

But hardware is only part of the story: 1983 also saw the announcement of MS-Dos version 2.0 – the first Operating System that was both truly usable and (more importantly) cross-platform compatible. You could buy Ms-Dos separately from the computer, install it on the PC-clone of your choice, and IT WORKED! You did not have to get your hardware and software from the same place any more. You weren’t locked into whatever your vendor offered and that’s it. For the first time ever, you had true flexibility in computing. This was astounding. Still is, if you think about it.

The situation in today’s cellular market is the same as it was in the PC world before 1983. We have good platforms out there, and they have a tremendous potential as the computing platforms of the future. What we lack is a PC-Clone and a Microsoft. We lack a platform that is so convincing that it would sweep all others before it, and so easy to build that everyone (except Apple, as always) will build versions of it. That, coupled with a company that would bring it all together, and develop the definitive Mobile OS that would run on that platform. I had (and still have) great hopes for Android as being that OS. But so far this seems not to be happening.

One final thought: We don’t HAVE to have the hardware platform. You can port an OS to any number of architectures. Linux does it, and it works. But we do HAVE to have ONE (or at most two) mobile OS. The one platform that would sweep the market and create a standard. When that happens, when you can run any application on any cell phone, when the brand of your cell phone becomes a matter of price and convenience, not a question of what that brand can and can’t do. Then – only then – can we party like it’s 1983