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Nokia Fears Carriers May Try To Undermine N900 307

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-the-carriers-are-usually-so-helpful dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Nokia is worried that networks may reject selling the N900 because it won't allow them to mess with the operating system. Nokia has previously showed the N900 running a root shell and it appears to use the same interface for IM and phone functions. Meanwhile, Verizon is claiming that 'exclusivity arrangements promote competition and innovation.' Is it too late to explain to people why $99+$60/month is not better than $600+$20/month?"
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Nokia Fears Carriers May Try To Undermine N900

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  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily&gmail,com> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:19AM (#29323021)

    I know where my next phone is coming from.

    • by tsa (15680)

      Yes, the new Nokias look to be the first iPhone alternatives that are really interesting. Finally here we have a phone that is not tied to a certain provider. Finally a phone that I can just buy without a SIM card and use with whatever provider I want. Here in Europe we have been used to that for years and years, but suddenly Apple itroduced the moronic American system here and all hell broke loose. I hope Nokia can hold its ground against the nagging providers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by lokedhs (672255)
        I'm not so sure you can call the unavailability of a single phone for "all hell breaking loose". Also, several countroes in Europe sell even the iphone unlocked, since they have to by law.
        • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross.yahoo@ca> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @01:03PM (#29324511)

          Even with the unlocked iPhone you have to keep relogging into the f***g device...

          Here I am in Switzerland and there are two providers: Orange, and Swisscom. Swisscom refuses to unlock the device at any cost. Orange sells you an unlocked device, but the operator very carefully said, "be careful it is not all you think it is."

          So I called Apple and asked what gives?

          Every time you switch SIM card you need to relogin into itunes to reregister your device.

          I asked, oh you mean everytime you put in a new card, once right?

          WRONG!!! No everytime you switch SIM cards you need to relogin... Otherwise the iPhone will not work.

          This is completely bogus and is why I am buying a Nokia N900 and not iPhone. In fact I have not yet bought a smartphone because each smart phone outside of the N900 seem to have one lock in or another.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by spearway (169040)

            I have 4 sim cards in my wallet (ATT, Fido, Vodafone(AU) and SFR) and I change them whenever I need to. No reboot, No iTunes. Just switch wait a few seconds for the network discovery and off you go. It even reconfigures the phone features on the fly, letting you send MMS in Canada but not in the US.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ihmhi (1206036)

      The first phone I ever used was a Nokia. The standard black-and-white screen, as stylish as a deformed paving stone, and no antenna Nokia phone.

      And you know what? I loved the damn thing. I'm not a huge texter, but texting on that phone was snappy. Instant response from the keys. Nowadays I try to text on my shitty Samsung and it drops key presses so "Hey what's up?" comes out something like "Hfyw hat s up!". I don't think it's a good thing that I type faster than my phone could keep up, when a dinky little

  • My next phone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by A beautiful mind (821714) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:21AM (#29323037)
    I really hope European carriers will carry the N900, because I'm planning on getting one. It looks really sweet for basic phone + capable mobile computing device with apt-get usage that I'd like to use it for.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jurily (900488)

      I really hope European carriers will carry the N900

      They will. In Hungary, for example, the mere idea of a phone with a tampered OS is ridiculous.

    • I don't get it.

      Who gives a fuck whether the networks "carry it".

      You want the phone - buy it. Then it's yours. You do what you want with it.

      This isn't 1966 you know.

  • Great pitch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shin-LaC (1333529) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:21AM (#29323043)
    He also said the phone might not sell well because it's only the fourth iteration in their five-step plan, and people might wait for the fifth, which is going to be the real deal. Hasn't this genius heard of the Osborne effect [wikipedia.org]?
    • Re:Great pitch (Score:4, Informative)

      by Plug (14127) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:11AM (#29323319) Homepage

      The fourth iteration (Maemo Fremantle) has a UI built on Hildon/GTK+; the fifth (Maemo Harmattan [maemo.org]), a UI built on Qt. I've read [techtree.com] 4Q 2010 or 1Q 2011, so app developers have to consider whether or not to use the community-supported Qt API on the existing device, which will become "the" OS in 2011, or build something on GTK+, Maemo/Nokia-supported now, which will become community-supported in Harmattan.

    • Re:Great pitch (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:37AM (#29323527) Journal
      I won't buy one because, as soon as the N800 and N810 were released, Nokia immediately stopped bothering to support the 770, which was only about a year old. Even Apple doesn't drop support for products that quickly. If I'd paid anything like the full price for the 770, I'd be quite upset, but as it is I just know not to buy Nokia's Maemo products in future.
      • Re:Great pitch (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:23AM (#29323867)

        Bullshit.

        They released two more versions as "hacker editions" -- backports of the new, N8x0-only software to the 770s dated CPU. No, not everything works perfectly, and they weren't exactly pushed out quickly, but second-class support != no support.

        Moreover, with the N8x0/N9x0 transition, they're making obvious good-faith efforts to allow community maintenance of the old OS (although this is limited due to IP issues, they're actually working to resolve these), as well as providing significant support to a community-run backport of the new OS to the old hardware (which is going quite well). The latter is especially auspicious, as a community-run backport means you never have to worry about some corporation arbitrarily ending support, whether after 1 year or 10 years.

      • Crappy support (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jmorris42 (1458) *

        It gets worse. They dropped support for the 770 too quick. Hacker Editions aren't even a good faith effort unless they either release the source to EVERYTHING or continue to provide support for the parts they keep closed. The 770 won't associate with a WiFi access point if an 802.11n unit is within range. Note I said in range, not just that it won't associate with an N access point and the N770 has very good WiFi range. The bug was closed anyway as WONTFIX.

        Then we get the N8x0 series. They just put th

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:22AM (#29323051)

    Finally a company gets it! We want a phone we can hack LEGALLY, that doesn't have Steve Jobs giant head staring at us 24x7 telling us what we can and cannot do with it. If they can really keep the carriers from imposing idiotic restrictions of their own, this will be the phone to beat.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FooAtWFU (699187)
      So, you're saying you want the HTC Dream?
      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:02AM (#29323279)
        The N900 is -far- superior to the HTC Dream. Lets see here, the HTC Dream ships with 192 MB of RAM, the N900 ships with 256 MB of RAM. The HTC Dream ships with 256 MB of Flash and a MicroSD expansion, the N900 ships with 32 GB of Flash and a MicroSD expansion, The HTC Dream has a screen resolution of 480×320, the N900 has a resolution of 800×480. The HTC Dream uses a 3.2 megapixel camera while the N900 uses a 5.0 megapixel camera. The HTC Dream is without a doubt inferior to the N900.
        • Does the N900 fit into my shirt pocket?
        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by FooAtWFU (699187)
          All this and more I will readily believe! But the AC's criteria were more modest: "a phone we can hack LEGALLY, that doesn't have Steve Jobs giant head staring at us 24x7 telling us what we can and cannot do with it."
        • Can you get the N900 without a lousy physical qwerty keyboard? While the HTC Magic looks decent, even it wastes space on physical buttons.

          What I really want is an iPhone with a less restrictive software environment, using an efficient virtual keyboard like ShapeWriter. A minimal slab of computing hardware which is as densely packed with battery and display area as is physically possible.

          • by RedK (112790)
            You could, you know, just not use it ? Most of the people who don't want an iPhone want a physical keyboard on their device. Not to mention all the iPhone users who just hate typing without any feedback.
    • Oh Anonymous Coward. He isn't "staring", he's "watching over you with the stern benevolence of a strong father".

      Some people.
    • Finally a company gets it! We want a phone we can hack LEGALLY, that doesn't have Steve Jobs giant head staring at us 24x7 telling us what we can and cannot do with it. If they can really keep the carriers from imposing idiotic restrictions of their own, this will be the phone to beat.

      Now vote with your dollar and buy it

  • by Anonymous Coward

    60*12 + 100 = 820
    20*12 + 600 = 840

    • by Jurily (900488) <jurily&gmail,com> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:33AM (#29323103)

      So for $20 extra, you get to use all the features of your phone.

    • by confused one (671304) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:38AM (#29323135)

      except some carriers require a TWO year contract; so, that becomes:

      60*24 + 100 = 1540
      20*24 + 600 = 1080

      Definitely better off buying the phone outright

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by c_forq (924234)
        This has the major flaw of assuming you get a cheaper rate if you provide your own phone. Almost everywhere I've looked has standard plans. If you sign a one or two year contract you can get a cheap or discounted phone. If you don't sign the contract the plan is still the same amount. So the question become do I think I'll be with them for at least the length of the contract, if I do then it makes sense to get better phone out of the deal.
        • Exactly, and assumes you can get a "perfect" plan. Good luck getting a plan on A) A high-speed network B) Has "unlimited" data C) And has enough text messages/minutes for you to actually -use- your phone. Getting all this for $20? I'd really like to see which network they used...
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Dr_Barnowl (709838)

            I'd be happy enough with a data plan and no inclusive minutes - I make an average of about 3 seconds of calls per month.,..

            • Sure, but some of us have the annoying relative who don't know how to text or use the internet to talk and end up talking on the phone for hours on end. Yeah, you might be able to hack together a VoIP app for that, but sometimes its just as easy to get a 200 minute plan per month for those sort of people.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Dr_Barnowl (709838)

                Ah, cross-atlantic differences. This side of the ocean, only the caller pays, or I too would want a bigger plan for all the times my wife calls me wanting tech support.

          • by bhtooefr (649901)

            Probably Sprint after being with them for 5 years on a SERO account, and getting screwed over multiple times by clueless customer service, so they hit up the retentions candy store every time, and got what they asked for. You could get ridiculous incentives out of retentions up until recently.

            But Sprint's CDMA, not GSM, so that won't work with this thing.

  • Perhaps it is. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:28AM (#29323083) Homepage

    > Is it too late to explain to people why $99+$60/month is not better than
    > $600+$20/month?"

    For some it may be. Why do you think you know what is best for everyone?

    • For some it may be. Why do you think you know what is best for everyone?

      I think the GP was referring to basic math. Assuming that Verizon ties you into a 1 year contract, which is probably the LEAST we could expect for a shiny new phone (more like 2 years), then you end up breaking losing money under the GP's scenario. With the more realistic two year contract -- and let's face it, Verizon is not going to let you walk away on a prepaid plan with the N900 -- you lose a decent chunk of money. Since I think most people, according to recent polls, LIKE money, it's probably better

      • And where do I sign up for the magical $20 contract? Show me one where I get the hours I need + internet (and oh yeah, in the US) and I'm there. Generally the ones without a contract are no better than the one with. It would make sense if plans seemed to go down over two years, but because of the lack of competition they don't. So in the end you might as well get the contract and the phone - you're paying out the nose either way.

    • Re:Perhaps it is. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by pla (258480) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:40AM (#29323151) Journal
      For some it may be. Why do you think you know what is best for everyone?

      Although not explicitly stated, (at least) the first option comes with a 2-year contract. Thus, it only takes some very simple math to figure out that in two years, the first option comes out to $1539, and the second option to $1080.

      If you'd really like to spend more, feel free to send me the extra $500 and we'll call it good.
    • by darjen (879890)

      How could $500 extra over a forced two year commitment possibly be better for some people?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Xiterion (809456)
        It allows them to buy the shiny toys they otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford because they lack the basic self discipline to save up $600 to pay for the item. They also have no concept of the cost of something that has monthly payments.
      • Because in this economy a lot of us simply don't have the cash due to increased savings in case your job is the next to go or slumping sales of your product. Also some of us also have short-term investments that we expected to liquidate without much trouble but in the current economy either they lost value (stocks), didn't lose value but are now hard to sell (real estate), or items that weren't investments but hard to sell luxury items (such as a third car). Plus seriously, $20 a month for a plan? Someone t
        • by darjen (879890)

          If the economy is really that bad and you can't afford it, $60/month will hurt a lot more than $20/month. You'll will make up the subsidized difference in only a few months. Unless you expect to be solvent again in a few months, it's a pretty bad deal. Basic math, people.

          I have a $20/month 3g data plan from ATT for my nokia e71 that I bought outright for $330. I asked them what the lowest possible cost was, which was some wierd thing they don't advertise. Then I went online and added the $15 media net plan

          • "If the economy is really that bad and you can't afford it, $60/month will hurt a lot more than $20/month. You'll will make up the subsidized difference in only a few months. Unless you expect to be solvent again in a few months, it's a pretty bad deal. Basic math, people."

            Math is clean and purely theoretical. Life is not. Pragmatism comes into play. If I have $150.00 am I better off getting a phone now and paying more in the long run or going without one for several months while I save up the money? If

            • by darjen (879890)

              It's not purely theoretical when you end up paying far more for than what you save after just a few months. Unless you get a good paying job in a few months you will be in bad shape. Even after you get a good paying job it's not worth it. I'm quite happy with my $20/month 3g data plan. If you're really that poor, you should be going pre-paid until you get a job.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Zero__Kelvin (151819)

                "Unless you get a good paying job in a few months you will be in bad shape. Even after you get a good paying job it's not worth it."

                Oh let's see. By shelling out an extra $500.00 for the year I get an $85,000/yr job I wouldn't have gotten if I was "smart" like you. Hmmm. Which one of us doesn't understand math and the true orthagonality of the problem again?

                Some friendly advice: Unless you are going to post back with a post giving yourself a virtual handslap to the forehead, don't bother replying. You

      • It's better for business users - ie: anyone whose employer is providing the phone.

        The cost of the hardware is a capital expense.

        The monthly is an operating expense.

        Operating expenses are preferable for tax purposes, which is why businesses lease equipment in situations where total cost is a wash compared to outright purchase.

    • For some it may be. Why do you think you know what is best for everyone?

      Damn straight! Paying more for the same thing is a choice, nay a right, of the consuming public! How dare these people claim that paying less is better for everyone?

  • by ribuck (943217) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:48AM (#29323203) Homepage
    This is a very negative statement, and from a Nokia vice president no less. It seems a very strange thing to say at the time of launching a new device.

    I hope Nokia is not buttering us up for DRM and lockdown in "Step 5 of 5"...

    Meanwhile, the N900 will succeed wildly if Nokia's marketeers allow it to. We tech people like the device because of its specs, but where are the simple statements of the benefits for its other market sectors?

    "Open source Linux with a root shell" is good enough for me, but what about "A phone with a real Mozilla-based browser", or "A music player with stereo speakers built-in", or even "N900 - comes with apps".
  • Operators are scared (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I've been testing a N900 for a while, and let me tell you it is amazing. If this little device is a sign of what's to come, operators should be scared. This is exactly the type of development that will regulate them to the dump data pipes they should be.

    Today I received a call from my friend while at home, only later did I realize he was using Skype to call me. Friends PC->Internet->Home wlan->N900 rings, indistinguishable from a normal cellular call, and most importantly my operator didn't make a

  • Verizon Says: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nautical Insanity (1190003) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:52AM (#29323231)

    "exclusivity arrangements promote competition and innovation."

    The foul stench creeping through your nose right now is the smell of total bare-faced bullshit.

    • The foul stench creeping through your nose right now is the smell of total bare-faced bullshit.

      What, you don't believe it's "competition and innovation" to blow identical Verizon interface firmware into every model of every brand and castrate Bluetooth transfers so all Verizon customers have to pay network charges to get their own multimedia to and from the phone, no matter what the manufacturer's specs say? (Those of you who didn't know everyone else could transfer pictures and sounds directly between phones without paying for MMS: That's right. You must be a Verizon or Sprint customer.)

      • by bhtooefr (649901)

        All of my phones with Bluetooth have been smartphones and allow transfers of whatever you want (a Sprint Palm Centro and a Sprint HTC Touch Pro,) but I didn't think Sprint crippled Bluetooth-equipped dumbphones quite that badly.

        Verizon, OTOH, does everything you say, though. IIRC, their official policy is that Bluetooth is for headsets and headsets only. If you're lucky, you'll get some contacts transferred.

        Hell, I had to use a Motorola hacking tool just to get pictures out of Verizon phones at my former em

    • by Ant P. (974313)

      That's a funny way for them to admit how much they fucked up...

      AT&T got the iPhone exclusively because Verizon didn't want to compete or innovate.

  • by MaraDNS (1629201) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:02AM (#29323281) Homepage Journal

    With GSM phones and SIM cards, there is nothing forcing you to buy a phone that is locked or crippled by your phone carrier.

    You can, for example, buy an unlocked Nokia cell phone [google.com] from any of several places, and then put in, if you are in the US, a T-Mobile or AT&T SIM card. If you're outside of the US, use your local carrier--CDMA cell phones seem to only exist in the US.

    And, of course, if you do end up with a locked phone, there are services on the internet that can unlock the cell phone for you, and reflash the OS on the phone to one that doesn't have whatever features your carrier decided to disable.

    I think the only people who will have a problem are people who are in an area of the US without GSM towers and have to use Verizon.

    • You can buy a phone from Nokia... if you like paying a lot of money. Or you can buy from a reseller for about half the price. I never understood why Nokia insists on charging so much more for direct sales than they appear to charge wholesale.
      • by sznupi (719324)

        Probably because that's not what their supply channels are geared for - vast majority of Nokia phones get sold through carriers or some local distribution in "3rd world" countries.

    • by bhtooefr (649901)

      CDMA phones also exist in Japan and, IIRC, China. (Oh, and the Canadian market is like ours, same shit, different companies. Including both CDMA and GSM carriers.)

      (However, both countries use R-UIMs, which are like SIMs, but are for CDMA. An R-UIM device doesn't even have an MEID (the CDMA equivalent of an IMEI,) it's in the R-UIM - necessary due to how CDMA authentication works, the ESN/MEID is tied to the account, so it'll reject the call if you change MEIDs without requesting the change from your carrier

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Japan is for all intents and purposes a 3G country at this point though; my GSM/3G "world phone" (all four GSM freq) would work there AFAIR.

        Regarding SE - it's not Sony, it's a joint venture in which Sony participates. In which the other side is Scandinavian, and they have better backbone in business ethics than most places...

        And regardless...remember that Sony is not a monolith. Actually, in some ways, its various divisions work against each other (heck, they open sourced recently some pro software for mov

    • by Nick Driver (238034) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:17AM (#29323819)

      Where I live and do my traveling, the GSM providers' networks are marginal at best. They are grossly oversold and there are outright large coverage holes, especially with T-mo. Verizon and Sprint's RF coverage is excellent and the EVDO data with Verizon blows away AT&T's 3G data so badly there's no comparison.

      Even if Nokia would offer a CDMA/EDVO version of a smartphone, Verizon would never allow it on their network.

  • by NickFortune (613926) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:13AM (#29323333) Homepage Journal

    'exclusivity arrangements promote competition and innovation.'

    I'm coming to the conclusion that "competition and innovation" can only mean for "keeps the board in cocaine and blowjobs". From the number of times we see anti-competitive and anti-innovative measures hailed as promoting those same qualities, it seems clear that they can't mean it literally.

    By this stage, I think "cocaine and blowjobs" is about the only credible interpretation remaining.

    • Dear sir,

      Please find hereby enclosed my resume...

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Tetsujin (103070)

        I'm coming to the conclusion that "competition and innovation" can only mean for "keeps the board in cocaine and blowjobs". From the number of times we see anti-competitive and anti-innovative measures hailed as promoting those same qualities, it seems clear that they can't mean it literally.

        By this stage, I think "cocaine and blowjobs" is about the only credible interpretation remaining.

        Dear sir,

        Please find hereby enclosed my resume...

        Dear sir,

        Our human resources department has looked over your resume and found you list of qualifications, references, and prior experience quite impressive. At present we have no job openings. However we will keep your resume on file, and should we have an opening for a blow-and-blowjob provider, we will consider inviting you to our offices for an interview and test.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:31AM (#29323467)

    I gave up fighting against bundled plans, because (at least in the U.S.) the un-bundled stuff really isn't cheaper. Witness the "Mi-Fi", a device I'd really love to have and would consider using in place of a phone even - but the plan for that is not that much different than a phone plan, in the U.S. So you are really better off going with a two-year plan and a subsidized device, since you are likely to keep a phone for around two years anyway...

  • by gpuk (712102) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:59AM (#29323723) Homepage

    If you're considering getting one of these (and I certainly am), why not go to the N900 mini-site and submit your email address to get an alert when the phone goes on general sale. If nothing else it will show Nokia that there is legitimate, widespread interest in this phone and hopefully help them keep their resolve against the evil telcos!

    N900 site is here: http://maemo.nokia.com/n900/ [nokia.com] (scroll all the way to the bottom for the form that lets you submit your email addy).

    Also, to whet your appetite of what's likely to come, check out this forum post over on the maemo boards: http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?t=24272 [maemo.org]

  • by Tweenk (1274968) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:22AM (#29323847)

    http://www.forum.nokia.com/devices/N900 [nokia.com]

    Here it says that it won't support OGG, but it manages to support the completely abandoned Windows Media shit. The only unpatented format it can play is WAV. And it records to AAC (WTF!!!!). It doesn't know about SVG, but manages to support WMF (fortunately WMF is not patented). This phone is a giant step in the right direction, but it's still not the 'dream platform' for open source development.

  • by Greger47 (516305) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:45AM (#29323967)

    From the article:

    Nokia executive vice president Kari Tuutti told Mobile News the N900 user interface cannot be customised to include network applications, which will be a bone of contention with the networks.

    Tuutti said: "We have a good, long lasting relationship with the networks, but we understand that they may not be happy with the user interface because it cannot be customised."

    Which is total BS since Nokia has full control of the software on the device. The only reason for not customizing or locking down the N900 must be that they don't want to. A ballsy move, I really hope Nokia (and other manufacturers as well) will manage to wrestle control away from the networks and their nickel-and-dime walled gardens.

    /greger

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