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Nokia Fears Carriers May Try To Undermine N900 307

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 @10:19AM (#29323021)

    I know where my next phone is coming from.

  • My next phone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:21AM (#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.
  • Great pitch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shin-LaC ( 1333529 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:21AM (#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 []?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:22AM (#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.

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

    by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:28AM (#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?

  • by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily&gmail,com> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:33AM (#29323103)

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

  • by confused one ( 671304 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:38AM (#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

  • Verizon Says: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nautical Insanity ( 1190003 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:52AM (#29323231)

    "exclusivity arrangements promote competition and innovation."

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

  • Re:My next phone (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily&gmail,com> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:56AM (#29323253)

    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.

  • by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:12AM (#29323325)

    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.,..

  • by NickFortune ( 613926 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:13AM (#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.

  • Re:Perhaps it is. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xiterion ( 809456 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:13AM (#29323335)
    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.
  • by Jim Efaw ( 3484 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:22AM (#29323391) Homepage

    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.)

  • Re:My next phone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bhtooefr ( 649901 ) <> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:35AM (#29323503) Homepage Journal

    But, in the US, you won't get your plan any cheaper, at least from what I've seen, by bringing your own phone.

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

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:37AM (#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.
  • by RedK ( 112790 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @12:01PM (#29323737)
    You have a root shell on the N900 without having to jailbreak it. What more could you want ?
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @12:04PM (#29323753) Journal

    Their business model is based on locked down symbian

    No, their business is on hardware. None of the Nokia devices I've owned have been locked down at all; they've all come with SDKs and allowed me to run software. Many of their customers add restrictions, but if you buy your phone from a carrier then you get what you deserve. Symbian and Windows Mobile? A bit disingenuous, given how few Nokia devices run Wince; they've shipped a lot more Linux devices than Wince so far.

    I got a 770 (the first tablet in this series) under Nokia's Open Source Developers' Program, for a fraction of the retail price, simply based on existing open source contributions. I probably won't be buying an N900 - the hardware's nice but after trying to develop for Maemo I decided it was more effort than it was worth - but that doesn't mean they don't regard open source as important to their business model (oh, and I forgot to mention their WebKit contributions in my original post).

    The fact that open source Symbian is hard to hack on doesn't surprise me in the least. Closed Symbian was also not at all fun for developers, and neither is Maemo. Based on what I've heard from a friend to used to work for Nokia, I'm much more inclined to blame this on the general level of competence of their developers than on any hostility towards Free Software.

  • by Eunuchswear ( 210685 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @12:40PM (#29323937) Journal

    Here it says that it won't support OGG,

    What is this "support" shit? It's running Linux, If you want OGG just apt-get install it.

  • by Greger47 ( 516305 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @12:45PM (#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.


  • by Arimus ( 198136 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @01:00PM (#29324109)

    And not to mention Nokia know the N900 is not for your average cellphone user but more biased towards tech lovers; who will get very peeved with any lock downs and will just unlock the dammed thing anyway...

  • Re:My next phone (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eunuchswear ( 210685 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @01:04PM (#29324129) Journal

    Where do you live? I thought the USSR had collapsed?

  • by djlowe ( 41723 ) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @01:20PM (#29324239)

    but wiping all the innocent iranian blood off the phone sort of turned me off that idea.

    It was only a couple months ago this companys products were helping the Iranian government capture freedom protesters and censor the iranian internet.

    You need to add a new word to your vocabulary, I think. Here, I'll help you out - it's called "perspective []". Nowhere in your linked article does it state that Nokia itself is actively engaging in, nor encouraging, such activities.

    Now, to forestall the "They should be more responsible" protests, you should consider something.

    Let's assume, for a moment, that Nokia, taking your Slashdot post to heart, decides that it will no longer sell any of its products to the Iranian government. There's nothing to stop the Iranian government from purchasing them from third parties: Would you then call upon every third-party distributor, reseller, etc., everywhere in the world to stop selling Nokia's products to them?

    Let's extend this example to the ridiculous and assume that you do, and everyone agrees.

    So, they go elsewhere, and let's further assume that nobody, anywhere, will sell them what they want... so, they go to Open Source, perhaps. Certainly, the raw tools are there, no? It'd take time, and money, but they're a government, after all, and they've as much of the latter as needed to accomplish the same task.

    Now, learning this, you gnash your teeth in frustration: OMG teh evil Iranian gummint is using Open Source to oppress people! What are you going to do then? Call upon the whole world to stop creating Open Source programs?

    Yeah, I see *that* happening.

    So, to wrap this up: Don't blame the tools, nor the companies that sell them, blame the people that misuse them in whatever role or capacity.

    Finally, to bring this back on-topic somewhat: The N900 appears to be exactly what I've been waiting for in a "convergence device": Sufficient computing power and features, open enough to play with and do neat things with, AND made by a company with enough world-wide presence to actually make it fly, if they do it properly.

    While my employer provides me with a Blackberry with unlimited voice and data, it is crippled by Verizon and has no WiFi capabilities, and so I can't use it, for example, as a SIP phone to connect to my Cisco 871W at home and make voice calls leveraging our internal VOIP network to other employees (or outbound calls from it), nor access my corporate voicemail that way, nor can I use the 871W for data/corporate network/email/Internet access while at home: 54 Mbps would be quite a lot faster than EVDO-A and my broadband connection much faster as well, and, since it'd be via the VPN tunnel from my home to the office when I'm home, it'd be far more secure. A smart/converged phone with such capabilities would allow me to stop carrying my Cisco 7921G (one cradle at home, one at the office I go to most), and use just one device for voice, and add things such as remote server access as well either via WiFi/tunneled at home or at our offices, or EVDO-A/VPN when elsewhere, with a much better screen and in as convenient a form factor as my Blackberry, with a better keyboard, to boot. Hell, I might even be able stop lugging my work laptop with its Verizon mobile broadband card around with me everywhere I go, too.

    My adopting a device such as the N900 would represent a loss of income to Verizon: I'd drop one unlimited data plan from them, and would probably be able to switch from an unlimited cellular voice plan to something less expensive as well. and THAT is why the cellular carriers in the US don't want fully open, powerful, "converged" devices, I think: The potential loss of income from business subscribers is enormous. Our corporate phone system is already VOIP over our WAN: Being able to extend that to mobile devices, seamlessly, represents a huge potential loss of income to them.



  • Re:Perhaps it is. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @01:42PM (#29324391)

    You have 4 major carriers, same here in the US (ATT, sprint, verizon, tmobile). funny how the basic monthly plans for all 4 are about the same - cost and minutes-wise. it's called collusion and our current corporatist government permits it.

  • by RedK ( 112790 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @01:47PM (#29324405)

    Wasted space ? I doubt it since most people want one. Averse to change ? No, the shape thing has been used before (Palm) and it's much less efficient than a keyboard. Plus having shapes for words makes learning Kanji seem easy. Seriously, the keyboard is one of the best input device for text. And last I checked, SMS, MMS, the frickin root shell, entering contact information is all text based input.

    And seriously, it's not because people don't agree with you that you are somehow special and everyone else is averse to change. I personnally just don't like change just for the sake of change. Until someone comes up with something better than the keyboard, and not a virtual one that takes up half the screen space, they can keep their change.

  • by DMoylan ( 65079 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @06:31PM (#29326989)

    tried it. didn't work. as i said i tried everything. one of my hates with the e71 was the location and size of the headphone jack. non standard size mounted 1/3 of the way down the side. such a bad place to put the jact if the phone is going to be in a holster or pocket. but if it had of worked i would have made a jack that fitted flush to eliminate that stupid fucking noise.

    here's the thing. i almost never make voice calls from my phone. i would have left a headset plugged in 24 7 if it did work.

    i could take the device apart and remove the speaker.

    but it comes down to time wasted.

    when i had a 3650 i just turned it off.
    when i had n70 i just switched the profile to silent
    when i had a e61i i set warning tones to off - 10 minutes finding this option.
    when i got the e71 i also set warning tones off.

    i shouldn't have to waste time finding the new way to turn off an unwanted feature!
    i shouldn't have to worry every time i update firmware that they are going to remove a feature that i want! the firmware notice made no comment that they were turning on this noise for any reason.
    i have commited no crime, why am i been treated like a criminal? just because a tiny minority are using camera phones to take pictues up womens skirts doesn't mean that you should treat all your customers like criminals.

    if i wanted to i could use the silent video recording ability to do the same anyway! it's a dumb stupid retarded way of dealing with the problem. i hate stupid dumb retarded rules. they're like a red rag to a bull for me.

    my iphone can be made silent. it's an inferior phone/os compared to the nokia in almost every way. yet now it is my primary phone. of course with the google voice app debacle (i don't make voice calls remember but its the principal) i won't be buying the next version. so its off to android for me. suspect the camera there will be noisy... sigh!

  • Re:Perhaps it is. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by heson ( 915298 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @06:53AM (#29330289) Journal
    Your argument falls since size does not matter, density does. Population density per km^2; and per sq mile.
    Sweden 20; 52
    USA 31; 80 []
  • Re:Great pitch (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 06, 2009 @10:17AM (#29331153)

    Anyway the 770 was always a skunkworks, beta-live device and I think most of its users knew that. The UI was laggy as all hell. Still makes a great ebook reader but... the speed of the 900's demos have me drooling like I haven't in a few years. :P

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2009 @02:17AM (#29337451)

    Yes, but it can be uncustomized as easily, which is the real problem for any carrier.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell