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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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  • it it a phone? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:33AM (#29323107)

    Is it a phone? I'm yet to see anything (other than a few unsourced claims on tech sites) that shows the N900 will be a phone, it seams to be an internet table (like the N770,N800,N810) which lacks mainstream appeal when you can get a phone with similar capabilities and only carry one device instead of two.

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

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:40AM (#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 c_forq ( 924234 ) <> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:47AM (#29323197)
    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.
  • by ribuck ( 943217 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:48AM (#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".
  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:48AM (#29323205) Homepage
    So, you're saying you want the HTC Dream?
  • Re:My next phone (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RalphSleigh ( 899929 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:00AM (#29323269) Homepage

    So buy the phone and put your sim card in it.. I think what you mean is the carriers won't subsidise the phone, so you may have to cough up the full hardware price.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:02AM (#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.
  • by MaraDNS ( 1629201 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:02AM (#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 [] 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:33AM (#29323491)

    Not again...

    Nokia sold telephone gear to Iran, with the same surveillance features proud democracies like the UK and USA demand of their hardware.

    Nokia did not sell internet censoring equipment to Iran.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:40AM (#29323553) Journal
    Nokia isn't a FOSS firm? The company that bought all third-party code used in the OS that most of their products ran (Symbian) and open sourced it? The company that's been developing the Maemo stack with community assistance for years and has released three Linux/ARM tablets based on it already? The company that owns Trolltech? Are you talking about the same Nokia as the rest of us?
  • by gpuk ( 712102 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:59AM (#29323723)

    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: [] (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: []

  • by Tweenk ( 1274968 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @12:22PM (#29323847) []

    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 Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @12:31PM (#29323901)

    when i bought a nokia e71 it had a silent camera. they updated the firmware to include a camera click that can't be turned off (trust me i tried, silent profiles, registry settings, warning tones off and a 100 other methods that had worked in the past). its not illegal to have a quiet camera in ireland. they have just made it harder and harder to remove this annoying fucking feature.

    so if thats their friendly to hacker attitude they can go fuck themselves!

    gave the e71 to a friend who said that the camera click wouldn't bother him. heard this week that he's taken a picture of a book in a book shop in germany and the extra loud click made every person for about 20 feet look over in his direction. he now hates the fucking noise.

    sorry for the rant. its a niche thing (about 10% of people i know hate the click noise) but i really hate that level of dumbness that made a really good os into an unusable (for me anyway) piece of shit.

    at the start of the year i was looking forward to the n97 and would definitely have bought this n900. now no more nokias ever.

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

    by darjen ( 879890 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @01:06PM (#29324143)

    My bill was actually $38 last month because I used a few voice minutes. If I just went with my data plan only it would have been about $32. It probably works out to a savings of $4-500 over two years. Which almost pays for my next major phone purchase (the n900 perhaps). So I can basically upgrade whenever I want, which seems like a good deal to me.

  • by GeneralSunTzu ( 1163223 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @01:33PM (#29324323)
    All right, let us defer our match to how easy it will be to customize the Maemo platform. From what I have read (Wikipedia), Maemo is a Debian distro with a number of proprietary bits. If I can customise it without asking Nokia's permission, then you're right. If you need a certificate or fingerprint or Lord know what to change some options, then I am vindicated and they will be using Linux exclusively as a politically correct marketing weapon. Re-match in 2-3 months, once I buy the N900 here in Belgium.
  • Re:Perhaps it is. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @01:33PM (#29324327) Homepage

    "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 already have shown yourself to lack a basic understanding of Life and Pragmatism. We don't need further examples. Seriously.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @01:55PM (#29324455)

    I am in the US and spend around $10/month on T-Mobile pre-paid for my actual text and voice usage, but no data usage. I made the small effort to transfer the most expensive calls to either internet text and voip or an office landline as appropriate for the offending family member or coworker who would otherwise cause all my mobile phone costs. I decided I did not need to subsidize their need to talk out of my income.

    The one thing I miss is my roughly $25/month unlimited EDGE data usage that I could get on my pre-paid SIM in south-east Asia just by calling the service center and asking them to debit one day, one week, or one month's worth of unlimited data from my pre-paid balance. The pre-paid cost was identical to the post-paid data subscription for that provider, and it makes perfect sense that they ought to sell this to anyone who will buy it, since it's instant money in the provider's pocket with no real implementation burden to meter traffic etc.

    Since T-Mobile USA won't sell me flat-rate data when I need it, I've learned to always find alternatives and to just let go of the stressful urge to be always connected to the Internet. If they had terms like I've mentioned above, I'd probably enable it for several days each month just out of convenience and laziness. But I will not switch to a post-paid plan and pay 5x the same basic month-to-month cost just to have unlimited data once in a while when I would like to use it.

  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:03PM (#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.

  • Crappy support (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:21PM (#29324661)

    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 the N810 to pasture, new units are still popping up, and you can forget any support on it as all their resources have moved on to newer things. Now they are offering this new device while already announcing it is toast because they are changing out the entire GUI toolkit. Just how many times do they plan to rewrite everything? Who do they think they are, RedHat? :)

    They want 3rd party developers but look at the hell they put them through. Apps have had to undergo major changes between every OS revision. There was apparently a big bar between OS 2007 (the last one that ran well on the N770, it is very RAM constrained at 64MB) and OS 2008. This means no PIM app was ever completed to a usable point for the N770 for example. Then OS 2008 was a big change but most 3rd paty apps do appear to have made the jump. But this new version is very different and has already been announced as an end of life branch of development. So of course thousands of apps will get ported, enough to compete with Palm and the iPhone! Step right up and drop $600 bux..... Even though no previous version had a thousand apps even in a 0.1 state.

    Somebody needs to take a cluestick to Nokia's executives.

  • by spearway ( 169040 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:36PM (#29324787) Homepage

    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.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @02:39PM (#29324829) Journal
    I have a Maemo device, which has been running custom software since I got it back in 2006. There is a Nokia-supported way of installing a new kernel and it includes an apt front end that can be configured to connect to third-party repositories (although doing so requires clicking on a 'yes, I realise that Nokia will not support the software on my device if I've replaced it with bits from a third party' box). I use a third-party bluetooth keyboard driver, a third-party xterm, a third-party install of vim and OpenSSH regularly. I've never tried replacing the X server, but given that I have root access on the device (via a supported mechanism, no jailbreaking required), I imagine it would be pretty trivial.

    The firmware update utility may require signed code (I've not checked; I don't think it does, given that there is the community-developed 'hackers edition' firmware that installs fine with it) but once it's installed I have complete control over everything in the filesystem. The proprietary bits are things like Flash and (in earlier versions) Opera - you can't redistribute these without permission from the copyright holders, but there's nothing stopping you from removing them from your device or providing scripts that replace it with something else on other peoples' devices.

    So let's, indeed, come back in 2-3 months and see if Nokia suddenly reverses its policy. You seem to be acting like Maemo is something brand new, rather than a platform that Nokia has been shipping for three years.

  • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:40PM (#29325413)

    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 budget Nokia phone did just fine 5 years ago.

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

    by Kumiorava ( 95318 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:49PM (#29325517)

    To be honest I think this should be main focus for FCC right now. Why they allow this oligopoly to exist? If the $20-$30/month subsidy for the phone was taken out it would be easy for customers to save money on using phones longer or getting them from second hand market. Prepaid or pay as you go plans are not currently competitive as well, the pricing is even worse than with a contract for average users. Other thing with pay as you go plans is that you are required to pay for at least 250 (or something close to that) minutes per month even if you don't use them.

    I have two two lines right now, one from AT&T where I pay close to $100/month even if I don't use it much. I have only 450 minutes with iPhone plan, some text messages and international calling plan. This plan is just about the lowest I could get for my iPhone. Second line is DNA Finland where I pay 0.66EUR/month for 0 minutes and 0 messages. If I use the line my call time and SMS that are around 7 cents per minute/message, other plans with higher number of discounted minute prices are available. Data is unlimited with 10EUR/month, but I don't use it right now so I don't have it. With DNA I can buy subsidized phone with $30/month, but I choose not to.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @04:31PM (#29334073)

    Go and travel around the world. Heck, go and browse the web sites of mobile phone carriers outside the US, there are plenty $20/month plan.

    I'm posting from outside Prague, Mr. Smug Asshole.

    Did you read your own link? Because I see $15 for 15MB plans, with additional fees thereafter (for a phone). That's hardly realistic for a real phone plan if you use data much at all.

    Or, a $50 data only price plans (gee, isn't that what we were talking about originally) that also cap at 50MB/month with additional fees beyond THAT. That's usab;e but pretty tight - and I might note, way more than $20...

    So again, show me the money, since you are so smug, with a real data only plan less than $20 for real-world use in a month. I've been traveling in Europe plenty thanks and the datascape here is not that vastly superior, though it is nice things are more SIM friendly (or course, I could have bought an iPhone unlocked in the states too but as I said given the fact I knew I'd use the phone for more than two years it simply made more sense to use the subsidized plan).

    Perhaps you should try visiting the U.S. someday and realize we do have some things you think we lack...

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