Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Cellphones Handhelds Open Source

Google Pushes Openness Over Rooting 196

Posted by timothy
from the but-rooting-sounds-so-cool dept.
jamlam writes "The Android developers blog has a comment from their dev team on the recent 'rooting' of their Nexus S phones. It contains a call from Google to handset manufacturers to open up their phones to give users choice. But will this ever happen in a market dominated by lock-'em-down cellular networks?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Pushes Openness Over Rooting

Comments Filter:
  • Suggestion: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Saturday December 25, 2010 @12:01AM (#34664024) Homepage Journal
    TFS (TFA doesn't say much more and won't even scroll with NoScript untill you allow the page):

    "It contains a call from Google to handset manufacturers to open up their phones to give users choice. But will this ever happen in a market dominated by lock-'em-down cellular networks?"

    No. The only solution is for Google to roll out their own infrastructure and run their own telecommunications network. They're big enough to compete with the other big boys like At&t.

    But, but...Google will be mining our data and knowing everything about us...

    Like At&t doesn't?! Also, Ph1r5t P05t. May we all have a comfortable and hassle-free series of end-of-year rituals.

    • by imgod2u (812837)

      They don't have the spectrum to do it. Their "partner" is Verizon because Verizon won out a lot of the 700MHz spectrum blocks.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Daengbo (523424)

        I don't think Google should go with cellular, but instead offer free ubiquitous WiFi and promote VoiP. Set up a Google Voice account and you're good. They have the fiber. They have the tech. Google doesn't want to get in that business, but if the net starts Balkanizing, I bet they'd do it.

        • by imgod2u (812837)

          It'd take a lot for WiFi to be "ubiquitous" to the same level as 3G is now. In major metropolitan areas, it's possible but people outside of cities still want their mobile data.

          • by kindbud (90044)

            They could do it Kindle-style for the boonies. If you're away from WiFi, you can access just Google services and voice calls over cellular data networks. Worldwide.

    • by JamesP (688957)

      Yeah, maybe Google should (maybe) join Apple and buy AT&T or Verizon

      Or start laying their own antennas and cables.

      And eat the other carriers for breakfast, for a competitor to smash the other carriers it's so easy it's not even funny.

    • by arivanov (12034)

      They cannot and it is the _SAME_ reason why the handsets will continue to be locked down.

      The economic model and the expectation towards return on investment by networks is not based on data. It is based on value added services where data is merely a conduit.

      By design, 3G and LTE should have had that imlemented via IMS - all applications were supposed to use it for all of the following: requesting resources, authorisation and billing. All the LTE (and 3G from rel 5 onwards) architecture is a mere slave to th

  • by xnpu (963139)

    Give'em choice? That sounds too American. Why would we do that?

  • I don't understand this. Google, the creator of the software, has basically said "we want this to be changeable by the user". Which means that, by locking the OS down, the manufacturers are going against the spirit of the developers' wishes. Why didn't Google put a clause in the manufacturer/provider contract "The user will always be allowed full access to the device being managed by this operating system"?
    • by Microlith (54737) on Saturday December 25, 2010 @12:22AM (#34664114)

      Because the handset vendors don't want that, as it leaves an easy avenue for self-support. Rooting is why Motorola locks the kernel down, so you absolutely cannot upgrade to new versions of Android directly.

      Carriers hate it because it means that you're less likely to upgrade to a new contract, since your old phone will last longer.

      • by ArcherB (796902) on Saturday December 25, 2010 @12:52AM (#34664216) Journal

        What good is your old phone without a contract?

        The cell providers make you sign the same contract whether you buy a phone or not. Wouldn't they have an interest in keeping you using the same phone for longer? I don't understand why more carriers don't sell more open phones

        • by noidentity (188756) on Saturday December 25, 2010 @01:15AM (#34664280)

          What good is your old phone without a contract?

          Reworded: Tell me, Mr. Anderson, what good is your old phone if you... can't... speak?

        • by crasher35 (787091) on Saturday December 25, 2010 @01:20AM (#34664294) Homepage

          What good is your old phone without a contract?

          The cell providers make you sign the same contract whether you buy a phone or not. Wouldn't they have an interest in keeping you using the same phone for longer? I don't understand why more carriers don't sell more open phones

          You don't have to renew your contract to continue your service. That's a common misconception. Most carriers will continue to give you service once the contract is up. That's why they offer to upgrade your phone every time your contract is nearing an end, because that becomes an incentive for you to sign into a new contract.

          • by akintayo (17599)

            You do not have to renew your contract but you do pay the same price (except Tmo) and if you switch carriers you appear to have to pay the same fees. Of course now, it makes less sense to switch carriers as the US GSM carriers are no loner really compatible.

            • by Ash Vince (602485) *

              You do not have to renew your contract but you do pay the same price (except Tmo) and if you switch carriers you appear to have to pay the same fees. Of course now, it makes less sense to switch carriers as the US GSM carriers are no loner really compatible.

              Do you guys in the US not have a massive prepay market? Over here in Britain there are more companies giving away prepay sims than you can shake a stick at. I have a spare prepay sim in case i ever lose my phone again. I can just throw a prepay sim in an old phone and use a different number for the 3 days it takes them to send me a new contract sim.

              If you use a prepay sim all the time you get a fair amount of free data and sms messages for every £10 you spend. The only reason people go with contract o

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by rec9140 (732463)

                "Do you guys in the US not have a massive prepay market?"

                No.

                "prepay sims"

                SIMS are only used by ATT, TMobile and for iDEN on Nextel/Boost iDEN

                The PREDOMINANT carrier(s) in the US are CDMA, and not GSM or UMTS: Verizon Wireless is CDMA and does NOT use SIMS or RUIM (equivalent to SIM in CDMA) in 90% of its phones. Only "world edition" phones have a SIM. Matter of fact the TOP carriers in the US, nationwide (VZW) or regional (US Cellular, MetroPCS, Cricket) are ALL CDMA.. The two GSM and UMTS carriers rate at

          • Parent is right (unfortunately) make any...repeat any change to your account and you're locked in for another two years. I recently started doing some work for the state government and found out that qualified me for 15% of my T-Mobile bill...next time I got a bill I was also thanked for staying with them another two years.
            • Call them and ask them to provide you with proof that you agreed to renew the contract for two years. If they didn't at least confirm it verbally during the call, then it's not binding. Get a reference number where you have asked them to prove that you did, and if they can't provide it, then they can't penalize you for switching in less than 2 years.

              I've successfully charged back ETP's in the past with my Visa using exactly that method. If enough people charge it back to them as a fraudulent charge, then ma

            • Send them a written demand for proof that you signed the contract, or for a recording of your verbal agreement to it, being clear that to your knowledge you agreed to no such thing. If they can't provide that, they can't enforce it.

              I used to work for a place that did term contracts, and our rule on it was quite clear: If we could not produce a copy of the physical contract with the customer's signature when they asked (after a few days to get it of course, we usually had to contact a local office somewhere

        • by NorQue (1000887)

          What good is your old phone without a contract? The cell providers make you sign the same contract whether you buy a phone or not.[...]

          Can only speak on the situation in Germany, but when you don't want a contract here you can switch to one of the countless prepaid providers, take your old number with you and pay very little - e.g. you don't need to pay for flatrate fees that you won't ever need and minutes, sms and data plans are much cheaper compared to contract prices. My bill is usually in the sub 10 E

          • but when you don't want a contract here you can switch to one of the countless prepaid providers, take your old number with you and pay very little

            In the United States, you can take your old number with you to an MVNO, but usually not your old phone. Each carrier has a different set of frequency bands. Verizon and Sprint use (what I've been told are subtly different variants of) the CDMA2000 system, and AT&T and T-Mobile run their UMTS service on different frequency bands. And unlike T-Mobile, AT&T doesn't even unlock your phone for you after your contract has expired.

            • by Algan (20532)

              And unlike T-Mobile, AT&T doesn't even unlock your phone for you after your contract has expired.

              As far as I know, they do... except if your phone is an AT&T "exclusive" device. Which means the Iphone owners are out of luck.

            • by puto (533470)
              ATT has always unlocked your phone unless it was the Iphone, and it was until after your contract expired. You could get it done after three months of service. From 2002 on with gsm phones.
          • My bill is usually in the sub 10 EUR range each month.

            Then you don't have a smartphone. Because I live in NL and there's no way you can text, call AND have ~500MB data for 10 EUR.

            • by NorQue (1000887)
              No, not 500 MByte, usually I don't need more than 100 MByte, which is plenty enough for E-Mail (got a T-Mobile G1 particularly for the keyboard) and some light surfing. 100 MByte go for 3.90 EUR at my provider, the 1 GByte package costs 10 EUR.
        • The cell providers make you sign the same contract whether you buy a phone or not.

          As a couple other people have mentioned, this isn't the case for T-Mobile. Phone/data plans are $20/month cheaper if you don't have a contract with a subsidized phone. I paid about $550 for my N900, so if I keep it for exactly two years, it's the same as if I had paid $70 for it with a standard contract, which is a pretty good deal. For anyone that can afford the higher up-front cost, I would definitely recommend going to T-Mobile and buying a phone at regular retail price.

          • A lot of phones are even cheaper than that, too.... I bought my LG Shine Plus outright from Telus (in Canada) for $299, paid $20 online for the unlock code, and am now using it with Rogers. The same phone can be activated on any of the networks operated by the big 3 in Canada (Telus, Bell, Rogers, and a large number of hangers on that can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Canadian_mobile_phone_companies [wikipedia.org]) . In the US, it can be used on ATT's network for data, and any network for voice. It ca

      • Correction, because the carriers don't want this. After all, the customers of the handset vendors IS NOT YOU THE END USER, it is the carriers. That is who they are selling to and not the end user. And carriers don't want to sell you a device that lets you do whatever as they've found ways in the past to nickel and dime every feature.

        • by tepples (727027)

          the customers of the handset vendors IS NOT YOU THE END USER, it is the carriers.

          Why is this the case? Why isn't it easy to go into an electronics store and buy an unlocked phone at retail, and then take it to your T-Mobile store to get a SIM-only "Even More Plus" plan?

          • the customers of the handset vendors IS NOT YOU THE END USER, it is the carriers.

            Why is this the case? Why isn't it easy to go into an electronics store and buy an unlocked phone at retail, and then take it to your T-Mobile store to get a SIM-only "Even More Plus" plan?

            It is, as long as you're talking T-Mo. So far as I'm concerned, as a long-time Android user, T-Mobile is about the only worthwhile carrier out there (somewhat ironic given that they're nothing more than Deutsche Telekom's U.S. division, and people in Germany that I know complain about them for the same reason we complain about the likes of AT&T or Verizon.) They're hardly perfect, policywise, and coverage isn't as good as some of the big boys, funny-colored floating maps aside. However my plan covers un

            • by tepples (727027)
              I agree that T-Mobile is the least evil of the U.S. cellular carriers. But I still can't, say, try a Nokia N900 in a store before I buy one online and put a T-Mo SIM in it.
      • by Zebedeu (739988)

        Carriers hate it because it means that you're less likely to upgrade to a new contract, since your old phone will last longer.

        That may be true, but I think the main reason they hate open phones is that they allow users to simply connect an USB cable and copy whatever they want to and from the phone without going through the carrier's paywall.

        They also allow users to easily remove whatever crapware comes with the phone, making their marketing deals less attractive.

        • There can be multible reasons. Another is that some network operators fear the spread of VoIP, which effectively destroys the very lucrative system by which they charge hugely for long-distance and international calls.
    • Why didn't Google put a clause in the manufacturer/provider contract "The user will always be allowed full access to the device being managed by this operating system"

      Um perhaps because Android, being a linux distro, is under the GPL which does not allow them to add additional terms? This could of course be fixed by requiring GPLv3 but that comes with it's own problems.

      • by Microlith (54737)

        In Android, the GPL covers only a handful of components, and adding a "must be open" clause wouldn't have any connection to the GPL-licensed software. They could always place conditions on the use of the Android trademarks and access to the Marketplace.

      • by Sancho (17056) *

        Plus, Google doesn't have the right to require GPLv3. The Kernel is only licensed for GPLv2. If they had the right to change it to v3, they would have the right to change it to damn near anything they wanted.

        • Wrong.

          9. The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions of the General Public License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns. Each version is given a distinguishing version number. If the Program specifies a version number of this License which applies to it and "any later version", you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that version or of any later version published by the Free Software Foundation. If the Program does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software Foundation.

          Source [gnu.org]

          They can copy the Linux kernel which they can acquire at GPLv2 and then give it out (modified or not) as GPLv3 and those who receive it from them can only use it under the license they received it in, or a newer version. If they want an earlier version of the license then they must find someone willing to give them a copy with an earlier version attached.

          In short, the GPL is forwards compatible not backwards compatible.

          • by Sancho (17056) * on Saturday December 25, 2010 @01:51AM (#34664384) Homepage

            Wrong.

            9. The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions
            of the General Public License from time to time. Such new versions will
            be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to
            address new problems or concerns.

            Each version is given a distinguishing version number. If the Program
            specifies a version number of this License which applies to it and "any
            later version", you have the option of following the terms and conditions
            either of that version or of any later version published by the Free
            Software Foundation. If the Program does not specify a version number of
            this License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software
            Foundation.

            Source [gnu.org]

            They can copy the Linux kernel which they can acquire at GPLv2 and then give it out (modified or not) as GPLv3 and those who receive it from them can only use it under the license they received it in, or a newer version. If they want an earlier version of the license then they must find someone willing to give them a copy with an earlier version attached.

            In short, the GPL is forwards compatible not backwards compatible.

            Wrong. The Linux kernel specifies version 2. It does not include the "or later" clause which would allow the use of a later license.

            ulessthanme

            • From the linux kernel COPYING file:

              Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel
              is concerned is _this_ particular version of the license (ie v2, not
              v2.2 or v3.x or whatever), unless explicitly otherwise stated.

              Linus Torvalds

              Just to substantiate parent's statement
              • by Sancho (17056) *

                Indeed, thanks. I was posting from a less-than-enabled device and citing my statement would have been pretty difficult.

      • by jonbryce (703250)

        The Linux kernel is GPL2, but the Android software that runs on top of it can be whatever licence Google wants. GPL3 would be the most obvious choice if Google wants to enforce openness. Linux can't be GPL3 because Linus says so.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Why didn't Google put a clause in the manufacturer/provider contract "The user will always be allowed full access to the device being managed by this operating system"?

      Because Google cares more about pragmatism than ideals, and wanted to sell phones.

      • Why didn't Google put a clause in the manufacturer/provider contract "The user will always be allowed full access to the device being managed by this operating system"?

        Because Google cares more about pragmatism than ideals, and wanted to sell phones.

        Well, Google isn't exactly a cellphone carrier or provider, not yet (there's been a lot of speculation as to what would happen if Google did decide to enter those markets.) What they actually care about are eyeballs viewing ads, and in fact Android was never intended to be anything but a way for Google to extend its advertising hegemony into mobile space. That, and as a research platform to find out what it is we want, or can be convinced we want, that may at some point make them additional revenue. Sales

    • by erroneus (253617)

      You can be sure that they would have if they could have gotten such a requirement signed.

      You just have to appreciate and understand the way stogie old business people think. They do not change their view or strategy until they start losing money and they are unsuccessful at defending their business model with litigation. Only then will they entertain new ideas.

      These "capitalists" are simply not as free market as they are made out to be. They seek to control the market, not operate within it. The problem

    • I think Google's choice of the Apache license over the GPL shows that they're not keen to impose conditions upon manufacturers, however reasonable and fair. Indeed, right now Google's sole leverage, quite deliberately, is based upon making the Market a closed application and refusing to license it to manufacturers who don't produce devices to their specifications - but if they imposed a condition, like "The operating system shall be replaceable by the user", that most manufacturers would reject, the likely

  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by imthesponge (621107) on Saturday December 25, 2010 @12:13AM (#34664068)

    "It contains a call from Google to handset manufacturers to open up their phones to give users choice."

    What possible incentive would they have to do that? The vast majority of consumers already have all the choice they want.

    • Well, at least Palm's WebOS is already completely open. Not only is it easy to "root", it is actually encouraged by Palm (and the new HP overlords). Although Palm Pre had lousy sales, its open approach is part of what helped it maintain a dedicated user base.
      I think many handset makers could learn that you can have a platform that is easy to use and hackable at the same time. Layman can just use it as it is, while (a bit) more advanced users can enjoy the wealth of homebrew programs and patches to make the

      • "Palm Pre had lousy sales" So being "open" didn't help them at all.
        • They didn't sell much because of many other factors, including problems with the hardware, going exclusive with Sprint for the first 6 month, bad advertisements, etc. The software had gotten mostly praises from those who reviewed it.
          I think both of us are old enough to know there isn't always a good correlation between the quality of a product and its sales record (*ahem* Windows *ahem*).

  • IMHO they should give up on the pointless closing of an open door and give us an open phone if they are going to use an open system. Nokia don't give a shit even if I boot my n900 into a completely different OS and have done nothing to prevent me from doing so. Why should these other vendors care apart from aiding and abetting carrier restrictions?
    • by Junta (36770) on Saturday December 25, 2010 @12:29AM (#34664132)

      If you can put latest and greatest Android on an end-of-lifed handset they haven't gotten money for in two years, they get nothing.

      If they successfully lock things down so that you need to buy a *new* handset to get the snazzy new features. If most of the reason people get new things is for software, then the hardware vendor has their own interests in making sure their stuff comes along for the ride.

      • by ArcherB (796902)

        If I buy a new handset with a new contract, the cell carrier subsidizes the new phone and makes the money back slowly over the next 2 years by charging me more per month than it costs to provide me service.

        Or, they can keep my phone current and still have me sign a new contract for the same price as above only without having to subsidize a new phone.

        So, why do they want me to buy a phone again?

        • by rhook (943951)

          To keep you in a perpeptually renewing contract. If you weren't constantly buying a new phone, subsidized by contract, you would have no reason to sign a contract in the first place and would be much more free to switch carriers at anytime.

        • by Junta (36770)

          They don't manufacturers do want them to do that.

      • by Fallon (33975)
        Actually, carriers should be making more money off of you in that situation. Their rates are structured around subsidized phones. You get a $600 phone for $200, and pay back the remaining over the course of your monthly bills for the duration of your contract. If you don't buy a new phone (and don't change carriers), you'll still be paying the same monthly bill, only this time the portion set aside to subsidize your phone is pure profit.

        Not so much for the hardware vendors, they want you upgrading early
        • by Junta (36770)

          I was talking about *manufacturers* not carriers.

          Carriers probably care about lockdown less and less, their restricting of features to try to push their 'special' services just isn't working, but manufacturers. One exception, carriers also have to be tech support for devices, which is a PITA while the handsets are evolving quickly if people hold on to old devices and are in the practice of changing them around a lot.

      • by et764 (837202)

        If you can put latest and greatest Android on an end-of-lifed handset they haven't gotten money for in two years, they get nothing.

        With as fast as Android phones are improving, this doesn't seem like a realistic concern for me. I have one of the original myTouch 3G's, which just recently got the Android 2.2 update. The thing is, the hardware really can't run the OS at a reasonable speed anymore. I'm now looking at getting a new phone simply so I can use the software to its fullest.

        • by jonbryce (703250)

          I had that problem with the Galaxy S, but a later update to Android 2.2.1 fixed my speed issues.

  • GPLv3 require manufacturers to provide modification instructions for their devices.

    • by Sancho (17056) *

      Android is based upon the Linux kernel, which is GPLv2. Though some GPL software says "version X or later", the kernel does not.

  • Who cares, he still pays the bills, and is more likely to upgrade to premium hardware as well. Half the cellular services are crap, people will buy music from iTunes or Amazon because the carrier music store still encrypts and is twice the price.

  • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Saturday December 25, 2010 @12:44AM (#34664192)

    More like a correction of Engadget's hysteria and a lamentation at the lack of openness.

    The gist of it is that Engadget claims Android's security is shit since you can root it so easily.

    The Android devs respond by saying you shouldn't call it "rooting" since the Nexus S was intended to allow users to install their own OS. To do that, you need to be able gain root access. In fact, they tell you how in the blog: fastboot oem unlock. That's it.

    Rooting a phone implies root access was not intended, and you must exploit a security flaw to gain access. If root access was intended from the beginning, how can running the command to do so possibly be considered exploiting a security flaw?

    To put it another way, is sudo a security flaw in Linux? That's basically what Engadget is saying, and the Android devs are saying that's stupid, and oh yeah phones should be open so rooting goes the way of the do-do bird.

  • by bartoku (922448) on Saturday December 25, 2010 @12:45AM (#34664198)

    All applications are required to declare the permissions they use, ensuring the user is in control of the information they share.

    I want more than the application to declare what permission it uses.
    I want to be able to run an application that say wants access to my GPS coordinates, but I can say no you get fake GPS access.
    The same with internet access, phone directory access, and so on.

    I do not want to be restricted to all or nothing, and have to forgo an app all together over a potential security issue.
    The best example I have is the Bible app from LifeChurch.tv. I love the app, but for awhile it wanted access to my GPS coordinates.
    Why? God knows where I am already LifeChurch. But unlike the nagging iPhone version which I could deny location information every time I ran the app it was all or nothing, location information transmitted.

    Heck I want everything the damn apps do logged, if I allow them internet access I want to know what pages and logs on the packets sent.
    Then we can really avoid these naughty apps that are transmitting things, because the OS says hey this app is transmitting this user, and the user can say hells no.

    I do not ever want to install an anti-virus application to my phone. Never ever, I do not need them on my desktop, do not need them on my phone. Die McAfee and Norton, die!

    Just my two cents. Perhaps I should download the source and make my own build. But it would be much easier on me if a Google engineer did it.

    • by rhook (943951)

      You can use send fake GPS coordinates to every app with programs such as My Face Location. All you need to do is enable the fake GPS feature under development in the phone settings and install the app.

      http://www.appbrain.com/app/my-fake-location/com.my.fake.location [appbrain.com]

    • The flip sides to selectively granting permissions are the support headaches ("this app doesn't work! it doesn't tell me the restaurants near me!" "Did you allow it GPS access when you installed it?" "Of course not! It shouldn't need to know where I am!" "..."). More problematically, if you selectively disable network access to apps that need it to run ads (thus enabling them to be free), you've cut off its ad source, which leads to a whole OTHER set off issues, largely on the developer end.

    • I want more than the application to declare what permission it uses.
      I want to be able to run an application that say wants access to my GPS coordinates, but I can say no you get fake GPS access.
      The same with internet access, phone directory access, and so on.

      I do not want to be restricted to all or nothing, and have to forgo an app all together over a potential security issue.
      The best example I have is the Bible app from LifeChurch.tv. I love the app, but for awhile it wanted access to my GPS coordinates.
      Why? God knows where I am already LifeChurch. But unlike the nagging iPhone version which I could deny location information every time I ran the app it was all or nothing, location information transmitted.

      Heck I want everything the damn apps do logged, if I allow them internet access I want to know what pages and logs on the packets sent.
      Then we can really avoid these naughty apps that are transmitting things, because the OS says hey this app is transmitting this user, and the user can say hells no.

      I do not ever want to install an anti-virus application to my phone. Never ever, I do not need them on my desktop, do not need them on my phone. Die McAfee and Norton, die!

      Just my two cents. Perhaps I should download the source and make my own build. But it would be much easier on me if a Google engineer did it.

      Difficult to manage mandatory access controls
      Trust all third party software publishers
      Trust the device manufacturer to vet third party software

      Pick o... oh, you really do have all three. How's that working out?
      I kid, I kid. Vote with your wallet. $free is a cowardly reason not to cast that vote and say "this software stinks, I'm not using it"
      It's AMAZING that people are willing to write good software if you give them some money. If they write bad software, you have a bargaining chip.
      Apple & Google'

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 25, 2010 @01:03AM (#34664250)

    First off, the people who are talking about "rooting" an open platform are morons. The rooting occurs when the carrier and phone manufacturer -- yes I'm talking to YOU, HTC-- put gobs of needless, expensive, and ultimately pointless security on top of stock AOSP.

    They want control. The EFF [eff.org] (did everyone donate this year?) helped affirm our rights [eff.org] to control over our own equipment, but the carriers and manufacturers are responding with more and more technical hurdles.

    These short-sighted obstacles cost them money in R&D, which is ultimately passed on to us, the customer, or absorbed by their stockholders. These technical measures (locked emmcs) are pointless, immoral, bad for business, and an entire subculture [xda-developers.com] has emerged dedicated to sidestepping them.

    Google has some mixed motivations here, but one thing I can think Google might do about this is to license their Google apps (or "Gapps"-- Maps, GMail, etc.) to community firmware so that they can legitimately compete with the carriers in the market. The competition and choice would benefit the consumer (example: Gingerbread is already running on the T-Mobile G2 and Froyo is available only on other platforms through community roms not offered by the carrier, who has abandoned older phones.). Plus support for community roms would help Google reach those customers who are now "locked out" of the Google market.

    The downside might be more support headaches or returned bricked phones for the phone companies. But can't they look at that as a potential new market? Yeah, when you sell someone a computer and they trash it, it's a headache. A headache you can charge them to fix. Right now people brick their phones after trying to install a rom in the shadows and then return them. If phones were treated by carriers as the computers they ARE, it would be no different than someone trashing their DELL and needing Best-Buy or whomever to reinstall Windows. Or maybe they'd pay $10/hr in support.

    The point is-- if tomorrow people were locked out of their computers' operating system by the manufacturers or told what software they could run on their laptops by their ISPs, there would be revolt (I would hope). But we're slowly being conditioned to accept such control starting with smartphones, working up to tables...

    what's next?

    • The downside might be more support headaches or returned bricked phones for the phone companies. But can't they look at that as a potential new market? Yeah, when you sell someone a computer and they trash it, it's a headache.

      These phones could be made damn-near unbrickable. The only reason anyone bricks their phone is because of the hoops that you have to go through, the risks you have to take, when flashing boot-loader and radio firmware. I managed to get S-OFF on my G2 so I could root it, and I was more than a little nervous as I was doing it (and I've spent over thirty years at the command line.) Nevertheless, it's a nice phone but if I couldn't get my Cyanogenmod on it, it was going to take the damn thing back. Thanks to th

  • by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Saturday December 25, 2010 @01:17AM (#34664284) Homepage Journal
    The operators say that misbehaving phones can disrupt their network. That could be true for a very large number of bad phones.
    The truth is that I don't know a out any "mod" touching the radio stuff.
    It's just FUD.
    • by cbope (130292)

      All the more reason allow and encourage updating your phone. It's akin to running a pre-SP1 WinXP or similar directly connected to the net. If you are running an unpatched OS, whether it's your phone or your PC, the end result is the same. Your device will be owned. The security of your data and device are at risk if not kept up-to-date.

      I'm just glad this mobile phone catastrophe is a mostly-US thing. The US really needs to open up its mobile phone market and get some REAL competition started. Compared to t

      • by tepples (727027)

        I read all the time about the US mobile market, and as an ex-pat living abroad for more than 10 years, I wonder why do you still accept it?

        Because I don't have the money to either A. move abroad or B. start my own MVNO.

  • It can be done- the Palm Pre/Pixi/WebOS was/is that way. There was no NEED to "root" the phone, because they gave everyone root access by just entering developer mode. It was wonderful- very hackable, very nice. If you screw up the phone (which I never did), no big deal... it is "unbrickable". Just power it on with a key held in, download the current image from the web and flash it back to normal. Why the carriers didn't lock it down, I don't know.

    If Android could do that, then I would be very happy.

    • It can be done- the Palm Pre/Pixi/WebOS was/is that way. There was no NEED to "root" the phone, because they gave everyone root access by just entering developer mode. It was wonderful- very hackable, very nice. If you screw up the phone (which I never did), no big deal... it is "unbrickable". Just power it on with a key held in, download the current image from the web and flash it back to normal. Why the carriers didn't lock it down, I don't know.

      If Android could do that, then I would be very happy. It is irritating when carriers put junkware on the phone, especially stuff that launches automatically and runs/does stuff you don't want.

      The initial releases of Android were shipped with root access enabled by default. Nobody seemed to care, at first. But as the Market developed, Google was concerned that developers would eschew Android if any user could just copy .APKs from phone to phone. So they disabled root access. It wasn't, so far as I'm aware, a carrier decision. And, truth be told, it simply did not (and still does not) matter for the bulk of users. Regardless, these devices are still computers, and no user should be prevented from

You might have mail.

Working...