Open mobile phones and spectrum: The new frontier?

Just read that Verizon will be opening up their network to third-party devices. The fact that this is such a pleasant surprise (rather than an expectation) speaks to the previous close-mindedness of mobile operators.

Android screenshotI’ve also been looking at Android, Google’s new Java-based phone operating system. Its pretty cool, they’ve open sourced the whole thing, and provided a nice Eclipse-based development environment that seems to work very well. The API is somewhat limited, for example, no apparent way to gain programatic access to the audio, but this doesn’t really surprise me. It also looks like the user-interface will be a generation behind Apple’s IPhone UI, unless they make drastic improvements.

On that topic, it seems that there will be an Apple SDK, heres hoping that they don’t adopt some kind of obnoxious system like the Danger Sidekick, where they must approve any app before deployment. Can you imagine if the original Apple Mac had such a limitation – or any desktop computer for that matter?

I hacked my iTouch when I first got it, it was pretty easy for anyone familiar with a command-line, and its probably easier now than when I did it. There seems to be a healthy dev community, with apps distributed through the excellent (click thumbnail to left for video), although I must confess that the killer app for me is Safari, and that was already included. I’m still waiting for the 3rd party iTouch/iPhone app that dramatically increases the value of the device to me.

Whatever happens, expect this opening up of mobile phone technology to spark a dramatic flourishing of innovation, perhaps comparable to the early years of the Internet, or maybe even the PC revolution.

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