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Mobile providers -- Wake Up!

by Tim O'Reilly
Oct. 20, 2003

I recently sent around to my internal O'Reilly editors mailing list a pointer to Dan Gillmor's column Smart Phones Making More Sense. In the column, Dan wrote: "Orange, a unit of France Telecom, is one of several companies around the world now selling devices that begin to validate the notion of the overpromised and, to date, underdelivered 'smart phone' ..."

Brian Jepson wrote a great reply:

I think Brian is right on about the data rates, but his initial comments are even more telling. The cell phone providers need to adopt the "small pieces loosely joined" design philosophy of open source software and the Internet. That will will allow independent developers and enterprising power users the ability to put existing pieces together to deliver new and exciting services. When all the innovation has to happen within a closed framework managed by the cell provider, it will take a lot longer before we get to the smart phone promised land.

Tim O'Reilly is the founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, Inc., thought by many to be the best computer book publisher in the world. In addition to Foo Camps ("Friends of O'Reilly" Camps, which gave rise to the "un-conference" movement), O'Reilly Media also hosts conferences on technology topics, including the Web 2.0 Summit, the Web 2.0 Expo, the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, the Gov 2.0 Summit, and the Gov 2.0 Expo. Tim's blog, the O'Reilly Radar, "watches the alpha geeks" to determine emerging technology trends, and serves as a platform for advocacy about issues of importance to the technical community. Tim's long-term vision for his company is to change the world by spreading the knowledge of innovators. In addition to O'Reilly Media, Tim is a founder of Safari Books Online, a pioneering subscription service for accessing books online, and O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, an early-stage venture firm.

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