On Crippled Phones and Net Neutrality

by Bruce Stewart

Robert Cooper responded to O'Reilly editor Chris Adamson's mini-rant about the problems he was experiencing trying to use Google Maps Mobile on his cell phone and makes a connection to the crippled phones U.S. carriers provide and the current net neutrality debate. I think Robert makes a good point that if we're not careful we could see more walled gardens and crippling technology along the lines of what the cell phone industry is famous for.

If you buy a V300 or RAZR or whatever from any major carrier, it comes crippled. They only want you to use ringtones, wallpaper and -god forbid- applications that they sell you. Lots of phones in the carrier specific versions are crippled beyond belief. I don't think the fault is J2ME's so much as the way we use cell phone networks.

I hate to bring the whole political aspect into this, but this is directly on point with the network neutrality debate and the Trusted Computing/Paladium issue: the hardware and the network should be there for what you want to use them for, not some highly managed, highly structured regime. One of the reasons I, personally, consider the NetNeutral intitiative important is I don't want my Cable Modem service to end up looking like the cell phone networks.