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Re: [News] OpenMoko Out Within Weeks, Google Gives Its Mobile Linux Demo

Subway steel <foo@xxxxxxx> espoused:
> "Mark Kent" <mark.kent@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message 
> news:d78qi5-vth.ln1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> Subway steel <foo@xxxxxxx> espoused:
>>> "Roy Schestowitz" <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
>>> news:2587944.aOMkL8xI33@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>> Hash: SHA1
>>>> ____/ Subway steel on Wednesday 18 June 2008 19:29 : \____
>>>>> "Roy Schestowitz" <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
>>>>> news:4623315.2rfGrpL68x@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>>>> Hash: SHA1
>>>>>> Openmoko open source mobile phone selling 'in early July'
>>>>>> ,----[ Quote ]
>>>>>> | The Apple iPhone and Nokia N95 may be sexier, but the Openmoko
>>>>>> open-source
>>>>>> | mobile is encumbered by proprietary software and hardware to the
>>>>>> minimal
>>>>>> | extent possible.
>>>>>> `----
>>>>>> http://technocrat.net/d/2008/6/17/43771
>>>>> This is a short but interesting article. I think your quote does an
>>>>> excellent job of illustrating the key issue here. My opinion is that 
>>>>> the
>>>>> OpenMoko team needs a healthy dose of pragmatism. Here's the problem 
>>>>> that
>>>>> they seem to completely ignore. Both the iPhone and N95 are "sexier" 
>>>>> than
>>>>> the OpenMoko and the OpenMoko sells for $399. The next generation 
>>>>> iPhone
>>>>> is
>>>>> only $199.
>>>> No, it's over $1000. There's a catch (a contract). You can also buy a 
>>>> car
>>>> for
>>>> that price... with instalments.
>>> The iPhone does require a contract "service plan" from a wireless carrier
>>> but if you're going to compare apples-to-apples, in order to use the
>>> OpenMoko people will also need to get a service plan. So it's not like
>>> someone is going to pay $399 for the OpenMoko and then it will just work 
>>> for
>>> free.
>>> I think one advantage of the OpenMoko is that it's not tied to any one
>>> carrier that I know of. Presumably the user will be able to select the
>>> carrier and rate plan best suited to them. In the US the iPhone requires 
>>> a
>>> service contract with AT&T and I don't know how competitive their rate 
>>> plans
>>> are.
>> The iPhone plans have been extremely expensive.  The iPhone is not aimed
>> at low-income people at all.  I recall seeing it coming in at around
>> US$1700 over about 18 months, which is a vast amount of money.  Compare
>> this with OpenMoko plus payg (pay as you go), and the openmoko phone
>> will be much much less expensive.
> The iPhone service plans begin at $39/month. I don't know the situation in 
> the rest of the world but here in the USA the 'pay as you go' rates are 
> about $0.25/minute for voice calls and $0.05 to $0.10 per text message.

Wow, that's expensive.  Is the minimum duration still 18 months for the

> Which one is less expensive will depend on how the person uses their cell 
> phone. If they on average talk for over 4 minutes/day on the phone then 
> getting a $39/month plan will be less expensive than pay as you go. If they 
> only talk 4 minutes per week then pay as you go will be less expensive.

If they only talk 4 minutes per week, why do they need a mobile phone at

>>> In either case as long as the cost of the service plan is 'close enough' 
>>> it
>>> won't matter. The number one criteria which the article addresses is the
>>> "sexier" aspect and good luck trying to beat the iPhone in that category.
>> Well, Gary, you've changed your tune completely again...
> First of all my name is not Gary. My given name is actually Mark but that's 
> hardly relevant. If you need to infer that I'm somebody else in order to 
> bolster your position then I suggest getting a better argument.

Ah, okay, if that's the case, then, Mark, you've completely changed your
position.  I, on the other hand, have not.

>> there's a surprise.
> And I have not "changed my tune" at all. It's called making a secondary 
> point. There are multiple reasons for my position and by listing more than 
> one reason does not mean that I have changed my position.

And yet your "secondary point" was in contradiction with your primary
point, as far as I could tell.  This makes it look like trolling to me.

>> If sexy costs US$1700 and OpenMoko costs $399 plus calls for
>> the same period, then I think a lot of people will think very carefully
>> about what they'll buy.  I know that I would.
> If you're talking about annual costs and the cost of the telephone then you 
> are debating on the merits of *price* - not how *sexy* the phone is. Sexy is 
> how the phone looks, works and the quality of the applications and the unit 
> itself.

You don't work in marketing, then?  Sexy includes a lot of things... and
if it's expensive, then it's not going to be very sexy for a lot of
people who cannot afford it.

>> Apple have done a fantastic job of marketing their products, but in the
>> end, they remain expensive.
> As the saying goes - "Good things are not cheap. Cheap things are not good." 
> There are plenty of people who are willing to pay slightly more for quality.

There is no such saying that I've heard, sorry.  Mac trolls say such
things a lot, though, I presume in order to justify the rather high
price of Apple's equipment?

>>>>> What are consumers who buy cell phones interested in? A low price and a
>>>>> very
>>>>> sexy phone or do people buy phones based on what's "encumbered by
>>>>> proprietary software" and what isn't?
>>>> They are after developers who care about that stuff. And it's developers
>>>> that
>>>> determine the success of a product. Just watch PalmOS (a decade ago).
>>> I agree that developers would care about an open cell phone. But most
>>> consumers aren't developers and many developers will not be interested in
>>> writing apps for their cell phone. I don't agree that developers are the
>>> ones that determine the success of a product; at least not directly.
>> You're not all that familiar with the featurephone market, are you?
> Depends on how familiar we're talking about. I have a first gen iPhone and I 
> use most of its features. I would wager that I use more of the features and 
> capabilities of my phone than the average consumer does.

Then you don't know much about the market.  1st gen iPhone is only 2.5G,
for European and Asian people, this is going back several years in

>> It's almost entirely determined by the quality of the applications.  Do
>> you think Blackberry has been popular because it's so "sexy"?  Not at
>> all, because it does something very well indeed - it's got an
>> application of sufficiently high quality to pull in users.
> Don't limit your definition of "sexy" to just the physical hardware. The 
> iPhone, while physically attractive isn't what gets the ooooh's and ahhhh's 
> when I show it to people. What people find very compelling ("sexy") is the 
> user interface and quality, integration and usability of the applications. 
> The "sexy" applications are also the reason why I bought the phone.

I actually rather like the iPhone, but I know it's been an extremely
poor seller outside the US, because its an old-technology product.  A
nice interface, and the iPhone's looks a lot like Canola on the
N800/810, which is excellent, is going to sell some objects, but not on
the back of dated technology.

>> Same as why
>> Nokia have stuck with symbian on their phones, there is a substantial
>> body of good applications out there, but in particular, they have an
>> excellent synchronisation capability which has been very important to
>> very many people.
> I'll agree with this. Nokia has a lot of expertise and time invested in 
> Symbian and being able to synch your contacts and appointments with other 
> applications is a very nice feature.
>>> Also keep in mind that the iPhone is open in the sense that Apple 
>>> released a
>>> SDK to allow developers to write apps for it. I doubt that it's 100% as 
>>> open
>>> as the OpenMoko phone but it's open enough to let developers create
>>> customized applications for it.
>> The iPhone is not open in any sense at all,
> It's difficult to reconcile your statement when faced with the fact that 
> Apple released a SDK that allows 3rd party developers to write software for 
> the iPhone. Since anyone can download and write apps for the iPhone how can 
> anyone take the position of "not open in any sense at all."

You're confusing some very fundamental issues.  Presenting a proprietary
API is not open.  If you need to learn more about what open means here
(you're posting in an open-source group!), then I suggest you start by
investigating the GPL.

>> and many applications
>> would never be able to run on it because of that.  It's a 100%
>> proprietary platform.
> There are some restrictions on what features developers can access. But 
> "some restrictions" is not nearly the same as "not open in any sense at 
> all."

It's not open in any sense at all.  It's an entirely, 100%, proprietary

>>> I just think that the OpenMoko is going to have a very difficult time 
>>> making
>>> headway into a very competitive market. If its biggest feature is that it
>>> isn't "encumbered by proprietary software" then that's going to be a 
>>> tough
>>> selling point.
>> You keep saying this, but seem to lack anything evidential beyond your
>> personal opinion for it.
> It is a personal opinion which is why I began my sentence with "I just 
> think...." Given that you don't have any evidence that ensures the OpenMoko 
> will be successful both of us are merely speculating and expressing personal 
> opinions.

So you agree that you're fudding OpenMoko with absolutely no supporting
evidence - interesting.

>> Personally, I think having an Open phone is a
>> great idea.  Unfortunately, the OpenMoko phone lacks one particular
>> feature which I think is a major issue (below).
> That the OpenMoko "great idea" is your opinion. There is nothing that makes 
> your opinion (or mine) more correct than the other. In one or two years time 
> the market will have decided the fate of this phone and then we'll be able 
> to tell which opinion was more correct. Until that time they are both merely 
> opinions.

Ah, you're quite wrong there, sorry.  Why not take a peek at Ubuntu,
Linux, GNU, FSF and so on.  You'll see that having an Open phone is seen
by many people as a great idea.  Check Google's Android, have a look at
LiMo.  They're all pushing this same thing.

>>>>>  Sorry but the OpenMoko is doomed from the start. In order to succeed 
>>>>> it
>>>>> had
>>>>> better be a lot cheaper or a lot sexier. Being more expensive and not
>>>>> nearly
>>>>> as cool/sexy/shiek as it's competitors spells death in todays market. 
>>>>> The
>>>>> "not encumbered by proprietary software" is not a selling point that 
>>>>> many
>>>>> people are going to care about.
>>>> I think that Thad from the NG bought one or will buy one.
>>> I don't know who Thad is but perhaps he'll post some info on the phone. I
>>> think that the idea of a completely open phone would have been great 
>>> several
>>> years ago but I think that right now it's too little too late. But what 
>>> do I
>>> know. The market is the ultimately judge and we should know in a year or 
>>> so
>>> time.
>> Too late for what?
> Too late to be a significant factor in the market. 

<snip speculation>

Doh!  The phone market has been stagnant in the EU and Asia for several
years.  Only the US and Canada have undeveloped mobility markets, mainly
because they went with a non-GSM technology, which left those markets
massively trailing in technology, and, indeed, resulted in companies
like Motorola and Apple (iPhone) producing 2.5G dated phones.

The only way to drive into the phone market now is by adding features
and value.  OpenMoko certainly adds some very specific value which
proprietary, locked-down devices like iPhone cannot.

>> It seems to me that you merely want to criticise it.
> It seems to me that you want to interpret my post as criticism instead of 
> pragmatism.

I think you should look up what criticism and pragmatism mean, and then
try to rewrite the above sentence.  Frankly, it just doesn't make sense
in this context at all.

You are criticising OpenMoko, I'm assuming that you're a mac troll,
having escaped from the mac groups, come to push an anti-oss message
into cola.  A pragmatic person would never consider such an action,
ergo, you're not being pragmatic at all.

>> You've missed, to my mind, the biggest single issue with this phone,
>> though, which is that it doesn't appear to support 3G.  This is a pretty
>> major shortcoming, as GSM-only means that data rates are always going
>> to be limited to GSM rates.  This major limitation is also shared by
>> the iPhone, at least the versions I've seen, and indeed, many Motorola
>> phones, too.
> The first gen iPhone (my model) does not support 3G. The 2nd generation does 
> support 3G in addition to Bluetooth and Wifi.

Exactly!  That's why it hardly sold outside of the US and Canada, where
the market for such devices is far far more mature.

>> The next great consolidation is in devices which support almost every
>> radio technology.  The ideal device would/should do:
>> GSM (any decent phone will do this)
>> 3G (iPhone & OpenMoko and Motorola A780 all fail here)
> Only the first generation iPhone. The current model does have 3G capability.

That's because they sold so badly outside of the US...


>> WiFi (Nokia N800/810, iPhone)
>> WiMax (receive) (Nokia N810)
>> Bluetooth (most phones & devices)
>> Dect (few multi-purpose devices do this)
>> Plus:
>> GPS (Nokia N810, Archos 605, Tomtom Go910 etc.)
>> Band II VHF radio receive (Samsung phones, Nokia N800)
>> IR (for remote controlling legacy equipment)
>> Unfortunately, that's asking rather a lot for some portable electronics,
>> but I suspect that something with interchangeable modules might fit the
>> bill, or at least, a pair of devices which between them do all of that
>> might be enough.
> I don't think that it's asking for a lot. Based on today's technology it 
> might be difficult but give it a year or two and there's no reason this 
> can't be done. The features and capabilities of todays devices would have 
> been very difficult to achieve just a few years ago.

Ah, there are very good reasons, in particular footprint and battery
life.  Did you use any of the early generation triple-standard phones?
They used to perform well in GSM countries, but as soon as you moved to
CDMA (US & Can, really), then the receivers would generally overload
rather badly.

Battery life remains an issue for anything trying to use Wifi.

>> My ideal device has all of that and runs linux.  I don't mind not having
>> direct access to the GSM & 3G control portions, as that would enable
>> foolish people to take down mobile networks, but I do want to have
>> access to all audio and data streams, codecs, and so on, and be able to
>> move them around in order to get least-cost routeing at any time with
>> in-call handover.
> While nice this is more work and configuration than most people want to do 
> with their device. I'd prefer that my device does this for me automatically 
> so that I don't have to concern myself with it.

Err, in-call handover is by definition automatic!   doh.

>> -- 
>> | mark at ellandroad dot demon dot co dot uk                           |
>> | Cola faq:  http://www.faqs.org/faqs/linux/advocacy/faq-and-primer/   |
>> | Cola trolls:  http://colatrolls.blogspot.com/                        |
>> | Open platforms prevent vendor lock-in.  Own your Own services!       |

| mark at ellandroad dot demon dot co dot uk                           |
| Cola faq:  http://www.faqs.org/faqs/linux/advocacy/faq-and-primer/   |
| Cola trolls:  http://colatrolls.blogspot.com/                        |
| Open platforms prevent vendor lock-in.  Own your Own services!       |

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