Of smartphones and carriers and cartels…
I’ve been thinking about this smartphone business. I want the functionality that’s on these new phones. I want, for example, that free Nuance app that would let me have a great idea while out walking the dogs on Dartmoor and just speak it into my phone while watching the sun disappear behind Bowerman’s Nose. Nuance would then convert my spoken idea into text for me – and I could take it from there.
But at this rate I’m never going to be able to do that. The carriers have got the market sewn up. If I want a smartphone, I need to take an extortionate contract with one of them. But I don’t want a smartphone to make phone calls. I believe mobile phones are dangerous. I absolutely believe that without the shadow of a doubt, holding a mobile phone to the side of your head will slowly (but not slowly enough) fry, scramble or otherwise cook your brains.
But holding a smartphone 2.5 feet away from my head, using the touchscreen and looking at the images does not worry me nearly so much. What I need is a legally jailbroken smartphone (I’m not technical enough to do it myself). I had hoped that Google and Android would do this for me – but it appears not. Google seems to be backing away at a rate of knots from this suggestion.
How shortsighted! Sooner or later someone is going to come along and say, look carriers, we don’t actually need your contract. I’ve got this very small PC – and hey, it even looks like a smartphone. But it’s not. It’s a PC. And I can plug in your internet dongle, and I can plug in a headset, and I can run Skype (or other VoIP) and I’ve got voice as well as internet without your extortionate smartphone contract and without frying my brains.
OK, when someone does this, the carriers will, surprise, surprise stop selling their internet dongles. But sooner or later, one of them will break ranks and do it anyway. And that’s when I’ll get my PC that looks like a smartphone, or my actual genuine real-life honest-to-goodness smartphone.
Meanwhile, Mr OfCom, if you’ve still got a job, why don’t you look at the carriers and smartphones and the word ‘CARTEL’? Or, having charged them so much for their licenses, do you now have to protect their market? At my expense?