no doubt apple revolutionized the smart phones industry. apple gave the market a real shuffle when it introduced it 3 years ago. it was the user experience that made the difference – just like any apple product – from their software to their stores: it’s all about the user experience.
what helped the iphone take off was the community of developers. believe it or not, it is the early hackers who put their time and wits into action, to jailbreak it. jailbreaking means you free the phone from the exclusivity of the appStore, and are able to install apps from other developers (for free or for $$). there are several alternative appStores out there, like cydia and ‘rock your phone’.
why would anyone be interested in installing apps that are not on the appStore? mostly because they extend the capabilities of the device beyond what apple allows or is planning for the time being. for example: tethering. how long did we hear from ATT that tethering is arriving? why can’t we share our internet connection with our laptop and have the iphone serve as a hub? ATT is planning to do so (they claim they are making way for the bandwidth load they are experiencing altogether) for an extra (yes, u heard it right) extra $30 a month. so you pay $30 on your iphone to be constantly online with an unlimited bandwidth (it actually is capped if u check your account page online), and you will pay $30 more to tether.
if you jailbreak your iphone you can install an app called myWi which allows you to tether for a small one time fee of $20. sounds like a good deal right? it is.
another good example is using your data plan as you wish. the internet neutrality act proposes that each and every one of us can use his/hers connection as they please without the internet provider throttling and/or blocking the connections (which happens in spades, though most providers do not admit this). in fact, chile is the first country in the world to anchor network neutrality within it’s constitutional right.
currently ATT does not allow skype calls to be made over the data plan. only wifi. the same goes for ‘face time’ with iphone 4. you can see the other side only if both are over wifi. that pretty much sucks doesn’t it? well, ATT has been putting billions of dollars into infrastructure and i can attest that their signal has gotten better (not much but better) here in NYC. however, i cannot understand what reasons they had (besides greed) to up the data plan cost from $20 on iphone g1 to $30 for the exact same package.
back to business. if you install my3g you can fool the phone into reporting it is over wifi while you are actually over the data network.
want more examples? they are a plenty: sbsettings (allows you to control the phone via a swipe jesture, turn on the phone, the data connection, blue tooth, kill processes and more) proswitcher: allows you to multitaks, meaning putting an app in the background (now partly available in os4) ultrasnow: allows you to unlock the phone, so you can use it with other GSM carriers in the US or over seas (something ATT must provide you by law when traveling abroad – which they don’t). and many many more.
so now back to the title – the next stage of smart phones. well, the title is misleading. it should really read the next stage of smart devices. and that is exactly what they should be: smart devices.
the revolution had already started with the micro sim cards for the ipads. take a device and connect it to the internet – you are golden. forget about minutes, rollovers – all we really have is our data connection. do you want to make a call? launch skype. you can make unlimited calls in the US for $3 a month. face it – a phone is just an application, just like your painting tool or recording device. whatever you want to do will be %100 over the network without extra fees or hidden charges.
and they are all afraid of it because they will loose tons of money right? all the fees on our bill, state charged nickel and dimes for F charge and G cost. the interent scares that scavengers because what will you charge on top of the data plan?
and that is all i really want and the next phone i will get: a device that has the ability to connect to the internet without a phone attached to you. an ipod touch with a micro sim card will do fantastic for me and i will gladly give up my iphone for it.
the future is all about our freedom and ability to connect. it is all about us spending much less (think annually) and getting much much more bang for our buck.