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Friday, May 20, 2005

Mobile Technology : Under The Grips Of The Service Providers!!

Mike Masnick writes, In the ongoing effort to jump start mobile data offerings one company has come up with a solution it claims will make downloading data much easier. The only problem is the supposedly "easy" solution involves a complex system using bulky cards. There's a growing recognition that the complexity of getting data on and off of a handset is slowing down mobile data usage. A big part of this is the ongoing effort by many operators to block off the routes on to and off of the phone in order to force users to use operator approved cellular networks - complete with the operator run tollbooth. Subscribers are trying to download data to computer and then transfer it over to handsets is because it's much easier to surf the web and download things on a computer than on a handset - where a combination of the interface and (again!) operator interference makes things difficult.

Bizarre gimmicks characterize the actions of service providers. The latest is a system of "small special purpose device" that you can use to more easily download content.Similar to the early days modem sticking to the phone to make the connection by sound,these cards will emit a series of tones when held up to your handset's microphone. By pressing the buttons on the device to indicate the content you want, and it will emit the proper tones, and the mobile phone will then find and download the correct content or application.

Benefits: It makes it easier for someone to "gift" content to someone else. One person can just buy the corresponding card and hand it over. Also, it easily ties into prepaid offerings where people can just buy "top up" cards of minutes.

The benefit of digital goods is that they're not tied to anything tangible, and are infinitely reproduceable. In some ways, it seems like this is a way to make the intangible tangible for the sake of introducing some sort of artificial scarcity into the system. This seems like an attempt to keep control with the operators while still trying to come up with something that seems like an easier way of getting content onto a phone. Perhaps it's already time to come up with a corollary to Andy Grove's Law - that technology will always win, routing around legal blockades. Perhaps it's not just legal blockades, but the blockades of technology providers who try to retain too much control as well. No doubt mobile technology needs to get out of the stranglehold of technology providers who are widely beleived to be in many respects influencing the shape of evolution of technology.
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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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