Want to use Google Voice? There's no app for that.
July 28, 2009 1:36 PM   Subscribe

The internet is atwitter over Apple's decision to block the Google Voice app from their App Store, and remove all existing apps that facilitate its use. Fingers are pointing at AT&T, but the app is blocked globally.
posted by mullingitover (115 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Meanwhile...
posted by mullingitover at 1:38 PM on July 28, 2009


Arg, yes. Well, only two years to go on my AT&T contract. Hopefully there is a decent Android-based competitor to the iPhone out by then.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:40 PM on July 28, 2009


I hardly blame Apple for blocking programs from their phone that make calling on that phone free. Save your "new big brother" QQ'ing for when we'll need it.
posted by Spacelegoman at 1:42 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hardly blame Apple for blocking programs from their phone

"Their" phone indeed. This is why I won't buy one of their phones (and also because my company issued me a shiny new Blackberry).
posted by Burhanistan at 1:45 PM on July 28, 2009 [13 favorites]


Man, and I thought living under the rule of Telstra was bad. But AT&T sounds like a whole different level of hell.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:45 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Moar like NSAT&T amirite?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:47 PM on July 28, 2009 [10 favorites]


Apple also didn't let Google release a Latitude application. (So Google released Latitude for the phone as a web app.)
posted by chunking express at 1:48 PM on July 28, 2009


Yes, you are rite Mr. Pileon.
posted by Mister_A at 1:50 PM on July 28, 2009


this is why i switched from the iphone to the g-1. just today i got 3g tethering working - no more hotspot charges. open source is the way to go.
posted by ofthestrait at 1:52 PM on July 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Skype remains freely available, though usable only over WiFi.
posted by now i'm piste at 1:54 PM on July 28, 2009


So we find out the 4chan thing was all a series of mistakes (Summary: 4chan tries to stop DDoS on site, fix ends up not working as intended for a few people, AT&T customers get excessive traffic, AT&T tech uses ham-fisted fix, internet drama), and then they show up in league with Apple to block out Google?

I can see why they would want to do it, and I'm not entirely sure I'd call foul on this. I still don't like it. Between all of this and no tethering, I'm wondering if it might not just be worth the early termination fee after all.

I so wish "early termination" plus "Android" meant what one would think it meant.
posted by Saydur at 1:54 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


3G tethering is pretty simple on the iPhone too. And the UI and applications for the iPhone still trump anything i've seen by RIM or Google. The Pre is the only phone that could be awesome, but reviews seem a bit meh so far. Also, in Canada, it's CDMA only.
posted by chunking express at 1:55 PM on July 28, 2009


Anyone who hasnt already jailbroken their iphone to get all these apps and claims that Apple is evil should shut up and either a) get a new phone or b) jailbreak/unlock their iPhone.

Its not that big of a deal. So its not authorized by Apple? There are other VOIP apps and tethering apps out there, just dont use the Apple ones.
posted by subaruwrx at 1:55 PM on July 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Spacelegoman: "I hardly blame Apple for blocking programs from their phone that make calling on that phone free. Save your 'new big brother' QQ'ing for when we'll need it."

GV isn't a VOIP app (like the already-approved Skype for iPhone). It dials both parties and connects you. You're still using your AT&T minutes for calls. The only racket that it's touching is SMS (sending them is *gasp* free, you still pay to receive them courtesy of AT&T), which is a racket and deserves to suffer complete destruction some competition.
posted by mullingitover at 1:57 PM on July 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


All other apps? Oh noes, they're going to delete Safari so I can't log into Google Voice!





[/sarcasm]
posted by tilde at 1:59 PM on July 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I may well be oversimplifying things here. And maybe not getting the nuances. But if Apple and AT&T have a business relationship -- presumably to make money -- don't they have every right not to offer a product on their platform that will undercut that business?

You can't get Dell laptops in an Apple store, for example. And that kind of makes sense. If this is different somehow, can someone explain it to me?
posted by chinese_fashion at 1:59 PM on July 28, 2009


No resentment here, but I would like to know when I can hope for an iPhone through Verizon. Any news on how long that exclusive contract with AT&T will last?
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:02 PM on July 28, 2009


Burhanistan "Their" phone indeed. This is why I won't buy one of their phones (and also because my company issued me a shiny new Blackberry).

Yeah because RIM doesn't use any proprietary technologies, oh, like say a Blackberry Exchange Server.

I've had both a BB and an iPhone. I overlapped use on both for like 6 months. I know only use an iPhone. They are also buttloads easier to support.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:03 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hardly blame Apple for blocking programs from their phone that make calling on that phone free.

You're not trying hard enough. Detective work 101: who benefits?

Apple doesn't care how much long distance or talk time you use, or avoid using with any available VOIP option. That's not their business; they don't get a cut of that revenue anyway. Apple is in the hardware, but really the apps-and-MP3s-and-videos-selling business.

So who does benefit if you can't make free calls or free long-distance calls?

This is AT&T's hand, or nobody's.
posted by rokusan at 2:03 PM on July 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


This app IS available for Blackberry users with AT&T.
posted by basicchannel at 2:03 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I hardly blame Apple for blocking programs from their phone that make calling on that phone free. Save your "new big brother" QQ'ing for when we'll need it.

People keep saying this, and it does not make it true.

Google Voice does not let you make magic phone calls. It just acts as a go-between. You still use your AT&T minutes.
posted by kbanas at 2:04 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


this is why i switched from the iphone to the g-1. just today i got 3g tethering working

Huh? Turning the "tethering" switch on with your iPhone was too complicated?
posted by rokusan at 2:05 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


If this is different somehow, can someone explain it to me?

Well, see, if I try to call you using Google Voice, it might be because I have some information. And information wants to be free.

Or something like that.

There's this whole strange ethics when it comes to online things.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:05 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


People keep saying this, and it does not make it true. Google Voice does not let you make magic phone calls

It can be used to avoid long distance, kbanas. But no, it is not a pure VOIP product like Skype.
posted by rokusan at 2:06 PM on July 28, 2009


rokusan: "This is AT&T's hand, or nobody's."

This would make sense if it was only blocked in AT&T's corner of the market, but it's blocked in every market in the world. So it would be every cell provider colluding to block it...or, it's all Apple.
posted by mullingitover at 2:08 PM on July 28, 2009


You can't get Dell laptops in an Apple store, for example. And that kind of makes sense. If this is different somehow, can someone explain it to me?

Well, everyone knows how easy it is to buy a computer from somewhere else. How easy is it to download and install an iPhone application from somewhere else? (Serious question, I'm not an Apple user.)
posted by effbot at 2:11 PM on July 28, 2009


I love my IPhone, but am trying to transition to Google Voice. I don't have a problem with my IPhone plan, but I do have an issue with the outrageous charge for unlimited text messages, in addition to paying for the media use.

If they do not allow a Google Voice IPhone app, I will be switching to an android phone after my contract expires.
posted by hazyspring at 2:16 PM on July 28, 2009


I have a cheap phone line with no long distance at home. It costs <$10 a month. I have a mobile phone with a limited amount of minutes. I also have an office line.

I never give any of these numbers out. Instead, I give my Grand Central (Google Voice) number out to people. When you call, it rings my home, office, and mobile simultaneously. When the phone(s) ring, I only pick up the mobile if I'm away from these other phones. The end result is that I use fewer minutes.

I never use any long distance minutes at work or home, because all my calls are routed through the GV system. I select the number I wish to call, then GV calls me. I am technically making an incoming call, so its not billed as long distance.

I can use my mobile data plan or PC to check and send text messages. I never use the carrier's text messaging, so I don't have to pay the exorbitant rates.

All in all, this probably saves me $25-$30 a month in telecom fees. So that's probably the reason that carriers aren't fans of this.
posted by uaudio at 2:16 PM on July 28, 2009 [21 favorites]


Oh, and on the issue of who to blame. Apple or AT&T, I'm sure in this instance it's mostly AT&T, but the relationship is symbiotic. Apple is making money off of the plans, that's the whole reason they released the IPhone exclusively through AT&T .. so if people pay less for their plans, I'm guessing Apple makes less money.

Also, I don't know if people have been following the back and forth between David Pogue and CEO of Verizon Wireless, but he has no issue with how the wireless market is currently structured.

So, I blame all of them.
posted by hazyspring at 2:22 PM on July 28, 2009


Why are people so surprised when Apple behaves like a profit-driven corporation? Is it because they wear turtlenecks instead of shirts and ties?
posted by rocket88 at 2:22 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


This would make sense if it was only blocked in AT&T's corner of the market, but it's blocked in every market in the world. So it would be every cell provider colluding to block it...or, it's all Apple.

Or, AT&T demanded they do not allow the app on any of the iPhones so that AT&T wouldn't look like the bad guy. Also, I am not aware of any app that is blocked on a per-carrier basis on the iPhone, or if that's even possible.
posted by dhalgren at 2:27 PM on July 28, 2009


this is why i switched from the iphone to the g-1. just today i got 3g tethering working

Wait, I'm an idiot, can I really tether with my iPhone?

I also haven't jailbroken my phone. I'm just a sad scaredy-cat, aren't I?
posted by misha at 2:31 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: [after the farting] How 'bout some more beans, Mr. Taggart?
Taggart: [fans his hat in the air] I'd say you've had enough!
posted by basicchannel at 2:31 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


...it's blocked in every market in the world. So it would be every cell provider colluding to block it...or, it's all Apple.

Nobody outside the US can sign up for Google Voice, so it seems more plausible that it was just AT&T's doing.
posted by thegreatcurve at 2:34 PM on July 28, 2009


As a social experiment, I think Apple and AT&T should give away phones and phone service for free, just to see who's left complaining after the fact.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:37 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why are people so surprised when Apple behaves like a profit-driven corporation? Is it because they wear turtlenecks instead of shirts and ties?

Why, this is MetaFilter, the land where Steve Jobs is a saint and Apple can do no wrong! How dare you!
posted by eyeballkid at 2:38 PM on July 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


People, this is Apple doing this. AT&T are more attractive villains because they don't make the pretty phone and have a history of being dicks, but this is obviously Apple's doing, and the reason is simple: Google is going to eventually provide the only serious competition to Apple in smartphone application technology.

You know it, I know it, everybody knows it. Google is developing approximately six thousand different thingies for mobile phones, including an operating system WHICH WOULD DIRECTLY COMPETE WITH APPLE. Why would Apple want to provide exposure to their only serious competitor?
posted by mightygodking at 2:38 PM on July 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


Moar like NSAT&T amirite?

I don't use them anymore...not since I switched to AT&Treason.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:40 PM on July 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


But if Apple and AT&T have a business relationship -- presumably to make money -- don't they have every right not to offer a product on their platform that will undercut that business?

Because people believe they have more consumer protection than they actually do. Or we like to pretend we do. Considering how small apple is in the mobile market, I doubt this will lead to any sort of regulation.

What gets me is that there's no real alternatives. All the mobile companies charge too much to text messages and have pricey data plans. They block what they feel. Want to connect to a BES server? That 15 dollars more. Want to listen on port 80? Too bad. Want to run a torrent? Too bad. etc.

Id vote for my dollars, but switching platforms usually means moving to another mobile company doing the same tricks. Im not sure what the solution here is, but the google-like vision of being able to move handsets between carriers without fees and complete netneutrality seems like the way to go. I doubt it will ever happen without regulation. Heck, we dont even have net neutrality on wired connections yet.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:44 PM on July 28, 2009


In soviet russia, you are not available to Google Voice .
posted by blue_beetle at 2:46 PM on July 28, 2009


I do have an issue with the outrageous charge for unlimited text messages

Fuck, yes. Absolutely usurious.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:50 PM on July 28, 2009


I have refused the charms of the iPhone because of NSAT&T. Now that I have -- and love -- google voice, Apple and AT&T have given me one more reason to keep plugging along with my T-Mobile Nokia 6320, and an iPod touch for wireless connectivity. I use Skype on my iPod as long as I am near wireless, which I usually am. Works like a charm.

I too hope there's a real Android competitor for the iPhone soon -- alas, the G1 is not that competitor. I'll seriously consider it if it plays nice with my mostly Apple ecosystem

But I will not do business with AT&T, not now, not ever. Every time I get close to thinking I can't live without an iPhone, I just picture Dick Cheney's cackling face. That does it.

Even an innovative company like Apple will lose in the long run trying to compete against open platforms with outside developers. I hope they change their mind before they lose out to Android powered phones.

Damn right.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:51 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Google is going to eventually provide the only serious competition to Apple in smartphone application technology.

This is another example of how opaque Google's strategy often is. In the relationship between Apple and Google, Google has vastly more leverage than Apple does. If they decided to behave like a normal company, they could devastate Apple by deciding the the iPhone is a competitor to Android, and therefore they aren't going to let iPhone users access GMail, Google Map tiles, mobile search, Youtube, Google Voice (at all.... iPhone users can still access all the functionality through Google Voice's mobile webapp), or at least say that Android phones can access these with great integration for free, users of other devices have to pay $5/month or something. Google doesn't do that, even though they aren't even making any advertising revenue from the mobile versions of these products. Of course, it's not like Google makes any money from the sale of Android devices either, so I suppose iPhone and Android are on equal footing in that respect, but that just means that Google loses money equally on each marginal iPhone and Android GMail user.

Ultimately, this is a good thing for consumers, obviously, it's just weird. And I'd expect that the money Google loses providing mobile services must be pennies compared to the money they lose from hosting Youtube, which in turn must be pennies compared to the money they make from Adwords. Strange company.
posted by gsteff at 2:59 PM on July 28, 2009


Every time I get close to thinking I can't live without an iPhone, I just picture Dick Cheney's cackling face. That does it.

Weird, that is the wallpaper on my Iphone.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:00 PM on July 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


People, this is Apple doing this. AT&T are more attractive villains because they don't make the pretty phone and have a history of being dicks, but this is obviously Apple's doing, and the reason is simple: Google is going to eventually provide the only serious competition to Apple in smartphone application technology.

I don't disagree with your reasoning, and I would not be surprised if Apple were behind this. However, according to Daring Fireball, it is indeed AT&T's doing. Yes, his info is from an "informed source", but he is usually pretty accurate when quoting from these sources.

Even an innovative company like Apple will lose in the long run trying to compete against open platforms with outside developers.

I also don't disagree with this sentiment, but then again, people have been saying the same kind of things about Linux for a long time and yet here I am, at work, using a PC running Windows.
posted by dhalgren at 3:00 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Every time I get close to thinking I can't live without an iPhone, I just picture Dick Cheney's cackling face. That does it.

What about Barack's face? I believe this is 2009 and they are still warrantlessly wiretapping.
posted by basicchannel at 3:00 PM on July 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


If you're an Apple fan, you should be terrified of them getting leverage in any market whatsoever.

Steve Jobs will be a far more terrible master than Bill Gates ever was.
posted by Malor at 3:01 PM on July 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm a huge G1 and android fan. There's about a bohotromojillion new android phones coming out, with a variety of sexy interfaces -- not just the standard version that the g1 uses. As an OS, it's really starting to get its feet under it, and I think the next year is going to be pretty amazing for android.
posted by boo_radley at 3:01 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


You can't get Dell laptops in an Apple store, for example. And that kind of makes sense. If this is different somehow, can someone explain it to me?

No, it's no different because Apple is involved. If it were Microsoft doing this, it would be very different and very wrong.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:08 PM on July 28, 2009


I also don't disagree with this sentiment, but then again, people have been saying the same kind of things about Linux for a long time and yet here I am, at work, using a PC running Windows.

That's the power of a monopoly; with the network effect of operating systems, it's extremely difficult to crack.

It's worth pointing out that without open source, OS X would not exist, or would be far inferior, as Apple would simply not have had the manpower to develop everything in the OS from scratch. Apple's hybrid of open and closed source gives them a big competitive advantage, allowing them to do more with far fewer engineers.

It strikes me that it's only a matter of time before fully open-source software eats pretty much every commodity market, because that's the best way (so far) to leverage the odd fact that software is hard to make in the first place, but essentially free to copy. Sharing the burden of creating it and then giving everyone copies is a better fit to the reality of how digital bits work. The price of any good always tends toward the cost of making one more unit, and the cost of making one more unit of software is barely distinguishable from zero.

This is a long, long, slow race. This process may take decades, not days or weeks. And it's possible you might see a permanent symbiosis between open- and closed-source software -- open-source will, essentially, keep the closed-source vendors honest. If they're dicks, like Apple is trying to be here, the open-source people will destroy them. To the degree that they're not dicks, and sell products that are genuinely beneficial to customers, not to the company itself, they'll prosper.

The existence of open source is important to you, in other words, because it shuts bullshit like this down. Even if you don't run it yourself, it cripples software makers' ability to screw you over for profit.

Further, you almost certainly run open source, even if you don't know it, every day. It's becoming ubiquitous.
posted by Malor at 3:13 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, and, one more thing: this is clearly Apple spitting in not just Google's face, but yours. Don't forget what they're doing to you now when it's time to buy a new phone.

My iPhone broke recently, so I bought a cheapo handset to replace it, waiting on the next gen of Android phones. I am not willing to bend over any further for this bullshit.
posted by Malor at 3:15 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Malor, I'm not arguing against open source software at all, and I'm fully aware of the fact that the OS X on my Macs is based on open source software. Along with my TiVO, my Squeezebox, etc., not to mention my Linux servers that I run at home.

The problem is that open source software tends to lack one vital component: a good user interface and user experience. This is what Apple excels at. So, while it's true that an increasing number of products are based on open source, I think it's pretty hard to argue that it will end up succeeding against companies that spend money on things like designers, UI specialists, and usability testing. Sure, these companies may co-opt whatever open source products are available to base their own product on, but in the end people will be paying their money to these companies because open source (for the most part) is just not attractive or easy to use.
posted by dhalgren at 3:22 PM on July 28, 2009


I have an older Blackberry and can't get Google Voice to work on it. Also can't seem to find a list of supported blackberries, so dunno if I'm doing something wrong or my berry is too old. But yet another reason to resist the iphone.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:29 PM on July 28, 2009


Why are people so surprised when Apple behaves like a profit-driven corporation?

I think there's a subset of the population that expects but does not approve of profits gained through means that harm the consumer they're profiting from. I also think there's a subset of the population that is genuinely surprised when a corporation acts in a way that gains profits while harming the consumer, because they believe that it is economically irrational behavior by the corporation.
posted by davejay at 3:32 PM on July 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


The problem is that open source software tends to lack one vital component: a good user interface and user experience.

Agreed. TiVo, OSx, Squeezebox, they succeed because they're reliable and usable. I often wonder if it's just plain smarter for a company to use open source software, because it allows them to concentrate resources on delivering a more usable product and making it available for the same price (or even demand a premium.)
posted by davejay at 3:34 PM on July 28, 2009


If they're dicks, like Apple is trying to be here, the open-source people will destroy them.

On reflection, I'm also not sure I understand what you mean by this. How will open-source supporters destroy Apple for being dicks? Other than not buying the product, there is not a lot they can do unless the offending company has used their software in a way that's inconsistent with the GPL/BSD/whatever license it was released under.
posted by dhalgren at 3:35 PM on July 28, 2009


What fourcheesemac said.
posted by ob at 3:39 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


The elephant in the room here is that we're not far from the point where carriers as such will be unnecessary. There isn't all that much difference between an iPhone and a wireless network capable computer, and wireless network bandwidth and speed is now capable of supporting voice calls (cf Skype). TCP/IP or similar protocols can get voice data to and from your specific phone the same way your email, your web pages, and your WoW data gets from the originating servers to your specific computer.

As a side effect, this makes phone tapping a different problem. Probably a lot easier nearby, and a lot harder from remote servers.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:47 PM on July 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


I can't take people seriously who call Apple a monopoly. It has such a laughably low market share for the cell phone market, relative to its competitors. Buy a Nokia or Motorola or LG or etc. etc. etc. if it bothers you so much.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:00 PM on July 28, 2009


I want a phone with a short skirt and a long jacket.....
posted by hellojed at 4:17 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


You can't get Dell laptops in an Apple store, for example. And that kind of makes sense. If this is different somehow, can someone explain it to me?
Yes, but you can walk across the street to a best buy, or order one off the internet. If you want apple unnaproved apps, you can't (unless you 'jailbreak' the phone). That's a pretty big diffrence. Like if you had to go to mexico to buy a laptop other then one that was government pre-approved.
You know it, I know it, everybody knows it. Google is developing approximately six thousand different thingies for mobile phones, including an operating system WHICH WOULD DIRECTLY COMPETE WITH APPLE. Why would Apple want to provide exposure to their only serious competitor?
Hey I love my G1 but Apple's biggest competitor has got to be Nokia and RIM.
I have refused the charms of the iPhone because of NSAT&T. Now that I have -- and love -- google voice, Apple and AT&T have given me one more reason to keep plugging along with my T-Mobile Nokia 6320
If you're already on T-Mobile, you can get a G1. You can even buy a G1 "developer" phone which is totally unlocked (but then you can't use the app store, because you could pirate apps with it) They are also comming out with new android handsets soon too.
The problem is that open source software tends to lack one vital component: a good user interface and user experience. This is what Apple excels at. So, while it's true that an increasing number of products are based on open source
The android interface is pretty nice, and it's all Open source. OSS designed by geeks for geeks tends to be somewhat lacking in the U.I. department but Android (which runs on the Linux Kernel) and Firefox prove that good interfaces on open source software are possible. I also havn't played around with "normal" linux distributions like Unbuntu, but supposedly they are a lot better these days.

--

What's facinating about this is that it shows how the Internet is really an accident of history. Remember when Modems used accoustic couplers? It wasn't because of technological limitations, it was because it was illegal to plug anything not made by AT&T into your phone lines. AT&T literally owned the wires in your house. If you look at the way cell carriers fight over their rights to wireless spectrum, it's pretty clear that they never would have allowed the internet to exist if they knew how much it would have eaten into their profit margins. It would be like the cell industry is today. If nanny staters like Joe Lieberman and other congressmen realized how much porn would be out there it's likely a network would have been censored from the getgo.

The flipside of course is that we could have wireless network neutrality, just like we have for wired networks. But we don't because congress has sold out. Imagine if you had the same access to diffrent providers for voicemail, text messaging phone calls as you do now for email.
posted by delmoi at 4:29 PM on July 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Apple also didn't let Google release a Latitude application.

Indeed, apparently the reason being given was that it might be confused with the default Maps application. If this is the reason they cited they are in effect saying we think our users are many bricks shy of a full load and will dribble in confusion if there is more than one application that has something to do with maps.

I may be entering the smart phone era soon and the iPhone is at the bottom of my list and now it's entirely in the pit beneath the list.
posted by juiceCake at 4:32 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


The elephant in the room here is that we're not far from the point where carriers as such will be unnecessary.

uh... who do you think provides the network connectivity? the magical TCP/IP fairies?
posted by cheaily at 4:35 PM on July 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


chinese_fashion: But if Apple and AT&T have a business relationship -- presumably to make money -- don't they have every right not to offer a product on their platform that will undercut that business?

The existence of GV on the iPhone does not directly undercut Apple's business. It might do so in some strategic, long-term way, although that's speculative. It's at least as likely that Apple is undercutting its business by not permitting GV on its platform, because its presence would make the platform more attractive. Just look at how many pissed-off people there are in this thread.

It's a better argument that it undercuts AT&T's business, although even there, the case is pretty weak.

The thing is that we're getting into new territory here. iPhones are computers with cellular radios. We are used to installing whatever the hell we want on our own computers. With an iPhone, you're ceding that right. Maybe it doesn't bother you every day because there are so many wonderful fart apps to choose from, but once in a while, something interesting and useful gets blocked from the App Store, for whatever reason. So this is a new and undesirable situation for us to get used to.

But if Apple is doing AT&T's bidding here, that's doubly unaccustomed. Not only do we need to contend with Apple blocking apps, we need to contend with Apple's major business partners being able to reach in and do so as well.

So forgive us our little bitch-fest while we feel out the parameters of this brave new world.

I've got an iPhone and I like it a lot, but crap like this causes me concern for the long-term health of the platform.
posted by adamrice at 4:43 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


cheaily: "uh... who do you think provides the network connectivity? the magical TCP/IP fairies?"

The words feared by all the carriers: wireless broadband utilities.
posted by mullingitover at 4:44 PM on July 28, 2009


The sooner Apple and AT&T lose their monopoly over decent smartphones, the better. Android can't come soon enough.
posted by Nelson at 4:45 PM on July 28, 2009


"Steve Jobs will be a far more terrible master than Bill Gates ever was."

Well, now, that's an easy statement with which to agree.
posted by bz at 5:07 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


The problem is that open source software tends to lack one vital component: a good user interface and user experience.

I dunno. Ubuntu is getting pretty good. I used it quite comfortably on my last laptop. I'd call it better than XP, not as nice as Vista or OS X. It's really pretty pleasant, on the whole. And each release gets better; they're iterating very, very quickly. Note, however, that I am presently using an OS X laptop, and only run Ubuntu via VMWare Fusion, but that's mostly because of the battery-life issues in Linux. If that were addressed, and I could do it the other way around (Ubuntu native, OS X emulated), I'd certainly be willing to try.

I mean, I originally switched my last laptop out of curiosity away from XP, and while Ubuntu wasn't quite as good in the initial version I tried, it was never annoying enough to bother switching back. I stayed with Ubuntu out of inertia, of all things. And later versions got markedly better, to the point that I actively preferred it to XP on the same hardware.

There's a whole lotta netbooks out there running Linux, and in many cases, people don't know or care. It just works.

I mean, think about Firefox, which has many features IE doesn't, and is totally focused on your benefit -- and it's taken them most of a decade to get to 25% market share. People don't quickly or easily change habits.

The truly biggest difference between closed- and open-source: marketing. The fact that there are so many apologists for Apple, as it gets constantly more abusive, speaks volumes to that fact. People just don't like the idea that the company that came up with those very slick Mac vs. PC ads is not, at its core, any different from Microsoft. They just wholesale reject the concept that Apple will abuse them (and IS ABUSING THEM) just as happily as Microsoft does, given any chance to do so.

I mean, I've actually seen people argue that Apple is entirely 'within its rights' to lock the Palm Pre out of iTunes. Seriously. They actually believe Apple has the right to actively prevent anything but Apple hardware from working with Apple software. They vociferously defend this idea!

If Microsoft did that, the Internet would destroy them.
posted by Malor at 5:09 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


mullingitover: The words feared by all the carriers: wireless broadband utilities.

Precisely. Look at how hard they fight public / munincipal wimax everywhere it's popping up.
posted by cloax at 5:13 PM on July 28, 2009


I have refused the charms of the iPhone because of NSAT&T.

I am often annoyed at Apple's control-freaky closed-ness too, but come on: you're worried about privacy and so you're choosing Google? Really?

Really?
posted by rokusan at 5:27 PM on July 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


The elephant in the room here is that we're not far from the point where carriers as such will be unnecessary.

I have to believe that most of the carriers have teams of people working on precisely this issue, because it certainly shouuld be blatantly obvious if you work in the field. Most carriers should be scared shitless (cable companies, as well) by the entire concept of content-agnostic internet service providers.

Wild thrashing about should come as no surprise.
posted by odinsdream at 5:33 PM on July 28, 2009


I don't use google voice and i think latitude is shady, so meh.
posted by empath at 5:34 PM on July 28, 2009


Lifehacker post on the topic. Wired says Apple is "inviting regulation."
posted by hazyspring at 5:34 PM on July 28, 2009


Newsflash to the "Not available around the world" people - Google Voice isn't available outside the US anyway, so there'd be no app in the UK or Canada or Mexico or France or wherever, AT&T or not.
posted by Magnakai at 5:36 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Twitition"? Oh, for fuck's sake.
posted by WCityMike at 5:58 PM on July 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's not my privacy I care about. It's the principle of turning over records to the government without a warrant or subpoena.

Has Google done that? If so, I'd like to know the details. Not snark -- fill me in.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:05 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I dunno. Ubuntu is getting pretty good. I used it quite comfortably on my last laptop. I'd call it better than XP, not as nice as Vista or OS X.

That sounds about right to me, yeah. Ubuntu is getting close. I don't use it much, but when I do I'm always impressed by how close it feels to commercial quality.

Do any of the Linux-powered cheap netbooks use Ubuntu, or does it install fully (with drivers for all features like wifi, sound, sd-cards etc) on any?

When I see them in shops, they're always running some godawful ugly Linux or other.
posted by rokusan at 6:22 PM on July 28, 2009


rokusan: take a look at Jolicloud. It's the slickest netbook OS I've seen so far.
posted by boo_radley at 6:31 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Linux has been 'getting close' for 20 years.
posted by empath at 6:36 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'd call it better than XP, not as nice as Vista

Hrm. This is like an M.C. Escher drawing in words.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:38 PM on July 28, 2009 [15 favorites]


This is like an M.C. Escher drawing in words.

I'm not 100% sure I know what this means, but I'm going to steal this and use it at the earliest opportunity.
posted by empath at 7:17 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do any of the Linux-powered cheap netbooks use Ubuntu, or does it install fully (with drivers for all features like wifi, sound, sd-cards etc) on any?

My wife's EEEPC runs EEEBuntu like a charm, 100% functionality, no hassle.
posted by signal at 8:00 PM on July 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


And looks pretty doing it, too.
posted by signal at 8:01 PM on July 28, 2009


I always thought that long distance calling was free on cell phones. I've never heard of anyone being charged for that.
posted by reductiondesign at 8:38 PM on July 28, 2009



At least they aren't asking you to install Silverlight. That would be terribad.

More seriously, this has been Apple's way since the 80s - 80% AWESOME and 20% WTF were they smoking. (values approximate)
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:52 PM on July 28, 2009


rokusan: The netbook remix version of Ubuntu works great on my HP Mini, no problems, all hardware working, and should be the same on any of the cookie-cutter netbooks out there. The reason it's a "remix" is because the desktop is optimized for netbookish screens (minimal window decoration, apps zoom to the full screen size, icon based launcher, etc.).
posted by robt at 8:57 PM on July 28, 2009


Using Ubuntu Netbook Remix on an Aspire One right now. Very nice experience, barring the Xorg/Intel driver issues.
posted by Samizdata at 9:23 PM on July 28, 2009


Anyone who hasnt already jailbroken their iphone to get all these apps and claims that Apple is evil should shut up and either a) get a new phone or b) jailbreak/unlock their iPhone.

Its not that big of a deal. So its not authorized by Apple? There are other VOIP apps and tethering apps out there, just dont use the Apple ones.


People shouldn't have to "jailbreak" a phone with a 2 year TCO of over $3,700 in order to get full functionality.
posted by MikeMc at 9:53 PM on July 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


me: I'd call it better than XP, not as nice as Vista

adamschneider: Hrm. This is like an M.C. Escher drawing in words.

LOL! Nicely put.

Vista has been tarred with the 'evil' brush, but 18 months after it shipped, it's in pretty good shape. It didn't work well in the beginning, mostly because Microsoft cut features for customers before they cut features for their own benefit. As it shipped, it was pretty much a disaster.

I'm presently using, as my main machine, "Workstation 2008", which is Server 2K8 with the Desktop Experience pack and a couple of DLLs from Vista. It is a VERY nice desktop. It's my understanding that Vista is almost the same, although it adds DRM, which is why I refuse to run it.

After using it every day for months, I think this system is miles better than XP, and substantially better than Ubuntu. The spectrum XP -> Ubuntu -> Vista is perfectly sensible from my perspective. Vista got, and deserved, a ton of bad press, but worked off most of its issues. The "Workstation 2008" spin is lovely, with all the benefits, and none of the DRM.

If you buy and like Win7, you're just getting Vista with a new UI and a few more features. It's the exact same thing underneath.

Further, you're not supporting "the Evil Empire" in its bid to crush the Gentle Apple Computer -- they're both greedy and controlling, and would dearly love to impair your computing experience so as to extract more money out of you. Apple has shown us pretty conclusively over the last three years or so that it aspires to be just as evil (and rich!) as Microsoft. It's not a good/evil, us versus them decision, it's a matter of choosing which corporation you'll allow to get control-freakish on your ass.

Thanks to the open source guys, the answer "none of the above" is now workable for a surprising number of people.
posted by Malor at 10:04 PM on July 28, 2009


I always thought that long distance calling was free on cell phones. I've never heard of anyone being charged for that.

They charge for minutes used. Once upon a time, they charged for long distance too, but they charge so much for minutes to begin with that they rolled it into the price a decade or so ago.
posted by Malor at 10:08 PM on July 28, 2009


Linux has been 'getting close' for 20 years.

That's impressive considering Linus didn't start work on it until '91
posted by MikeKD at 10:12 PM on July 28, 2009


MikeKD: "That's impressive considering Linus didn't start work on it until '91"

Ahem
.

You're right, but then the kernel was really the last piece of the puzzle.
posted by mullingitover at 10:20 PM on July 28, 2009


boo_radley: "As an OS, it's really starting to get its feet under it, and I think the next year is going to be pretty amazing for android."

As an example, here's a custom built ROM from the XDA forums based on Hero.
posted by boo_radley at 10:30 PM on July 28, 2009


But note that they didn't really even start talking about desktop Linux until 98 or so. Corel tried to make that happen, but the market was still too focused on Windows applications, and the Linux replacements were too painful to use as good substitutes.

Fast forward to 2009, when so much of your computing life is on the Web, and suddenly the OS becomes much less important. I can switch more or less seamlessly around between Windows and OSX and Linux and hardly even notice. If you're still totally focused on Microsoft applications, you'll still find other OSes inferior, but an awful lot of people don't pay that much attention to Word and Excel and Access in their personal computing these days.

Further, they've made great strides in interface quality, so when you ARE focused on the local computer instead of just using it as a tool to launch Firefox, it's fairly straightforward to figure out what you want. The GUI system-management tools have gotten very good. You almost never have to drop to the command-line anymore. And video codecs and the like just show up almost like magic -- it's a lot harder to get them running in XP than it is in Ubuntu.

Five and 10 years ago, Linux was a major pain in the ASS to use as a desktop. You had to really be committed. Nowadays, it's no great sacrifice. Coming from XP, I think it's actually an improvement.
posted by Malor at 10:35 PM on July 28, 2009


Then Apple follows that up with some FUD about jailbreaking enabling terrorism..

This episode of 1984 is more ironic than Amazon's:

"Who else thinks it's ironic that a company started by a couple of guys who spent lots of time phone phreaking in a garage in the 1970s now kowtows to AT&T and kills apps that help people make cheaper calls?" -- TUAW
posted by Twang at 12:11 AM on July 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


But handcuffs with the Apple logo look so much better, Twang.
posted by Malor at 12:26 AM on July 29, 2009


Surprise, surprise... Apple doesn't like Google you say? Next you're going to tell me a shocking fact about how water is wet and how corporations are evil? How about... Vista is so packed full of DRM and extra programming cruft that you have to use previous versions of the MS OS with little bits of Vista in order to get the right "experience".... oh wait.

Guys, you are all getting your knickers in a bunch over a BUSINESS deciding to not offer a particular PRODUCT. And it seems like all of you who are annoyed that you can't use Google Voice on your iPhone either a) already have an iPhone and recognize that its not THAT much of an inconvenience or b) never intended to get an iPhone in the first place.

Its nice that you have an opinion on the subject. Its nice that you want people to share your opinion. But, the false "shock" that Apple would block a particular product for use on a product they've sold you is like being "shocked" that your new Scion cannot use an after-market in-dash stereo because Toyota has made it impossible to remove the stock stereo. I don't see any of you making the claim that Toyota is evil in this respect (to be fair, all car companies are going this route). Nor do you claim that your local grocery "owns your ass" because you haven't bothered to learn how to bake your own bread.

And for those of you who like to spell the death-knell of Apple (Read as Microsoft/Toyota/Ford/Honda/ATT/Verizon/Google [because yes even they do dumb shit from time to time]/whateverthefuck) for what you see as some sort of idiot move to lose the company money... consider this, despite your derision, thousands of people own and are quite happy with their iPhones. Apple ain't hurting from this nor are they hurting from your ranting... nor is Microsoft for that matter.
posted by Severian at 5:29 AM on July 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I cried because I had no shoes ...
posted by terrapin at 6:57 AM on July 29, 2009


You can use Google Voice on the new iPhone 3GI if you truly believe you can.
posted by lukemeister at 7:16 AM on July 29, 2009


Apple says jailbreaking the iPhone is illegal -- a violation of DMCA. It also voids your warranty.

One of my favorite comments ever is in that Wired article's comments threads, something along the lines of "shut up and pay the money, Steve Jobs needs another iPancreas."
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:05 AM on July 29, 2009


Also, I just tested Google Voice's SMS service through the browser on my iPod touch. Worked like a charm.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:05 AM on July 29, 2009


Severian, I don't think you "get" metafilter and apple.
posted by boo_radley at 10:15 AM on July 29, 2009


It's not a good/evil, us versus them decision, it's a matter of choosing which corporation you'll allow to get control-freakish on your ass.

I've never seen this argument as holding up particularly well until the iPhone shenanigans.

Microsoft has a long, long history of both bullying and shoddy products that a lot of people may not fully appreciate unless they've been inside the industry back through the early 90s, though all you really need to do to understand why they're horrible and in general probably a net drag on the industry rather than a driving force is to look at how they handled IE6 -- that pointed refusal to improve what was essentially the flagship window to the web over most of the last decade while they sat on unparalleled resources to do so, pushing the burden of dealing with a broken product instead onto the backs of hundreds of thousands of web developers who wasted millions of man hours is something that they do not get half the contempt they deserve for. They get crap for every little mistep because they've earned every bit of their negative reputation, and people quite rightly no longer trust them.

Meanwhile, I've always found the Mac to be a decent platform with occasional warts but pretty much all the freedom I need as a developer, and even at their most OCD, Apple seems to be control freak-ish about their own products, not about invading, co-opting and eventually controlling or destroying products other people make. Apple is far from perfect, but they get benefit of the doubt were Microsoft doesn't precisely because of these differences in their history.

Still, the steady weirdness over the App Store has been gnawing at me, the Google Voice example is particularly troubling because of the obstructionist nature and the power of Google. The thwarting of the Palm Pre interop... yeah, that's not hard to draw a parallel to, say, the deliberately introduced incompatibilities with DR-DOS. And reading the followup this morning on Slashdot where Apple claims if they let people unlock their iPhones, they can take down the cell phone network... that kind of technically tenuous response in the face of state inquiry reminds me of nothing so much as when Microsoft told the courts 10 years ago that there was just no way they could remove Internet Explorer from Windows.

They are acting a bit too much like the Borg for comfort.

I don't know if this was always something inside Apple's character waiting to come out or if AT&T's influence has done it, but this is troubling stuff. Yes, they're making a pretty slick mobile platform, I've enjoyed development a bit for it and been intrigued by the possibilities it had as a disruptive device for a while, but this kind of obstructionism and capriciousness doesn't inspire a lot of trust or enthusiasm for investing in it.
posted by weston at 10:29 AM on July 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


Well put, weston.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:32 AM on July 29, 2009


I think that Apple's latest posturing that a hacked iphone could be used for terrorist activities is their first real step in the eventual attempt of outlawing jailbreak.
posted by jeffmik at 11:54 AM on July 29, 2009


AT&T: You want answers?!

TechCrunch: We want Google Voice on our iPhones.

AT&T: You can’t handle the iPhone with Google Voice!

Son, we operate on network that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by carriers with restrictions. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Verizon Wireless? We have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom...
posted by kurumi at 3:29 PM on July 29, 2009


I think weston is on the ball, but the problem is that Apple has always — for most of the time I've been buying their products, anyway (although not necessarily early on) — been an underdog. They were the foil to Microsoft's ham-handed monopolism and abusive, customer-hostile practices.

However, in every market that they've become dominant in — and so far that's portable music players and high-end smartphones, by way of the iPod and iPhone respectively — they've shown a willingness to go down practically the same path Microsoft trod, only with better PR.

In the case of the iPod and iTunes, they went from a very neat music jukebox program that was compatible with a number of devices, and a hardware player that worked over standard FireWire, to a freakish hardware/software amalgam that uses proprietary connectors (even going so far as to embed a "lockout chip" in a video cable, to force the purchase of their $50 version), has actually removed features over time, and has become increasingly focused on the iTunes Music Store.

The disaster that is the iPhone App Store is even worse, but I can't really speak to it directly since I (wisely, in retrospect) avoided the whole business from the beginning, my suspicions of Apple having got the best of me by that point. My Nokia is not nearly as slick as an iPhone, but it doesn't balk or require asinine "jailbreaking" to run whatever goddamn executables I want on it, which is a capability I pretty much consider mandatory if I'm going to shell out money for something that purports to be programmable. And it comes out of the box with a SIP VoIP client, cell carriers be damned.

I was a Mac user and diehard Apple fan all throughout the Amelio years in the mid/late 90s, when it seemed like the company might croak any day. I always figured that they'd eventually succumb and be remembered as an innovator who produced consistently ahead-of-their-time products. I never once suspected that I would walk away from Apple by choice at the height of their marketshare. However, it is becoming sadly and increasingly clear that, given the same monopoly position that Microsoft has had in the past, that the Beast From Redmond might turn out to be the lesser of two evils, if only because they at least made people hate them, and that hate inspired alternatives and played no small part (IMO, anyway) in the Free Software movement.

They have so far managed to not nerf their core PC offerings too badly, although I've been disappointed with the direction the Mac OS has gone since 10.4 (which I'm still using; Time Machine in 10.5 was nice but the changes to the interface were garbage and have kept me from upgrading). There are clearly some engineers there still doing good work. But it's obvious where they're willing to go, once they think they have their customers by the short-and-curlies. If they ever have the same share of the notebook PC market that they have of the portable-music-player or high-end-smartphone market, I despair to imagine what they'll do.

The tech industry as a whole needed Apple, because Apple kept it on its toes and produced game-changing products; but it needed Apple as a minority player. Apple did best, it seems, when it was on the ropes and the pundits were falling over themselves to call the match. As top dog, in positions Microsoft could only dream of being in (owning a proprietary smartphone platform with total control over every application that users are allowed to run? Getting a cut of every crappy cable that's used to connect their device to a TV?), they're turning out to be a nightmare.

I am in all honesty starting to wonder if it wouldn't have been better if they'd just gone out of business in 1997.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:41 PM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


kurumi, that comment you liked to is hilarious, but the whole article above it is interesting speculation for what in the world has been going on.

To expand on the article and on this:

I don't know if this was always something inside Apple's character waiting to come out or if AT&T's influence has done it

The heavy-handedness seems somewhat out of character for Apple -- they generally haven't acted like rent-seekers, they haven't substantially treated their computing platform anywhere near the way they've treated the iPhone, and it seemed so clear that what they were doing overall was moving that computing platform onto mobile devices that the ways in which they've held back have been odd. That heavy-handedness is pretty characteristic of a cell phone carrier, most of which have a rent-seeking streak a mile wide and pretty much generally act like their business absolutely depends on control and lock-in.

On the other hand... the network strain issues aren't wholly satisfactory as explanations for why AT&T users on other mobile platforms get better treatment, and it is hard to imagine why Apple would step up and feed the feds hysterical lies about unlocked phones being any kind of particular danger to cellular infrastructure for the apparent sake of the carriers, among other things. I'm not really willing to let Apple off the hook.

The thing that gives me hope this isn't really them and they're not going to continue make such a good platform such a squeezed experience and risky prospect is this:
"AT&T is said to be working hard to extend the exclusive deal with Apple beyond next year. But that will be a nightmare for everyone involved. We have no shortage of sources, some very close to Apple, now telling us that as mad as all of us (the customers) are with AT&T, Apple is just as mad, if not more so. Apple can speak in platitudes all it wants during earnings calls about its partnership with AT&T — behind the scenes, trust me, they hear our complaints loud and clear."
A lot of people have long thought that we won't really see the true colors of Apple and of their mobile platform until the AT&T exclusivity period is up. It only makes sense to be more wary of them for the moment, but I agree that it's going to come down to what happens in the months after that point. I really hope to see them ditch the exclusivity, but even if they just work out a better deal with AT&T and shed some of the more onerous restrictions, I think they'll be on a good trajectory.

If, however, business continues as usual after that point, then the writing is on the wall: Apple's M.O. isn't to build their market by being a truly disruptive or progressive force, but more or less to get in on the existing action.

Nice work if you can get it, I guess, but it'd be an annoying and ignoble course for a company that "ignited the personal computing revolution in the 1970s" and has long traded on empowering everyday users rather than trapping them.
posted by weston at 7:27 PM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


My Nokia is not nearly as slick as an iPhone, but it doesn't balk or require asinine "jailbreaking" to run whatever goddamn executables I want on it, which is a capability I pretty much consider mandatory if I'm going to shell out money for something that purports to be programmable. And it comes out of the box with a SIP VoIP client, cell carriers be damned.

Which one? I've long lusted after an E70 or something like it, after I enjoyed a 6822 for a while...

I'm curious: how do you get your apps on the phone and where do you get them from? How available do you find what you're looking for? What do you end up paying?

However, in every market that they've become dominant in — and so far that's portable music players and high-end smartphones, by way of the iPod and iPhone respectively — they've shown a willingness to go down practically the same path Microsoft trod, only with better PR.

I think it's worth noting that in the case of the music player as well as the smart phone, they locked arms with a very controlling industry in order to build the platform they wanted. I'd bet most of the restrictions and proprietization can be traced back to decisions about means of controlling the distribution of music and video. I also wouldn't be surprised, though, if Apple didn't fight the decisions as they could have when they realized how it could lead to power and profit, so again, I don't want to let them totally off the hook.
posted by weston at 8:27 PM on July 29, 2009


One of the things that a lot of people forget about the iPhone that's different to the Mac platform is that on top of everything else, it's a phone. Mobile phone users expect a reliability out of their phone that nobody expects out of computers, where spinning beach balls and blue screens of death are just part of life. Apple's solution to this problem is to let people who want to hack their phones jailbreak them and not support the phones; people who want to use the phone safely use the restricted App Store apps and put up with the problems of the App Store. Those problems are legion and extend significantly beyond the Google Voice competition issue. I'm an Apple fan and I love me some iTunes, but the App store is a useless piece of crap in terms of anything but locating and purchasing an app you already know about. On the other hand, I know apps I buy there won't break my phone.

I don't particularly like that the App Store won't carry Google Voice, but that's a problem of the overall dysfunctional system of cell phone carriers in the US. Whoever made the decision, and regardless of why, specifically, it's got to do with competition and the building of the different networks of cell carriers. I used to compare DSL providers with the railroads because the companies that originally built them ended up out of business and the successor companies made the profits. Cell phones are going to end up the same way, assuming that they don't end up a regulated utility. Under the current carrier/phone system, it makes sense that Apple and/or AT&T would kill Google Voice. What that tells us is that the system as it stands is broken and unsustainable.
posted by immlass at 8:35 PM on July 29, 2009


rokusan, I put Easy Peasy on my Eee 900A and all the hardware works perfectly. The Xandros or whatever that came with it, not so great.
posted by vsync at 9:10 PM on July 29, 2009


weston: "Which one? I've long lusted after an E70 or something like it, after I enjoyed a 6822 for a while..."

I have an E61i. I love it about 90% of the time, all told, and although there are some irritating things about it (mostly related to the software; in particular the software not taking full advantage of the QWERTY and requiring too much D-pad action), in general it's good gear and I'm happy with it.

I use it on T-Mobile in the US, so it works at EDGE speeds — in Europe it would do 3G, but unfortunately here in the US the bands are wrong. But it does do WiFi, and will place SIP calls both over WiFi or the cell data connection if you want it to. I don't really make much use of this feature because T-Mobile gave me an offer I couldn't refuse involving unlimited voice, but if that wasn't the case I'd probably use the SIP functions while in my house quite a bit. The best part about the SIP feature is that you can set it up to use VoIP preferentially, and then make calls as normal — no launching an additional application or anything (it's part of the built-in default dialer). It also does something similar with video calls, but I've never really looked into it or what protocols it uses.

The only significant problem I've had with it is that the Bluetooth stack is a bit flaky. Keeping it connected for long periods of time to certain other devices (specifically, my TomTom) sometimes causes it to crash and need to be restarted, for reasons I can't quite pin down. Due to a general dislike of Bluetooth, I do all my phone/PC tethering over WiFi with JoikuSpot, which is a fantastic piece of software and well worth the price. It takes the phone's cell-data connection and allows computers in the nearby area to use it over WiFi, by using the phone's WiFi transceiver as an access point. (In 802.11 P2P mode.) I couldn't live without this now.

All in all a very nice phone, but if I were buying one today, I'd probably look pretty seriously at the Android or the E71 before buying another one. I don't mind having EDGE instead of 3G too badly (it's fine for web and email), but you're not going to view YouTube on it, certainly.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:11 PM on July 29, 2009


It looks like google might not have been the only voice app company shut out of the App store, This small developer with a product called "Voice Central" Was also kicked off.
posted by delmoi at 10:25 PM on July 29, 2009


All in all a very nice phone, but if I were buying one today, I'd probably look pretty seriously at the Android or the E71 before buying another one. I don't mind having EDGE instead of 3G too badly (it's fine for web and email), but you're not going to view YouTube on it, certainly.

Since the software on the G1 is from google, Youtube actually works pretty well, even on EDGE. Obviously, it's compressed a lot more, though. When you hit a web page with an embedded youtube video, you have the option of watching it on the page or using the built-in Youtube app.
posted by delmoi at 10:47 PM on July 29, 2009


I have a Nokia N97, unlocked, unbranded, removable battery, touch screen, qwerty keyboard, great voice quality and reception, no dropped calls, true multi-tasking, real homescreen, four hardware switches, bluetooth file transfer, apps from Nokia Ovi store and third-party developers, $15/month AT&T Medianet, no contract and runs Google Voice. See also HTC, Sony-Ericson and Samsung for iPhone alternatives.

In 18 days, Nokia makes more phones than Apple's total iPhone sales. Gizmodo is wrong when they say Apple will be the largest smartphone maker in two years. Thanks to Apple, carrier control has been broken, the smartphone market has been transformed, and development by major manufacturers is moving very quickly. The new HTC, (Hero) SE (Xperia) and Samsung (OmniaHD) phones look very, very nice and often have features the iPhone doesn't. You have nothing to lose but your iChains.
posted by psyche7 at 4:14 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


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