At yesterday’s Mobile Persuasion conference discussions turned off topic for a bit. Many in attendance voiced their frustration with the way the mobile network operators disallow the phones they sell, and the services they offer, from being more readily hacked on.
In a audience Q&A the discussion of Mobile Persuasion got sidetracked when an audience member asked if carriers would ever really allow technological change that would support openness and hacking. In a more detailed response than I recall Mike Liebhold, from the Institute for the Future, said something that was either an indication of something to come or a major slip of the tongue:
“When Google releases their phone in San Francisco…”
Did he mean to use the word wifi or did he really mean phone? And, if it was a phone would it be hackable (thus explaining the rumors why the carriers seem to be pushing back on a Google phone)?
Regardless of this speculation it’s time for those of us interested in a mobile platform to hack on to stand up and do something about it by supporting and developing the alternatives.
It’s been exciting for me to meet and talk with the folks at OpenMoko and their buddies at FIC and Viatech. While the developer community is still waiting for both a device and software stack to surface from them all the reality is they haven’t been at this for very long and it goes to show how folks with the right skills and connections can move things forward. The truth is we need more of these sorts of projects happening.
The first generation FIC Neo1973 Smartphone is going to be a “simple proof of concept” that is based on an existing device architecture (one that will be radically upgraded if those of us who want to support their effort do just that).
I guess the big question is, are enough of us organizing efforts to disrupt the status quo?
For those of you interested I stumbled upon a YouTube video featuring an interview with Sean Moss-Pultz talking about the FIC device: