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Mobile providers -- Wake Up!

by Tim O'Reilly
Oct. 20, 2003

I recently sent around to my internal O'Reilly editors mailing list a pointer to Dan Gillmor's column Smart Phones Making More Sense. In the column, Dan wrote: "Orange, a unit of France Telecom, is one of several companies around the world now selling devices that begin to validate the notion of the overpromised and, to date, underdelivered 'smart phone' ..."

Brian Jepson wrote a great reply:

I think Brian is right on about the data rates, but his initial comments are even more telling. The cell phone providers need to adopt the "small pieces loosely joined" design philosophy of open source software and the Internet. That will will allow independent developers and enterprising power users the ability to put existing pieces together to deliver new and exciting services. When all the innovation has to happen within a closed framework managed by the cell provider, it will take a lot longer before we get to the smart phone promised land.

Tim O'Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media Inc. Considered by many to be the best computer book publisher in the world, O'Reilly Media also hosts conferences on technology topics, including the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, Strata: The Business of Data, the Velocity Conference on Web Performance and Operations, and many others. Tim's blog, the O'Reilly Radar "watches the alpha geeks" to determine emerging technology trends, and serves as a platform for advocacy about issues of importance to the technical community. Tim is also a partner at O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, O'Reilly's early stage venture firm, and is on the board of Safari Books Online, PeerJ, Code for America, and Maker Media, which was recently spun out from O'Reilly Media. Maker Media's Maker Faire has been compared to the West Coast Computer Faire, which launched the personal computer revolution.

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