A truly open cellular phone network ?

by rohit on December 19, 2007

An interesting Op-Ed piece by Tim O’Reilly in the New York Times, that I first picked up in the editorial page in Deccan Herald newspaper (here and here respectively).

Some cataclysmic possibilities lie ahead in the cellular world.

Unlike Internet which is based on and which owes it’s success to open standards (such as HTTP & HTML), the cellular world is one of carrier-centric closed networks.

Google threw a small stone in this tranquil pond a few weeks ago by announcing a few weeks ago the Open Handset Alliance.

Verizon (in the U.S.) is the first cellular carrier to announce that it will go “open” (towards year end). Which mean that it will allow any application and any device to connect with it. It will enable this by publishing technical standards which developers can then use to design products to interface with the Verizon Wireless network.

Tim O’ Reilly (yeah the same guy behind the books and Silicon Valley conferences by the same name and the one who wrote the most quoted piece on Web 2.0) says it looks like Verizon is only opening up just a bit. To him really opening up is sharing up databases of calls made and the like.

In case the carriers don’t move fast enough, Google & Co. could get there first. Then, history is witness as to what happen when networks open.

The other interesting move here is the one Nokia is making to go Internet with a vengeance (more on this later).

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