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Wasn’t it Dan Gilmor who first said readers know more than you do?

Thinking too hard about software issues on walled garden cell phones yesterday I conflated the garden with the entire world. I have not used a smartphone and not traveling much, my cell phone use is minimal. But here are a few things that my list members pointed out.

From The Netherlands: It may be different between the US and Europe, but here in Europe everyone can buy a GSM certified phone (*), stick in a SIM card of their carrier of choice and connect to that network. So in Europe the carriers do not determine which devices are connected to their network.

(*) not sim-locked to another provider of course

From the New York Times: “Cellphone manufacturers, carriers and independent application providers are now offering lots of programs and services that can be used on a wide number of phones. Not all services work on all phones. Some are carrier-specific, and some work only on certain phones. Many require that the phone be able to handle programs written in Java (most new ones are). Some services are free; others charge a monthly fee.” Link to the complete article. I didn’t see any really garden wall breaching services referenced but that doesn’t mean there are none.

And finally from the USA: What you say may be true for regular cell phones, but for “smartphones” you really can download and run any programs you want. For example, look at Skype Mobile - - which runs on PocketPC and Windows Mobile phones. So, as a consumer you can decide what you want. If you want openness and programmability, use a smartphone (like Bob Frankston does). If you want the carrier’s packaged experience, use one of the other phones.

Bob Frankston: those smart phones are only so open – that Bluetooth stack isn’t easy to modify and you can only go so deep into the voice portion. The carrier also limits call management – can I do a Visual VM app for my Smartphone? If we look at the iPhone example one other objection is that the Visual VM probably only works on the phone itself – you should be able to do the same thing from your PC.

So, yes, I can work around some of the problems but it’s an incremental improvement. At least I do have some choices in the GSM world.

Cook’s Edge: Please help us all get smarter and send me your comments. Finally — Is it accurate to say that on a true smart phone the user’sability to do what he or she wants and goto any internet website cannot be restricted? Are there no default settings to provider portals that you have to work your way around?

Arcady Khotin: Totally true, at least from my experience based on wide usage of smartphones in my business in Nordic countries and Russia.

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