Please Take My Money — The Ridiculous State of the Smartphone Industry

The Galaxy S II is finally hitting North America, joining the Bell Canada network on July 21st.

I’m on the Rogers Wireless network, with a grandfathered 6GBdata and family plan with my wife, but that isn’t a problem giventhat all of the major providers up here use essentially the samenetwork technologies.

Bell and Telus previously used CDMA like Verizon, but switchedto GSM primarily to support the iPhone before a CDMA option wasavailable.

So I’ll just buy a no-contract version and pop in my SIM andI’ll be good to go, right?

No. Despite various legislative initiatives to try to decoupledevices from networks, devices sold through providers — even whereyou buy a no-contract, paid-in-full version — are locked to thoseproviders. I can try some unlock apps after rooting the device, but that is uncertain towork and it seems a bit inexcusable that I would have to go thatroute.

Worse, I’ll be stuck with whatever crapware Bell has stuck onthe device unless I root and replace the bootloader. I’ll be stuckwith whatever update sloth they impose on the update process.

It’s ridiculous.

Smartphones are portable personal computing devices. The providerdoes nothing more than provide a data service (whether carryingvoice or internet traffic). The current market is horribly brokenand is unsustainable.

Imagine if you bought your PC through your ISP, and it was onlyusable on that ISP, with all operating system updates having to gothrough the ISPs special sign-off, with the requisite months ofdelay that imposes (see the Galaxy S update delays in the US as aperfect example of that). It is an absurd situation that needs tobe broken. Plans need to be priced according to the plan, and notinflated to submarine the cost of subsidized devices.

I just want to give them my money and get the device. Ican’t.

Come on Samsung. Start selling these things with no providergunk or locks, alongside your Blu-ray players and big-screentelevisions.