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THOUGHT: Why is the SPV "Application Locked"!?
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 23.01.03 - 15:01:00 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 7282x
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You might remember that I got a HTC Canary two weeks ago for a short preview and thanks to somebody (unannounced) else, I finally got a SIM unlocked Orange SPV (which includes German and English menu as well) loaned! So this gives me the opportunity to understand Smartphone 2002 better now and I also started to write some “How To's”. What I need for every step-by-step are screenshots. It makes it easier for everybody to follow the explanations and what do you think I ran into? Yes, into the certification problematic of the SPV. For the HTC Canary I used an early Beta of a well known screen snapping tool which worked great on it but I'm not allowed to run it on the SPV now due to the missing certificate! :-( It even don't require any installations since it is an executable only but this is also recognized by the SPV - so no way so far to make screen shots except using my Digital Camera.

This brought me back to think about why operators decides to lock devices for installing applications and the only reason I found is the business case. There is no real security risk at all. Also on my Desktop PC I'm allowed to install whatever I want and if I'm careless, I might also install a dialer which dials premium numbers but hey, I wouldn't blame my carrier that they connected me with this number, no I would blame them if they wouldn't do that.

Here I see the parallel with the SPV. Orange might use security risks as the official explanation but if I'm so careless to install everything - floating around in the Internet - I have to live with the results. A great service would be if Orange would offer that kind of “unsolicited certifications” to make sure this application is safe but also “allow” the customer to install any other application.

No, to be honest - I truly think Orange decided to go that way because of making money out of the certification and maybe also because of making money out of the software sales.

Unfortunately - in my personal opinion - this will decelerate the success of the SPV and maybe even of the whole Smartphone 2002 platform (as long as we don't get any competitive devices into the shops).

See what O2, T-Mobile and all the others did with their Pocket PC Phone Edition devices. They SIM locked it (which I can not blame them for as they paid a lot for the user acquisition and subsidized the device) but let the customer do with it, whatever they wanted to do. Thanks to this, we got some great Pocket PC Phone Edition related applications like Caller2Picture which brings more fun, convenience and value to everybody and this freedom to select the fitting apps is one successor of the Phone Edition platform.

So here is my personal whish-list how I would like to see Orange as well as other carriers handles the application certification:

  • Unlock all devices from the application certification.

  • Offer developers to become a certified partner to increase the trust into the specific application.

  • Allow your customers to install what ever they want to install.

The results will be:

  • Increased device sales = increased data ARPU.

  • Increased the developer community to make the devices even more attractive.

  • Satisfied customers.

Otherwise a lot of potential customers/users will move toward other platforms (maybe even carriers) like the Nokia Series 60 because there the developer community is allowed to develop whatever they want and the customer is allowed to use it on its mobile device.

Simply compare the amount of available software (based on J2ME) for the Nokia 7650 to the available software for the Microsoft Smartphone 2002 at Handango:

Found 82 for “J2ME New Software for Last 14 Days” to Found 4 for “SmartPhone New Software for Last 14 Days”. And hey, this can not be because the Smartphone is newer then the J2ME platform since we got 792 new software titles for last 14 days for the Pocket PC platform and for a developer - who can develop on the Pocket PC platform - it isn't a big deal to compile the apps to the Smartphone Platform.

Cheers ~ Arne


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