Tiring of Lock-In

This is an pretty old post from my blog, which has been preserved in case its content is of any interest. You might want to go back to the homepage to see some more recent stuff.

My main argument against owning an iPhone, despite their shininess, has been one of vendor lock-in. Once you have an iPhone, you are virtually compelled to also use iTunes, as it won’t sync with anything else. And that dictates your choice of operating system and primary media player, both of them towards software that I’d not otherwise pick (Windows or Mac over Linux, and iTunes over virtually anything else).

So I don’t have an iPhone. But I do have an Android phone, and even there the perceived lock-in is starting to irritate me. Android phones are at least indifferent to your choice of OS and media player, and do not pretend that in this day and age you still have a reason to sync your phone to your computer by a cable and dedicated software.

Even though I’m unlikely to abandon Google products – at least in the realms of web-based e-mail and calendaring, they’re almost certainly the best around – the fact that owning an Android handset would make it painful to do so if I wanted to is growing irritating. I’m for some reason tempted, next time my phone contract is up for renewal, to buy something like an unlocked N900, to forego shiny interfaces and thousands of apps in favour of a mediocre experience that at least doesn’t make my choices for me.

Perhaps this is leading my brain down dark, geeky alleyways, and I should go install Gentoo on my toaster or something to get it all out of my system.


Justin Taylor 16 June 2010

Get a Nokia and see how much you like to be locked into software then. Several Nokia N series phones taught me to never ever trust their desktop or phone software. Even now, friends with the devices have them crash daily, and the PC sync software fails after several months of use. Thankfully, I was an iTunes fan before the phones came out. As a music management tool, it's the best out there for Windows and Mac. It provides a one-touch minimal setup with iPhones that pretty much 'just works'. Average Joe wouldn't know what Linux was (saying that, the mother-in-law uses Ubuntu) but she would never have an iPhone. Plus, this is a phone. I want it to make and receive calls with no fuss or worrying that what I've installed will stop or slow the phone. And if you don't like it? Jailbreak!It pains me to see all these Android devices being compromised by vendors and manufacturers. All devices should be created equal.

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