Here’s a good article on what is coming as a result of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) and the redesign of how the cell phones of the future will look. The OHA phones will be built on a Linux kernel with progressive portions of code added on top to make up the “Android” stack. This approach is similar to the OSI model. The applications the user can use on the phone will be written using Java, and OHA already has the compiler and a test bed ready for you to play with.

Here’s my concern with this approach. Picture your brand new Windows XP (or Vista if you’re brave) PC just out of the box. It’s fast! It’s stable! And then…you start installing applications. Suddenly that fast and stable machine is bogged down and hanging because of bad programming or conflicting programming between two applications. Is this the phone of the future? “Thank you for calling MegaTelecom…First, let’s try rebooting your phone and see if that fixes it.” Today’s current batch of phones work fairly well…with the possible exception of a few some friends own. But the real problem is not the technology available, it’s the telco’s desire to hang onto their imprisoned customers by locking them into a contract rather than being the best company out there that everyone wants to use. It reminds me of the line from Princess Leia in Star Wars (IV), “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

I like the OHA initiative because it will (hopefully) force telco’s to modernize and improve their customer service and offerings, but I’m afraid it will be more hassle than it’s worth.

— Garfinkel, S. (2008, March/April). Android Calling: Does Google want to free your phone — or does it want to own it? Technology Review. Retrieved March 16, 2008 from