The PhoneBoy Blog


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More Deets on Locked Phones and Using Applications

I want to highlight a comment made on a prior post I made on the iPhone and unlocking locked phones. The guy supposedly worked at Motorola and knows how some of their phones work:

The product life cycle of a mobile handset is 18-36 months.  The last product I worked on at Motorola had SSL security in it that required a SIM from the designated carrier in order to execute the on-board applications.  A SIM from another carrier won’t have the right certificates and thus won’t be able to run the on-board applications.  Couple that with the restriction of not allowing new applications to be installed on the device, and you have the new shackles.

I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m saying that the limited freedoms available now on the mobile data networks will be gone soon (at least on the U.S. carriers with whom Motorola does business; as this feature is one requested by the U.S. carriers).

Nokia, on the other hand, has a european-centric view of how to make a handset.  That it should be compatible with whatever carrier the customer uses.  Thus, Nokia makes an effort to support the ability you describe.  But believe me, the U.S. carriers will be making the same requirements to Nokia for future handsets.

The conspiracy theorist in me says that it’s no surprise that the RAZR was such a success, the U.S. carriers WANT users switching to Motorola’s more restrictive products.

If we take what his gentelmen is saying at face value–namely that carriers are going to request this kind of system that basically forbids you from using another carrier’s SIM card for anything but basic phone and SMS–surely this is only going to apply to phones purchased from US carriers. European variants of the same phone will have more “open” firmware to account for the fact that people buy their phones and service seperately–a more sensible approach if you ask me.

To me, this isn’t all that much different than it is today. Each carrier already has their own variant of firmware to advertise their services and disable and enable features as the carrier deems appropriate. This “application locking” feature is just another component that goes into a carrier’s variant firmware. The way around this is to get the phone flashed with unencumbered firmware, which certainly must exist for not only the manufacturer’s testing purposes, but for sale in more enlightened marketplaces.


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