You Don't Own What You Thought You Bought: Verizon Breaks Phones; Turns Off Feature
from the how-nice-of-them dept
Yet another reminder that, in this day and age, you often don’t actually own the products that you’ve purchased. The latest to make this point is Verizon, who has begun remotely crippling Android smartphones, turning off a feature that let people use the phones as mobile hotspots. The reason? Well, to make you pay more to re-enable the feature you used to have:
Verizon this week began pushing smartphone updates that cripple some devices’ innate ability to be used as a mobile hotspot — for free. Specifically, Verizon pushed an update to the HTC Thunderbolt that blocked the devices embedded hotspot functionality, making the device less valuable and less useful to consumers. Why? Verizon wants to ensure that users have to pay an additional $20 a month mobile hotspot fee.
The company has also received some help from Google, getting the Android maker to remove any tethering apps from the Google marketplace, thereby making it (somewhat) more difficult to workaround this feature-kill. As Karl Bode notes in the post linked above, this seems the opposite of “open”, which both Verizon and Google have been pushing when it comes to Android.