by Mike Masnick

Homebrew Handset Hackers

from the tinkering-away dept

While there's been some evidence that handset makers and mobile operators have been opening up ever so slightly in letting independent developers add software to mobile phones, mostly they still employ a pretty closed approach. They'll let new applications get onto handsets, but they pretty much want you to do a deal with them first, or they'll bury you completely. Of course, some developers want to do a lot more, and have many innovative ideas that simply can't be done within the framework allowed currently. So they're actually building their own phones from scratch, which obviously affords them a lot more overall freedom in designing both the hardware and the software to meet their needs. Obviously, there are regulatory and network issues to contend with, but it's apparently possible to buy the necessary components to really create your dream mobile phone, if you're willing to put a little effort (and money) into it. While we often talk about how we hope to see real innovation in the mobile space coming from the upstart players building MVNOs, it would be equally interesting to see if innovation came from the indie handset builders as well. It would be great if some of these MVNOs started encouraging homebrew handsets, though it seems unlikely.

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