Monday, March 28, 2005

Why Cell phones sometimes have crippled IRDA/BT support

I had a Sagem My-X5 for a long, long time. It was a good stable brick of a phone and even had an IR port-but that was it. Its IR port was not working at all, it was impossible to transfer a JPEG image to the phone for use as background/MMS content. A friend of mine currently owns the Samsung cameraphone with slider-it has an IR port but cannot beam images. However, each of these things could be done via the serial data cable.
Recently, I looked at the prices for data cables-oh damn, thse are expensive! Now, most mobile phones come without data cable(my SX1 came with one, thank god) but have an integrated camera, limited memory and no external media support. Users will make many photographs-and will want to back them up eventually as they run out of memory!
And this is where operators and manufacturers gang up. Most people purchase cell phone accessioires at their carrier's store-and I am pretty sure that the operator has a nice cut of the sales prices. So, if a data cable is purchased, the operator earns some loot-and so does the device manufacturer.
If the user does not buy a data cable,. he is not out of trouble though. If he wants to empty his storage, he will send the files via GPRS or GSM-generating loads of cash for the cell phone operators. Personally, I tend to see GPRS as the biggest theft in current history-but this is another story.
The last option that he has is going to a store. Some stores have a photo printing facility and a few data cables/a special retreiving software. There, the user can store his photos, but needs to pay an extremely high price per photo/per CD.
Concludingly, hindering wireless access is not the only reason for crippling a phone's connectivity. When you see IR on a phone the next time, think before you buy.
What do you beleive?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's worse than that - look at this article on the Motorola iTunes phone.

I recently "upgraded" my cell phone to a Samsung SCH-a670 (Verizon Wireless in the US). I was told that there was no way I could download the pictures I took - I had to do the $0.50 US/picture MMS approach. Of course, one data cable and BitPim Install later this is nonsense.

Of course they're in it to make money, based on the P. T. Barnum principle ("There's a sucker born every minute and two to take them!"). So instead of giving the people what they want, the providers make their "unfortunate" claims and we have to hack around them (such as ShadowMite has done for the Treo 650...).

(Oh, and the phone providers such as palmOne and Nokia really are at the mercy of the carriers. You can argue how willing they are to go along, but the carriers are really calling the shots here, and the providers ultimately treat them as the customer, especially as they pay for most of your phone.)

(Oh, yeah, since we want cheaper phones, we let someone else pay up front, we pay via long service contracts, and we get no real discount over the long term. Where's the Preparation H when you need it? :-) )

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can also look at this other article where it goes a little bit further explaining the issues involved. Or in other terms, how we're getting scr...

- Solo

3:06 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

nothing to add to this. A must-read. However, most of the phones that I used so far were rather uncrippled...
Best regards
Tam Hanna

12:12 AM  
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