When did we agree to being locked in?

AT&T announced today that they will support any phone or device on their network.

This isn’t really new news in reality. I’ve had non-AT&T phones on AT&T’s network for awhile now. For example, an unlocked t-mobile branded Blackberry Curve w/wifi works fine on AT&T network.  The only thing that has changed is now they are acknowledging this happens everyday anyway and will support it officially. I can’t wait for someone to create a Bug that work seamlessly on AT&T’s network and wifi. 

Big kudos to my friend Andy Rubin at Google. Andy had this vision early on when he started his company Android along with Rich Miner which Google promptly acquired before any VCs could invest (!).

AT&T announcement today & Verizon’s announcement last week are all signs that Andy’s Android is the right vision. 

Somehow along the way we have accepted the status quo about being locked in and having proprietary networks & devices. Forty years ago when you bought a TV it was able to get any channel broadcast over the analog terrestrial network. The record player could play any vinyl records. The phone could just plug into the POTS line and get dial tone. Your analog radio could tune in anything over the air. It wasn’t the case that some radio stations only worked on some radios. Or you could only get ABC broadcast on some TVs.

Now we have phones that only work with some networks, MP3 devices that only work with some content, set top boxes that only work with one network, TV’s that only support certain interfaces, radios that only work with some networks… the proprietary/incompatibility list goes on and on.  

When did we all agree to being locked in like this? We were seduced but it was the wrong idea. 

Networks need to be open.

Devices need to work everywhere.

Content needs to be distributed anywhere.  

Which walled garden is coming down next?