I usually admire The Guardian's technology coverage (not least because they occasionally feature me!) but their latest article - The success of smartphones comes at a price - is ridiculously bad.
It posits three arguments.
- More people are using smartphones to access the Internet than ever before.
- Smartphones are heavily locked down.
- Mobile Operators are "corporate control-freaks".
The author concludes that this is radically different from the PC world and, therefore, a very bad thing.
Let's take those points in order.
Yes, more people are using smartphones to access the net. Five points to Hufflepuff.
The author assumes that smartphones are more heavily locked down than PCs. Nonsense.
Unless you, like me, are part of the small number of people who love installing Linux on every bit of kits you own - your laptop runs the same OS it shipped with. You buy a PC, you get Windows. You buy a Mac, you get OSX. Could you wipe the S and replace it? Theoretically - but people on the whole don't.
Apple and Microsoft do lock down their mobile ecosystem - and I think that's disgusting - but that ignores Android's free-for-all and the coming of new mobile OSes like Jolla and FirefoxOS.
Finally, Mobile Operators are "corporate control-freaks". I work for Telefonica (views are my own, etc) so naturally I disagree with this. The argument totally ignores that every smartphone on the planet can access WiFi. So if you can find a hotspot - you're out of the (somehow) evil clutches of the Mobile Operators and into the warm and loving embrace of the fixed line ISPs.
The same ISPs who are (mostly) owned by the same people as the mobile networks.
And who wanted to track your every move with Phorm.
And will happily block access to sites with no legal justification.
So, people are using their mobile to get net access. Their phones are - for all practical purposes - as locked down as their PCs. The mobile ISP they is use identical to their fixed line ISP.
Yes. I can see the terrible price we will pay if this disturbing trend continues.
Would I like a phone which is as freely accessible as my Linux running PC? Yes. And I have that in Android.
Would I like an ISP which didn't filter me at all? Yes, but all UK ISPs are control-freaks to a greater or lesser extent. Unless I can run my own cable to Linx, I'm stuck with the free market.
I really struggle to see what the author of this piece is saying.