Which is It, Google? Is Android Open or Not?

By  |  Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 2:28 am

Lately, it’s not often that I agree with MG Siegler. If you’ve read my work elsewhere, you know I’ve taken issue with some of his coverage of Apple.

But his post explaining his distaste for Android is probably the most cogent argument so far why the platform is falling so far short of its potential.

Android was built on a foundation of good intentions. The platform was supposed to usher in a new mobile era where the power was given to the user to make their device their own. No walled gardens, no censorship, no limits. Supporters of the platform heralded its “openness,” deriding Apple and others for their top-town controlled approach.

It sounded too good to be true, and it pretty much was. Carriers balked at giving up that control and quickly Android became just as tightly controlled as iOS or any other mobile platform. And this is directly a result of Google’s business decisions in the company’s quest for Android market domination.

Siegler points out Google’s deal with Verizon in 2009 for Android, which really was the beginning of the end. Let’s just refresh everybody’s memory here on Verizon’s own strategies. This is the same wireless company that up until a few years ago replaced phone manufacturers’ own operating systems with its own really lousy (and buggy) user interface, which often meant the same phone on another network acted completely differently — and was less functional — on Verizon. The most “open” mobile platform joined forces with one of the most closed mobile providers in the world.

What did you think would happen? Of course something had to give, and it ended up being Android users’ freedom. I found it comical how many of my Android-loving friend’s tunes changed around this time. The same ones who had been arguing until they were blue in the face how much better Android was because of its openness were now telling me that the platform was never open to begin with!

How can you equate those two positions? You can’t. Google folded on Android because it didn’t have the gravitas to stand up to the carriers.

Since then, Google has shrunk into the background, allowing the carriers to set the ground rules rather than sticking to its guns on behalf of users, many of who came to Android because of its so-called openness. These days, the platform is a shell of what it once was — a lot of promise, but often not living up to the hype.

You can’t have openness when it’s convenient: you’re either open or you’re not. Android these days is far from it. I’m willing to bet most users don’t even know how much is locked down in the operating system just because they don’t know any better. That’s pretty sad.

I know many readers here on Technologizer do: I’ve read some of your comments on here, many complaining of the various carriers shutting you out of a particular feature, or being slow as molasses in delivering an update.

Siegler is right in saying Apple has held a consistent position in dictating terms, which has in turn resulted in a uniform experience no matter what carrier you’re on. There is not one feature of your iPhone that is locked down, Apple will have none of that.

Google does need to stop talking out of both sides of its mouth. Either it should open up Android as intended, or end the marketing gimmick of “openness.”

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61 Comments For This Post

  1. MJPollard Says:

    Gee, another pro-Apple, anti-Android rant on Technologizer. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!

  2. Rob Says:

    It's not pro-Apple (and believe me, I'm no Apple fan), but instead explains a very serious problem with Android…and a potential issue that the upcoming open source version of WebOS may soon face. Google could have made a lot of these issues go away with more solid control (or at least some finger-wagging) but being the top of the heap was more important to them (and their bottom line) than keeping up with Android's promise.
    I'm done with Android…but I'm not getting an iPhone. The first decent WP7 I can get my hands on will be my next phone.

  3. ABCDEF Says:

    Boy you Android fans can not take it when someone is right about your precious Android and its not positive.

  4. @anujahooja Says:

    To answer your question – yes, Android is open. I have the source code on my computer right now.

    And basically this whole rant is you guys complaining that the carriers and OEMs took advantage of an open source operating system and for some reason Google is to blame. Good one.

  5. Jagan Says:

    What does having the source code do for anyone but the extremely small minority of people? Even the custom ROM arguement falls flat for most people who want an authorized version of the software that has been certified and tested to work correctly.

    I lost my faith in Android when Samsung ditched the Galaxy S. Imagine the best selling Android phone of all time, which is still being sold has a software dead end. Why would I want to burn myself again with another phone?

  6. Anuj Ahooja Says:

    How does that have anything to do with this conversation? The discussion is whether it's open or not, and it is. You're talking about if the model works, and yes – Samsung, the other OEMs, and the carriers are messing things up, but that doesn't make Android any less open source.

  7. Steve Severance Says:

    But in the end just having the source available doesn't mean much.

  8. Anuj Ahooja Says:

    Maybe not to you, but it's very important to have this kind of project. But regardless, it's not the point of whether or not it's important or not, it's whether it's open or not. And clearly, it is.

  9. John Fenderson Says:


    I honestly don't understand this criticism of Android at all. To me, it reads like "Android sucks because it's not like iOS".

    I, for one, don't want Google to take greater control of the platform. That would truly make it less open, would put too much control into Google's hands, and would make it more like iOS — and much less appealing to me. If I wanted an environment that was tightly controlled by a single entity, I'd have an iPhone.

    The difference, of course, is that perhaps outside of Google's phones themselves, there is no "Android phone" in the sense there is an iPhone. There are, instead, a lot of products that use an OS based upon Android. It may seem like a subtle distinction, but it makes all the difference in the world. This article is ignoring that difference.

    This "openness" criticism is even sillier than the "fragmentation" criticism. The fact is that both of these arguments are reflecting consequences of Android being an open OS. Android present, in this sense, a trade-off — just as every other thing we use represents a tradeoff of one type or another. To "fix" these "problems" would require reducing or eliminating the very thing that makes Android worthwhile for me.

    I'm glad that Android exists in the form it does. I, of course, wish it did some things better — nothing is anywhere near perfect — but there is no other platform on the market right now that comes closer to being what I really want my phone to be.

  10. Vulpine Says:

    This argument just emphasizes the statement I make below; only the techies appreciate the "openness" of Android. The only reason Android is in so many hands right now is because of its low price and even that isn't really doing it much good as no single Android platform (OEM) has a better than 50% projected retention rate based on user polls. The fragmentation argument was and is quite valid, even today, though it appears things may start to stabilize soon. The simple fact that too many previous devices simply couldn't get the upgrade/updates when Google released them, but rather had to wait six months to more than a year, is part of the reason. Add to this the fact that AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and nearly every other carrier chose to "personalize" the devices with un-removable software and other annoyances and the OEMs chose to individualize the user interface and you get a situation far worse than any Microsoft had to face with Windows.
    Yes, there will be some who simply don't care, but those are the ones who also want it to work reliably, something that so far has not be one of Android's strong points with anyone but techies. The average consumer, the average person currently using Android devices want an essentially "hands off" device that works right, first time, every time. They don't want to constantly fiddle with it and they certainly don't want to have to learn how to go in and manually turn off all those 'multitasking apps' that don't turn themselves off or even go to sleep.

  11. John Fenderson Says:

    I don't think it's true that only techies appreciate the openness of Android. Most of my non-techie friends and acquaintances have Android-based phones — far more than iPhones — and it's not because of cost (these are generally high-end phones). Generalizing, they have three reasons:

    1) The perceived lack of lock-in. I say perceived because there is still some lock-in unless you're the sort who roots phones, but it does look and feel a lot less restrictive than iPhones do to them.

    2) Their phones work reliably without doing any tweaking (despite your claim otherwise above).

    3) Greater variety and flexibility of choices. With iPhone, your choices are very limited. I know some people who got Android phones because they wanted to be able to carry spare batteries, others because they wanted to tether, others because the phones were "cooler". The upside of "fragmentation" is greater consumer choice.

    None of the, not one, care two hoots about fragmentation. That's an issue only techies really care about, so it's still an odd one to bring up, imo. They have phones that work well, and don't care about updates or if they are available for their phones. It's just a nonissue.

    The crapware issue is a real, valid one though! Outside of rooting (which is easy enough that several nontechies I know have done it just for this reason) I see no easy solution to that at all, again, without breaking a large part of what makes Android a good thing.

  12. Jamie Says:

    Android's open, I think he's wrong to focus on this point, because, yes, the source code is available to anyone.

    The real question is, does the openness really make any difference? Does it do any good for people using phones? "Open" has no position or valence on end users, it's just a business relationship between developers.

  13. John Fenderson Says:

    And the business relationship between developers & the public (which is what "open" affects has a great deal of impact on the end-user experience. Being open prevents the type of lockdown and control we see in iOS. You may not care (or you may prefer the walled garden), that's fair, but for a lot of consumers it makes a huge difference.

  14. Jamie Says:

    Is "Walled garden" a 'content' thing or an 'open' thing? Walled gardens are about keeping you on certain websites, buying certain media from certain sellers and using certain apps. You can have walled gardens on open platforms (viz. Kindle Fire) just fine. "Open" has nothing to do with walled gardens.

  15. hdboy Says:

    The story's complaint isn't so much about whether Android is open — it's more about Google's ongoing attempts to characterize Android as open (and Apple iOS as closed), when clearly, Android really isn't open. It's about Google's slippery "truthiness" problem.

  16. Vulpine Says:

    Based on this article and the one it references, my conjecture two years ago about the demise of Android within years appears to be coming true. No, I'm not saying it will totally die, but rather prove that like its Linux forebears, will become more of a hobbyist's mobile OS and lose its mainstream status.
    Price alone is the reason Android has held on so long.

  17. John Fenderson Says:

    "Price alone is the reason Android has held on so long."

    That's just silly. Expensive Android-based phones are selling very well, last I checked.

    There are a lot of valid reasons that Android is the right platform for non-geeks. There are a lot of other valid reasons for the iOS & WP7 way. There is plenty of room for both in the market. Android represents an approach that, although iOS/WP7 folks may not like it, has a large appeal for a large number of people.

    Personally, if Android didn't exist, I would just not own a smartphone. I know a lot of non-geeks who feel the same as I do. iOS is absolutely not my cup of tea, and what I've been hearing about WP7 doesn't make it sound much more appealing. Without Android, a nontrivial market segment would not be getting addressed at all.

    That's why I'm confused by all these "make it like iOS" articles I've been seeing lately. iOS addresses the needs of a specific market segment. To make Android like iOS means to leave one market segment unserved in order to address a different segment that is being well-served. It makes no sense.

  18. Vulpine Says:

    Ok, I'm not going to argue whether iOS is your 'cup of tea' or not, but I would like to know the specific reasons why you feel that way. I don't want arguments based on hearsay, but real opinion based on personal experience and research.

    As I've said before, I've seen the polls that show relatively low expected retention rates for Android in each of the different OEM platforms while iOS shows a relatively high expected retention rate. Why, if Android is so appealing outside of the low availability price, is that so? Please note that I'm not arguing any of the security arguments or other such so-called excuses (some of which are valid based on Android users I personally know). I'm asking for a reasoned debate.

  19. John Fenderson Says:

    If you're asking for why I prefer Android, you're going to get my personal opinion, not objective facts.

    I prefer Android-based systems for three main reasons, in no particular order:

    1) Freedom. The lack of a walled garden, and the ability to write my own apps without having to get the blessing of, or pay, a third party.

    2) Flexibility. This relates to #1 in a big way, but is different. The Android platform seems more flexible than iOS to me. I can more easily leverage the existing linux codebase. It's quicker and easier to make my phone adapt to my own data & networking needs.

    3) UI. This is pure preference, but when I first started using the iPhone (I'm an iOS developer) I found it difficult to use. How to accomplish things with it is not obvious to me and I have to engage in a lot of trial and error if I'm doing new things with it. The Android-based phones have some of this problem, too, but to a radically lesser degree.

  20. Vulpine Says:

    OK. One thing I will point out is that you said yourself that you are a developer and coder, not an ordinary consumer; will you agree to that? By extension, I could see you influencing your friends and family towards Android because of that knowledge rather than letting them make their own, unbiased selection. Yes, I'm sure many of them would still have purchased an Android device for one reason or another, but I'm also sure some of them would have chosen iOS instead. If you really look at your own reasoning, it's based on a technician's point of view, not a technophobe or ordinary user.

    Go back to the release of the original iPhone and ask yourself one question: Why did the iPhone blow open the smartphone market when Nokia and RIM seemed to have it completely sewn up? Even today, why are Nokia and RIM struggling (and I emphasize struggling) to maintain a hold in the market? Finally, what was it that finally saw Android phones really start to move after such a slow start trying to compete with Apple, Nokia and RIM?
    1) Apple made the iPhone very easy to use at least in part by its connection to the iTunes media store even before the iPhone App Store was created. Rim's Blackberry was complicated and frustrating to use even by the managers and executives who swore by them as the ultimate phone/PDA. You want to make a phone call? You don't have to dig through three menus to find the contact list; you don't have to enter your password just to answer a call. These are things you still have to do even with a modern Blackberry. Also,
    2) It's no wonder RIM is having so much trouble selling devices any more–I just talked to a local Verizon outlet and they said they no longer carry Blackberry phones or accessories except at certain, very limited locations. Considering what I stated in item 1, it becomes quite obvious that iOS and Android have taken over the market except in one specific area and Android, at least for now, is unable to enter that market safely–the enterprise.
    3) When the Android phones first hit the market they were priced right up there with the Apple/RIM/Nokia phones–and barely moved. For all that Android was advertised on TV as "good as or better than the iPhone", it wasn't until you started seeing BoGo, 2fers and other deep, deep cuts that Android really started moving and even today a huge proportion of Android advertising emphasizes lower cost or "4G" capability over any perceived 'freedom' or 'openness.'

    I'm not saying your opinion is wrong, your needs are your needs, but other people's needs are different and simplicity of use becomes more important. To me and most people I know, the iPhone is the easiest phone to use available; the only reason some of those people chose an Android for their personal use was the availability of a pull-out hardware keyboard which Apple did not include on the iPhone.

  21. Rob Says:

    Sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree with you: there is one point where Apple caved in to the carriers: tethering. Other than that minor quibble, you're completely right about Android, which is why my next phone will be a WP7.

  22. Paul Says:

    Not really – Apple had no ability to offer Tethering in the first place since that is already covered by contracts before Apple built it in place. In fact, Apple said, it will work so long as your carrier allows for it – which many carriers did. That was something that Apple had no control over in the first place.

  23. Rob Says:

    Not so. Apple could have pushed for it and gotten away with it; Palm did so with their WebOS phones to some degree of success, as well as hotspotting. I think it was a case that Apple (wisely or not, your mileage may vary) decided this was not going to be the hill they died on and let the carriers have their say on that. If Apple had successfully pushed AT&T on this issue when the iPhone first came out, there would be no way Verizon or Sprint would have said no.

  24. Paul Says:

    Can you prove that? AT&T's user contracts specifically prohibited tethering from day 1 – Apple knew that and they weren't about to screw with that. The nexus one was on a different carrier – the comparison doesn't apply – different policies.

  25. Rob Says:

    AT&T also had a slew of other policies…which they immediately waived in order to get the iPhone. Second, though the focus of this conversation mentions AT&T, it refers to the carriers in general, which all have the same policy and any one of which may have caved if Apple pushed (though I will admit that Verizon supposedly was offered the phone first and turned it down because they would not bend on the policies for an at-the-time unproven phone.) Lastly, I was not referring to the Nexus but instead the Palm Pre (which runs on WebOS, which is what I was referring to.) While the Nexus also has that situation, the fact that the carriers were willing to bend for both the Nexus and the Pre clearly spells out they are malleable when they want to be, something Apple could have easily exploited.

  26. Anuj Ahooja Says:

    Every Canadian carrier allows tethering from your iPhone. Clearly the US carriers forced Apple to cave in.

  27. Rene Says:

    It was easy for WebOS because they dont have enough users to undermine a network's performance. The tethering feature being disabled is more of a technical limitation of the network than a business decision.

  28. Rob Says:

    While that is certainly true, it also shows that the carriers are willing to be malleable with tethering, which proves that they could have given it to Apple should they desire. The simple truth is that Apple gave in on this one issue, pure and simple.

  29. Undertoad Says:

    Siegler is angry because Google decided to "cave" on net neutrality.

    Is there a net neutrality problem on wireless? Are there cogent examples where someone's bits were speeded up, slowed down, or entirely prevented? Because other than preventing tethering/hot spotting, I don't know of a case.

  30. Tech User Says:

    Ed, what ARE you babbling on about now? 'droid is open. I asked my friend to write an app for my phone the other day. He wrote it and emailed to me. I installed and it is running.

    Time to switch to different meds.

  31. Anuj Ahooja Says:

    Even though that's one of the many amazing things about it, Android is open simply because anyone and everyone can pick up the source code for it _right now_. You run one command and, boom, the full AOSP on your machine. I don't see how this isn't "open", but clearly someone over at Technologizer has their definitions mixed up.

  32. Ed Oswald Says:

    Just going to say to several people in this conversation that access to source code doesn't make Android "open." You still have the carriers.

  33. secretmanofagent Says:

    Yeah, it seems like people can only stutter and say, "But but but, the source code!" Even though Honeycomb is closed-source, and the Google Apps are closed source as well.

    Yes, you can get the source code for most of it, but can you install it easily on your phone? Or do you have to root it, unlock the bootloader, and then try to avoid bricking your phone in the process? Is that the definition of "openness"? Sure, HTC is now offering unlocked bootloaders, but that's a minority in this case.

    If it's so open, why can't I uninstall Videosurf, Verizon Video, or VCast tones? Why do the carriers get to interfere with my device, when they're merely a dumb pipe?

  34. John Fenderson Says:

    "Why do the carriers get to interfere with my device, when they're merely a dumb pipe?"

    Because Android is open, that's why.

    For Google to prevent the carriers from modifying the OS would require the OS to be closed. Judging by the nature of the Android-hating comments here, I have no doubt that if Google were to take this step, they'd get just as much, if not more, venom for it.

  35. John Fenderson Says:

    Oh, and also, the carriers are not just a dumb pipe. They also dictate the specifications of what phones get to use their networks. Google has nothing to do with that.

  36. secretmanofagent Says:

    Try again. If I use an unlocked phone on a network, how are they dictating the specification for it? 3GGP dictates the specifications for the network for GSM devices ( http://www.3gpp.org/About-3GPP ) If you buy a subsidized phone, then maybe I'll buy your argument.

  37. John Fenderson Says:

    If you're getting a truly independent phone (not just an unlocked version of of one that's mostly sold subsidized), then you have no interference with the software on your phone. You can even root them with a single tap.

  38. Old Tech Says:

    Yes Ed, it DOES. I'm afraid you must have meaningful s/w dev experience. If you had, you wouldn't be making such a fool o yourself here.

  39. Ed Oswald Says:

    Completely irrelevant when a carrier stands in the way of your coding. The choice is NOT yours what you can do.

  40. The_Heraclitus Says:

    I can load ANY app I want on the phone. So, what do you mean?

  41. jim jones Says:

    Do you have any example of any carrier blocking any app ever? How would they even do that? There is no carrier authentication when you download an app. Hell even if there was, you could just pull you sim and sideload anything you wanted. No need to jailbreak, no need to root.

  42. jim jones Says:

    Well Ed, what would make it open in your mind?

    It is open source. This can be easily verified by going to: http://source.android.com/

    There are many markets including but not limited to: http://www.getjar.com/

    And then there is amazon. Please don't tell amazon that android isn't open, they would have so much egg on their face if they realized that the Kindle Fire didn't exist.

    Honest question though Ed, what would make android open in your mind?

  43. mlewis106 Says:

    Ed, how on earth would Google or Android distribute a completely open and free cell phone without the carriers? Anyone can take open Android source code and do what they wish to it (ex: Amazon).

    Also can you site for me anyone who says that Android is 100% open source? The argument shifted to Android being 'more open' months ago.

  44. Ed Oswald Says:

    The argument shifted? Please explain to me that one. If anything, it shifted further away from being open. The carriers have only clamped down more on the platform recently, not the other way around.

  45. mlewis106 Says:

    That's what I said. The argument for Android shifted from being open to being 'more' open. Also sticking to your guns about carriers closing the platform still has nothing to do with Android being closed by Google. I'm holding a rooted and ROM'd Nexus S phone. My experience, be it on Sprint, is pure unadulterated Android. That option still exists! I dare Google or any carrier to limit my Android experience.

  46. Jamie Says:

    So when we tell people to go to the Best Buy and buy a phone, we shouldn't tell them to get an "Android" phone, because "Android" in itself doesn't actually guarantee anything, what they should focus on is the relative merits of an "Android-HTC-Verizon" phone versus an "Android-Samsung-Sprint" phone? Because those are basically two different platforms, they can run (some of) the same apps but they have wildly different appearance and functionality.

    Yeah great Android's open. But the brand is ruined.

  47. John Fenderson Says:

    Yes, it would be better to say an "Android-based" phone. Being Android based does guarantee quite a lot, but I'll take the one that you brought up: apps. Far from being able to run "some of" the same apps, different Android-based phones run "almost all of" the same apps. The exceptions are a miniscule percentage.

    As far as the brand being ruined, I strongly disagree. Rather, the brand stands for something other than the iPhone brand stands for, and this seems to be driving the tech media insane because they keep wanting to compare the two as if they were different brands of the same product type. They are not.

    It's the same as when people try to compare Macs with Windows — it's apples & oranges (pun not intended): a Mac is a complete system, including hardware. Windows is an operating system that is not tied to specific hardware. Comparing the two is often misleading when this distinction is ignored.

  48. Jamie Says:

    "The exceptions are a miniscule percentage."

    Like Netflix and Hulu. Gahh!!!! It'd also be nice if they all didn't run TouchWiz or MOTOBlur, but Android can't seem to get a single story on that.

    "Rather, the brand stands for something other than the iPhone brand stands for, and this seems to be driving the tech media insane because they keep wanting to compare the two as if they were different brands of the same product type. They are not."

    What drives the tech media insane is it's impossible to evaluate Android on the merits, because everything good about an Android phone is supposed to be accounted to Android's openness, and everything that's bad about an Android phone is supposed to be blamed on the manufacturer and carrier. They can say iOS is a good buy or bad buy, but it's impossible to make any sort of claim good or bad about Android, because there's too much intermediation.

  49. Eric Says:

    Netflix, and HULU work on most devices. Are there some crappy phones that might not run them? Sure. If it doesn't, they can just root and change roms. That is open. Now, when for some reason in a phone you can't achieve root, then there is an issue and a lack of openness in the phone's hardware. I can basically put stock android on my phone if I want. I like Cyanogenmod's build a lot. If you go on the market with 99% of phones, over 99% of the apps will work.

  50. Szamp Says:

    At least google doesn't dictate what applications I'm allowed to install on a device that I purchased, not rented. I believe that's more than enough for me to decide on Android. I have to agree with MJPollard. All articles here are from the Apple point of view. Every little imperfection is amplified on the Android side and ignored on the Apple side.

  51. John Fenderson Says:

    Yes, the coverage of Android anything here grows more and more biased and inaccurate as time goes on. This Android hatred makes me sad. You'd think it'd be possible to cover these topics in a fair way. This isn't a zero-sum game. One doesn't have to think that Android sucks in order to prefer iOS, or vice versa.

  52. Ed Oswald Says:

    BS. Google has begun to police the Android Market.

  53. @anujahooja Says:

    Oh yes, removing malware and things they're externally forced remove is "policing". Good one, Ed. Good one.

  54. The_Heraclitus Says:

    Sorry Ed, I can load anything I want on the 'droid tablet. So, EXACTLY how are the "policing" what goes on mine?

    I'll give you a couple hours to answer…


  55. The_Heraclitus Says:

    Times up Ed.

    You lose.

  56. Watts Says:

    The issue, at least for me, has to do with promise vs. reality. Apple never started out trumpeting the openness of iOS as one of its great virtues — one could argue that it's more open now than Apple is probably comfortable with. (I have a suspicion that Apple's line that they never intended to have an Objective-C SDK for iOS is kind of bogus, but that's neither here nor there.)

    For the *vast majority* of Android users, the fact that Android is available as open source is not something that makes their user experience better. I can guarantee you that most people who own Android devices don't know what Cyanogen is, and a big subset of the people who do wouldn't want to screw around with their phones in such a fashion. And for those people–the majority who are no more likely to install a new OS on their Android phone than they are to jailbreak their iPhone–the openness of Android paradoxically allows carriers and OEMs to make the user experience *worse* in a way that they can't with Windows Phone 7 or iOS.

    It's great that Android allows you to sideload applications, and sometimes I wish Apple did on iOS. But that's not the be-all and end-all of a phone's user experience. If I want to buy a phone that I know is going to get at least two years of OS-level software updates, will not come pre-loaded with crap from the carrier, and will not have a "customized experience" that negatively affects the way things work or even what I can do, I can either walk out of the store with an iPhone and know all of those things are true, or walk out of the store with a specific Android model and then spend an evening or two hacking on it to get to more or less the same state. These two things are not equivalent. That doesn't mean there may not be excellent reasons to choose the Android phone anyway–but those reasons don't refute the criticisms here.

  57. Lun Esex Says:

    People here keep using that word, "open." I do not think Google thinks it means what you think it means.

  58. Eric Says:

    Iphone has the ability to wirelessly tether but that function is locked down.

  59. The_Heraclitus Says:

    That's because iOS from Apple is a closed, locked down, totalitarian system. Wonder why?

  60. Paul Says:

    Not really – It's locked down based on the requirements of your carrier – many of which in the US are prohibitive about tethering outside of a few exceptions.

    Many non US carriers let users tether right out of the box. The restrictions are not on Apple's end but the carriers end. Apple is just respecting carrier contracts here.

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