Wired has a nice little demonstration of what is wrong with the market structure for mobile telephony in the USA. The four major carriers have each somehow crippled the Razr2.
AT&T has high speed data with HSPDA, and the Opera web browser but does not play video on the outside screen. It, along with most of the others, costs $300 with a one year contract.
Sprint has video on the external screen but slower internet access and a different, though ok, browser.
T-Mobile’s RAZR2 is Linux based and plays more audio types. No word on data speeds.
Verizon (who amusingly once fought for ownership of Verizonsucks.com) has an archaic WAP browser and, it seems, a walled garden marketplace. yuk.
This is before comparing call and data plans. It creates such a ridiculous level of confusion for everyone in the market – from product manufacturers who have to spend extra time and money on customisaton, to consumers who wonder what the heck they are buying and to retailers who wonder what the heck they are selling.
That extra time spent on customising and launching these high tech fashion products means that the USA will maintain its technological gap from more efficient markets.
No wonder Apple is cleaning up by making it simple for consumers to understand their product.
In the meantime it is possible, but painful, to buy a SIM card to plug into your unlocked super-cool foreign GSM phone, or you can go to Wal*Mart and pick up a cheapo prepay number.