Monday, December 14, 2009

Even Google Hates South Dakota

Readers here are aware of my rants on the lack of choices South Dakotans have when it come to cell phone technology. My thoughts on the subject especially when discussing my frustration over the Apple/AT&T exclusivity deal for the iPhone have been posted here on a regular basis. With that in mind, rumors of a mysterious Google phone that had been swirling around for awhile now gave me hope that a revolutionary smart phone might be just around the corner to compete with Apple and that it might actually be available for those of us that are geographically challenged.

The Motorola Droid was an opening act, being the latest and greatest built on Google's Android operating system and taking advantage of Verizon's excellent network. I was so impressed by the initial hype I went out and purchased one but despite many great features and excellent first impressions, a month later it has me wishing for more. (more on that in a future post)

So imagine my excitement when stories began emerging over the weekend on a real honest to goodness Google phone. The Nexus One as it has been officially named, is real and could possibly be available as soon as next month.

As the weekend progressed, more and more details began emerging further increasing my excitement including Google's willingness to sell the phone directly to consumers meaning that it would be unlocked and available to use without having to sell your soul to a wireless provider for multiple years.

Awesome!

To this point we had an open source smart phone with the clout of Google behind it being sold unlocked to anyone who wanted it. Sounds pretty good right? Well this is South Dakota after all so there has to be a catch in there somewhere and this is no exception, and it is a big one.

The Nexus One will be GSM only. For those unaware of what that means, you will have the choice of exactly 2 major cell phone providers, AT&T and T-Mobile.

That's right, the next big thing in the cell phone business will at least initially only work on providers that do not provide service in South Dakota! (AT&T has purchased AllTel's assets here as part of the Verizon merger agreement but what that means is still anyones guess)

To make matters worse, Google supposedly initially approached Verizon with a proposal that would have had them partnering on this phone. If Verizon would have agreed it would have meant that not only would the phone still have been sold unlocked by Google as it will be now, it would have likely been CDMA based making it available for use on most every carrier in South Dakota including Verizon and Sprint.

Of course, like they did with the iPhone, Verizon said no and Google instead went to T-Mobile meaning the phone will be GSM and South Dakotans will remain in the semi-dark ages using a network that severely limits our phone choices.

Oh well, I guess there will always be the next big thing...

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