Motorola Backflip launches, but AT&T's crippled the device...
AT&T's first foray into the business of offering Android-based phones isn't going particularly well, and it's pretty clear the company's general dislike of Google
for their positions on competition, network neutrality and open access is spilling over into AT&T handset decisions. Last week AT&T launched their first Android phone (the Motorola Backflip), but pulled Google search from the device in favor of Yahoo. That alone could be brushed aside as "all's fair in love and mobile war," but this week finds AT&T taking heat
for trying to cripple the Android platform.
that not only are they relegated to Yahoo search, but AT&T has loaded the Backflip with annoying AT&T applications that can't be removed
. AT&T's also managed to cripple user choice in terms of adding new applications, preventing a full range of now-standard Android options including tethering. Notes a Backflip user:
There is NO option to install applications from untrusted sources. This means anything on your SD card, downloaded from the web or over your wifi at home WILL NOT WORK. Naturally, you also cannot use the "su" command in terminal. With the Kaiser's bloatware, they removed/hid apps from you so you wouldn't try to use them and replaced them with their crapware. Also on my first day of using it I got a number of "Force Close" messages including on the built-in applications (ie: Motorola's flavor of the desk clock).
correctly notes, that kind of behavior on AT&T's part is exactly the sort of thing wireless CEO Ralph de la Vega said they wouldn't do when discussing Android last year:
...we like the Android as an operating system on its own, but we want to make sure that we have, and customers have the option, to put applications on that device that are not just Google applications, so when the G1 came out and T-Mobile launched it, it's primarily a Google phone. And we want to give customers the choice of other applications on that device, not just the same Google applications.
Apparently, by "choice," AT&T meant theirs -- not yours. Again, AT&T's behavior is rooted in fear of what happens as wireless networks evolve and carriers like AT&T lose the power to be gatekeepers and are relegated to the role of dumb pipe operators