Openness — whether to buy from Samsung?

Is Samsung for openness or not? I can’t make up my mind. They seem to be clued in to this whole Android thing, what with their Galaxy S phones, the Galaxy Tab and their partnership with Google on the Nexus S. Yet rumor is that the recent update to the Galaxy Tab will disable root and (try to) lock down the tablet (see this article from which kinda indicates, to me at least, that they don’t get the whole “open” thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand about commercial realities. I understand that they need to protect their investment and keep their support costs low — the technical non-savvy can really put a load on your support line if they don’t understand what they’re doing, try to root their device and screw something up. But that’s recisely the reason I think the way to go it to make the root process easier and keep things more open. The Android community-at-large is a wonderful resource! By enabling them and even, dare I say it, reaching out to them, you can almost guarantee the success of your product, Witness the Viewsonic G Tablet. I bought this on November 2 (launch day) at Sears, of all places. The UI was horrible, it was laggy, it couldn’t remember my local time across reboots and it couldn’t maintain a WiFi connection. But the XDA-Developers community made the tablet usable. In fact, it was posting on XDA back on October 30 that clued me in to the tablet in the first place. I got involved early on, providing stock ROM images to the early crew so we’d all have a safe harbor to return to. Without doubt, it was my interactions with them that motivated me to keep the tablet and I’m convinced it was the efforts of all of us in the communiy that motivated Viewsonic to release their kernel source, allowing further development. And now we hear that Viewsonic plans to release more Android stuff at CES — phones and everything (see this WSJ article along with a host of others). My Nexus One is nearing it’s 1 year anniversary and I’m in the market for a new phone. Because of Viewsonic’s recent track record, I’m inclined to look very favorably on them for my next one.

So, Viewsonic managed to turn a “failed’ product around by cooperating with the community. And it seems like HTC has gotten it all along.

Samsung? Motorola?


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