Carriers Finally Opening Web on Cellphones

For years, carriers have restricted the way subscribers use their cellphones. Voice calls aren’t the problem. Rather, it’s the fact that users can’t always browse the Web sites they want, install the programs they want, or take their phones to another carrier. It’s as if Dell sold you a PC and then told you exactly what you were allowed to do with it, and even added software to the machine to prevent you from doing otherwise.

Finally, that’s beginning to change. The Wall Street Journal details the progress in a new report, such as how some wireless carriers are opening up Internet use for customers.

“Having a Web browser and the ability to browse the open Internet on your mobile phone will be a given in the future,” said Tony Cripps, an analyst at research firm Ovum in London, in the article. “It’s a capability that eventually people would expect to be there, just like text messaging and camera.”

The primary example given is the third-party Opera Mini Web browser, which makes surfing the Web on most cellphones much easier. This author reviewed Opera Mini for PC Magazine; it’s a huge improvement over the cramped, restricted Web browsers that come with most handsets. Verizon still blocks its installation on most of their cellphones, unfortunately, though all indications are that the FCC or other government initiatives will eventually break those barriers and force the carriers to do otherwise, as the report indicates.

Breaking Down the Walls Of Phones’ Web Gardens [WSJ]