How open will mobile go?

There is tremendous hunger on the market for an iPhone alternative. The question is whether that demand includes open source.

Sprint Instinct from CNET reviews
The trickle of open source has become a flood.

Motorola is releasing new Android kit, Symbian is doing some heavy schmoozing for the open source version of its software, and remaining players are changing their names to go open source.

Will that be enough?

There is tremendous hunger on the market for an iPhone alternative, as I saw this week watching my Texas relatives ooh and aah over the Sprint-Samsung Instinct (above).

The question is whether that demand includes open source. The Instinct is not open source, and the deal with Sprint is exclusive. Are consumers just looking for something cheaper than the iPhone or do they want something completely different?

The Instinct deal represents this problem well. So long as carriers control the market, with an eye toward limiting data demand, the mobile market will remain fairly closed.

Open source, in this case, requires open  spectrum in order to take off. Without wide open competition among service providers, each with broadband spectrum, open source may underperform.