Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wait... Are They talking About The Same Thing?

Sprint are very proud od their open new open web open transcoder open initiative, which would appear to be thoroughly open and possibly more open even than their open competitors.

This open system from OpenWave will open the web for everyone with a Sprint phone, and is undoubtedly a good thing according to the press release.

I was a couple of sentences in before I realised this was the same transcoder that was thoroughly mangling every page it saw, from the tightest hand coded valid mobile XHTML-MP through to standard web pages, reducing them to a nasty common denominator of black and white ugliness, with markup errors added in for free. A thoroughly open initiative all round, coincidentally utterly killing anyone apart from Sprint's ability to host ringtones, wallpapers, Java games or anything else that requires device recognition - because of course now that all mobile web pages will look like uniform sludge why would you bother to pass through a meaningful UA header?

Not even Vodafone, in all their idiotic "we know best" incompetency, went this far - at least they shunted the UA onto a secondary proprietary header, so once you knew to look for it non-web content was ok.

Did customers ask for this? Did they get a choice whether to have it? Does this really make their lives easier? Bollocks it does. This shows exactly how open the new open intiatives from the US operators are - opening the door just enough to kick everyone but themselves and their paying content providers out into the cold.

And no, offering to create a whitelisting system some time in the future after imposing this screw up on all their customers is not going to make up for the incompetence. The only consolation is that their subscriber numbers seem to be in freefall - long may that continue.

2 Comments:

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4:38 am

 
Anonymous Ed Moore said...

Sprint introduced OpenWeb in response to observed customer behaviour. A significant number of people have been trying standard web sites and getting back unusable content. The Open Internet initiative stemmed from this analysis.

Neither Sprint or Openwave have as a goal to make life more difficult for mobile developers, there is a functioning white listing facility and we are introducing a new version of the system over the next few weeks to remove the frustration caused by changing user agent.

Please bear with us; by improving the complete browsing experience (by adding much more available content) we aim to create much greater levels of activity which should benefit us all.

Thanks, Ed

8:03 am

 

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