[kwlug-disc] Android data backups

Chris Irwin chris at chrisirwin.ca
Tue Jul 24 17:12:23 EDT 2012

On Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 1:52 PM, <3lucid at gmail.com> wrote:

> Makes sense. :)
> I'll rephrase: Say there are a handful of rootable phones you would
> consider buying. Say that each of these phones has two price points: locked
> for price X and unlocked for price UNLOCK_MULTIPLIER * X. (Ignore the
> illogic of this, assume they are bootloader locked and you expect it'll
> take 1 year for people to break the bootloader after release of the phone.)
> Would you HAPPILY pay the higher price?

I'd never HAPPILY pay a higher price for an unlocked version. Seriously,
more work went in to creating the locks to verify signatures before
executing boot code (or verify signatures before flashing boot code,
whatever the implementation is). I'd be pretty annoyed if a device was $150
for a locked version, but $200 for an unlocked one. That said, the $150
version isn't useful to me, so I'd be considering the merits of the $200
version on it's own. If the device isn't worth $200, but is worth $150, I
wouldn't be buying the device at all. If the device was worth $200 and the
$150 version was cheaper due to cell phone subsidies (or something along
those lines), then I'd probably buy it at $200.

What if the multiplier was 2 or higher?

Probably not. If the phone is comparable at one price point, and the useful
version of that phone is 2x as expensive, I'm not paying 2x the reasonable

> Background: working for RIM, I'm looking for evidence to show bosses that
> we should sell unlocked devices.

Sim unlocked, or bootloader unlocked?

If the former, I'm seriously surprised RIM doesn't sell SIM unlocked

If the latter... WAIT, let me put a disclaimer in here:

I know RIM is a great Canadian company, and employs lots of people local to
this list (and probably a few on it). RIM has some interesting technology,
I'll admit that. I have a couple friends that work there, too. So I don't
mean this to sound as harsh as it may come across in text. But in the
interest of it hopefully sounding like constructive criticism, I'll offer
my opinion.

It will take a lot more than an unlocked bootloader to interest me in a RIM
device. What benefit would there be? When I was shopping for my phone,
there was never a moment that I considered an iPhone, Windows Phone or
Blackberry, and it wasn't due to bootloaders. Even though actual Android
development (and WebOS until nowish) was not steered or influenced by the
community, it was still open enough to play and change things. Android is
almost entirely open, which allows for some great customizations and
changes. Sure a few parts of WebOS were closed source, but the technology
used (the entire UI was HTML+Javascript) and open & common components
(Linux, Pulseaudio, etc) allowed some great modifications and changes, even
if somewhat more limited than with android.

I could never grab the source and recompile my kernel on a blackberry. Or
build a customized version of the OS that adds new features (look at
Cyanogenmod, or any other ROM, and compare it to AOSP).

As a person who wants to tinker with his toys, Blackberry offers none of
the stuff that interests me. Open bootloaders wouldn't change that --
Unless Android/OpenWebOS/something-interesting was ported, and I doubt
there would be enough interest to hack together drivers (it's hard enough
getting android running well on a touchpad, or getting ICS running on GB
devices, and those had code dumps!).

To put it a different way (I haven't seen a car analogy lately): Why bother
opening the hood if I still can't change the oil.

Now, granted you can say "Well you're not the mass market consumer", and
you're right. But folks like myself have influence on those mass market
consumers: my Mom, for example, has a Galaxy S2 (SIM locked, bootloader
locked, no root. Hackable, but not the point). She actually was also
considering the blackberry (torch? the touchy/slidey one), particularly
because she could BBM with people at work. But after discussing how if she
ever has trouble I can only help her with an Android device, that pretty
quickly changed her mind toward getting the S2 and a SMS package instead.
She doesn't care about locks or root, but she does care about having a
device that she knows is good, and I literally had no experience or advice
I could offer toward the blackberry. She didn't want to experiment with her
money and be reliant on tech support for help.

My wife got a Galaxy Note (ditto on locks) instead of an iPhone for a
similar reason, and she's an exclusively apple/itunes/ipod user. That
should be the easiest sale you can possibly get! But she wasn't willing to
risk spending a considerable amount of money on a device she might not like
(especially since she'd have to live with a smug "Gee, that's too bad.
Works fine here").

So because RIM and Apple don't cater to me, there were *three* sales that
went to Android (side note: My mom was previously a very happy Palm Pre
user. Guess why.). Also, they'll have those phones for three years until
their contracts expire. In the last three years I've purchased three phones
and two tablets, and am considering a third. But no, I'm not a mass market
person, I'm *five* of them :)

Chris Irwin
<chris at chrisirwin.ca>
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