Today’s Boston Globe raises an “architecture” question: Cellphone users try to wrest some of carriers control — pdf
At his Warlox Wireless booth, Silbert unlocks customers’ Razrs, BlackBerrys, Treos, and other devices that start out tied to a single carrier so that, for example, a phone originally purchased through T-Mobile will work on a new AT&T account. He also uses software that can reveal menus or intrinsic capabilities that have been shut off by the carriers.
As cellphones have become more functional and ubiquitous, consumers have become aware of the ways their service providers hem them in. Features such as Bluetooth connectivity, which allows people to wirelessly transfer files, are sometimes disabled by carriers. People trying to get applications or ring tones onto their phones often find it frustratingly complicated — unless they go through their provider’s own store. People who want to switch service usually have to get a new phone.
That means Silbert’s services, which were once the domain of phone geeks, are now mainstream enough for the mall.
“You own your hardware — you have the right to be able to do what you want,” said Silbert, who says he works on at least a half-dozen phones each day, charging about $35 for most modifications, which can be done in about an hour. “People have no idea they’re buying something that locks them down so much.”