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When mobile carriers ruled the world

If you want to understand what happens when you allow the mobile carriers to dictate hardware, look no further than the fate of the Samsung Epic 4G:

“The Galaxy S will eventually hit Verizon rebranded as the ‘Fascinate’, but it won’t have the front-facing camera. Likewise, AT&T will get the phone, rebranded as the ‘Captivate’, but will lose both the front-facing camera and the LED flash.”

If AT&T or Verizon customers want a front facing camera, that’s just tough: they doesn’t want you to have one. Or, in AT&Ts case, an LED flash. You might take too many picture or something.

Apple broke the “carriers define the phones” model. Google tried to follow suit with the Nexus One, but decided that it was better off doing what Verizon told it to in return for major backing for Android. And it’s customers that suffer.

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