August 10, 2008

Netshare Shutdown, more iPhone Regression

I have, in the past, lodged a few complaints towards Apple on how it has regressed to stimulate mobile movement by increasing its iPhone Data Plan (AT&T has a hand in this one) as well as removing the ability to activate iPhone from home (via iTunes). While I admired iPhone firmware 2.0's app store functionality, I've remained on the sideline before jumping into any conclusions. As an owner of a 1st Gen iPhone and iPhone 3G, I was at first wondering if with the advent of Apple App Store, will jailbreaking the iPhones make any more sense, in other words, having apps available to download legitimately would remove the need to use 3rd party applications via Cydia or Installer 4.

Lately, it has become clear that the app store is more of a facade and with Apple enforcing so many restrictions on the developers, the applications available are merely miniature web apps or mobile widgets. I've yet to see powerful applications providing a wide range of functionality. On top of that, developers pushing the envelope finds their software pulled from the store. The spotlight is shining on Netshare, an app built by Nullriver, meant to give iPhone users the ability to tether to laptops as wireless modem is no longer available for download. According to this Wired article, Apple may have pulled it because of AT&T agreement which prevents iPhone data plans from being used for data tethering. Generally speaking, I've yet to find any serious productivity application available from the app store. If you want to run VOIP, you are better off with fring which is available only to jailbroken iPhones. If you want to record video, once again, you can find that within the 3rd party "installer" catalog.

In conclusion, while I enjoy the way app store operate (so simple to use), I am not impressed by the way Apple restricts application developers. I hope to see more powerful applications to increase my productivity; until then, looks like Cydia or Installer 4 is the way to go!

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