Big news in the mobile phone industry this week! According to the latest findings of the U.S. Library of Congress, if you’ve bought a mobile phone it’s yours to do with as you please – and that includes jailbreaking and adding applications to your phone not approved by the phone’s maker.
So what is jailbreaking? It’s simply the altering or unlocking of your cell phone’s code so that you can use it with any carrier you please. But the U.S. government’s approval of jailbreaking is not good news for the exclusive agreement iPhone maker Apple has with carrier AT&T. The company quickly shot back saying it will void warranties and refuse service for any phone that has been unlocked or loaded with unapproved applications.
Is jailbreaking good news for businesses and non-profits? Yes! iPhones and Blackberries are some of the most popular smart phones being used by an affluent demographic. Businesses and non-profits can now create applications that better engage customers and supporters without approval from phone manufacturers like Apple. This news is just in time for charities and businesses planning for the winter giving and shopping season.
As much as this is a victory for mobile phone users and businesses, proponents are tempering the celebration because there will be a review in three years and who knows what will happen then. Mobile phone users should keep in mind that your phone’s maker may not be able to help if they download malware in unauthorized applications – but I’m sure there is a business out there for that!