The latest rumours of the iPhone have me psyched. The rumour says that the iPhone (or whatever it will be actually called) will be ultra-full featured and not locked to any network. This is great for several reasons. None of these are my original thought, but you'll have to deal with my non-attribution.
Networks currently control which phones are sold. Since most people get their new phones on contract ups, what the networks decide to sell is what is sold. Meaning the choice is fairly small. The situation is so dire, an entire network (MNVO) was created to meet the demand of korean uber-advanced phones. Hopefully we can get people used to the idea of purchasing phones as a high tech gadget investment (like an iPod), rather than as an item to settle on the best for the least.
The other major problem is the limited UI some carriers are well know of crippling. Add this to rather uninspired design, both on the software front, and the hardware front, and you end up with a whole lineup of weak phones. I enjoy my phone quite a bit, however it doesn't run Google Maps well. I keep on having to approve network access, and the phone heats up and battery life is reduced.
Of course, no well designed product is the fusion of 2 corporate communication and marketing teams in conference rooms in New York and San Jose. That is just recipe for disaster. And that is exactly how many cell phones are pushed to market. Eg: All Verizon phones have OBEX Bluetooth disabled - meaning you cannot download images via bluetooth. My PEBL is from T-Mobile so I can download images via bluetooth. Why does it matter which network you're on? Consumers are just lucky that number portability was created. Or unlucky, since most cell companies are making serious bank from the fees they are allowed to charge.
Luckily this is a blog, so my accusations can go unsubstantiated. But I'm pretty sure I read about those things.