If you’re paying for a wireless plan, why should it be limited to one device? If someone else’s connection has a little spare bandwidth, wouldn’t it be nice to put it to use? The Open Garden Foundation addressed these questions at TechCrunch Disrupt earlier this summer with a new app.
The Open Garden app allows users to share all manner of wireless connections across different devices, as long as they are willing to lend their own wireless connections to the cause. This concept is known as the “mesh network.” TechCrunch’s Frederic Lardinois got the details at TechCrunch Disrupt:
Open Garden … lets you create a mesh network that ties together all the Open Garden-enabled devices around you into one large network that then automatically shares Internet access and bandwidth between all of these devices. Basically, Open Garden wants to become a crowdsourcing platform for mobile connectivity.
Open Garden is currently available in beta for Android, Windows and iOS, and brings an intriguing new dynamic to wireless devices. However, if one decides he wants the app but bothers to break with tradition and read the Software License Agreement, he finds a passage that reads, “[We] tested it, and our private beta testers did, but our environment is different from yours. The software certainly still has plenty of bugs. It might crash your phone and worse.”
…And worse?? Sorry Open Garden, I’d rather not own any apps that crash my phone let alone do something cryptically more horrible to it. I do love the idea, and am certainly more willing to wait for the full release of Open Garden or something similar to it than upgrade my Android to that posh 4G network, but if you’re launching a crowdsourcing app then please, please, crowdsource your app testing.
“But that’s what a beta launch is…” Afraid not. A beta launch is a launch, and like it or not that now means you are putting your brand on the line. Open Garden sounds incredibly cool and my initial reaction to it was to jump in with both feet, but now I have my reservations. And as they say, you only have one chance to make a first impression.