Friday, October 31, 2008

What's new?

It's that time of year again... Motorola announce that they're going to focus on just a few platforms, instead of trying to make phones based on every platform in the universe. So they're dropping UIQ and their own Linux/Java platform. They're going to focus on Windows Mobile, Android and P2K. No info on the status of Brew within Motorola.

Anyway, this seems to be happening about once a year during the last couple of years: Motorola announce that they're going to focus on a few key platforms. Then they do the opposite. I wouldn't be surprised if they were releasing S60 phones within a year or so.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Success forever

This is kind of interesting. Michael Mace discusses successful mobile platforms, but seems to stumble on what a successful platform really is. Was Palm successful? Yes, it was, for a certain period of time. The same goes for all other platforms. None is going to be around forever. Not even Symbian, Windows or whatever.

That doesn't mean that you can't develop apps for a certain platform. It might be around for 10 years, or 5. Or whatever. If you want to look cool in front of your friends, prepare for change, because it's going to happen sooner or later, and then someone is going to point at you and say "your platform failed". Yeah, maybe the platform failed, but that doesn't mean that the stuff you produced for it did.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


It's nice when people are talking about you.

Another good reason... read Simon Judge's blog is that he always seems to have an eye for the bigger picture. While market analysts awe at a small percentage difference in market growth, it might be a bit early to pronounce Nokia's death sentence. This isn't the Silicon Valley. This is the real world. Thank you, Simon, keep doing everyone else's home work, and you'll be rewarded when you get to heaven.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Marketing talk

I love how marketing people use language. This doesn't sound as if you're supposed to read it, but just quickly glance over it and get impressed by the buzzwords:

Over the past decade Symbian has helped transform the mobile market through its unrivalled innovation and commercial success in driving the evolution of the smartphone show industry.

And you're definitely not supposed to actually read the next paragraph:

This year’s Smartphone Show celebrates 10 years of past achievements, while continuing to focus on those technologies shaping the future of mobile. We’re also launching our revived developer event, the Mobile DevFest, running in tandem with the show to provide invaluable training and information for our developer community. With extensive coverage of both technical and commercial aspects of the industry, we have no doubt there will be something for everyone at this year’s event.

Where did the apostrophes go? "Were already launching", was this spell checked by an 8 year old? How come marketing text is always so full of embarrassing errors? Wouldn't it be better if they learned to write properly (or have someone check their output before publishing it), so that they don't alienate nerds like me?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mobile is dead

Mobile is dead, Russell Beattie proclaims in a recent blog post. What a moron, hasn't he noticed how everyone has a cellphone these days? Doesn't he know that there are several highly successful companies producing and distributing cellphones all over the world?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Open source and its consequences

People with no insight into what open source means and what consequences it has for systems, come up with all sorts of weird ideas. Nokia's buy of Symbian and its plans to open its source code have made people ask the same old questions once again. Some are enthusiastic, some are worried. Let's have a look at a few misconceptions.

Does open sourcing Symbian mean that there will be a problem with backwards compatibility? The misconception here is that when you release something as open source, there's nothing you can do about millions of open source hackers all over the world taking charge of your product. But as maintainer of the code, you decide on what gets merged. Sure, people might fork the code and run off in any direction with it, but which version of the code do you think the OEMs will use? Its them who are crazy about backwards compatibility, so they'll go with the official version from the Symbian Foundation.

The above point is also related to the assumption that people will actually want to work on the Symbian code. The problem with this is that a product has to be attractive to programmers, and Symbian is anything but. That's the reason why there are almost no people writing Symbian code in their free time now. It's horrible. You don't spend your spare time working on something horrible, unless you dig horrible stuff. Most people don't.

Does open source Symbian mean that anyone can do whatever they want with their phones, like install patches that switch off platform security or open it up to all sorts of software that their friendly operator don't want them to run? No, obviously not. An open software system doesn't mean that the phones are open. There are lots of Linux phones out there already, and there's not much you can do with them. The fact that you have the source code for Linux doesn't mean that you have any power over your locked down Linux phone from Motorola.