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Cellphones Operating Systems Software The Almighty Buck

Nokia Paying $10M For Symbian Software Devs 210

Posted by Soulskill
from the desperation-mode-kicks-in dept.
colordev writes "Yesterday Nokia and AT&T announced a mobile software coding contest worth $10 million in prize money. The move is intended to help Symbian compete with Android and iOS. The day before this announcement, Sony Ericsson said it would not be making any new Symbian devices and is instead focusing on Android. That left Nokia pretty much alone with Symbian, and now it wants to find new coding 'friends' to keep the platform alive. Natural selection seems to be slowly eroding Symbian's future. Is this contest too late?"
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Nokia Paying $10M For Symbian Software Devs

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  • I think I'll pass (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:44PM (#33688780)

    So, one of the "prizes" is 1.0M in marketing for you app, and premium placement in the app store. Don't forget YOU are responsible for ALL taxes. What would the tax be on the 1 million dollars of advertising?

    • by Nursie (632944)

      Probably not very much as it's not income or profit, it's used to purchase stuff for the business... ?

    • If you have a "million dollar app", you can either spend $1M advertising it yourself or $1M * 35% (corporate tax rate) = $350K to have them do it for you.

      If I have an app that is going to generate sales in excess of $350K (which it is otherwise it won't win the competition), then I'll take their prize and pay the $350K in taxes and think about it like a $650K advertising discount.

      Of course, a good accountant should be able to lower your tax burden significantly.

    • by tlambert (566799) on Friday September 24, 2010 @03:07PM (#33690746)

      Me too, but not for the same reasons

      The problem is that they are coming very late to the "applications game", and they are trying to fit those applications on legacy devices with vastly differing capabilities from one another.

      The reason Apple has been so successful here is that all of its devices have similar capabilities and screen resolution, so there is a common baseline for all of the applications to assume, and so from that you get applications capable of using the device capabilities better, rather than scaling back and having the "minimum" UI.

      Even the one where the screen resolution is a bit off in "twice as big" mode, the iPad, is "close enough" that the applications for the other devices don't have a problem running with it. Going the other direction, Apple is going to start having a few problems, as people write specifically to the iPad capabilities. The aspect ratio isn't similar enough for "twice as small" to fit those applications on an iPhone/iPod screen. I expect that what will happen is that Apple will normalize the aspect ratio between the devices by changing the next iPhone/iPod to have the same aspect ratio to make the conversions "work".

      Android faces similar issues to the legacy systems, which is lack of a standard minimum spanning set -- android doesn't dictate screen resolution, touch (or keyboard) capability, and so on. So Android isn't going to do any better in the applications market than Nokia, unless they address these issues so that the applications experience is actually good for the customer between devices.

      Without requiring this sort of standardization of the application operating environment, the customer is stuck trying to figure out how to pick applications that will run on their devices and/or the developer is stuck porting (and testing) on a zillion devices to certify their application compatible, or (more likely), both happen. If so, you only get applications markets that are device-specific, and the developers (those which are willing to be developers in such an environment) will tend to target only the most popular devices to maximize their market size while minimizing their development outlay.

      And this is exactly the same problem that a proliferation of APIs and kernel versions and so on have caused for the BSDs and Linux distributions which have largely kept the commercial software players away from trying to sell into those markets (hence things like "no iTunes for Linux", and Adobe specifically targetting one browser and one Linux distribution with their plugins).

      -- Terry

      • by |DeN|niS (58325)

        """The problem is that they are coming very late to the "applications game", and they are trying to fit those applications on legacy devices with vastly differing capabilities from one another. The reason Apple has been so successful here is that all of its devices have similar capabilities and screen resolution, so there is a common baseline for all of the applications to assume, and so from that you get applications capable of using the device capabilities better, rather than scaling back and having the "

      • by Spykk (823586)
        Exactly. Thats why PCs never took off.
  • Symbian? Did we time travel to 2004 again?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:53PM (#33688876)

      Yes, Symbian "only" has 44% of the worldwide market share of smartphones. http://www.asymco.com/2010/08/02/android-global-share-rises-to-16-of-smartphones-in-q1/ [asymco.com]

      • by MrEricSir (398214) on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:58PM (#33688944) Homepage

        They used to have a lot more. 44% is way, way down from a couple years ago.

        • by gilesjuk (604902)

          Mainly due to it running on cheap, boring phones for business. Small screened devices with full keypads

          There are lots of these phones out there, to call them "smartphones" is to use a rather old fashioned description for smartphones.

          While a smartphone by definition is a phone which can be expanded and have extra software installed, a modern smartphone is so much more.

          If you split the smartphone market by business and consumers the figures would be a lot more interesting.

          • by johanw (1001493)
            At least Symbian also runs on compact devices with a normal keypad and NO touchscreen. I don't like touchscreens, I want to pack my phone in a decent leather case and use it while it's still in it which is virtually impossible with touchscreens.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DomNF15 (1529309)
          Agreed - and probably only a large percentage (44%) because Nokia is such a global leader in cellular devices. I don't think people are buying Symbian, they are buying Nokia hardware that happens to run Symbian. It's not like iOS/Android, where people are more entranced with the operating system/user experience than the device it comes on. Symbian has been around for a while, longer than both of it's major competitors. If it's not dying, it's at least not getting the market attention that iOS and Andro
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by DurendalMac (736637)
        And it's dropping like a stone and Nokia knows it. Symbian has been sucking hard in comparison to everything else and will be history in a couple of years unless they can turn it around.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jfanning (35979)

          Uh, dropping like a stone?!

          Maybe you should check your facts a bit.

          http://graphics.thomsonreuters.com/F/07/GLB_SMPHN0710.gif [thomsonreuters.com]

          • by Zelos (1050172)

            As I understand it, Nokia has maintained their numerical share by selling low-end smartphones, especially in emerging markets, while completely ceding the high end 'proper' smartphone market to iOS and Android (ie. the part of the market that buys apps and actually uses the 'smart' bit of a smartphone).

            Hence their massive drop [asymco.com] in profit share and the fact that (in my experience at least) commuter trains are now a sea of iPhones, Blackberries and Android phones with only a few Nokia low-end phones around.

            • by arose (644256)

              As I understand it, Nokia has maintained their numerical share by selling low-end smartphones, especially in emerging markets

              Gasp, how dare they serve an otherwise neglected market!

      • Yes, Symbian "only" has 44% of the worldwide market share of smartphones. http://www.asymco.com/2010/08/02/android-global-share-rises-to-16-of-smartphones-in-q1/ [asymco.com]

        What is a smartphone? Do these smartphones you talk about have similar characteristics as modern smartphones running iOS or Android? Do they have an app store?

        • by Nursie (632944) on Friday September 24, 2010 @01:14PM (#33689148)

          Yes, yes and yes.

          You've been able to get add-on software for symbian phones since... well I had one in about 2005/6. Now they have the Ovi store. And yes, a lot of Nokia's Symbian phones are very similar to the competition. Not that that's always a good thing.

          Me, I wish they'd drop Symbian in favour of Meego, but it doesn't look like that's happening any time soon. They are adopting Qt for both, which should allow for some portability.

          • by gilesjuk (604902)

            It probably is time to start again. Microsoft could have carried on with the old Windows Mobile. They could have carried on with Win9x architecture, in the end they realised both were tired and not modern enough.

            Symbian's origins are nearly 20 years old now.

            • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Friday September 24, 2010 @02:41PM (#33690398) Homepage Journal

              ``Symbian's origins are nearly 20 years old now.''

              Linux is nearly 20 years old, too. Arguably, its origin is in Unix, which is about 40 years old. Out go the Linux-based Android, Maemo and Meego. Mac OS X and iPhone OS trace their origin back to NEXTSTEP from 1989. Over 20 years old, so out they go. Palm's webOS is, depending on your point of view, based either on Linux or on World Wide Web technology - both of which are about 20 years old, so that one is obsolete, too. That leaves Blackberry OS and Windows Mobile, both of which originate from 1996.

              Or perhaps "old" doesn't mean "not good enough" after all.

              Personally, I think that the fact that, after 40 years, we have systems implementing the Unix APIs on everything from embedded systems to supercomputers, and from specialty devices that virtually nobody has ever heard of to consumer devices like desktop computers, phones, and televisions, means that those APIs are good and one could do worse than continuing to use them.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by rrossman2 (844318)
            Nokia phones also support anything and everything under the sun. I have an older N95 (original, not 8GB, which puts it around 2007ish). Out of the box it supports SIP/VoIP, even having settings for Internet Telephony. With it setup, when I place a call the phone asks if I'd like to use SIP or my cellular plan. Supports a lot of the bluetooth profiles, and you can download apps for the ones not already setup on the phone, Infared, etc, etc, etc. It plays OGG, MP3, ACC, WMA, etc and a lot of video formats too
          • by Luckyo (1726890)

            Why? There's a boatload of software for symbian already, dating back to 2004 or so, most of it compatible with current versions. You're probably asking for a new UI, which is a different thing.

            As an actual underlying OS, symbian can give any of the competition a head start, and still beat it by a mile. It's a very robust kernel, specifically designed for mobile devices, which allows it to perform same functions (and often more) then IOS and Android, while consuming much less hardware resources.

            The problem i

      • Yes, Symbian "only" has 44% of the worldwide market share of smartphones.

        Did you miss the part where your 44% figure came from last year? The 2nd Quarter figure for this year is only 38%. It's lost 22% of it's market share in less than 2 years. At this rate it's going to be irrelevant in no time.

        • by |DeN|niS (58325)

          Come on, slashdot used to be smarter than this. Last year iOS was going to be biggest, this year Android is going to be biggest, etc. See also: http://xkcd.com/605/ [xkcd.com]

          It has lost market share, but gained users (market has grown). This is without Nokia releasing any proper high end phones during that time. And who cares whether S-E/Samsung uses Symbian, their share was non-existent to begin with.

          The 4 announced S^3 devices, and the unnannounced AT&T phone, will sell, and they will sell a lot. Did you have a

          • Come on, slashdot used to be smarter than this.

            Huh? I was only quoting the AC's own article which he used as backing for his statements. I'm sorry if it says something you don't like, but I wasn't the one who drug it up.

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:52PM (#33688868) Homepage

    The Grand Prize [callingallinnovators.com] is only $100,000. Most of the "winners" just get some upcoming Nokia device. "Winning" means that the app receives "$1 million" in marketing promotion: "a Nokia press release, premium placement on Ovi Store, placement in Nokia digital and social media efforts, and direct consumer messaging via email and/or SMS." In other words, winning means Nokia spams for your app.

    Nokia takes a 30% cut on sales through their "Ovi Store", so they're promoting themselves.

    Nokia's total outlay on this "contest" is probably under $1 million.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by |DeN|niS (58325)

      Oh you're such a dick. Do you work for engadget? With your skills of linking to a source and misquoting it completely, you should.

      Quote: "51 Category Winner Prizes - Each of the verified Eligible Entrants that published one of the seventeen (17) Apps selected as a First Prize Category Winner will receive a check for $150,000 USD / $156,229 CAD. Each of the verified Eligible Entrants that published one of the seventeen (17) Apps selected as a Second Prize Category Winner will receive a check for $50,000 USD

  • by ADRA (37398) on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:52PM (#33688872)

    1. Ditch the goal of moving Symbian to anything beyond dumb phones with cameras
    2. Change the name of Meego to ANYTHING ELSE
    3. Release Meego completely OSS and don't hamper people wanting to go in and tinker
    4. Start rolling out both (Official stock) Android and Meego on devices and allow for the devices to switch back and forth between the two
    5. Release a marketing campaign to choose 'the next look of Nokia'
    6. Analyze which OS is getting better market traction and phase out the loser
    7.Profit More!

    • 1. Be the "open" android platform, allowing users clean installs without root or sideloading.
      2. ???
      3. Profit
      • Yes, because the market of people who know how to do that is huge, right?

        Oh, wait, it's a tiny niche made up of geeks.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Microlith (54737)

          Irrelevant. They can still provide a good user experience without locking down the device to an almost punitive level.

          Of course, the exact same thing could be said for your regular computer. You don't need all that functionality, only a tiny niche of geeks do. Let us lock that down for you...

          • by dangitman (862676)

            You don't need all that functionality, only a tiny niche of geeks do. Let us lock that down for you...

            Hell yes! To stop all the idiots out there from randomly executing applications would be a huge benefit, might just shut down spam and malware overnight.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Microlith (54737)

      4. Start rolling out both (Official stock) Android and Meego on devices and allow for the devices to switch back and forth between the two

      These are mutually exclusive endeavors. Releasing Android puts you in the position of your users being dependent on Google (and Google dictating terms to you for access to the Android Market,) while fragmenting your userbase across both platforms.

      They just need to release a MeeGo device with a simple bootloader unlock so I can have a better user experience with the same h

      • android as a plataform allows the user (or the phone manufacturer) to install an alternative app store in place of android market, or even side-by-side with it.

        if you download a trully stock android from the developer site, it barelly have a browser and phone app. google have _zero_ controll over android and over what apps goes with the handsets. that's the beauty of opensource.

        • android as a plataform allows the user (or the phone manufacturer) to install an alternative app store in place of android market, or even side-by-side with it.

          But if it says "Android" on the box, an end user is going to expect to be able to download the same apps that his co-worker's Galaxy S family phone can access through Android Market. Right now, the end user can't officially install Android Market on an Android device other than a phone, and users on AT&T can't install an alternative market such as AppsLib due to the removal of "Unknown sources".

    • by MrHanky (141717)

      Symbian has always been the OS for smartphones. I don't quite get how they could "move" something beyond something which it never was.

      • by dangitman (862676)

        Symbian has always been the OS for smartphones.

        If that's the case, then why are the phones running Symbian not too smart?

        • by Kensai7 (1005287)

          If that's the case, then why are the phones running Symbian not too smart?

          It depends how you define smartness. If your definition is "how many fart apps you sport" then they're probably happy they are dummies. :)

          • There are tons of apps for Symbian smart phones. Unfortuantely, owning to the "Signed by Sybian" lockdown, you cant install them, or if somehow you mange, their certificate expires, o some othe grief, and though isntalled, they wont actually run. I have here as evidence, a SOny Ericson P1i, which is a wonderful phone, capable of superhuman feats, with the most amazing hardware keyboard, that is compact, but easy to use, except that it isn't any use, because of "Signed by Symbian".
            • by Kensai7 (1005287)

              "Signed by Symbian" is a thing of the past with the new Qt procedures. It's a much more straightforward procedure now.

              See? This kind of non-updated information is that hurts Symbian, not the platform's capabilities themselves.

            • by Zelos (1050172)
              I have here as evidence, a SOny Ericson P1i, which is a wonderful phone... Wow, somebody actually liked the P1i? That thing was horrible: slow, buggy, appalling UI design. Even my awful Windows Mobile Samsung i600 felt like an upgrade after that. UIQ died off for a lot of reasons, I don't think Signed by Symbian was one of them.
    • by TejWC (758299) on Friday September 24, 2010 @01:52PM (#33689672)

      1. Ditch the goal of moving Symbian to anything beyond dumb phones with cameras

      Many people outside of US still use it and want some compatibility with their old phones.

      2. Change the name of Meego to ANYTHING ELSE

      MeeGo is just the name of the SDK / developer platform. Most consumers will not see that name when they purchase the phone.

      3. Release Meego completely OSS and don't hamper people wanting to go in and tinker

      You can now [meego.com].

      4. Start rolling out both (Official stock) Android and Meego on devices and allow for the devices to switch back and forth between the two

      You can run MeeGo on N900. I think you can install Android on it too. MeeGo is not ready for any other device yet; not because Nokia doesn't want you to port it, simply because MeeGo doesn't have to features yet to handle any other kind of phone. Nokia doesn't think MeeGo is ready for primetime yet so you will not see it on any other phone for some time.

      5. Release a marketing campaign to choose 'the next look of Nokia'

      Wait until Q2 2011. I am not allowed to say anything else.

      6. Analyze which OS is getting better market traction and phase out the loser

      Nokia already said that they are moving to Linux/MeeGo. Qt is the "bridge" to move developers from one to another (just like how Carbon was used to move from MacOS classic to MacOS X). Talking to the people at Nokia, they already consider Symbian to be "legacy" and are already moving to MeeGo.

      7.Profit More!

      I hope Nokia will.

      • by Toy G (533867)

        Q2 2011? Seriously? By that time Apple will have released yet another OS update, and the market will be flooded by Android devices.
        All my friends, even the hardcore long-time Nokia fanatics, this year have moved on -- tired of waiting for a decent OS after the terrible N97 experience.

        Nokia should have released a super-device *this year* and instead they wasted months on the move to MeeGo. As someone who wanted to profit from the platform, I feel badly let down. The N900 with a polished OS would have rocked,

    • by tepples (727027)

      Change the name of Meego to ANYTHING ELSE

      They tried that, but the last two names they chose had trademark problems. Mobilix is too close to Obelix [wikipedia.org], a character in Asterix comics. Moblin is exactly the name of the Zelda universe's counterpart [wikia.com] to Duke Nukem's Pig Cops [wikia.com].

  • by dokebi (624663) on Friday September 24, 2010 @12:54PM (#33688886)
    If history means anything, the market can only support so many different operating systems (3?). Even with a huge market like handsets and mobile devices, 5 maybe too many. Currently we have 6+ (in no particular order)

    Symbian (Nokia)
    Blackberry (RIM)
    Android (Google)
    iOS (Apple)
    palmOS (HP)
    WinMobile (Microsoft)

    Only two of these are available from multiple hardware vendors, and it's hard to imagine new entrants MeeGo (Intel) and Bada (Samsung) gaining any sort of traction. Unlike desktops, hardware/software integration seems to be key in this market, which may mean iOS may have an upper hand. Or perhaps its ease of development, which favors Android or WinMobile. So those will be my pick for top 3. Sorry Nokia, it was good while it lasted. Thanks for the cute ringtone!
    • Blackberry, Android, and iOS are going to be the only players in the future. Nokia needs to get on one of those trains.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Microlith (54737)

        No one but Apple can have iOS. No one but RIM can have Blackberry. And frankly, Android is so Google dependent that it is considered a forward-looking risk (they note so on their statements!) that if vendors could get it away from Google, they would.

        • by rrossman2 (844318)
          Well, Verizon is trying to get away... The Samsung Fascinate comes with Bing as the default search (both on the home page and as the default voice search) with no way to remove or change it unless you root the phone
          • Getting away from Google to Microsoft doesn't help us. Especially if it's locked down so you can't change it.

            AT&T did the same thing with some of their Android offerings. They locked the search down to Yahoo, and you couldn't change it even if you wanted to.
      • by durrr (1316311)
        Considering blackberry, android and iOS are all recent and new entries i see no reason why nokia couldn't reform the symbian platform to a new look, while retaining backward compatibility.
        Nokias largest problem is that they have a billion different phone models, none which have particularly fancy hardware specs and functionality.

        You also have to see past the US, there's a world of phone users out there, and whereas you have a half mile queue to the macstore when they release their new iphone in the US y
        • by dangitman (862676)

          Considering blackberry, android and iOS are all recent and new entries i see no reason why nokia couldn't reform the symbian platform to a new look, while retaining backward compatibility.

          Of course they could give it a new look. I don't see how that would help, though. A pig with lipstick on it is still a pig.

          • by durrr (1316311)
            A pig with cybernetic organs, wings and lipstick is definitely not the same old pig, it may still be a pig, but not the same old pig.
            Just like a pig you haven't seen before with multitouch support and accelerometers is also a pig.

            My point being, if you can reform your pigs sufficiently they'll save your business.
        • by rrossman2 (844318)
          Just wanted to throw is out there.. most of the Symbian OS's (at least S60, S80, and that U whatever OS version) will run regular MIDP java apps. So that means they run the OS tailored versions (IE> ones made for say S60 third release like my N95 runs), or generic MIDP apps that could also include ones that would run on the BB Java engine.. such as MIDPssh. It's actually quite nice it has that stack in the OS. Now if they just made it easy to make a java app that would run on Android, Symbian, and BB OS.
        • iOS is 3 years old, Blackberry has been around even longer than that. Not at all "new and recent", especially in a space like smartphones where the tech moves fast
        • You also have to see past the US

          It's expensive enough for a small shop developing applications for mobile devices to hire marketing and legal personnel for the United States and writers for English, let alone the countries and languages of Europe. The U.S. has more people per jurisdiction and more people per language.

      • I don't see any one of them dying other than Symbian. MS has a crapload of money to pump into Windows Mobile and despite every release being incredibly crappy, it still manages to be put on some phones.

        WebOS I think has a future if HP actively licenses it out to other manufacturers. The problem with WebOS is that the Pre and Pixi really weren't that great of phones, the OS is nice, the hardware is mediocre.

        BlackBerry I think has the greatest to lose other than Symbian, a BlackBerry is great for corp
        • by Luckyo (1726890) on Friday September 24, 2010 @03:02PM (#33690670)

          But Symbian, does anyone outside of tech circles even know what Symbian is? People know the iPhone, people have seen the commercial for the Droid, they know the BlackBerry, they recognize the Palm name but Symbian? Does the average person even know where to get a Symbian phone? Is there even a "flagship" phone? People can recognize the iPhone, a Droid, a BlackBerry some can even recognize a Pre, but what is the "must have" Symbian phone? No one knows that.

          Outside US? We just call it "Nokia". It's that text on the phone that every other person in line has.
          This is something that US-centric sites like slashdot and their users really don't seem to get. Nokia has near-zero market penetration in the States because it didn't bow to pressure from operators, who in US are gods of the market. They made their phones for the end users instead, often screwing the operator in the process by refusing to allow a permanent lock-in. US operators refused to stock such phones, and sales were crap from get go.
          But result from having such phones in countries that have people actually buy their own phones in stores rather then operators? They have almost 50% of entire market outside US. People KNOW them. People were willing to buy essentially crappy, unfinished platform like n97 in droves, because it had "nokia" written on it. They're still buying them in fact. And that was a really shitty first attempt at making symbian touchscreen compatible. Nokia is a household name, something that everyone knows instantly, in line with brand names.

          One other thing. Nokia's speciality has never been revolutionising. It has been evolving and out-competing on a price point. Apple, which never got any real traction outside US with their iphone is actually losing market outside US already, mostly to android. And that is because nokia is once again evolving the existing concept of touchphone into something they can make well, and then press the price low enough to kill the competition using their (on corporate level) legendary logistics. It's how they utterly butchered competition several times over during their existence in both cheap and expensive phones.

          It's something they're fairly likely to pull off yet again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by rlp (11898)

      it's hard to imagine new entrants MeeGo (Intel) and Bada (Samsung) gaining any sort of traction

      Yeah, but imagine the Samsung OS coupled with the Microsoft search engine. Who wouldn't want a phone named BadaBing!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      What I think will eventually happen is that we will have compatibility layers for the more open of the platforms. For example, a high-end RIM device might have an Android compatibility layer that lets it run Android apps, Android might have a WebOS compatibility layer that lets you run apps designed for that, etc.

      Realistically, within the next 3 years, almost every (smart) phone will have a 1 Ghz or better CPU based on current trends.
  • At this stage of the game, damn near everything about Nokia is "too late". This is a company on the brink of falling hard because of their failure to recognize a significant shift in the market and adapt in a timely manner (which can be said of RIM as well, imho).
    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      Nokia has "been late" for new fad for almost every single time in its history. Be it clamshells, losing external antennas or designing the look of their phones, they have been late for all of them.

      And then they sat on their being late, and came up with a product that was at least as good if not better then competition, while costing less. Much less. And they ended up destroying the competition.

      This isn't some theory. This is something that happened in the past. Several times over. US folks just missed it be

  • So if using Android is "like peeing in your pants to stay warm" [businessinsider.com], what would be the appropriate urine-based analogy for this attempt to compete with Android?

    Paying a million bums $10 each to pee on you, instead of in their own pants?

  • If you need better software, then why not actually hire great developers to work for you? You know, like think about the quality of your product and dedicate resources to it over the medium-long term, rather than staging flashy gimmicks? I guess that just makes too much sense.

  • Retrofitting Symbian to compete with Android or iOS is folly. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the latter two are fundamentally Unix-based (iOS being a stripped down MacOS X, and Android running on a Linux kernel -- man it was weird to see a penguin and boot screen on a candy bar-sized object..). So they probably leave Symbian in the dust for robustness and reliability, by virtue of the size of each of the development communities alone. Then there's the issue of availability of development environments.

    This i

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thaig (415462)

      Symbian's got an incredibly robust and excellent kernel. Complain about the UI if you want but it has a lot to teach Linux about robustness, power management and being light on resources.

      This just shows how clueless this entire "OS" pissing contest is. The issues that people have are all about about user interfaces and whether or not you have a 1Ghz processor FFS.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      I don't know. I've always found Symbian quite impressive. I also prefer having a choice in the languages I can use for development, which neither iPhone OS nor Android seem to want to give me. Maemo has been a breath of fresh air: no hoops to jump through, and I can use the *nix development knowledge I already have. But between Maemo and Symbian, I'm not sure which is actually the better system for phones. While modern phones aren't really limited in computing resources by my reckoning, there is still somet

  • Ditch Symbian, grab a copy of android os, rip the silly jvm out of it and put on a good native high performance interface and count me in.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      You mean like Maemo [maemo.org]?

      I just got a Nokia N900, which has Maemo, and I'm very happy with it. Finally, a phone I can code for using my extensive experience with Unix programming.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jfanning (35979)

      Uh, that would be Meego then?!

  • I'll write it in finnish, maybe you'll understand

    Youkkou makken greatikken harrdwwiikken, bukkut youkkour sooffwakkken ikkis krakkap. Frokkom a ukkuseeer poikkoint okkof viiikkew, Sykkimbian is okkkkay, but dekkevelokkkpers hakketen it. Ikkit is a hekkel to wrikkete for. Mokkove to Akkandroid alreakkidy

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Urkki (668283)

      I'll write it in finnish, maybe you'll understand

      Youkkou makken greatikken harrdwwiikken, bukkut youkkour sooffwakkken ikkis krakkap. Frokkom a ukkuseeer poikkoint okkof viiikkew, Sykkimbian is okkkkay, but dekkevelokkkpers hakketen it. Ikkit is a hekkel to wrikkete for. Mokkove to Akkandroid alreakkidy

      FYI: Future of Symbian is Qt. After that, developer mostly doesn't even need to care what the platform is, especially if only targetting touch phones. It's not hell, it's heaven, already now. What I mean is, today you can download and install the Nokia Qt SDK, take an existing Qt application, compile and test it first in the Simulator (phone form factor selectable from menu), then (Windows only for Symbian, I think) hook up your two year old 5800XM to your PC with USB, install Qt packages from Windows Progr

  • I think they could do it, but I suspect that Symbian will become an also-ran with iOS, Android and Blackberry's new QNX-powered OS. It WAS good, but they don't have the marketshare nor, and more importantly, the mindshare, to fight it. What I don't understand is why they aren't looking at throwing themselves behind Android. Nokia owns QT, which is the base of KDE. Of anyone, you would think they would support a platform which would use their own stuff quite easily.
  • Here is a $10M idea - make an iPhone simulator that runs on the Nokia. Future proof.

  • by Rexdude (747457) on Friday September 24, 2010 @03:46PM (#33691160)
    So the Symbian UI is 'dated' and 'old'. Well, guess what,pick up a Palm PDA from 1995, any Symbian handset and the American darlings, iOS/Android - and look at the way the UI is presented. What pray is so sexy or innovative about a gazillion icons presented in a scrolling view, as on the iPhone? Android does the same. So did Palm and so does Symbian/Nokia. Or is it the pretty transitions when you tilt the screen? Or the beveled edge buttons? GUIs have been about rows of icons to click on for ages. On a non touch mobile device, you use buttons to scroll/select while on a touchscreen you tap and slide your finger to scroll the display.
    How many different ways is one to implement menus, checkboxes and radio buttons? Those are not going away any time soon. In 2006, Nokia introduced an optional new home screen that showed shortcuts to apps and alerts for new email/calendar appointments/nearby wifi networks. This is now far more customizable as in the upcoming Symbian^3, where you can have upto 3 homescreens with customizable widgets. Android also has something similar, but iOS as far as I've seen has no such native capability. That's not innovative?
    Symbian has been designed from the ground up as an OS optimized for low CPU/memory usage, so it scales well from low to high end devices. It also has true preemptive multitasking since its 2002 debut- for example if there's too many apps open and there's an incoming call, the call takes priority over everything else and the OS will close a couple of background apps to free memory. Compare that with the hottest new Samsung Galaxy S which sometimes fails at receiving a basic phone call. [vodafone.co.uk]. You can't control when the phone syncs data, or using what type of connection- you need an APNDroid hack to stop it syncing permanently in the background!! People rave about Snapdragon and gigahertz class CPUs for the newer Android devices, but the OS doesn't scale to lower specs at all [allaboutsymbian.com]. It practically requires a high powered CPU to power all that eyecandy.
    Let's not even get started on the iPhone 4 antenna fiasco. Symbian has matured over 8 years and got the basics right - power management, multitasking, making calls,managing data connections over GPRS/3G/wifi/Bluetooth etc. It has also supported themes since its inception -there's hundreds of custom themes with different icons and colors available since then on various sites, so it's not like you're stuck with the look and feel that it ships with out of the box either. But well, superficial looks are all that matter in the end, apparently.
  • Android is missing good battery live. But it has the looks but it is not good for embedded devices like mobile phones at current stage.

    disclaimer: The Android phone I own is running Android 1.5 with no options of update. I am currently not using it.

    Symbian has good battery live, a rather clumsy user interface. But it is decent. It is stable (but it might be better).

    Both of those have there good side and the bad. But I would still go with a Symbian phone if I can choose.

Saliva causes cancer, but only if swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time. -- George Carlin

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