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HP Cellphones Handhelds Operating Systems

Crunch Time For WebOS, BlackBerry 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the drowning-in-a-sea-of-trendiness dept.
GMGruman writes "Hewlett-Packard is planning to unveil its Palm WebOS strategy in a few weeks, while RIM is allegedly working up a new version of its popular Curve that uses the new BlackBerry OS 6 and its touch interface. WebOS has largely faded from view since HP bought it nine months ago, and RIM's been largely silent since its summer release of the BlackBerry Torch, its first successful modern BlackBerry, and the fall announcement of its PlayBook tablet. Meanwhile, it's been an Apple iOS and Google Android show at CES 2011, in the popular press, and in customers' hands. (Microsoft and Nokia essentially ceased to matter by Christmas 2010.) Is it too late for WebOS and BlackBerry? They're running out of time, and the public signs of their plans are not so positive. Still, the two 'also-ran' mobile OSes have a couple opportunities to resurrect themselves."
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Crunch Time For WebOS, BlackBerry

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  • Not too late! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Ha! "Microsoft and Nokia essentially ceased to matter by Christmas 2010" --- dream on my friend

    On a serious note - I dont think its too late to come back for WebOS and RIM. WebOS is a robust and smooth OS that was sabotaged by Palm's mishandling. And as far as crackberry they have a strong enough market presense to take their time

    • by the linux geek (799780) on Monday January 17, 2011 @06:32PM (#34910300)
      Yeah, saying that the #1 manufacturer of smartphones "ceased to matter" is pretty epic.
      • by sarysa (1089739)
        Nokia has ceased to matter in the states, but I agree with your sentiment. TFA has an extremely American bent.
        • Re:Not too late! (Score:4, Informative)

          by PCM2 (4486) on Monday January 17, 2011 @07:12PM (#34910634) Homepage
          Yeah, except for the part about BlackBerry being an "also-ran OS," when in fact BlackBerry is still the leading smartphone platform in the U.S.
          • Blackberry has a huge install base. But how are they doing on new handset sales? I thought that those were pretty much in the gutter...
            • by narcc (412956)

              RIMs 'consumer' offerings have been pretty weak. Their 'business' products, however, are as solid as ever.

              That's really why I can't discount them. While the trend toward shiny touchscreen toy phones has pushed them to the margins, they still offer the best productivity tools in the market.

              It's easy to get sucked into the flashy interface on products like the iPhone or Droid X, it's novel, it's new, and let's them do more than any 'feature phone' they've had in the past. It's no wonder they're not attract

              • by schnell (163007)

                But as users start to do more with their phones, they're going to start to expect usability to improve -- and that's when no amount of additional 'shiny' is going to make the sale.

                "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

                Having used all the mobile OSes in this discussion extensively (except Symbian), I can say that it's very misleading to make a blanket claim that users will necessarily find iOS and Android lacking when they "start to do more" with their phones or that "usability" will suffer. BlackBerry OS offers a tremendous depth of functionality and usability - for a certain set of tasks. If you are in an enterprise

      • Yeah, saying that the #1 manufacturer of smartphones "ceased to matter" is pretty epic.

        They "matter" if they are charting the course of the industry, which they clearly are not. Not in the USA, not in Japan, not even in Finland. The fact that they continue to sell lots of phones and make money does not "matter" to anyone except to their shareholders. And I'm pretty sure that Nokia shareholders are not too happy right now--their stock is trading around $10 from a high of $40 a couple years ago. Their executives publicly admit that they have been clobbered by the iPhone revolution, and they sti

        • by sarhjinian (94086)

          The problem isn't that they don't have a plan, it's that they have about five or six different plans, all half-baked, self-competing and receiving of little attention. The above comparison to General Motors is very apt.

          • by DrXym (126579)
            The problem isn't that they don't have a plan, it's that they have about five or six different plans, all half-baked, self-competing and receiving of little attention. The above comparison to General Motors is very apt.

            Nokia had a plan, it was called Symbian. Then they had another plan called Meego. All tied together in knots with an online service called Ovi. I think they really don't know what they're doing. Meanwhile companies like HTC, Motorola, Sony & Samsung are kerb stomping them with Android d

      • by jonbryce (703250)

        I don't think Nokia are the no 1 manufacturer of smart phones. They are certainly the No 1 manufacturer of £10 pay as you go budget phones, but that leaves them competing with Chinese manufacturers such as ZTE and INQ.

      • by node 3 (115640)

        Blackberry is fading. Android's rise has been largely at the expense of Blackberry. Their current offerings are not compelling, and their only reliable user base are those stuck in the past. Basing the success of your product on such a market segment isn't wise (which is why they are working so hard to come up with a good touch/tablet system).

        Blackberry is heading the way of PalmOS and/or Amiga. A system stuck in the past, with some vocal people that will stick around a bit longer than is otherwise reasonab

        • by sznupi (719324)

          Taking into account how often people seem to complain here about lack of solid network coverage of US carriers, that's already one major thing where those people could often be better served by some random Nokia phone...

      • by sarhjinian (94086)

        Nokia's smartphones don't matter. They sell a lot of handsets, but those handsets see little or no app development and contribute, per unit, very little margin. They're number one, but in an irrelevant way.

        And I say this as a past owner of several handsets and an erstwhile fan. Nokia has no PC-side leverage like Microsoft, lacks the enterprise management tools that BlackBerry does, and has nothing like the developer momentum of Android or iOS. The phones and the core functionality are solid, but the UI i

      • Wait, are you talking about Palm or RIM?

        (wait for it... wait for it... *rimshot*!)

    • Re:Not too late! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by postbigbang (761081) on Monday January 17, 2011 @06:39PM (#34910362)

      Let's see.

      Big WebOS and Blackberry web stores with 100s of thousands of apps. Nope.

      Cult status of the phone itself. Nope.

      People across the world waiting up at stores for the next release, or waiting to upgrade their operating systems with glee. Nope.

      Vast ecosystem of accessorizers, weird add-ons, and wicked strange looking cases. Nope.

      I'll admit that WebOS is kind of kewl, and you can't deny the crack nature of Blackberries, but you can get that crack in droid and iOS. So, I don't think the poster is dreaming.

      • Re:Not too late! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by colmore (56499) on Monday January 17, 2011 @06:51PM (#34910448) Journal

        A whoooole lot of the market is conservative, old, never reads tech news, and has very limited interest in apps. The people who line up at 4:00 AM are good press, but they don't actually count any more than any other consumer.

        Blackberry has a market that is wary of switching. If they're smart they should be able to survive and grow.

        • RIM might relinquish their market share more slowly, it's true. Palm has a fanclub, too. And they've been mightily eclipsed by wickedly powerful phones that are getting more talented seemingly every month. If you look at the actual counts of new smartphone purchasers, and there are plentiful numbers, Android and Apple are getting the lion's share of market growth and conversions. This is growth, not retention.

          Rotary phones were cool, too. Then those touch-tone thingies arrived and the market moved. Palm, No

          • Re:Not too late! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by PCM2 (4486) on Monday January 17, 2011 @07:17PM (#34910676) Homepage
            RIM has always enjoyed customer loyalty comparable only to Apple's. They don't call them "CrackBerrys" for nothing. But it's precisely because of this that they face a tough challenge: They need to evolve their product fast enough to keep up with the other smartphone platforms, but they can't change it so much that they alienate their hardcore base. RIM may have leaned too far toward conservatism, though, because their current figures show most of their new subscribers are coming from the lower-end handsets in their product range. That suggests the more savvy consumers with more money to spend are wandering off to iPhone and Android, which is bad, because "business types" represented RIM's hardcore demographic.
            • Re:Not too late! (Score:5, Interesting)

              by postbigbang (761081) on Monday January 17, 2011 @07:28PM (#34910776)

              Even the hardcore are taking a hard look at what you can do with other phones. Three months after the iPhone came out, it was forbidden in the board room, but everyone was curious anyway. Six months later, it was the counter-culture thing to have there, along with your CrackBerry. Then the Crackberry was pulled out less and less. The carrier-captive stupidity stopped a few more.

              When you look at Droid 2 from Moto, or any one of a hundred other models, it does a lot of work, with a fat community of apps and support. iOS made itself the one to beat, or at least look kewl up against. RIM has tried to remarket the BB in this direction, but so far, it hasn't captured the imagination necessary to reignite sales and get growth. Failing something truly amazing and a community re-think/re-do, the business types aren't going to look at RIM first, but they'll still look.

              • by Dynedain (141758)

                Exactly. At this point, BB's user base is primarily repeat customers, mostly those with corporate contracts and systems already in place. They aren't getting new users switching from other devices. Rather, it's the opposite. Much Android and iOS growth has come at the expense of BB and WinCE market share.

            • by jaseuk (217780)

              They need to evolve their product fast enough to keep up with the other smartphone platforms, but they can't change it so much that they alienate their hardcore base. RIM may have leaned too far toward conservatism

              Blackberry's conservatism gives RIM a huge advantage not enjoyed by any other smartphone vendor. The Blackberry at least in the UK is the only government approved mobile operating system that is certified for use for anything above unclassified.

              The only reason why Microsoft / Apple / Google etc. could not also join this party is that their platform changes faster than accreditation could be granted. If RIM started wholesale quick changes, then they'd risk losing this large worldwide market.

              Jason.

            • That suggests the more savvy consumers with more money to spend are wandering off to iPhone and Android

              Uhh, thanks to relentless competition, Android phones with solid specs (WiFi, 800MHz processors, 512MB memory, 2GB microSD card) cost nothing with a 2-year plan from US carriers.

              The only reason to buy anything less is the substantial cost of the data plan that I think all the carriers make you get with a smartphone. But most people realize you get so much extra utility over a messaging phone.

              • by peragrin (659227)

                And the first thing you have to do to those cheap andriod phones is root it and install update to date software as those cheap phones if your lucky comes with a 2 year old OS.

                Google does things slowly one decent update a year. CArriers are running 1-2 years behind google, making android a very slow OS.

                It really is a shame that the first thing you have to do is void your warranty to run a decent android OS. And don't mention Nexus. The Nexus S is produced by samsung and as such with everyone you buy you s

        • by NuShrike (561140)

          While, the drivers of the market are the unconservative, new, reads tech news, and has a large interest in apps.

          Why? Because they're the repeat buyers! They're the ones that keep coming back to buy the latest trend, evangelize and advise their more conservative and unconnected friends, and are the strange-attractors voting with their wallets.

          It's like the false argument that only the mainstream video game players matter, not the hardcore. Well again, the hardcore are the repeat buyers and drive the narrati

      • by Targon (17348)

        The problem that Palm had(prior to the HP buyout), was primarily the lack of advertising and hype surrounding their Pre and Pixi phones. Very very little effort was put in to create the "you MUST have this device" feel that you saw backing the iPhone and "Droid" phones. As a result, the sales numbers were not very good, and a lack of follow-up advertising continued the trend. The initial quality on the Sprint version of the Pre(exclusive through the end of 2009) also left a lot to be desired, even

    • by kurt555gs (309278)

      Except the guy behind Nokia's Maemo, left Nokia and is now in charge of WebOS for HP. Nokia is the one that is screwed stuck between a good but aging Symbian that they just took back to proprietary, the useless Chinese made MeeGo that may work on Intel hardware but is internally sabotaged on ARM, and the new Nokia overlord from Microsoft about to ditch everything and make all Nokia's Windows fone 7 handsets that no one will want.

      Sux to be Nokia right now.

  • Article (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Print version of the article is much easier to read: http://www.infoworld.com/print/148576

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday January 17, 2011 @06:31PM (#34910296)

    I think it's early days to say Microsoft can get back in the game or not (though I agree Nokia is probably going to end up running Android someday).

    Microsoft still has a lot of money to throw at vendors and then there's the aspect of them suing vendors who use Android for patents that Microsoft holds - I believe Balmer has said publically that "Android is not free" for that reason. That is a strategy that may even out Android/WP7 marketshare, plus WP7 is a very polished endeavor.

    I'm rooting for WebOS to find a foothold somehow...

    • by jmorris42 (1458) *

      > I'm rooting for WebOS to find a foothold somehow...

      Why? What does it offer? PalmOS had a lot to offer in its day, small, sleek, resource efficient in a way no Linux could hope to be, as open as possible without going whole hog FS/OS, etc. But now that it is mutated into WebOS? Does anyone think HP has the mojo to make it a player even if it is a technical winner?

      I'll root a little for Meego but realize there are almost certainly doomed. The hope of the world to remain free from the RDF is on a hal

      • by Junta (36770) on Monday January 17, 2011 @06:57PM (#34910516)

        So I have a WebOS phone. I find the multi-tasking interface and frankly the menu for quick changes to the radio highly enjoyable. I took it for granted until I tried to navigate around on an Android phone. WebOS (and Blackberry is imitating it on Playbook) has a great way to interact with concurrently running apps and switching between them in full screen mode. The radio menu I didn't think was special, then I found myself working on an Android phone and having to jump out of the menu to go to system settings to do something with bluetooth that was much more immediately accessible on my Pre. Also, surprisingly, my phone had LEAP wireless support out of the gate and my peers were having to try to hand hack wpa_supplicant.conf to get the function out of their Android handsets, that didn't work out of the box. WebOS 2 has Cisco Anyconnect support baked in, but Android is not there yet either. The messaging app does a good job of putting everything (SMS, AIM, jabber, whatever) in one coherent interface.

        From an API perspective, they completely screwed up by *not* having the 'PDK' from the get go. They foolishly thought Javascript+HTML5 was 'good enough', with no camera api, no microphone api, no 3D api. Their hardware features crappy, fixed-focus cameras. They rectified mostly the software side, with a nice OpenGL+SDK that makes it trivial to port linux apps (and evidentally iOS), but desperately need decent hardware. One thing they did *almost* just right was the integration of inductiive charging into the experience. They should never have had a non-capable back part, they should have had third-party access (added in WebOS 2), and they should have officially blessed a car-oriented usage of the technology.

        So the big thing is they nailed the UI. On the surface, however, the 'big names' that created that have been poached. It's hard to say what will happen now. Microsoft and Google do have the disadvantage that they can't dictate every nth detail to the handset makers, which gives Blackberry, HP, and, of course, Apple, an interesting advantage for the most seamless experience. Apple's vision is clear and I'm not a fan of it myself, so I like an alternative. Palm came closest, but I don't know how Honeycomb, WebOS 2, and the next wave of Blackberry devices will pan out.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          I have all that crap on my top menu bar on my droid. Slide it down and turn on or off whatever radio stuff I want. I do think that the typical user never touches that stuff.

          • No, actually, you don't.

            That's the thing that people who haven't actually used webOS devices don't "get." You do not have what webOS gives you.

            In attempting to use android devices over the last few months, I become more and more frustrated at the UI. I'm in a news app, it links out to a web page and I'm in a browser and there's -no way- to get back to the news app without closing the browser. It's running on a computer platform more powerful than my desktop was just a few years ago, and it can't have mul

            • by narcc (412956)

              . Now, I know that the average user isn't going to have the 10 or 12 windows I leave open on my Palm Pre + all the time, but the people I know who own them who are NOT geeks love the UI and mutter and mumble angrily when they're confined to android and Ios phones.

              HP has a lot of work to do to get that fact into the publics mind, but webOS is by far the most USABLE portable operating system in the world. Is it somewhat short of apps as of today? Yep. Is it worth the effort? Yep.

              The PP+ really is amazing in terms of usability, and it gets excellent mileage out of its lower-end hardware.

              While went with the BB Torch instead of the PP+, it was definitely a tempting option. In terms of notifications and multitasking, WebOS is unmatched. You really don't know what your missing until you've tried it out for yourself.

              If HP can get WebOS onto some fancier hardware, you'll find iOS and Android scrambling to play catch-up. (The UI really is that good.)

              On a related note, it's also the only

            • Maybe WebOS is better but I love how Android means I don't have to think about memory management, save before quitting, confirm quit, etc. As mobets says, press the Home key and choose any of your last 8 apps and you return to its state. Whatever I was recently doing is just there.

              Press and hold Home is non-obvious, and Android's user experience directory Matias Duarte (formerly of webOS!) talks in his great interview with Engadget around 14:00 about improving task switching and multitasking. "We've

          • by Junta (36770)

            That's the first place I tried on the Android handset. However, it gave me little more than simple on/off, whereas WebOS gave me a submenu of available devices to pair to immediately. I could not do that from the menu. When I needed more, the submenu took me straight to the correct application. The Android menu did nothing, and the owner had to tell me to run the settings application to find the stuff beyond the menu.

        • by Yoshamano (1424781) on Monday January 17, 2011 @08:26PM (#34911254)
          As a happy Palm Pre owner I wanted to echo the parent's view on webOS. A friend of mine who just recently switched from a Pre to an EVO comments on how tight the core OS is on the Pre compared to his EVO. He'd still be using his Pre if the hardware wasn't sub-par and the app selection wasn't lacking.

          All of this reminds me a lot of BeOS. Superior from a technical standpoint. Lacking a development base and userbase coupled with market forces working strongly against it.

          Hopefully webOS 2.0 (or in my case, 2.1) and the Palm Pre 2 are where webOS's and BeOS's stories part ways. If not, I imagine these things will resemble BeOS R5, an amazing piece of software far ahead of its time that quickly morphed into Be Inc.'s swan song.
        • by node 3 (115640) on Monday January 17, 2011 @08:30PM (#34911274)

          It's hardly encouraging when the top thing one can come up with in praise of WebOS is that it has a great task switcher.

          • by Junta (36770)

            I agree it's hardly encouraging for the market in general that everyone else's is so poor that the feature comes as a great thing.

            But if you are being disparaging on WebOS, it's a sign of the overall polish and consistent vision they brought forward. That vision may or may not have survived the HP acquisition, that remains to be seen, but it was a hell of a lot more consistent than Android has had to date (Honeycomb might rectify some of that). iOS also implement a consistent vision, but one I personally

      • by LurkerXXX (667952)

        Why? What does it offer?

        An excellent user experience.

      • Honestly Junta gave a much better explanation that I could. But I wanted to add one thing...

        I always thought there was room for a number of different mobile OS experiences. But to me Android and iOS are, from a user standpoint, rather similar... what I liked about WebOS was that in did in fact seem to have some very different ideas. So my support of WebOS is based on wanting to see variety in a mobile ecosystem, instead of convergence to a single GUI standard.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jcr (53032)

      >Microsoft still has a lot of money to throw at vendors

      Frankly, I think MS really shot themselves in the foot with that "Zune" business, because it showed all the vendors who were participating in the "plays for sure" program that MS would drop them like a rock if they found it convenient to do so. If you're a handset maker today, and your options are Windows phone 7 or Android, what is there that MS brings to the table? You get to pay MS for the software, and get what? The halo effect of jumping on a

      • You get to pay MS for the software, and get what?

        A billion dollar check?

        Just sayin'.

        Microsoft already has relationships with a lot of these hardware makers and can probably lean on them to achieve parity with Android. I agree it seems like they might not have much to offer technically over Android, but they have some many tentacles in everything they can use to get in the right places...

      • by alvinrod (889928)
        If you're HTC and had to come to some form of arrangement [linuxfordevices.com] with Microsoft over the patens Microsoft alleged HTC was infringing upon, it might not actually be any cheaper to put Android on your handsets. Now that HTC is taken care of, they've started going after other big Android manufacturers [wsj.com].
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Even out?

      No Fucking way. This is MS doing the only thing they can anymore rent-seek. WP7 is stillborn.

    • I've been saying this for a year -- Microsoft buys RIM in Q4 2011 for $30B. Remember, you heard it here first.
  • by chriso11 (254041) on Monday January 17, 2011 @06:34PM (#34910310) Journal

    Here's an idea: HP can buy Windows Phone 7 from Microsoft for its nice UI and graft that onto WebOS's core -- after modernizing the core, of course.

    First off, bad idea, and second, WebOS already has a modern core.

    • Here's an idea: HP can buy Windows Phone 7 from Microsoft for its nice UI and graft that onto WebOS's core -- after modernizing the core, of course.

      First off, bad idea, and second, WebOS already has a modern core.

      Absolutely! Not only does WebOS have a modern core, but it's also got a beautiful UI, in my opinion. What possible benefit could there be of creating some FrankenOS? (Palm users already suffered through that with Garnet.)

    • by Junta (36770) on Monday January 17, 2011 @07:03PM (#34910566)

      It gets worse as it goes. So first we say they need WP7 UI (which is the last UI I'd envy) on webOS core, but modernized (basically claiming the core is good, but not good at all... internally inconsistent), then goes on to say how HP needs to get away from Microsoft (the recommendation to 'buy' Windows Phone 7 UI seems to fly directly in the face of that.

      What HP has to do is simple, and it might be too late. They need to release hardware that actually is on par with the industry (still no autofocus notably, and somewhat underpowerd CPU/GPU) and they need to basically continue the vision that was getting better on software (the HTML+Javascript *only* api was a disaster). With the brain-drain that obviously followed in the months after the acquisition, the webOS platform may be unsalvagable (*particularly* with a new CEO at HP pretty much explicitly saying the consumer space is less interesting).

  • by the linux geek (799780) on Monday January 17, 2011 @06:36PM (#34910314)
    "Throw in the lack of apps (the PlayBook uses a new OS acquired from QNX, so developers must start over again) and the too-small seven-inch screen (which limits the kind of apps and data you can work with effectively), and you can see why the PlayBook doesn't appear all that compelling."

    Sorry, but no. PlayBook is compatible with BBOS 6 software. And interestingly, the article doesn't complain about all the 7" Android tablets.

    "If HP's hope is to leverage WebOS for its post-PC transition, it needs to stake that ground soon, while there is still ground to be claimed."

    Post-PC? Please.

    "Let's hope so because the smartphone and tablet market doesn't need another OS. WebOS would have to undergo major transformation to get any attention; WebOS 2.0 as demonstrated certainly won't do the trick. (Here's an idea: HP can buy Windows Phone 7 from Microsoft for its nice UI and graft that onto WebOS's core -- after modernizing the core, of course.)"

    Doesn't need another OS? That market was crowded when Android arrived. I also have to question why porting the WP7 UI to a Linux kernel makes it inherently better.
    • by Junta (36770)

      Post-PC? Please.

      From a business perspective, that may not be too crazy. Not because PCs/Laptops are dropping in popularity, but because new purchases are starting to decline (i.e. more and more people replace when broken instead of replace just to be faster). I do not believe people are throwing out their laptops and desktops and switching all over to TVs, Phones, Tablets, and so forth, but the business world becomes quickly disinterested in a market of markedly lower new sales.

    • by ADRA (37398)

      I don't use RIM products typically, and I still don't see the use of ever owning a tablet OS, but from what I've heard out of CES, the Playbook is sounding really nice, so all the best of luck to them.

      • by narcc (412956)

        I still don't see the use of ever owning a tablet OS, but from what I've heard out of CES, the Playbook is sounding really nice

        I have no need for a tablet myself but, judging from the CES videos, the playbook is astonishing. It truly makes the iPad look like a $99 Android 1.6 tablet.

        Granted, it does look like it stole quite a bit of its UI from WebOS -- Though I don't think you find too many users complaining :)

        If HP comes out with something half as good next month, we'll be reading articles like "Crunch Time For iOS, Android" before June.

  • Maemo and MeeGo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TAiNiUM (66843) on Monday January 17, 2011 @06:42PM (#34910382)

    As if Maemo and MeeGo have already died? Maemo has a very active open source community and, even though MeeGo will supplant it, will live on for a long time.

    • When the Motorola RAZR dropped in '03, the OS mimicked Symbian. In fact, until the iPhone, most everyone was playing a game of copy that UI and everyone targeted Symbian. Except RIM(who got mimicked by Google with Android(look up the original reference designs), and Microsoft.

      The fact that the N8 and the N97 and other Nokia phones(and Android phones) have aped the iPhone form factor means that yes, Nokia doesn't matter.

      Will they be the biggest? Maybe. But will they be the most profitable(no, and they ar

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        The fact that the N8 and the N97 and other Nokia phones(and Android phones) have aped the iPhone form factor

        The iPhone form factor?

        • Seriously. [engadget.com]

          "If there is something good in the world then we copy with pride."

          • by exomondo (1725132)

            Seriously. [engadget.com]

            "If there is something good in the world then we copy with pride."

            No, i mean what is the 'iPhone form factor'? As far as i can see the iPhone didn't bring anything new in terms of form factor.

            • Candy bar, all screen, no physical keyboard, as few buttons as possible, *touch* not stylus

              Yes, there were phones that did some of this, but, before the iPhone, the Android reference design looked like a Black Berry. Nokia wasn't doing a similar looking phone.

              Coke wasn't the first cola drink. Not by a long shot. But since Coke? They owned the Cola drink.

              • by exomondo (1725132)

                Candy bar, all screen, no physical keyboard, as few buttons as possible, *touch* not stylus

                The N97 - that you said 'aped the iphone form factor' doesn't fit that description. In fact the flagship nokia phones don't seem to have copied the iphone anymore than the iphone copied designs from companies like LG that preceded it.

                The fact that they've copied an existing form-factor makes absolutely no difference to their relevance in the market as evidenced by the enormous success of the iphone that did the same thing.

      • The fact that the N8 and the N97 and other Nokia phones(and Android phones) have aped the iPhone form factor means that...

        Sorry but, what are you talking about? The N97 has a slide-out, tilting screen that reveals a 4-row keyboard. And you're saying they copied that from the iphone??? And the N8, other than being a non-slideout, capacitive touchscreen model has nothing in common with the iphone... actually the N8 is one of the few recent high end smartphones that does not have the same iphony hardware design. The N8 hardware is IMO several steps ahead of the iphone (good camera, HDMI output, all possible sensor-goodies include

    • by node 3 (115640)

      As if Maemo and MeeGo have already died? Maemo has a very active open source community and, even though MeeGo will supplant it, will live on for a long time.

      It doesn't matter if it has an active open source community. What matters is whether it has an active user community, in the context of how it's doing compared with Android and iOS.

  • by bhartman34 (886109) on Monday January 17, 2011 @06:49PM (#34910432)

    Frankly, I think RIM has ceded the market to Android and iOS. The Torch should've been a remarkable device to keep up with the pack, but it wasn't even as technically impressive as the Palm Pre and WebOS (which is getting a bit stale since we've been waiting for the 2.0 update).

    \

    WebOS has a chance, but it's a small one. I've been a big Palm fan since the Palm Pilot II, and was ecstatic when they released the Pre, as it was technically and hardware-wise right up there with the best of 'em (albeit a bit skimpy on the display size). But my high hopes were predicated on the idea that they'd get lots of developers to pump out apps, and they'd follow up the Pre with an even better device. Well, the first half of the Pre ad campaign was a joke -- and not a very good one. Subsequently, Palm saw a lot of initial sales, followed with...silence. The campaign failed to bring the masses, and because the masses stayed away, the developers stayed away. (It also didn't help that they took so long to release the SDK, and still don't have all the relevant APIs out, as far as I'm aware).

    HP needs to hit this one out of the park for WebOS to stay alive. I think that's going to mean:

    • A hardware refresh, including a Droid-sized device or devices
    • That tablet they're working on had better have top-notch specs, or they shouldn't even bother with it.
    • Immediate release of all relevant APIs, so that developers have no problem working with the hardware

    Killing off Classic, IMO, isn't a great sign. They seem to be betting the farm that they'll pull new developers in, but Classic was a way to lure the Palm faithful over (or at least keep the ones you had.) I'm going to be watching the announcement carefully, but I have a sneaking suspicion that when my contract on this phone is up, I'm going to be getting an Android phone.

    • Mod the parent up, it's a great assessment of everything that Palm and HP did wrong with webOS.

      As an early Pre adopter, I was ecstatic when HP bought Palm, because they have deep enough pockets to splurge on the desperately-needed R&D that Palm couldn't afford. Instead one of their executives said that their goal "wasn't to enter the smartphone game" and that they bought Palm for the IP and to put webOS on printers. True enough, since then there have been zero compelling developments in the webOS worl

    • When I got my Pre in July 2009, I thought it was light years ahead of Apple and Android on the intuitiveness and on many levels, it still is. The card system is bliss, the notification system is easy to use, understand, and operate, and the OS never crashed. The Touchstone will always be my favorite perph as I could assign any number of macros to my phone when I placed it on to disable data and notifications for nighttime when I didn't need to be bothered with emails. Where they failed is in hardware. The
      • Other than the build quality (and that was only in the original batches), I don't think the hardware on the original Pre was inadequate. About the only real deficit the original Pre had was a lack of an expansion slot. That I know of, no one was pooh-poohing the actual hardware specs at the time. The problem was the follow-up. If they'd released the Pre Plus around the time they released the Pixi, that would've been something to see. Instead, they released the Pixi, which many people just saw as the "P

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Monday January 17, 2011 @06:56PM (#34910504)

    The submitter is myopic in my opinion and here's why:

    When he writes statements like...

    Meanwhile, it's been an Apple iOS and Google Android show at CES 2011, in the popular press, and in customers' hands. (Microsoft and Nokia essentially ceased to matter by Christmas 2010.)

    ...one wonders whether he's just ignorant or just tired. Let me educate him. The USA is not the world and neither does it represent it. Nokia is still the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, and it's this manufacturer that he labels `cease to matter!`

    Any tech person knows that it's not wise to underestimate Microsoft. They are still at the party though no one notices. Sincerely, I feel his conclusions are premature.

  • I'll be attending HP's Feb. 9th announcement as well as their developer shindig that follows that night. I expect that HP will have something surprising to show us. We're all expecting the tablet we've been promised. And, we're expecting the next generation of smartphones. Also, a formal launch of their Enyo cross-platform development platform. All those things will, of course, be well received by the Palm faithful. It's the surprise that's in store which I think will make or break webOS.

    I could be
  • by walshy007 (906710) on Monday January 17, 2011 @07:09PM (#34910618)

    Nokia ceases to matter? Bullshit, they sell more phones than everyone else there combined. To write them off as a phone manufacturer is a big call.

    Nokia may not be doing well in smart phones, but comparatively feature phones make smart phones look like a drop in the bucket.

    • by dangitman (862676)

      Nokia may not be doing well in smart phones, but comparatively feature phones make smart phones look like a drop in the bucket.

      In raw sales numbers, perhaps. But they don't make very much profit at all. Smartphones are where the money is to be made, both by manufacturers and service providers.

  • by drolli (522659) on Monday January 17, 2011 @07:28PM (#34910786) Journal

    I saw that when i was in China and Indonesia.

    What kind of stupid article is that?

    Nokia's market share for smartphones may be dropping but that is happening since they started to sell the Nokia 9000 communicator (Yes that thing could send email at a time when most people may just have heard of the net). Nokia is always having a few trial phones (e.g. the Nokia 9000 was one) to figure out if it works well, and then may decide for a radical switch in the second model (e,g, the 9210 switch to symbian), or trash the series. They have done that now with the N800/N900, so i think they will now pack the experiences frome these devices into a new one. The fact that some often sold symbian phones do not qualify as smart phones is no reason to write the platform off prematurely. I also have an Android device and i like it; however some things, e.g. the "everthing need to be linked to your gmail accocunt" idea to work correctly (e.g. sync/backup) is a little exaggerated. I already discovered some annoying things which my Nokia E61 from End of 2006 does, but my Android 2.2 device doesnt (connecting to an ad-hoc wireless network, using the PC via USB to conenct to the net - and yes there are situations when i dont need additional complications, namely when travelling. The E61 i still use connetc to everything to which it can connect).

    I believe that meego paired with the philosophy of Nokia not to try to fuck the customer by forcing him into specific solutions but to just give the device all capabilities for connections which can be imagined will serve well. After seeing the many ways in which apple fucks the customers and google believe that they are not evil, i prefer companies selling me hardware (opposed to thinking of the Software they can put on the Hardware to "advertise" their services to me (or, in the case of Apple: force-feed me).

    • I'd love to see Nokia push Meego forward and offer great smartphones. But sadly I think they will give it minimal resources and continue to push symbian instead. Their market share will continue to reduce as good phones like N8 are dragged down by the poor UI and limited apps base for symbian.
  • QNX (Score:4, Informative)

    by frank249 (100528) on Monday January 17, 2011 @08:09PM (#34911086)

    Blackberry OS6 is only a placeholder until they port QNX [wikipedia.org] to their smartphones. Blackberry bought QNX last April and there are rumours that the new storm 3 will run on QNX [itproportal.com]. Blackberry already has QNX running on the Playbook. Full multitasking with flash support on a dual core processor. It will be an interesting year but RIM is not preparing to fade away.

  • >Is it too late for WebOS and BlackBerry?

    Yep. It is too late. BlackBerry will do OK for a while. Once perfected, WebOS Linux was fantastic. Great design, a pleasure to use, root for everyone, good UI, *great* "card" multitasking interface, lots of hackability. But it took too long to get to market, too long to debug, too long to spread to other carriers, was coupled with weak hardware, and not enough consumer choices. Had a few of those been addressed, it could have been a major player. But now it

  • by Deviant (1501) on Monday January 17, 2011 @09:10PM (#34911562)

    I think that it is premature to rule out BlackBerry. I work in IT consulting and I saw many executives try an iPhone and end up going back to BlackBerry because they were just so fast/fluent with the devices. They had a button on the one side set to the calendar and another set to the email and knew all the keyboard shortcuts and it was truly amazing to see how quickly they could get things done. Not to mention that with BES (which they are now giving away for free to organisations under 2000 devices - which I imagine is the vast majority) you can do things like invite attendees to appointments in particular meeting rooms, see their availability and the rooms when scheduling the appointment, etc which are not possible with ActiveSync and particularly not with the iPhone. The enterprise features like being able to force policies which can configure pretty much every setting on the device, wirelessly deploy apps and updates, etc are pretty unrivalled as well.

    I personally had a Moto Q9H WM6.1 device until I got my iPhone 3G and I was happy with the iPhone until I was given a company issued Torch at my new job. I am impressed - it is a great really solid and well constructed device compared with my iPhone 3G with nearly as good webkit browser, a better screen, better battery life, more RAM, great multitasking, a great 5 megapixel camera with flash, just as good Facebook and LinkedIn apps and with the above described better Exchange interaction via the company BES server it is a great product for me. I like the fact that it has both the touchscreen and a trackpad as moving the cursor around an email or a mouse cursor around a web page are sometimes better than tapping/holding on the touch-screen (though it can do that too). I like the fact it shows up like a USB disk when attached to a PC and I can just drop music and video files onto that drive and it just works for indexing/playing - even things like OGG/Divx which never worked with the iPhone unless you re-encoded them. I am sure future versions when they get their QNX OS and a higher-res screen and faster processor etc will be even better.

    I am waited with great anticipation for the next generation of BlackBerry. The current generation will work just fine for me until then and I don't really miss the iPhone. The Torch is doing what it needed to do - keep their existing customers happy with a solid device better than a iPhone 3G/3GS this generation while they pull a rabbit out of the hat next one which should really be a contender...

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