Linked by David Adams on Tue 10th Nov 2009 18:02 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Just when we were starting to worry that the OS world was becoming ossified around three increasingly-competent options, making it very boring for OS enthusiasts, along comes a re-energized mobile computing market and a furious land grab among established players and new entrants. Samsung, the #2 handset maker by marketshare, is releasing a new mobile OS called Bada and will be vying to become the seventh major mobile OS in the market.
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Depends on what it is ...
by aliquis on Tue 10th Nov 2009 18:23 UTC
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Details where pretty scarce.

Personally I think the most important feature of any OS is the applications it can run, and that leads to the simple conclusion that there isn't much room for different OSes at all as long as they aren't compatible as far as applications go.

And for that reason I would had preferred if everyone including Nokia had decided to go with Android, or whatever, and then added their own tweaks to personalize it and have vendor specific apps if needed. As long as Android cut it that is (and especially as long as Meamo, maybe this Bada and more stuff will still be Linux with little variation but still incompatible with eachothers, atleast if there is some huge difference such as QNX or Haiku it would somewhat serve a purpose, but probably fail on its own.)

Something QNX/vxWorks/... based could had worked to I guess. Atleast they should run the same frameworks so the applications can be made to run on all phones, whatever that is QT, JAVA or web apps.

Edited 2009-11-10 18:25 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Some unsupported assertions....
by JonathanBThompson on Tue 10th Nov 2009 19:23 UTC
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And the one I'd like to point out, is related to iPhone software pricing.

There are far more other handsets than iPhones, but the thing is, there's so many darn variations of them that you either need to code for the lowest common denominator, or you're fragmented into customizing for each one, whereas, by comparison, the iPod Touch and the iPhone in all its variations (with the biggest difference being the more recent OpenGL hardware support for shaders) are almost identical, with around 50 million devices in use, or at least existing. Couple that with the fact that there's exactly one place to get apps for a non-jailbroken phone, that's centralized, and tightly controlled, it warps the equation fiercely, because there's the economy of scale for marketing/selling overhead that developers of all ilk get via the iTunes AppStore, that doesn't exist anywhere else: without taking all that into account, your statements don't have much reality.

On top of that, because the iPhone has such a high PR visibility, it makes it that much more desirable and feasible to consider releasing apps really cheaply, since it's so cut-throat. The limitations of the platform itself aren't nearly as limited for what you can do, compared to what it costs to develop complex software for it: the complexity of software that is possible, with functionality, far exceeds the average iPhone app that's been released by most developers, just that few as of yet have put in that huge investment, partially (I believe) due to the race for the bottom and lowered expectations of price, combined with the fact, that at only 50 million potential customers (right now) combined with all sorts of apps that do some of what's needed, it's a huge business risk.

Reply Score: 3

by diegocg on Tue 10th Nov 2009 19:45 UTC
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One of the big advantages of the iPhone was to use a mainstream OS like OS X, and not one of those embedded crap which wasn't designed to run on hardware equivalent to a PC from the Pentium 3 era (and phones are only becoming more and more powerful). The userspace is mostly the same than desktops, the APIs are similar to desktops, the development environment (languajes, tools, etc) are the same. The browser is the same. That doesn't happen with an specialized OS

That's also why Android rocks, and it's also why Microsoft is f--ked up, because Windows hasn't been ported to ARM and they only can use Windows CE and the alternative userspace crap that was designed to work in devices much less powerful than a iPhone-class phone.

So I don't think samsung is going anywhere.

Reply Score: 3

RE: No
by bralkein on Wed 11th Nov 2009 02:36 UTC in reply to "No"
bralkein Member since:

What do you think about Samsung's chances if they release an OS like Nokia's Maemo? Maemo is mostly based on the same software that powers Linux desktop distributions.

Actually, that's one of the things that attracts me to Nokia's platform, the idea that I could be running the same OS on my phone as I do on my desktop. I am actually going to be developing an app for Maemo, and as you say, one of the great things is that it's basically very similar to developing on a regular Linux distribution, it doesn't seem like I'm doing some strange alien embedded platform voodoo.

Since it's all free software, there's no reason why Samsung couldn't do exactly the same sort of thing. Would that help their fortunes then?

Reply Score: 2

Oh give me a break, MS is behind but not screwed
by nt_jerkface on Wed 11th Nov 2009 05:15 UTC in reply to "No"
nt_jerkface Member since:

These are mobile devices that are designed to have basic functionality.

The real advantage of the iphone is the app library. MS could duplicate everything else with ease. They already have the Zune HD which has a lot of the underpinnings.

I personally am a fan of the iphone and have no interest in anything else atm but I wouldn't count out Microsoft when it comes to ARM devices. A lot of people were making similar predictions over netbooks and we saw how that turned out.

I'm glad to see that the iphone is getting some competition though, especially since I've never liked their at&t sweetheart deal.

Reply Score: 2

I can't wait!
by CaptainN- on Tue 10th Nov 2009 19:52 UTC
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The more diversity, and competition the better. Just look at all the different Linux phones alone (Android and WebOS) plus the various other proprietary/half OSS ones, Apple, RIM, SymbianOS, etc. - oh and Windows.

I love it, and am happy to see more. And i hope you are right, that merit wins the day here - I think UI merit will win the day though.

My top picks - iPhone, HTC (Sense UI). It's all about using the device and UI matters. Android is pretty clean too. The rest have been around for long enough to have demonstrated their lack of mass market appeal.

BTW, HTC and Apple are demonstrating the right way to use licensed OS tech - you use the base OS (OSS or proprietary, Apple is a mix, and HTC uses both Android and Windows), and you build your own brand of value on top of that. That part can even be proprietary.

This is a beautiful new system, that the PC makers never figured out, deciding to shovel crap-ware instead (looking at you Dell, HP). There's still time guys!

Reply Score: 1

RE: I can't wait!
by bhtooefr on Wed 11th Nov 2009 00:27 UTC in reply to "I can't wait!"
bhtooefr Member since:

That's actually not original, and the same companies that use shovelware now came up with that in the Windows 3.1 era.

Microsoft made stop doing that, because it was fragmenting the Windows platform, and instead told them they could buy copies of MS Bob if they wanted an easy shell on top of Windows.

Reply Score: 1

PC makers have been selling servers with Linux
by nt_jerkface on Wed 11th Nov 2009 04:53 UTC in reply to "I can't wait!"
nt_jerkface Member since:

for over a decade. There's nothing for OEMs to figure out, Linux on the desktop just isn't wanted.

After the Ubuntu 9.10 upgrade debacle I think it is pretty obvious that desktop Linux has problems that go beyond OEM support.

Losing the "screw proprietary software" attitude would go a long way.

Reply Score: 2

CaptainN- Member since:

Agreed - especially on reducing the hostility toward proprietary software - I think there's a definite place for that. Proprietary software is mostly a problem only when you are asking others to build up their platforms on top of it - conflicts of interest are numerous and varied in that relationship.

I also think that OEMs aren't always capable of building up their own software platforms. OEMs are usually hardware specialists, not software or UI specialists - Apple is an exception, being specialists at all three.

My argument to an OEM would be that it's in their own interest to become specialists in all three, in order to better compete. IMHO HTC has figured this out. So has Palm. And while they are both executing with varying degrees of success, I do think that's the competitive edge that they are bringing to market, and I do think if they can keep their other marks high (support especially, ASUS fell down here with eeepc linux), I think they'll prove my point. :-)

That said even with the Ubuntu 9.10 problems (I actually missed that, but based on my own experience - they do have their issues - shipping with a grub2 beta for example), I think a good OEM, that wants something to build on, should be looking to Ubuntu, Red Hat, and others as their base. HTC and Palm have done that for their handheld devices - but do not rely on third parties for the entire support of their software (at their platform levels) - that software outsourcing would be the MS model, and frankly, I don't think it works best (heck HTC even tried that for a long while, originally building Sense UI on top of Windows Mobile). Buying a Canonical and taking them in house though, that's an entirely other thing. ;-)

Reply Score: 1

nt_jerkface Member since:

or build on BSD as a way of avoiding problems related to kernel and distro updates. The problem with Linux is that too many people upstream don't care about what happens downstream. A company like Dell could create their own OS and get the same level of hardware reliability and integration that Apple has.

However such an investment would be very costly and very risky. MS already sells their OS dirt cheap for netbooks. The big OEMs will probably just end up standardizing ChromeOS on non-Windows netbooks.

Reply Score: 2

sicofante Member since:

After the Ubuntu 9.10 upgrade debacle I think it is pretty obvious that desktop Linux has problems that go beyond OEM support.

I installed from scratch this time and have missed that debacle. I'm interested in learning about it, however. Can you point me to some links? I googled for it with no success and I'm not a usual reader of the Ubuntu forums anymore.

Reply Score: 1

sbergman27 Member since:

I installed from scratch this time and have missed that debacle.

Me too. Except that I upgraded my machines to 9.10. All without a hitch. And certainly no debacles. Perhaps "Debacle" is some new package manager?

Edited 2009-11-12 01:20 UTC

Reply Score: 2

MattPie Member since:

Ubuntu Upgrade: My Intel 5300 AGN wireless stopped working after upgrading to 9.10, but that's the only issue, and it's only that card that has issues, other wireless devices were fine.

Reply Score: 1

by nt_jerkface on Thu 12th Nov 2009 22:39 UTC in reply to "RE: PC makers have been selling servers with Linux"
nt_jerkface Member since:

A lot of the tech sites seem to have ignored it:

Reply Score: 2

Developers, developers, developers!
by robojerk on Tue 10th Nov 2009 19:53 UTC
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One thing Microsoft did well to get Windows everywhere was getting developers, developers, developers (wink).

At the moment you have iPhoneOS, Android, WinMo, SymbianOS, and RIM that are the heavy weights right now with developers making the platforms more usable for consumers and exciting as a platform.

There's room at the top for WebOS and Maemo but they need to get the people more excited about their platform. If WebOS was more available today I think it could have made the list. Honestly I don't know enough about Maemo to make any judgements, but there is little hype around it.

Anyone new to the party needs to have some sexy bells and whistles to get people to want to develop for the platform. I think in the future once the current OS's start to get old and stale a new comer offering totally radical new ideas that are exciting and take full advantage of future hardware it could topple the competition. I just don't think now is the time.

Edited 2009-11-10 19:54 UTC

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:

The first is the community site that's been around since the N700 and provides a nice list of apps and such. The second is Nokia's marketing site for the Maemo5 on the N900 and is worth a look. I don't know how it is to work with but it looks gorgeous and folk who have played with the N900 have loved it.

It's closer to a Linux distribution. They are working on getting developers to distribute more through the official repositories but there is still a pretty long list of personal repositories that anyone can tap into. After that, it's like managing packages in synaptic or similar. You can even drop to terminal cli and use apt-get (great for us geeks but I wouldn't send a regular phone user to the cli).

Reply Score: 2

Not an OS
by kragil on Wed 11th Nov 2009 00:40 UTC
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Samsung is better at creating parts
by bousozoku on Wed 11th Nov 2009 07:28 UTC
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Every Samsung product I've had is a software disaster. It's either unfinished or mostly broken. They have customers because their devices are inexpensive, not because they're great.

So, Samsung putting a glitzy face on an operating system sounds like a bad movie plot. I think they'd do more for Microsoft's mobile phone OS sales than Microsoft can.

Reply Score: 2

Please, no more mobile OS's...
by AnythingButVista on Wed 11th Nov 2009 16:33 UTC
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... No more mobile OS's imitating the iPhone. If Samsung or anyone else manages to make a mobile OS that focuses on productivity and efficiency, more power to them. But I don't want yet another OS underestimating my intelligence, forcing me to touch icon after icon as if I were a preschool kid. I don't want another mobile OS that'll tie both of my hands in order to navigate it, one hand to hold the device and the other one to flick-flick-flick the screen like an idiot.

Mobile OS developers have focused way too much in trying to look cool, that they have neglected usability and efficiency. The results are utter failures that aren’t as cool as the marketing teams want us to believe they are, and they aren't half as efficient as they could and should be.

Please, please, PLEASE! Bring back one-handed navigation and quick key shortcuts. Someone out there, bring back reading and writing and stop dumbing us down with touchy-feely pictures. Make it all stable, reliable and open to customization and you'll have a winner.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Please, no more mobile OS's...
by cb_osn on Thu 12th Nov 2009 01:51 UTC in reply to "Please, no more mobile OS's..."
cb_osn Member since:

But I don't want yet another OS underestimating my intelligence, forcing me to touch icon after icon as if I were a preschool kid.

Indeed. I also have no need for intuitive gestures that allow me to interact directly with a device. I'd much rather use arcane key combinations, a fiddly trackball, or a tiny plastic stylus. Those are the real productivity boosters.

I don't want another mobile OS that'll tie both of my hands in order to navigate it, one hand to hold the device and the other one to flick-flick-flick the screen like an idiot.

Ironically, I've witnessed preschool kids who were able to operate an iPhone one handed without any problems.

Reply Score: 2

sicofante Member since:

Ironically, I've witnessed preschool kids who were able to operate an iPhone one handed without any problems.

C'mon, not even an adult can hold the iPhone with one hand and operate it at the same time, except for very basic tasks. An adult's thumb is unable to go across the screen's width and you want us to believe a preschool kid can do it?

Touch screens are beautiful and elegant. That's all Apple is about these days and they can convince even tech editors like Thom. God I'd love to have those marketing guys on my company...

Making phone calls and using a few online services is MUCH easier with a keypad. Showing off such a phone is much much harder though.

(PS: I've read about the Ubuntu upgrade "debacle". Just the usual stuff with upgrades, nothing extraordinary, I would say. Unfortunately Shuttleworth and Co. are taking Apple as a model and will spend all of their efforts dressing the thing up before making rock solid upgrades their first goal.)

Edited 2009-11-12 22:49 UTC

Reply Score: 1

nt_jerkface Member since:

Touch screens are beautiful and elegant. That's all Apple is about these days and they can convince even tech editors like Thom.

And having a massive app library and an excellent portable browser that even won over someone like me who would never buy a macbook.

(PS: I've read about the Ubuntu upgrade "debacle". Just the usual stuff with upgrades, nothing extraordinary, I would say. Unfortunately Shuttleworth and Co. are taking Apple as a model and will spend all of their efforts dressing the thing up before making rock solid upgrades their first goal.)

It is a debacle when they AGAIN break a bunch of working wireless and video cards. That means locking non-technical people out of their computers.

Copying Apple would be a good idea for Shuttleworth. I really don't know what Mark is thinking when he releases these 6 month upgrades that break working hardware. What is he paying all his employees to do?

Edited 2009-11-12 23:36 UTC

Reply Score: 2

sicofante Member since:

Yes I have used an iPhone since my girlfriend's got one (she's a "fashion victim" and I'm OK with that). As many of us, I'm the family's tech guy and I have done most of the jailbraking, configuration, unlocking, app search and downloading, etc.

I find it a great toy, but not a very serious mobile phone. It has subpar texting (no character count, no single message deletion) and subpar voice operation (no silencing of incoming calls, very hard one-handed call answering) IMHO, but amazing little funny apps, especially those relating to the accelerometer. While browsing the App Store, however, I can't find that many great stuff... for a phone. If you think of the iPhone as a very little computer, then it's great. If you need a real phone, that's not it.

I've been trying to love it and switch myself, but I just can't. I wouldn't even use it for web newspaper reading, which I happily do on my Symbian phone regularly for a couple of hours every night in bed. The touch interface, the two-handed approach and the font size make it all useless for that task (for me at least).

I'll wait until someone thinks of the anatomy of the human hand and thumb and creates a touch interface that actually allows you to use the whole thing one-handed and without having to move the phone in your hand. THAT is a mobile OS there's a lot of room for. THAT's the mobile OS all those sticking to current keypad phones -which are the vast majority of people in the world- need. It surely won't fit that many icons and won't be ideal for movie watching, but that's not the main purpose of a phone.

Regarding Ubuntu I was only pointing that the latest upgrade is no different from past ones. It is indeed a "debacle" but just the usual debacle. When I say Shuttleworth is after Apple's footsteps I mean that he's trying to focus on first impressions rather than deep solid foundations. (Yes I also use and administer a MacBook. My girlfriend again... ;) ) Check the latest icons in the systray and see how inconsistent they are with any third party icons. Or the way WiFi signal strength is shown now. You could tell one WiFi network from a another in a blink in Jaunty. Now you have cooler and slicker icons which look almost identical no matter the strength of the signal. But they are very OSX like. Yeah, that's the goal... ;) (When I say Apple is going skin-deep and focused on first impressions I mean this: and this:

Edited 2009-11-14 02:39 UTC

Reply Score: 1

No more room
by milatchi on Wed 11th Nov 2009 23:41 UTC
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Is There Room for a New Mobile OS?

No. We already have Android, BlackBerry OS, iPhone OS, Symbian, and Windows Mobile.
I think anyone else entering the market would just be asking for fail.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by sicofante
by sicofante on Thu 12th Nov 2009 00:51 UTC
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Not only there's room for another mobile OS, but there's also a need. Current offers -except Symbian- target touch phones only, which are a niche market (no matter what the internet geeks want you to believe).

I don't know what Bada is after, and I'm quite happy with Symbian, but mobile OSes are in its infancy and it's good to have competition. The current desktop OS scene is terribly boring, so let's enjoy these mobile exciting times.

Reply Score: 1