Linked by Eugenia Loli on Thu 29th Jun 2006 01:33 UTC
Linux Linux has one, last, chance to become the No1 OS in a particular consumer-oriented market (not counting servers): the mobile phone market. The open nature and yes, the hype around Linux has made lots of mobile-oriented companies to consider using Linux for their next-generation cellphones. But there is a major problem on the way to success, a problem which is created not by Linux itself, but by the greed and close-mindness of these same companies that endorse Linux.
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RE: I feel Eugenia's pain
by rhavyn on Thu 29th Jun 2006 16:29 UTC in reply to "I feel Eugenia's pain"
rhavyn
Member since:
2005-07-06

Smartphone buyers on the other hand tend to be corporate and actually do care about applications. These smartphone buyers won't go for a free cellphone, but would rather pay hundreds of dollars for a smartphone that has push email and other features. For example, after spending $500 for a phone, they wouldn't hesitate to pay $20 for a golf scoring program for their smartphone.

Wrong, wrong wrong. Corporate buyers want a Blackberry's functionality. The ability to install applications doesn't even come up on their radar.

The people who actually want to install third party applications are people working in emergency services and manufacturing. But all their business goes to Nextel nee Sprint. And they aren't installing programs they downloaded from the net.

The people who want binary compatibility are geeks. And the cell phone industry just doesn't care about them.

Now let's look at this from a developer's standpoint. Well shit, it sure makes it four times harder to support four times the platforms. I can't for the life of me see why there can't just be two or even better one Linux smartphone platform. Would you be inclined to write and support an application four times for four similar-yet-different-enough platforms, or would you choose something easier like Windows Mobile?

Next you're going to be arguing that it's "necessary" for console game platforms to be cross platform or people won't buy them. Sorry, that's living in fantasy land. Console game developers and cell phone application developers enjoy the ability to charge hugely more than PC developers for a fraction of the functionality a PC developer needs to provide. But, you know, if there was actually a problem finding applications for phones you'd have a point. But there is no such problem and those developers are all laughing their way to the bank (along with the network providers and the handset makers).

A smartphone is different from a cellphone because of its extra PDA functions. The extra functionality comes in part from available 3rd party applications. The fragmentation of the Linux smartphone platform makes it less compelling to create 3rd party applications. In the end, this fragmentation only means less applications for a technical user market that DOES care.

Uh huh. Seriously, absolutely no understanding of the cellular industry. If any of that mattered huge platforms like PalmOS wouldn't be suddenly killed. Handset makers would, at least within their own line, standardize on a platform. And things which are sold to be "cross platform" like JavaME would make a half hearted effort to be cross platform which currently doesn't happen.

Guess who buy cell phones? Not corporate types. The biggest buying demographic are women between the ages of 25 and 40 and teenagers. The next biggest is manufacturing and emergency services. Corporates are far, far down the list and RIM has enough of their business locked down that the other providers have little incentive to chase that niche of the market.

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