Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 19th Jun 2011 18:26 UTC
Windows Way back in old and boring January of this year, Microsoft announced they would be working together with the Windows Phone 7 homebrew community, with the goal of creating a stable, supported way for homebrew developers and people interested in homebrew applications to enable side-loading on their WP7 devices. Well, they took their sweet time, but the ChevronWP7 team (Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh, and Long Zheng) and Microsoft have just announced the results.
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RE[6]: LOL
by Neolander on Wed 22nd Jun 2011 05:40 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: LOL"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

There are engineering costs associated with not only opening up a closed phone but providing any kind of programming architecture. Not opening it up means that your test matrix is a lot smaller. You don't have to worry as explicitly about malware trickling into the ecosystem. You have tighter control over the quality of the apps running on the phone. And you can recoup some of your engineering costs by charging a developer license fee.

I'm not comfortable with that reasoning for some reasons :
1/You'll need a documented and tested low-level interface for device manufacturers to code drivers anyway.
2/People pay quite a lot of money for their phone, either directly or through their phone plan (with a nice premium in the latter case). Shouldn't part of that money cover the engineering costs of the operating system ?
3/If the hombrew interface is sufficiently obscure, you don't lose control on the app market. Jailbreaking exists, yet I don't think there's anyone here ready to argue that Apple keeps a tight grip on everything related to iOS. By creating a standard way to do it, manufacturers keep control on the jailbreaking process itself, instead of having customers who randomly break the security of their device in an uncontrolled way to get it to work.

While that may be anathema to people who are used to giving away their time for free -- or expecting others to do so, that's simply the way that most consumer electronics devices work.

You're right, my belief that software development can't be both enjoyable and profitable at the same time in the world we're living in may be influencing me there.

PCs are not analogous because they can be built with off-the-shelf components. Try building your own phone. It requires significant engineering investment.

I will invoke laptops as a counter-example. If you believe that laptop design is all about putting well-known components together, I'll ask you why a lot of Acer laptops make the noise of a turbofan while sometimes still overheating to death, whereas many designs from Asus (including, IIRC, Apple laptops) manage to be quite cool and quiet under use. I'll also ask why laptops exist in a very wide range of thickness, from Lenovo's ultra-thick designs to those Adamo and other Macbook Airs which take pride of fitting in an A4 envelope.

Like with phones, laptop manufacturers have to do a part of the design themselves (motherboard, battery, airflow and case, I guess) in order to produce a convincingly good product. Yet somehow, they manage to make enough profits that keeping those devices open is financially doable. Why can't phone manufacturers do the same ?

Edited 2011-06-22 05:42 UTC

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