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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I feel Eugenia's pain
by gtada on Thu 29th Jun 2006 07:56 UTC
gtada
Member since:
2005-10-12

I'll tell you guys what. I have a Motorola A780, a supposed *smartphone*. However, it's difficult to find any apps, and Motorola was stupid for only allowing J2ME (SLOW SLOW SLOW) 3rd party apps AND keeping the fun API's locked away (such as JSR 179 for GPS). I was considering writing a few applications for it, but why? It'd only be compatible for a few Motorola phones, and I wouldn't be able to take advantage of the A780's unique hardware.

BTW, rhavyn I believe you understand the technical aspects of the cellular industry, but you seem to miss the difference between the smartphone and cellphone users.

Cellphone buyers want to spend the least amount possible for a phone that at minimum can txt msg and maybe has a decent camera. They just need a basic phone that has good reception to be happy.

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.

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?

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.

P.S. I'm selling this Motorola A780. Brilliant hardware, retarded software. J2ME is a joke, the guy at Motorola responsible for this should be fired, and again, kudos to Motorola for making it hard as f--k for the developers.

Reply Score: 5

RE: I feel Eugenia's pain
by Eugenia on Thu 29th Jun 2006 08:01 in reply to "I feel Eugenia's pain"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

gtada, very, very well said. Thank you.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: I feel Eugenia's pain
by rhavyn on Thu 29th Jun 2006 16:29 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.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I feel Eugenia's pain
by Cloudy on Thu 29th Jun 2006 18:13 in reply to "RE: I feel Eugenia's pain"
Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

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

Palm would strongly dispute this argument, as the ability to customize aps to an industry is one of the stronger selling points of PalmOS based phones.

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.

PalmOS hasn't been "suddenly killed." PalmSource has slowly bled it to death by not providing a reasonable update in over 5 years.

Handset makers are moving to standarize on a platform within their own line. Both Nokia and Motorola have extensive in-house programs to reduce the number of platforms.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I feel Eugenia's pain
by BluenoseJake on Fri 30th Jun 2006 13:49 in reply to "RE: I feel Eugenia's pain"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

I work for a corporation in Canada, and all of our techs, all of our execs, managers and supervisors have cell phones of some type. I think your numbers may be a bit off, as in my last 3 jobs it was the same way, and they were all in different industries (cement manufacturing, post-secondary education and a cable company). Your statements totally go perpendicular to my personal 10 year experience.

Reply Parent Score: 1