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Portables Hardware

Symbian Blasts Google's Phone Initiative 276

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-now-there's-a-shocker dept.
nowhere.elysium writes "Symbian has suggested that Google is not experienced enough or capable of fully developing a workable mobile platform. Symbian's vice president, John Forsyth inferred that Google's interest in the field will also wane due to it being 'deeply unsexy', and that development is not likely for such a platform because "You have [...] a lot of zeroes in your sales figures before a developer gets out of bed." In the same series of statements, Linux is likened to the common cold: "About every three months this year there has been a mobile Linux initiative of some sort launched. It's a bit like the common cold. It keeps coming round and then we go back to business.""
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Symbian Blasts Google's Phone Initiative

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  • by raffe (28595) * on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @09:56AM (#21266861) Journal
    Hey, take a lesson from Microsoft:
    1. First they ignore you (Linux? What is that? Who cares?).
    2. They ridicule you (Linux is like cancer. Linux is un-American)
    3. Then they fight you. (Our ROI is so much better and we have a roadmap too!)
    4. Then you win

    It will happen to you to symbian!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ozmanjusri (601766)
      2.

      I've always thought Symbian should merge with Sybian.

      You'd get a phone that'd be a pleasure to receive calls on.

    • by MouseR (3264)
      Well, while the message is pompous, there is some truth to it. There already was a Linux-based open platform announced (I forgot the details but it has something to do with TrollTech's Qt thing if I remember correctly).

      No one cared but the project is kinda moving forward with a couple of Linux phones also being available.

      Now Google announce the same thing (which is probably how we ended up with 350+ Linux distros in the first place). now, Google is much larger and has more resources so I suppose next week w
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Since when has linux won against Microsoft? Mac hasn't even "won". Linux is just gaining a more substantial fringe market. Even Vista's many failures aren't enough to drop the prior market share- considering they have new product out within 2 years.

      I would estimate that linux is more prevalent in the cell phone market than in the desktop market, so you're likely backwards here.
      • by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:26AM (#21267279) Homepage
        Uhm, the point here being that they have already passed step 1, 2, and is now doing 3.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vadim_t (324782)
        Linux is winning, but not in desktop things yet.

        There was a story here some time ago about that there are WiFi access points running Linux at Microsoft. The WRT54G access points are very well known even by people who don't know how to use Linux. Linux runs on various other embedded devices as well. Linux is big in the server arena, especially for cheap web hosting and such. Very big operations (Google, Akamai, etc) run massive amounts of Linux boxes.

        The desktop will get there eventually. I hear more and mor
        • by malevolentjelly (1057140) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:38AM (#21267443) Journal
          These are different birds. Microsoft is not even a remotely large embedded player- to say that there are linux-based access points is a moot point, since they don't offer a microsoft based wireless router in the mainstream.

          Microsoft does desktop, for the most part. In this, they are enjoying comfortable domination based on their success with XP, and have some time to turn around from the failures in Vista.

          My point is simply that he's got it backwards- the cell phone market is much more promising for linux than desktop, at this point. Linux will really rely on the death of the classic PC market to enjoy total market "domination"-- or permeation, if you will- Microsoft is more vulnerable to the linux-based device market overtaking PC's than linux taking the PC market- if you're just arbitrarily anti-Microsoft you might like the see the captain go down with his ship, in this case.
          • by vadim_t (324782)
            Linux certainly has it easier in applications like cell phones, but I'm not so sure of that domination will have to wait for the death of the desktop. I don't think the desktop will die completely, for that matter.

            Microsoft seems to be having trouble coming up with a good reason for a new Windows version. IMO, the last Windows version that was good was Win2K. There's some point where an operating system, or any application for that matter, really does all it's supposed to do.

            Once you get to that point, ther
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              I think that's a vast oversight of the creature comforts offered by XP- I used to feel the same way, until I started to take advantage of XP's excellent media/device features- cd burning, media, etc.. Most of the benefits are geared towards the consumer market.

              I think at this point, the DRM debate is really not about the companies vs. the consumers- just look at the WGA strike. Writers are demanding a very complex set of royalties for new media online play, etc- their demands are beginning to underline a re
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by vadim_t (324782)

                DRM makes new media real to people working in entertainment and production- people who rely on very accurate tracking of views/sales to make their bread. If you are pro linux desktop, you need to be supporting an open DRM option as opposed to no DRM at all- and I mean option. We should encourage open media whenever possible, but allow for DRM in cases where its necessary for
                artist/production payment schemes.

                No. I don't support DRM, period.

                If it uses DRM, I don't buy it or use it. If it even supports DRM (po

        • by Shakrai (717556) *

          There was a story here some time ago about that there are WiFi access points running Linux at Microsoft. The WRT54G access points are very well known even by people who don't know how to use Linux

          I hate to break it to you, but A) the WRT54G isn't an access point, it's a NAT router that happens to have an AP built into it and B) the new versions DON'T run Linux, they use vxworks. Presumably Cisco wasn't very impressed by being forced to release their code and opted for a solution that they could control better.

          They still release a version that runs Linux and can be flashed easily -- the WRT54GL -- but it's not nearly as mainstream by any means.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by vadim_t (324782)

            I hate to break it to you, but A) the WRT54G isn't an access point, it's a NAT router that happens to have an AP built into it

            You're clutching at straws here. It works as a WiFi AP, and that's what matters.

            and B) the new versions DON'T run Linux, they use vxworks. Presumably Cisco wasn't very impressed by being forced to release their code and opted for a solution that they could control better.

            What is this "their code"? An access point that runs Linux has a kernel and software the vast percentage of which

      • Since when has linux won against Microsoft? Mac hasn't even "won". Linux is just gaining a more substantial fringe market. Even Vista's many failures aren't enough to drop the prior market share- considering they have new product out within 2 years.

        I would estimate that linux is more prevalent in the cell phone market than in the desktop market, so you're likely backwards here.
        Work in progress...
      • by raddan (519638)
        I think it's just a matter of time. The pure economics of it will eventually win out, like the Cold War. Microsoft will "stay ahead" as long as they can throw money at their problems, but eventually this will catch up with them. It's very hard to compete with free, especially against an operating system that has more freedom to do things "right" than to do them "glitzy". Linux doesn't need to appeal to fickle buyers or hungry stockholders. Developers can focus on stability. Microsoft's culture of rein
    • It obvious that they see Linux as a threat, otherwise why would they be so hostile? They're clearly afraid.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Because symbian sucks? The comment about developers is rather funny, considering that symbian is downright hostile environment for developers.

        Nokia did a "internet tablet" some years back with linux, and were surprised to find that tons of people are porting software for it (or writing new stuff) - much more than for any of their symbian platforms.

        It's not always about revenue. The only platform that I know of that is more hostile towards developers than symbian is brew. Go and check the hoops you have to j
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Tony Hoyle (11698)
          Because symbian sucks? The comment about developers is rather funny, considering that symbian is downright hostile environment for developers.

          Uhh.. what?

          The SDK is a free download. How is that hostile?

          You can program in standard C or C++. How is that hostile?

          Compared to some platforms it's positively open.
          • bunk (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Are you high? Development seats cost $! Applications must be signed, which means lighting more $ on fire.

            And no! Standard C++ is not supported! It's Symbianized C++, with a stupid proprietary try/catch model that forced the developer to push object onto a cleanup stack, which COMPLETELY destroys the possibility of clean, platform-independent code.

            Worst of all, many API's are proprietary Nokia information, and require some kind of business deal with Nokia.

            Nokia would do well to continue down their current
          • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @12:17PM (#21269065)

            Did you actually try to develop anything for Symbian?

            Well, I did. And let me tell you this: Windows APIs, complete with their haphazard organization and historical baggage, lunatic bugs and arcane undocumented extensions are an example of Reason and Logic, when compared to this positive 10 day old vomit which is Symbian. Any ole Linux API is like an Extatic Symphony of Cosimic Joy, Eternal Purity and All-Encompassing Sanity, next to this 10 day old vomit which is Symbian.

            Hell, I am being unfair to 10 day old vomit.

            You gotta be a masochist to develop for this thing, downloadable "api" or not.

            The toolchain is fucked up beyond belief.

            The API is a convoluted mess of overcomplicated certinisms, wheels reinvented to be square and with an offset axis, said square "wheels" within other square "wheels", and all existing only so that Symbian "alliance" can have NDAs, Patents and what not on this shit, which otherwise has been done a million times before, some 900 thousand times of which done much better.

            Great majority of it is undocumented or laughably documented (they want you to pay big money for access to the "real" stuff). Most of what is documented you do not want go near.

            The OS itself was designed by a brain-damaged monkey, its like a retarded dwarf cousin of Windows, complete with moronic "drive letters" and whole bunch of other truly imbecillic "features" from the early days of DOS, which even Microsoft doesn't want anymore.

            You gotta pay money for application certs.

            On and and on and on.

            Or and did I mention that there is like 6 mutually incompatible versions of the thing in the wild, and about 8 different, mutually incompatible of course, versions of the "ui" deployed on various phones?

            One way to gauge of the levels of insanity is the fact that there are a grand total of 4 (to my knowledge) languages ported to this thing, NONE of which has anything resembling something like a useful set of bindings to the Symbian API (Java, which is the only remotely usable one, has a very limited MIDP profile). Ponder that!

            In short: do pay good coin for those downloadable Symbian-specific apps if you need them, because their developers have all been through Hell several times to make them.

            What really kills me though is how arrogant and pompous the "designer" of this pile of pig manure about this monumental "achievment". Another, mind boggling observation is that there actually cell phone manufacturers using it.

            • "Deeply Unsexy" (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ukemike (956477)
              The Symbian guy calls mobile applications development "deeply unsexy" and by association calls Symbian unsexy. I think that this sums up Symbian's problems perfectly. Nearly ALL cell phone UIs are awful and unsexy. I want my cell to be easy to use and Sexy! You go google!
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      nowhere.elysium writes

      "Microsoft has suggested that Google is not experienced enough or capable of fully developing a workable platform. Microsoft's vice president, Steve Ballmer inferred that Google's interest in the field will also wane due to it being 'deeply unsexy', and that development is not likely for such a platform because "You have [...] a lot of zeroes in your sales figures before a developer gets out of bed." In the same series of statements, Linux is likened to a cancer: "About every three mon

  • Whoops (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @09:58AM (#21266885)
    Pride and all that.

    Hmm... A bit of complacency there too.
     
  • In that case... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OgreChow (206018) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @09:59AM (#21266909)
    I'm glad there's no cure for the common cold. Is this guy just completely missing the fact that some of the brightest young developers in the world work for Google? They don't need external developers in order to be a success. Any third-party dev is just icing on the cake.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Careful there... while some of the brightest developers work at Google, Google seriously lacks good product managers capable of seeing a product through. Google's few non-search and ad apps are still only niche players (even gmail doesn't have the market share it could have outside the geek world). Google's model of letting geeks have fun is great as long as the money is free (which it is, thanks to their ad engine), but as soon as the apps need to start producing revenue to justify their existence, Googl
    • some of the brightest young developers in the world work for Google

      but google was caught demonstrating age discrimination, and so.... yes..... the developers there HAVE to be young or they get fired.

      link for brian reid and other 'older people' who have gotton the shaft at google:

      http://news.zdnet.com/2100-3513_22-5283653.html [zdnet.com]

      do no evil, huh? bloody LIARS, they are. war is peace, right? 'do no evil' is an unfunny joke.
  • by ivan256 (17499) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:00AM (#21266917)
    Symbian and BREW developers are scarce, not because it's boring or unprofitable to develop for mobile platforms, but because it costs a fortune to get development licenses with the software vendors and distribution licenses with the carriers. If there was a truly open phone, with an SDK that allowed full network and display access, and users could install and run these apps without a carrier distribution aggrements, there would be many more mobile developers.

    Nothing like building a big wall around yourself, then complaining that nobody ever comes to visit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shirizaki (994008)

      Nothing like building a big wall around yourself, then complaining that nobody ever comes to visit.
      No, more like "We've built this big wall between us, the carriers, and the consumers to shave the sheep clean, and now all this open and free comes along to ruin it for us!" THAT is the real reason.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      Palm? WinCE?
      Both offer full TCP/IP access last time I checked. Even the Blackberry now offers access to the TCP/IP in their SDK.
      • by ivan256 (17499)
        Both have sizable developer communities too. There's a reason they weren't in my short list.
        • by LWATCDR (28044)
          But you said, "If there was a truly open phone, with an SDK that allowed full network and display access, and users could install and run these apps without a carrier distribution aggrements, there would be many more mobile developers."
          You said "If", that implies that there are no phones with that are easy to develop for. Just pointing out that there are phones already do have a easy to access SDK. As far as I can tell they are not Open as in the FOSS use of Open but they are easy to develop for.
    • but because it costs a fortune to get development licenses with the software vendors

      That's a totally false statement regarding symbian. I downloaded their sdk yesterday from Nokia's site. Free as in beer, but it's easy to get. There are quite a few apps for symbian already and the sdk looks pretty well documented. I think there's an OPL runtime for symbian too.

      and distribution licenses with the carriers.
      In symbian's case, you don't need to go to the carrier. It's another reason why their OS is years ahea
    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      because it costs a fortune to get development licenses

      Bulshit. The development certs. are free. The SDK is free.

      There are many, many thousands of symbian developers and many many thousands of independent symbian apps.
    • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:43AM (#21267511) Homepage Journal
      Well, BREW, whaterver its technical merits or problems, is all about the carriers being the gatekeepers between developers and the users. Once you've paid your SDK and testin fees, you have to sit down and convince a carrier to let you sell your product to their customers. Basically the carriers would prefer anything a customer does with their network to be tied to some fee producing service.

      That's why mobile development is in such a bloody mess. Phone vendors do not want phones to become a portable application platform. You can port your phone number when you change carriers, but they'd sure as hell prefer you to lose as much else as possible, for example your phone book and applications, and if possible the phone itself. I expect this is why J2ME is not offered in the same way as J2SE; the phone companies would do their best to kill if it looked like it was emerging as a platform which freed mobile applications from carrier control.

      There's nothing really all that special about mobile development. Devices are resource constrained, but in the grand historical sense they aren't all that constrained, when compared to a 286 PC/AT machines from which many an entrepreneur made his fortune. User interfaces are different, but not in a way that a smart designer (who can be hired for a fee) can't take into account. Believe me, I've done it, and while it is easy to make stupid mistakes, it's not really that hard to avoid those mistakes if you have enough money.

      And it's not like mobile applications are, in the current state of the art, all that wonderful.

      The real problem is overcoming the phone companies. Google is in an interesting strategic position, because they have so much money, they've got huge amounts of mysterious dark fiber, they're making noises about being interested in acquiring spectrum. Maybe they'd have a hard time becoming a mobile phone company, but they could become a mobile something else company and by the way pretty soon that something else does the things you use your phone for now.

      Smart people at the mobile companies should be concerned that Google's involvement in mobile technology, if not co-opted, could lead to a paradigm shift. At least in the US, the companies aren't prepared for that kind of competition. They aren't even prepared for fair competition in their existing business. They do their level best to make it hard for consumers to price compare services.

      So, Google is in a position that Symbian might well envy. Symbian is a captive of the phone companies. If the phone companies don't want to play with them, there goes their business. If they don't want to play with Google, it has almost no effect on Google's main business, and Google goes back to the lab and cooks up a world of pain for them.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vhogemann (797994)
        I'd like to point out that nerfed phones seems to be a problem only in the USA.

        Here at Brazil most operators sell their phones without any features disabled, for an example I can upload any application to my phone using an microSD card, also after one year all operators must unlock your phone for free. I think this happens on other countries too.

        So, even if this Google initiative fails at the USA... it can succed at the rest of the world.
    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:44AM (#21267545)
      Mod this down, it's complete bullshit from someone who hasn't a clue. The SDKs for Symbian OS are free downloads, there are plenty of shareware and freeware developers working on it, and you don't need any license to install such apps on a phone.

      It will cost to buy a certificate to certify the app as non-malicious and fit for purpose, and without that the user will get a warning when installing that the app is unsigned. But that is a quite reasonable security step given that phone malware could cost serious money on a phone bill. But the lack of such a cert doesn't stop you from using or distributing free apps.
      • [Citation needed] (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Kaseijin (766041) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:47PM (#21273913)

        It will cost to buy a certificate to certify the app as non-malicious and fit for purpose, and without that the user will get a warning when installing that the app is unsigned. But that is a quite reasonable security step given that phone malware could cost serious money on a phone bill. But the lack of such a cert doesn't stop you from using or distributing free apps.
        According to Nokia's Symbian OS Platform Security FAQ [nokia.com], applications must be signed to be installed. Self-signed apps have restricted capabilities. Maybe that's just Nokia. Let's keep looking.

        Here's a developer discussing forthcoming signing options [newlc.com], which he views as friendlier to developers. All of them are gated. Installation on more than one device requires payment. Some capabilities require payment; some also require permission from the device manufacturer.

        More developer discussion. [allaboutsymbian.com] Even "passive content" has to be signed.

        Another developer. [antonypranata.com] The current process is "very painful". The new process has "no real plan" for freeware and FOSS.
    • Huh? I've been using free (as in beer and sometimes as in speech) languages and libraries for Nokia's S60 platform (built on Symbian) for a while now:

      http://www.forum.nokia.com/ [nokia.com]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S60_platform [wikipedia.org]

      -Chris
    • by Ecuador (740021)
      The company I work for develops for Symbian, BREW, Win CE among other things (while actually being a Linux-only workplace, thanks to compilers runing on VMWare). What you say is mostly true about BREW, which started as expensive for developers and with recent increases in testing fees has become ridiculously expensive.
      Symbian is not as much of a cost problem, however that is the only good thing I can say about it.
      While I have not worked much on Symbian myself, the fact that we work for most available mobile
    • but because it costs a fortune to get development licenses with the software vendors

      That's a totally false statement regarding symbian. I downloaded their sdk yesterday from Nokia's site. Free as in beer, but it's easy to get. There are quite a few apps for symbian already and the sdk looks pretty well documented. I think there's an OPL runtime for symbian too.

      and distribution licenses with the carriers.
      In symbian's case, you don't need to go to the carrier. It's possible to imagine the carriers aren't very
  • by eraserewind (446891) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:04AM (#21266977)
    Maybe Google's inexperience will allow them to design a Resource API that doesn't leak memory when you create a variable on the stack. (on the stack! for heavens sake!). It's not for no reason that people complain about Symbian programming.
  • by wattersa (629338) <andrew@andrewwat[ ]s.com ['ter' in gap]> on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:06AM (#21267015) Homepage
    There are way too many public relations stories on slashdot. Basically you can disregard anything written in a press release or in a news story about what one company said to another. Every time, it is a carefully worded written statement made by the company's PR department or external public relations firm. They often make vague comments that work by implication and innuendo (leaving wiggle room and plausible deniability) rather than commitments to hard facts or positions. Every time someone takes a press release seriously, the company benefits. I for one don't believe slashdot should give top billing to stories like this.

    Here, to have a CEO call the mobile field "deeply unsexy" in an attempt to make the public think Google doesn't fit into it implies that he and his company are deeply concerned about Google entering the mobile platform market and shaking it up! As for "You have [...] a lot of zeroes in your sales figures before a developer gets out of bed," he's implying that it will take a long time to be profitable. However, I think Google has "a lot [more] zeroes" in its market capitalization and R&D budget than Symbian and many other companies combined. Thus Symbian's fear that Google will get into mobile devices.
    • by kevinbr (689680)
      "......As for "You have [...] a lot of zeroes in your sales figures before a developer gets out of bed," he's implying that it will take a long time to be profitable. ....."

      No he means that he believes a lot of phones must ship before any developers get interested in a phone. A phone with only a few customers using it is not that interesting for a developer when there are phone that have millins of users.

      So, he is alluding to chicken/egg. Does a developer wait for enough devices to ship, or does he take a p
  • by The Evil Couch (621105) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:06AM (#21267031) Homepage
    FTFA
    John Forsyth, vice president of strategy at Symbian, the platform that powers many of the world's phones, said Google lacked experience.

    Google has formed an alliance with 33 firms to develop an open platform for mobile phones, called Android.


    Among those firms are phone giants HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung. Additionally, they're apparently courting Nokia, as well. I don't think that Google's inexperience in designing phones matters one bit. They've allied themselves with virtually every major mobile phone maker in the market. They don't *need* any experience within Google. They have it in spades with their partners.
    • by kevinbr (689680)
      "..... They've allied themselves with virtually every major mobile phone maker in the market......" A mobile operator joining a consortium like this is meaningless. I used to handle Standards issues for a Large european mobile operator. We sit in committees and decide if we want to join to move it forward or join to obstruct.

      People who believe these operators are joining means much are naive. They could be joining to get advance notice of what is going on, perhaps commision one phone as a test in some back
  • Cold (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:07AM (#21267047)
    Once your old and useless it's fairly normal to die from a common cold.
  • Saying that Linux is like the common cold is not a good summary of saying that the frequent linux mobile efforts are like the common cold.
  • Really, it's horrible.

    What kinda of operating system hides screen config options under the phone security menus?

    Their whole UI seems to have been built by a randomisation script.

    The technical background might be fine but when the user experience is so poor it just drags the whole experience down.

    I own an Nokia N91, I'd add.
    • by Creepy (93888)
      On my phone all configuration is under Settings and Tools. The more recent incarnations (mine is 20.1 + something) of Symbian seem much more usable than the ones from a few years ago, judging by how much easier my new phone was to program (new phone is a Motorola, I don't remember what the old phone was - some odd brand, but it ran Symbian).

      Still, I think it could be easier, and I think feature creep has added a lot of deep menu chains, so I wish it were more customizable for the features I use. I know Sy
    • by Yer Mum (570034)

      Mine's in Tools > Settings > Display (6680). If you want to see a randomisation script in action, try Windows Mobile.

      There are very few smartphone platforms out there. Apple's GUI might be arguably better but as a programmable platform it's left wanting (maybe in January we'll see something if Steve is kind enough to us mere mortals). Windows Mobile might have less hurdles with regards to certificates but the GUI is basically a 800x600 desktop crammed into a phone screen. There are Linux platforms b

  • When they turn round and say "Well, you've not been doing this job for 20 years, so you're obviously not any good at it, as you have no experience".
    The amusing thing is that experience doesn't necessarily equate to aptitude. You have to get into the game somewhere, and in a few years, Google WILL have the experience. You don't stop paying attention to good ideas just because they don't come from someone with that 20 year history. A good idea is a good idea.
    Besides, it's just the opinion of one company; w
  • by k3v0 (592611) <k3v0@@@k3v0...net> on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:10AM (#21267105) Homepage Journal
    If making good phone software is so hard, how come apple can do it so well?
    • by dfghjk (711126)
      They don't. Theirs is just somewhat better than anything else right now.
      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        If you think 'crashes constantly, buggy SMS, no MMS, crappy Bluetooth, 2-3 clicks before you can even get to a screen where you can use it as a damned phone' better than everything then you haven't seen many phones.

        Apple are newbies at the phone game and it really shows. They'll improve I'm sure.. there's nothing really wrong hardware wise with the iphone (battery life is poor but you can work around it).. its just needs a v2.0 software with all the bits they screwed up the first time around.

        Google will pr
    • If making good phone software is so hard, how come apple can do it so well?

      Other than that Apple is really REALLY good at making software?
  • by RayDude (798709) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:12AM (#21267121)
    I guess Symbian will become another in the great long list to underestimate Google.

    Its foolhardy to make such assumptions and reckless for an officer of Symbian to make such statements. How can you do anything but take Google seriously at this point?

    If google says they are going to do it and they have the skills and the deep pockets needed to do it: so why not plan on it and have product in place to protect your own company from it?

    Because its cheaper and easier to bury one's head in the sand than face the fact that you have real competition whose goal is to make money on advertising by giving away an open source OS. They don't even wish to compete in Symbian's turf, they want to make phones for the masses to get more advertising clicks. By executing this strategy they will make Symbian's entire business model obsolete.

    So bury your heads Symbian, we'll bury the rest of you later.

    Fools.

    • by Yer Mum (570034)

      They're supposed to say they're not worried about it, that's if they don't want to have their customers running for the hills.

      They said the same about Apple but are building touch-screen control into the next version.

      If Google actually specify anything about their platform I'm sure they'll build that in too. I'm sure it'll be faster for them to do that than it will be for Google to implement all the basics properly that are already in Symbian.

  • Show me the yachts of the Symbian ISVs and I'll believe that Symbian's long history is an advantage for software developers. Mobile applications has been a mug's game because it is hard for end-users to get and use applications due to carriers' "walled gardens," app signing, and locked-down APIs. Arguing for a continuation of the status quo will not improve that situation.

    Google may or may not succeed, but they have moved the industry - the OHA members in particular - a long way in the right direction.
  • by Britz (170620) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:16AM (#21267171) Homepage
    Or should they go: "Oh no, we are going out of business soon!" I suppose investors wouldn't like to hear this.

    Symbian was formed and supported out of one single reason: Microsoft
    The mobile phone makers, that used to hold a stake in Symbian (Motorola, Nokia and Ericsson each a quarter with Psion having the last quarter IIRC) bought the IP of Epoc from Psion and founded Symbian, because they were scared that Microsoft (with Windows Mobile) would attain the same dominance in the mobile phone market that it held in the PC market.

    That danger is over and Symbian ownership has shifted around a bit. Also Microsoft did not yet become such a threat. I suppose that in the mobile phone market there is enough space for everyone. The numbers of units is much higher than in the PC market and it is still growing much faster. Apple just joined it btw. And even if they were to capture only 1% of the world market, they would make a huge profit from the huge amount of sales that this would mean in numbers.

    Same with Google.
    • I have to question the the "have to" do this. Palm did this of Apple and I think it blew up in their face. Exactly what point does it become just a habit of dissing other products in order to protect yourself? I think it speaks of a lack of confidence in your own product. Not only that, if everyone catches on to the fact that practicing PR is basically speaking with a forked tongue, then what credibility would the company have when it tries to say something? As such, I think this sort of practice is se
  • by Draco_es (628422)
    Maemo devices work, and work really well. Are Linux based and are very hackable, which make them very appealing for the gadget lover. Don't know about OpenMoko, but probably is a good platform, too.

    If Nokia tablets don't include a phone its probably because Nokia doesn't want to compete with their own NSeries. Why couldn't Google build something similar? They have the money, the best smart guys the money and reputation can buy, and don't need to compete with another device builders. Their are in another bus
    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      N800 is basically the same but a bit smaller and with a phone.. Linux based and very hackable.
  • Why Phones Suck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:21AM (#21267225) Homepage Journal
    So that's why most mobile phones suck: Symbian's attitude is that developers aren't worth bothering with, phones need to be "sexy" more than "good", and Linux is to be dealt with like a virus, not a solution.

    I hope Google does to mobile phones what it did to online search, maps and blogging: makes them work by finally providing some competition in the core function without being trapped in its box.
    • by Braino420 (896819)

      Symbian's attitude is that developers aren't worth bothering with, phones need to be "sexy" more than "good"
      Symbian must be high if they think their handhelds [mobiledataforce.com] are sexy. The company I work for does alot of work with handhelds, and the Symbian devices all look like they're made by Fisher Price.
    • I haven't seen one good Symbian phone. I have a coworker who develops on the platform and all the test phones are slow and frustrating to use. It's like: "Oh, another Symbian phone? *groan*"

      Why is that?

      That's why Symbian is afraid. They know their product can't compete well enough on its own merits, and so they resort to disparaging others.
  • by strangeattraction (1058568) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:35AM (#21267417)
    Yes, believe it or not Symbian is known for their sexy software :)
  • Handhelds.org has been around for more than 8 years now, providing Linux on handhelds PDAs and mobile phones.
  • I have a cell phone with service from my provider (ATT). My service consist of the cheapest voice plan I can obtain plus unlimited data and essentially acts only as a Bluetooth data modem. I carry a Nokia N800 for all of my voice, data, chat, messaging, etc. needs (VoIP, for voice) because there is no cell phone that is 'open' enough to fill my needs. Heck, I can even VTC from my 'phone'. The quantity and quality of the apps/OS mods developed are simply amazing. I truly have a Linux machine at my dispos
  • by josquint (193951) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @10:42AM (#21267503) Homepage
    Sybian Blasts Google's Phone Initiative ?

    yikes
  • Quoth Symbian: Google is not experienced enough.

    I read this as: Wow! Google will have new ideas!

    And as: Symbian has run out of ideas. Pretty bad day to work for Symbian, or own Symbian stock as far as I can see.
  • "Symbian has suggested that Google is not experienced enough or capable of fully developing a workable mobile platform"
    Ummm....does this guy realize Google can walk into his office and double his developers' salaries and be "capable" in about 24hrs?
  • A phone, Googles or any other, can never be as good as a Sybian. Trust me, I have seen all the movies.
  • symbian::fat turkish dude
    google::sexy

    the fat turkish dude works real hard, but he smells bad and wears the same clothes every day.
  • Isn't this the exact argument that every bitter competitor has on a new product that inevitably becomes the hugest thing ever, regardless of whether or not it's any better than the competition?
  • by mveloso (325617) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @11:29AM (#21268253)
    The Symbian VP is right: google's android platform will fail.

    Why?

    Because quite simply, google sucks at customer service. And the OS business is all about customer service.

    How do I know that google's customer service sucks? Simple: I've used them for things other than search. Have you ever tried to get a detailed sales report out of google checkout? You can't. You can ask about it, but it disappears into the void that is google checkout's customer service. Can they tell you if they're ever going to have reporting? Nope.

    What does the sales report include? Dates, amounts, and state. What about customer names and addresses? Nope. What about anything else? Sorry.

    Google's service philosophy is "help yourself." That doesn't help when you need features of a product that don't exist.

    If google can't give you a useful sales report for the last month, how can they support a mobile phone launch?

    The answer, of course, is they can't. Unless it's advertising-related, google can't concentrate for long enough to make a mature product...or they're too arrogant to listen. gmail still doesn't have folders, which is totally different than keywords (which is their 'justification'). Yeah, whatever.
  • When the competition considers their work "deeply unsexy", Apple can run circles around them. Smart phones just might sell a bit better, if the average consumer weren't convinced that most of those features are too hard to use. I definitely don't want to spend more than half an hour studying my phone manual. And that's where the sex appeal comes in. Unless you manage to get me all hot and bothered about your new product, I'm sticking with my five year old basic cell. It does calls and SMS! Whee!
  • I have a SE P990i that says Symbian should just stfu and get their own crap working before they dare critize anyone else. The mobile world right now is owned by Nokia and SonyEricsson but there are a big horde of asian phones just waiting to get a toe into the market. Once any of them succed and open the floodgates Nokia and SonyEricsson will take the same route as european computer manufacturers.
  • Symbian has suggested that Google is not experienced enough or capable of fully developing a workable mobile platform.


    That's what everybody said about Apple and the iPhone, and we all see how that is working out. [informationweek.com]

  • No idea if what Google is doing will take off. I still haven't really figured out what they're doing (i.e. how open will a platform based on Google's stuff will really be).

    But one thing's for sure, Symbian: your phones suck. They suck a lot. Many people want a phone that is better than anything that is on the market. They want it for different reasons:

    • More features
    • Fewer features, less cluttered UI
    • (and for us paranoid dorks) trustworthy, auditable, bug-free (and I'm not talking about software defect
  • First he talks about google like the only thing they do (or are successful at) is "search" and then he goes on to talk about all the linux mobile phone platforms out there now as a "common cold" like people stopped working on them.

    Openmoko only seems to be gaining momentum, sure they're not "in your face" but that hardly means they're going away either.

    The thing that bothers me is the way he talks about developers as the people porting the gphone software to a hardware device. But there's two set's of devel
  • The Google SDK will be released by the Open Handset Alliance on November 12th. Bookmark the page [openhandsetalliance.com].
  • Symbian (Score:3, Interesting)

    by m2943 (1140797) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @06:30PM (#21274467)
    So, I have been using Symbian phones for several years now. I think they are the best phones on the market(*): there is lots of useful built-in functionality, lots of add-ons, the multitasking works, they have good browsers, and are generally quite powerful.

    But the fact that they are "the best" also indicates in what poor shape the mobile OS market is: Symbian is hard to develop for, it's sluggish, it has a dozen different and incompatible user interface versions, networking configuration is a mess, even simple operations require expensive and flaky shareware add-ons, there's no command line.

    The worst part is, though, that Symbian's problems just don't get fixed. Symbian right now is where Palm was a few years ago: they have a large market share, but they are so arrogant that they don't see how troubled their OS actually is.

    As for Google's experience, it appears that they hired a number of people from other mobile software companies, and in addition, Google has plenty of experience developing mobile applications for Blackberry, Java, Symbian, and iPhone. I suspect, overall, Google probably has many more man-years experience with mobile development than Symbian's entire staff.

    (*) Internally, iPhone is actually better, with its UNIX-like kernel and real window system, but the fact that it limits what you can install and do makes it overall less useful than Symbian.

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