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Nokia Paying $10M For Symbian Software Devs

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the desperation-mode-kicks-in dept.

Cellphones 210

colordev writes "Yesterday Nokia and AT&T announced a mobile software coding contest worth $10 million in prize money. The move is intended to help Symbian compete with Android and iOS. The day before this announcement, Sony Ericsson said it would not be making any new Symbian devices and is instead focusing on Android. That left Nokia pretty much alone with Symbian, and now it wants to find new coding 'friends' to keep the platform alive. Natural selection seems to be slowly eroding Symbian's future. Is this contest too late?"

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210 comments

I think I'll pass (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33688780)

So, one of the "prizes" is 1.0M in marketing for you app, and premium placement in the app store. Don't forget YOU are responsible for ALL taxes. What would the tax be on the 1 million dollars of advertising?

Re:I think I'll pass (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#33688808)

Probably not very much as it's not income or profit, it's used to purchase stuff for the business... ?

Re:I think I'll pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33688818)

you still pay taxes on it, just like cash.

Re:I think I'll pass (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689004)

No you don't. Not if you're a business.

Every expense a business has counts as a tax deduction, and they only pay on the profit.

Re:I think I'll pass (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 2 years ago | (#33688936)

If you have a "million dollar app", you can either spend $1M advertising it yourself or $1M * 35% (corporate tax rate) = $350K to have them do it for you.

If I have an app that is going to generate sales in excess of $350K (which it is otherwise it won't win the competition), then I'll take their prize and pay the $350K in taxes and think about it like a $650K advertising discount.

Of course, a good accountant should be able to lower your tax burden significantly.

Who is Nokia again? (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 2 years ago | (#33688792)

Symbian? Did we time travel to 2004 again?

Re:Who is Nokia again? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33688876)

Yes, Symbian "only" has 44% of the worldwide market share of smartphones. http://www.asymco.com/2010/08/02/android-global-share-rises-to-16-of-smartphones-in-q1/ [asymco.com]

Re:Who is Nokia again? (4, Informative)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#33688944)

They used to have a lot more. 44% is way, way down from a couple years ago.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689984)

Mainly due to it running on cheap, boring phones for business. Small screened devices with full keypads

There are lots of these phones out there, to call them "smartphones" is to use a rather old fashioned description for smartphones.

While a smartphone by definition is a phone which can be expanded and have extra software installed, a modern smartphone is so much more.

If you split the smartphone market by business and consumers the figures would be a lot more interesting.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (2, Insightful)

DomNF15 (1529309) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690548)

Agreed - and probably only a large percentage (44%) because Nokia is such a global leader in cellular devices. I don't think people are buying Symbian, they are buying Nokia hardware that happens to run Symbian. It's not like iOS/Android, where people are more entranced with the operating system/user experience than the device it comes on. Symbian has been around for a while, longer than both of it's major competitors. If it's not dying, it's at least not getting the market attention that iOS and Android are...

Re:Who is Nokia again? (1, Insightful)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689044)

And it's dropping like a stone and Nokia knows it. Symbian has been sucking hard in comparison to everything else and will be history in a couple of years unless they can turn it around.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689052)

Yes, Symbian "only" has 44% of the worldwide market share of smartphones. http://www.asymco.com/2010/08/02/android-global-share-rises-to-16-of-smartphones-in-q1/ [asymco.com]

What is a smartphone? Do these smartphones you talk about have similar characteristics as modern smartphones running iOS or Android? Do they have an app store?

Re:Who is Nokia again? (4, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689148)

Yes, yes and yes.

You've been able to get add-on software for symbian phones since... well I had one in about 2005/6. Now they have the Ovi store. And yes, a lot of Nokia's Symbian phones are very similar to the competition. Not that that's always a good thing.

Me, I wish they'd drop Symbian in favour of Meego, but it doesn't look like that's happening any time soon. They are adopting Qt for both, which should allow for some portability.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690038)

It probably is time to start again. Microsoft could have carried on with the old Windows Mobile. They could have carried on with Win9x architecture, in the end they realised both were tired and not modern enough.

Symbian's origins are nearly 20 years old now.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (3, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690398)

``Symbian's origins are nearly 20 years old now.''

Linux is nearly 20 years old, too. Arguably, its origin is in Unix, which is about 40 years old. Out go the Linux-based Android, Maemo and Meego. Mac OS X and iPhone OS trace their origin back to NEXTSTEP from 1989. Over 20 years old, so out they go. Palm's webOS is, depending on your point of view, based either on Linux or on World Wide Web technology - both of which are about 20 years old, so that one is obsolete, too. That leaves Blackberry OS and Windows Mobile, both of which originate from 1996.

Or perhaps "old" doesn't mean "not good enough" after all.

Personally, I think that the fact that, after 40 years, we have systems implementing the Unix APIs on everything from embedded systems to supercomputers, and from specialty devices that virtually nobody has ever heard of to consumer devices like desktop computers, phones, and televisions, means that those APIs are good and one could do worse than continuing to use them.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33689202)

Do these smartphones you talk about have similar characteristics as modern smartphones running iOS or Android?

Yes, same as they and Windows Mobile phones have had for a decade.

Do they have an app store?

Nokia phones do have "ovi" these days, which is just that, but AFAIK other Symbian phones (mostly Sony-Ericsson) and older Nokia's do not -- you obtain apps from the app vendor directly, or through their choice of retail channels, just like PC apps.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33689090)

Do those symbian phone have the cpu & ram to utilize the full potential of the OS? A pendant could technically call my old LG Rumour a smart phone as it runs j2me. The browsing experience was horrible I suppose it text messaged just fine tho. What I am saying is quantity isn't necessarily a good measure if those devices are barely able to take advantage of the OS. It's my understanding Nokia business model is mainly selling low end hardware with thin profit margin thus inflating it's market share.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33689450)

A pendant could technically call my old LG Rumour a smart phone as it runs j2me.

A pendant? What are we talking here, smart jewelry now?

</pedant>

Re:Who is Nokia again? (-1, Troll)

dangitman (862676) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689162)

Yes, Symbian "only" has 44% of the worldwide market share of smartphones.

They must be using some bizarre definition of "smartphone" to get those numbers.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (1)

toopok4k3 (809683) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689312)

Seeing that the smartphone as a term originated from Nokia. You are kind of wrong by calling it a bizarre definition.

Hell. You'd be able to target over 100 million users with your application if you developed it with Java ME. Nokia sells huge numbers of smartphones in developing countries.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689454)

Seeing that the smartphone as a term originated from Nokia.

Irrelevant. Meanings change, and what Nokia mostly sells would not be considered a "smartphone" by contemporary definition.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33689492)

People have had long arguments about what smartphone actually means for years before you woke up to their existence. How do you define it? "The phone I lust after"?

Re:Who is Nokia again? (1)

jfanning (35979) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690322)

Define a smartphone.

Seems that the definition in Wikipedia is covered pretty damn well by Symbian. There is not one single thing that is possible in Android or iOS that isn't possible in Symbian. In fact it is the other way around. Symbian offers services that neither of the others have.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (3, Insightful)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689466)

Too sad that opinions about global corporation doings are shaped almost always but their achievements in the American market and media outlets.

Yes Nokia/Symbian is still huge and prosperous, except for the US market. Many statistics you see around showing Apple or RIM or Google at half the market are simply not taking into consideration other markets as well.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690074)

Yes Nokia/Symbian is still huge and prosperous, except for the US market. Many statistics you see around showing Apple or RIM or Google at half the market are simply not taking into consideration other markets as well.

What does that have to do with whether what Nokia sells are considered smartphones or not? I never said Nokia didn't have a large marketshare. But if you look at the vast majority of those phones, they are pretty dumb.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (1)

Tolleman (606762) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690348)

Ok, so what can your android/iOS device do that a symbian phone cant? Browse the web? Check, with multiple browsers. Run custom apps(perl/python and so on)? Check. Maps and GPS? Check. SSH? Check. Awesome camera? Check. Receive mail? Check. Run 3D games. Check. Videocalls? Check. Well the list could go on. The run of the mill E or N series nokia phone has had the stuff android and ios phones are getting now for ages. However, the phones have still felt like phones. And that may be the thing that has backlashed on them. That and it being a major pain in the ass to code in C++ for them. But hopefully with the new QT-stuff it should be alot easier. I'd say the UI part in android/iOS made the phones feel smarter. But feature wise, they are first now, comming up to the same level. Well none of them have DVB-receivers and fairly few of them have tv-out. But presentation is what the symbian guys really need to work on. Anyway, I need more beer.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (1)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690572)

See Tolleman's excellent reply. Your definition about dumbness and smartness in phones is pretty hazy.

For me (and for Nokia), a smartphone is a phone with an advanced OS that its uses are mainly extended by complex apps. By this definition Series 40 phones are dumbphones and Symbian are smartphones.

MeeGo, although technically smartphones can be much much more, if Nokia gets that right in the future. We will see.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689924)

Yes, Symbian "only" has 44% of the worldwide market share of smartphones.

Did you miss the part where your 44% figure came from last year? The 2nd Quarter figure for this year is only 38%. It's lost 22% of it's market share in less than 2 years. At this rate it's going to be irrelevant in no time.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (1)

|DeN|niS (58325) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690370)

Come on, slashdot used to be smarter than this. Last year iOS was going to be biggest, this year Android is going to be biggest, etc. See also: http://xkcd.com/605/ [xkcd.com]

It has lost market share, but gained users (market has grown). This is without Nokia releasing any proper high end phones during that time. And who cares whether S-E/Samsung uses Symbian, their share was non-existent to begin with.

The 4 announced S^3 devices, and the unnannounced AT&T phone, will sell, and they will sell a lot. Did you have a chance to play with them? I mean for yourself, in your hand. It's easy to make a phone look bad on video. This is a nice review where the reviewer, an iphone4 owner, does not feel insecure about that and thus does not feel the need to go out of his way to bash it just because it is Nokia/not an iPhone: http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/09/23/nokia-n8-live-photography-live-qa-join-in-now/ [electricpig.co.uk]

Like he said.. "This is not your daddy's Nokia".

See also: http://www.forum.nokia.com/Distribute/Ovi_Store_statistics.xhtml [nokia.com]
Does that look like it's going anywhere? And this is based on S60, which I hate myself. S^3 is worlds above that. Imagine what it is going to do with that, and with Qt, WRT, flash, and java apps, and a nice SDK.

iOS share will stabilize in its niche, Android will battle with WP7 (and people stop saying Windows Mobile, it's not the same thing all), Symbian will increase. Android is not going to take over the world, sorry. If HTC/Samsung for even one second think WP7 will bring them more, (and in terms of maintenance it is a lot easier for them, look at phones still being on Android 1.5, 1.6, 2.1, etc) they'll drop Android like a hot potato. No, Android also will not die, but it's not going to be the king either.

Re:Who is Nokia again? (0, Redundant)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689412)

Try mentally omitting the “m” as you read. It makes it so much more interesting...

Is this contest too late? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33688794)

Yes.

yes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33688800)

yes

Why AT&T? (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 2 years ago | (#33688842)

Why's the evil one behind this?

Re:Why AT&T? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33688986)

Theorise why and you'll probably come up with the answer in your first or second guess.

The prize is only $100,000. (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#33688868)

The Grand Prize [callingallinnovators.com] is only $100,000. Most of the "winners" just get some upcoming Nokia device. "Winning" means that the app receives "$1 million" in marketing promotion: "a Nokia press release, premium placement on Ovi Store, placement in Nokia digital and social media efforts, and direct consumer messaging via email and/or SMS." In other words, winning means Nokia spams for your app.

Nokia takes a 30% cut on sales through their "Ovi Store", so they're promoting themselves.

Nokia's total outlay on this "contest" is probably under $1 million.

Re:The prize is only $100,000. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33688930)

The grand prize winners are selected from the best of the first prize group. If you're in the first prize group, you get $150k. I think the grand prize is a bonus on top of that, so you'd walk away with $250k cash and 1 million in marketing, minus taxes.

They must have had the Symbian UX guys write the rules for this contest. Heyoooo!

Re:The prize is only $100,000. (2, Informative)

|DeN|niS (58325) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689910)

Oh you're such a dick. Do you work for engadget? With your skills of linking to a source and misquoting it completely, you should.

Quote: "51 Category Winner Prizes - Each of the verified Eligible Entrants that published one of the seventeen (17) Apps selected as a First Prize Category Winner will receive a check for $150,000 USD / $156,229 CAD. Each of the verified Eligible Entrants that published one of the seventeen (17) Apps selected as a Second Prize Category Winner will receive a check for $50,000 USD / $52,076 CAD. Each of the verified Eligible Entrants that published one of the seventeen (17) Apps selected as a Third Prize Category Winner will receive a check for $25,000 USD / $26,028 CAD. Total value of Category Winner prizes $3,825,000 USD / $3,983,661 CAD."

The 100k (times two) comes ON TOP of the 150k.

But of course when you're not busy being a dick on the internet, you're netting 250k per app writing iOS/Android apps, right, so this is hardly worth your time.

If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (3, Insightful)

ADRA (37398) | more than 2 years ago | (#33688872)

1. Ditch the goal of moving Symbian to anything beyond dumb phones with cameras
2. Change the name of Meego to ANYTHING ELSE
3. Release Meego completely OSS and don't hamper people wanting to go in and tinker
4. Start rolling out both (Official stock) Android and Meego on devices and allow for the devices to switch back and forth between the two
5. Release a marketing campaign to choose 'the next look of Nokia'
6. Analyze which OS is getting better market traction and phase out the loser
7.Profit More!

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 2 years ago | (#33688924)

1. Be the "open" android platform, allowing users clean installs without root or sideloading.
2. ???
3. Profit

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689068)

Yes, because the market of people who know how to do that is huge, right?

Oh, wait, it's a tiny niche made up of geeks.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (3, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689102)

Irrelevant. They can still provide a good user experience without locking down the device to an almost punitive level.

Of course, the exact same thing could be said for your regular computer. You don't need all that functionality, only a tiny niche of geeks do. Let us lock that down for you...

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689234)

You don't need all that functionality, only a tiny niche of geeks do. Let us lock that down for you...

Hell yes! To stop all the idiots out there from randomly executing applications would be a huge benefit, might just shut down spam and malware overnight.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689288)

Well, don't go thinking you're somehow exempt from this. You get the ball and chain too...

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689496)

Well, don't go thinking you're somehow exempt from this. You get the ball and chain too...

Why? Is it not possible to have locked-down devices for the people who don't know what they are doing, and more powerful, open machines for those who do?

I don't see why this would have to be an all-or-nothing deal. Mom and Grandpa have their iPad, I have my desktop workstation.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689770)

Why? Is it not possible to have locked-down devices for the people who don't know what they are doing, and more powerful, open machines for those who do?

Because, the majority will drag the minority with them. You can have your open machine, but it'll cost you a thousand or so more than it does today. And on the mobile end, you won't have any open options at all.

It doesn't have to be all-or-nothing, but Apple and MS certainly want it to be that way.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690030)

Because, the majority will drag the minority with them. You can have your open machine, but it'll cost you a thousand or so more than it does today

Why? Do you have an argument based on evidence, or are you just declaring this? The evidence shows that Moore's law is still in effect. It's not likely we'll have a sudden transistor shortage.

And on the mobile end, you won't have any open options at all.

Oh right, like the ever-declining mobile options we have today? Oh, that's right, we have more choices, and more power than ever before.

It doesn't have to be all-or-nothing, but Apple and MS certainly want it to be that way.

Again, where is your evidence of this? Back in the real world, both Apple and Microsoft have been offering more options in terms of OS and software than they ever have before.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690420)

Why? Do you have an argument based on evidence, or are you just declaring this? The evidence shows that Moore's law is still in effect. It's not likely we'll have a sudden transistor shortage.

This has nothing to do with Moore's law and everything to do with economies of scale. If it's more profitable to crank out lots of low end chips for mobile devices, they'll do so. Anyone who wants the high end chips will pay the premiums for them, or figure out how to make the low end ones work.

Oh right, like the ever-declining mobile options we have today? Oh, that's right, we have more choices, and more power than ever before.

And how many of them are anywhere near as open as your desktop PC?

Apple? No.
Android? Kinda, unless you bought Motorola. And even if you didn't, you have to root it.
Windows Phone 7? No.

There's a handful of devices that are open, but they don't run the major three platforms you find in the US.

Again, where is your evidence of this? Back in the real world, both Apple and Microsoft have been offering more options in terms of OS and software than they ever have before.

And in the mobile world, every offering they're coming out with is locked down. No doubt they desire to push this back upwards in the stack, and I suspect that they will be trying very hard in the next 10 years to do so. And if you don't believe me, I suggest taking a close look at processors from both ARM and Intel that are coming in the next few years. They're -very- geared to delivering performance in mobile, low power situations.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690740)

This has nothing to do with Moore's law and everything to do with economies of scale. If it's more profitable to crank out lots of low end chips for mobile devices, they'll do so.

But mobile devices will eventually be as powerful as current desktop machines, so you could just use those chips. Even if desktop PC sales decline, there will still be laptops. And even if both desktops and laptops decline, it's highly unlikely that economies of scale would cause the $1,000 difference you claim.

There's also this thing called competition, which helps keep prices in check.

And how many of them are anywhere near as open as your desktop PC?

As opposed to all the open mobile phone platforms that existed before iPhone and Android? Oh, that's right - they were locked down even tighter back then.

No doubt they desire to push this back upwards in the stack, and I suspect that they will be trying very hard in the next 10 years to do so.

Which must explain why Apple's current desktop OS offering is so much more open than "classic" Mac OS, and comes with a UNIX command line, and contributes to Open Source projects, etc.

Again, competition. If Apple were to close down the desktop OS, they would lose a lot of customers. And there's always Linux - or is there some nefarious scheme in your worldview where Apple and Microsoft will somehow erase Linux from existence?

And if you don't believe me, I suggest taking a close look at processors from both ARM and Intel that are coming in the next few years. They're -very- geared to delivering performance in mobile, low power situations.

That's great. What's so bad about making energy-efficient processors? Sure as hell beats some of the machines from back in the day, which sucked down the kilowatts, yet weren't much more powerful than a pocket calculator.

By all means, feel free to believe that we are facing some kind of technological doomsday scenario on the horizon. The rest of us will just get on with using our tools effectively and enjoying the marvels of technology and human innovation.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33689250)

This is key.

The cellular industry has proven that it doesn't get (or doesn't want to accept) free and open-source platforms.

With Android, in practice, they want the PR benefit of appearing "open" while not really being open. All the mass-market phones are loaded with proprietary software masquerading as open software. Most phones depend on proprietary blobs or other means of vendor lock-in.

At the current time, there's no real open platform for cell phones. The pieces are there, but they've been blocked by business scheming and marketshare jockeying.

The first real free, open-source cell phone platform will dominate that niche. Who knows how much the niche is worth? Maybe a pittance, maybe eventually everything.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689352)

It doesn't matter to 99% of consumers if the platform is open source or not. Nearly zero consumers even know what that means.

What could have an impact would be marketing a clean, bloatware free phone as a clean, bloatware free phone.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689618)

It doesn't matter to 99% of consumers if the platform is open source or not. Nearly zero consumers even know what that means

Who told you it's all about customers? I believe the OSS moniker is for the developers, professional and amateur.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (3, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689042)

4. Start rolling out both (Official stock) Android and Meego on devices and allow for the devices to switch back and forth between the two

These are mutually exclusive endeavors. Releasing Android puts you in the position of your users being dependent on Google (and Google dictating terms to you for access to the Android Market,) while fragmenting your userbase across both platforms.

They just need to release a MeeGo device with a simple bootloader unlock so I can have a better user experience with the same hands-off nature that my N900 provides.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689548)

android as a plataform allows the user (or the phone manufacturer) to install an alternative app store in place of android market, or even side-by-side with it.

if you download a trully stock android from the developer site, it barelly have a browser and phone app. google have _zero_ controll over android and over what apps goes with the handsets. that's the beauty of opensource.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689134)

Symbian has always been the OS for smartphones. I don't quite get how they could "move" something beyond something which it never was.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689260)

Symbian has always been the OS for smartphones.

If that's the case, then why are the phones running Symbian not too smart?

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689518)

If that's the case, then why are the phones running Symbian not too smart?

It depends how you define smartness. If your definition is "how many fart apps you sport" then they're probably happy they are dummies. :)

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690086)

There are tons of apps for Symbian smart phones. Unfortuantely, owning to the "Signed by Sybian" lockdown, you cant install them, or if somehow you mange, their certificate expires, o some othe grief, and though isntalled, they wont actually run. I have here as evidence, a SOny Ericson P1i, which is a wonderful phone, capable of superhuman feats, with the most amazing hardware keyboard, that is compact, but easy to use, except that it isn't any use, because of "Signed by Symbian".

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (1)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690530)

"Signed by Symbian" is a thing of the past with the new Qt procedures. It's a much more straightforward procedure now.

See? This kind of non-updated information is that hurts Symbian, not the platform's capabilities themselves.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (4, Informative)

TejWC (758299) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689672)

1. Ditch the goal of moving Symbian to anything beyond dumb phones with cameras

Many people outside of US still use it and want some compatibility with their old phones.

2. Change the name of Meego to ANYTHING ELSE

MeeGo is just the name of the SDK / developer platform. Most consumers will not see that name when they purchase the phone.

3. Release Meego completely OSS and don't hamper people wanting to go in and tinker

You can now [meego.com] .

4. Start rolling out both (Official stock) Android and Meego on devices and allow for the devices to switch back and forth between the two

You can run MeeGo on N900. I think you can install Android on it too. MeeGo is not ready for any other device yet; not because Nokia doesn't want you to port it, simply because MeeGo doesn't have to features yet to handle any other kind of phone. Nokia doesn't think MeeGo is ready for primetime yet so you will not see it on any other phone for some time.

5. Release a marketing campaign to choose 'the next look of Nokia'

Wait until Q2 2011. I am not allowed to say anything else.

6. Analyze which OS is getting better market traction and phase out the loser

Nokia already said that they are moving to Linux/MeeGo. Qt is the "bridge" to move developers from one to another (just like how Carbon was used to move from MacOS classic to MacOS X). Talking to the people at Nokia, they already consider Symbian to be "legacy" and are already moving to MeeGo.

7.Profit More!

I hope Nokia will.

Re:If Nokia really wants to remain relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33689762)

1. Ditch the goal of moving Symbian to anything beyond dumb phones with cameras
2. Change the name of Meego to ANYTHING ELSE
3. Release Meego completely OSS and don't hamper people wanting to go in and tinker
4. Start rolling out both (Official stock) Android and Meego on devices and allow for the devices to switch back and forth between the two
5. Release a marketing campaign to choose 'the next look of Nokia'
6. Analyze which OS is getting better market traction and phase out the loser
7. ???
8. Profit!

Fixed that for you.

Is this contest too late? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33688874)

Yes

Market saturation and evolution (3, Insightful)

dokebi (624663) | more than 2 years ago | (#33688886)

If history means anything, the market can only support so many different operating systems (3?). Even with a huge market like handsets and mobile devices, 5 maybe too many. Currently we have 6+ (in no particular order)

Symbian (Nokia)
Blackberry (RIM)
Android (Google)
iOS (Apple)
palmOS (HP)
WinMobile (Microsoft)

Only two of these are available from multiple hardware vendors, and it's hard to imagine new entrants MeeGo (Intel) and Bada (Samsung) gaining any sort of traction. Unlike desktops, hardware/software integration seems to be key in this market, which may mean iOS may have an upper hand. Or perhaps its ease of development, which favors Android or WinMobile. So those will be my pick for top 3. Sorry Nokia, it was good while it lasted. Thanks for the cute ringtone!

Re:Market saturation and evolution (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 2 years ago | (#33688942)

Blackberry, Android, and iOS are going to be the only players in the future. Nokia needs to get on one of those trains.

Re:Market saturation and evolution (2, Interesting)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689070)

No one but Apple can have iOS. No one but RIM can have Blackberry. And frankly, Android is so Google dependent that it is considered a forward-looking risk (they note so on their statements!) that if vendors could get it away from Google, they would.

Re:Market saturation and evolution (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689116)

Considering blackberry, android and iOS are all recent and new entries i see no reason why nokia couldn't reform the symbian platform to a new look, while retaining backward compatibility.
Nokias largest problem is that they have a billion different phone models, none which have particularly fancy hardware specs and functionality.

You also have to see past the US, there's a world of phone users out there, and whereas you have a half mile queue to the macstore when they release their new iphone in the US you'll see the same in various parts of asia to nokia stores. Except for japan, they have their own strange breed of phones.

Re:Market saturation and evolution (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689136)

Considering blackberry, android and iOS are all recent and new entries i see no reason why nokia couldn't reform the symbian platform to a new look, while retaining backward compatibility.

Of course they could give it a new look. I don't see how that would help, though. A pig with lipstick on it is still a pig.

Re:Market saturation and evolution (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689990)

A pig with cybernetic organs, wings and lipstick is definitely not the same old pig, it may still be a pig, but not the same old pig.
Just like a pig you haven't seen before with multitouch support and accelerometers is also a pig.

My point being, if you can reform your pigs sufficiently they'll save your business.

Re:Market saturation and evolution (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689194)

I don't see any one of them dying other than Symbian. MS has a crapload of money to pump into Windows Mobile and despite every release being incredibly crappy, it still manages to be put on some phones.

WebOS I think has a future if HP actively licenses it out to other manufacturers. The problem with WebOS is that the Pre and Pixi really weren't that great of phones, the OS is nice, the hardware is mediocre.

BlackBerry I think has the greatest to lose other than Symbian, a BlackBerry is great for corporate work environments, but ends up lacking appeal other than that. Almost everyone who has a BlackBerry that doesn't need some sort of strange corporate feature can get an Android phone and have the same functionality in all the meaningful ways while still being cheap. BlackBerries have managed to gain appeal because compared with other smartphones, an older BlackBerry might only be $20 on contract compared to something like the iPhone which is $200ish.

iOS isn't going anywhere, even when Apple manages to be 100% incompetent in their handling of some basic feature, Apple has enough fanboys to keep them alive just look at the late 90s.

Android of course isn't going to fade anytime soon. Lots of apps, frequent releases, powerful phones, etc. make Android a main choice.

But Symbian, does anyone outside of tech circles even know what Symbian is? People know the iPhone, people have seen the commercial for the Droid, they know the BlackBerry, they recognize the Palm name but Symbian? Does the average person even know where to get a Symbian phone? Is there even a "flagship" phone? People can recognize the iPhone, a Droid, a BlackBerry some can even recognize a Pre, but what is the "must have" Symbian phone? No one knows that.

Re:Market saturation and evolution (3, Interesting)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690670)

But Symbian, does anyone outside of tech circles even know what Symbian is? People know the iPhone, people have seen the commercial for the Droid, they know the BlackBerry, they recognize the Palm name but Symbian? Does the average person even know where to get a Symbian phone? Is there even a "flagship" phone? People can recognize the iPhone, a Droid, a BlackBerry some can even recognize a Pre, but what is the "must have" Symbian phone? No one knows that.

Outside US? We just call it "Nokia". It's that text on the phone that every other person in line has.
This is something that US-centric sites like slashdot and their users really don't seem to get. Nokia has near-zero market penetration in the States because it didn't bow to pressure from operators, who in US are gods of the market. They made their phones for the end users instead, often screwing the operator in the process by refusing to allow a permanent lock-in. US operators refused to stock such phones, and sales were crap from get go.
But result from having such phones in countries that have people actually buy their own phones in stores rather then operators? They have almost 50% of entire market outside US. People KNOW them. People were willing to buy essentially crappy, unfinished platform like n97 in droves, because it had "nokia" written on it. They're still buying them in fact. And that was a really shitty first attempt at making symbian touchscreen compatible. Nokia is a household name, something that everyone knows instantly, in line with brand names.

One other thing. Nokia's speciality has never been revolutionising. It has been evolving and out-competing on a price point. Apple, which never got any real traction outside US with their iphone is actually losing market outside US already, mostly to android. And that is because nokia is once again evolving the existing concept of touchphone into something they can make well, and then press the price low enough to kill the competition using their (on corporate level) legendary logistics. It's how they utterly butchered competition several times over during their existence in both cheap and expensive phones.

It's something they're fairly likely to pull off yet again.

Re:Market saturation and evolution (2, Funny)

rlp (11898) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689012)

it's hard to imagine new entrants MeeGo (Intel) and Bada (Samsung) gaining any sort of traction

Yeah, but imagine the Samsung OS coupled with the Microsoft search engine. Who wouldn't want a phone named BadaBing!

Re:Market saturation and evolution (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689020)

What I think will eventually happen is that we will have compatibility layers for the more open of the platforms. For example, a high-end RIM device might have an Android compatibility layer that lets it run Android apps, Android might have a WebOS compatibility layer that lets you run apps designed for that, etc.

Realistically, within the next 3 years, almost every (smart) phone will have a 1 Ghz or better CPU based on current trends.

Re:Market saturation and evolution (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689490)

WinMobile will be toast. When you can run Linux/BSD on a phone, you don't need Windows. The main reasons it survives on the desktop is familiarity, Office and the huge library of software for it. And those just ain't factors with a phone.

I think we'll be down to 4 in very little time: Symbian, Blackberry, Android and iOS. Blackberry is like the old mainframes of smartphones. It's still more useful in some ways, but I suspect that iOS or Android will consume it over the next 5 to 10 years.

Nokia's problem is that they don't have the developer traction now. Android's developer site is just so much better, and that piggy-backs on people using Google's other APIs and finding them very easy to work with.

In Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33688894)

Symbian has had the greatest market share for years. Nothing to be afraid of.

Too Late (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 2 years ago | (#33688896)

At this stage of the game, damn near everything about Nokia is "too late". This is a company on the brink of falling hard because of their failure to recognize a significant shift in the market and adapt in a timely manner (which can be said of RIM as well, imho).

Re:Too Late (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690720)

Nokia has "been late" for new fad for almost every single time in its history. Be it clamshells, losing external antennas or designing the look of their phones, they have been late for all of them.

And then they sat on their being late, and came up with a product that was at least as good if not better then competition, while costing less. Much less. And they ended up destroying the competition.

This isn't some theory. This is something that happened in the past. Several times over. US folks just missed it because operators don't like selling phones that are tailored for users, rather then operators.

Maemo/Meego vs. Symbian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33688908)

Nokia has an excellent OS in Maemo/Meego, but still they keep beating this dead horse. Unbelievable. 'Nuff said.

Re:Maemo/Meego vs. Symbian (1)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689554)

Nokia has an excellent OS in Maemo/Meego, but still they keep beating this dead horse. Unbelievable. 'Nuff said.

And some dudes still fail to understand the ace on the sleeve of Nokia... the Qt SDK!

Who cares what you will be running in 2011 once developers will be able to develop cross-platform apps that run both on MeeGo and Symbian. Customers won't even see the difference and they will probably keep adoring their trusty Symbian smartphones with the huge battery life.

Re:Maemo/Meego vs. Symbian (1)

jfanning (35979) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690380)

Since 99% of the commentators on the internet are complete bozos it doesn't make any difference how many times you mention QT they all see Symbian == bad. But of course they only read that once three years ago and are completely incapable of making any change in opinion. So I guess then it is left to the rest of us to make a bundle writing apps for the 40% plus (and growing) share of the smartphone market.

I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33688932)

I own an N900. The software needs more polish, but in all honesty it's pretty good, and despite it being a ubernerdphone targeted at developers and missing key elements (*cough* portrait mode), it comes surprisingly close to what a consumer would expect. As for non-technical people, my wife says she likes it more than iPhone.

I don't know why they don't just abandon Symbian and put all hands on MeeGo. The funny thing is, I've read lots of articles at various times saying that's their strategy. Yet they never seem to act on it. Instead they keep churning out Symbian devices.

I guess this is typical of a large bureaucratic company which takes its market positions for granted. To an outsider it looks like Nokia is flailing about like a wounded elephant, but from what I've read this probably represents some internal political struggle.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689164)

Symbian S^3 supposedly is going to change things a fair bit.
More importantly should be them enabling QT on both symbian and meego devices. The OS is of lesser importance if you can cross-compile things from left to right and up to down.
Also, abandoning symbian for meego may simply not be viable for all hardware, remember that nokia have an enormous global market of low-spec phones .

It's good for mobiles. Here's why! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33689000)

The mobile platform has taken over the mindshare of the public at large, so we writers and publishers need to be laser-focused on these apps and the phones that run them--mainly the iPhone and also Android phones from Motorola and others. RIM is trying to get into the act, and Nokia is out on a limb trying to do its own thing.

From this emerged the anomaly called the iPad. This whole idea was easy to condemn from the get-go. Time after time, pads have been attempted yet have never been popular. All have failed. So Apple pulls a fast one and takes two newer ideas and marries them to create the iPad. First it throws out the previous concepts regarding the tablet computer. No stylus, no handwriting recognition, no notepad qualities. Instead, it takes the iPhone and combines that with the Kindle, a pure e-book reader. Voila! The iPad.

This is actually a completely new model for a pad. It cannot be compared to the attempts of the past to popularize this physical style of platform. This is some serious fodder for writers and publishers. It's actually more interesting than the app- Phone because it is so weird. You cannot talk about this idea enough as far as the readers are concerned. And the phenomenal skyrocketing sales prove the point as the device becomes the fastest selling consumer electronics device ever.

As this device sells by the millions right out of the chute, one must recall the early days of the original ground-breaking Macintosh computer. The hoped-for goal back in 1984 was to try and sell 100,000 Macs in 90 days. Apple barely made it (if at all). Times have indeed changed. So if mobile apps and the iPad are the two hot topics for the next year or so, what else is out there?

There is the Internet and its gatekeeper, Google. This appears to be the only company working the Net that is doing anything interesting or noteworthy--not good. Microsoft has been marginalized and tries to get attention for Bing when it should be keeping people interested in desktop computing somehow. I'm not sure how to do this either, but Microsoft should be trying to figure it out. But it doesn't seem to care, despite the fact that this is the way it makes make most of its money.

So let's face it, unless something comes along sooner than later, all you'll be reading about is Apple, Google, Pad computing, app-phones, and not much else. Yeah, there will be the occasional story about an AMD chip with a funny name, or IBM thinking about cloud computing, or Larry Ellison of Oracle buying the new Lexus supercar.

The slate of articles sounds boring, and it is. But there is a benefit, too. Because the line-up is weak, writers and analysts will look elsewhere for human interest. And this falls right into the lap of laws, regulations and the effect of technology on the public-at-large. This means discussions of harmful effects, privacy, learning, computers in schools, computers and terrorism, automotive adop tion, tracking, surveillance, and on and on.

You can worry yourself sick about the paucity of interesting tech stories that do not involve an iPhone app, but there will be plenty to discuss, but it has now moved to the "big picture."

I've begun to notice this transition from nerd talk to serious debate over technology and society beginning a few years back. While a good gizmo with a picture attached will always get some attention, talking about how you may be getting screwed by technological trends seems to be more and more interesting to a wider and more diverse group of readers.

While tech mavens like myself could effortlessly ride out these trends by deconstructing the code-name conventions employed by Intel (I have done this a lot over the years), nowadays nobody cares. The usefulness of the barcode readers on the app-Phones, now that's worth discussing! But writing about how technology allows people to easily snoop on your TV-viewing habits might be even more interesting. Perhaps this is the age of the practical; we've had enough of geek talk. Hello iPad, let me smudge your screen. Are you spying on me, iPad? Hmmm...interesting.

Symbian is a dead end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33689040)

Nokia is going to die unless they re-think their business model. Everyone else is making smartphones with Android, Windows Mobile or their own Linux flavour, with Apple being the trendsetter in mobile software platforms. Nokia has Meego, which would be the logical step forward and an immensely better development platform than Symbian, but the project is basically being kept in the dark with minimal funding, while the main company pushes for buggy Symbian phones with limited or no after-sales support. The Ovi store is a goddamn mess, the phones are buggy and eclipsed hardware-wise by the offerings of HTC, Samsung and Apple.

Perhaps we should be tagging Symbian stories 'deadhorse'?

Here's an idea. (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689104)

If you need better software, then why not actually hire great developers to work for you? You know, like think about the quality of your product and dedicate resources to it over the medium-long term, rather than staging flashy gimmicks? I guess that just makes too much sense.

Yum, the smell of fresh toast.. (1)

Anonymous Meoward (665631) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689278)

Retrofitting Symbian to compete with Android or iOS is folly. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the latter two are fundamentally Unix-based (iOS being a stripped down MacOS X, and Android running on a Linux kernel -- man it was weird to see a penguin and boot screen on a candy bar-sized object..). So they probably leave Symbian in the dust for robustness and reliability, by virtue of the size of each of the development communities alone. Then there's the issue of availability of development environments.

This is a last-ditch effort at best. If Nokia doesn't switch platforms soon, they are screwed.

Re:Yum, the smell of fresh toast.. (2, Interesting)

thaig (415462) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689686)

Symbian's got an incredibly robust and excellent kernel. Complain about the UI if you want but it has a lot to teach Linux about robustness, power management and being light on resources.

This just shows how clueless this entire "OS" pissing contest is. The issues that people have are all about about user interfaces and whether or not you have a 1Ghz processor FFS.

Re:Yum, the smell of fresh toast.. (2, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689884)

I don't know. I've always found Symbian quite impressive. I also prefer having a choice in the languages I can use for development, which neither iPhone OS nor Android seem to want to give me. Maemo has been a breath of fresh air: no hoops to jump through, and I can use the *nix development knowledge I already have. But between Maemo and Symbian, I'm not sure which is actually the better system for phones. While modern phones aren't really limited in computing resources by my reckoning, there is still something to be said for a real-time, microkernel OS engineered for devices with limited resources.

Symbian (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689280)

Ditch Symbian, grab a copy of android os, rip the silly jvm out of it and put on a good native high performance interface and count me in.

Re:Symbian (2, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690084)

You mean like Maemo [maemo.org] ?

I just got a Nokia N900, which has Maemo, and I'm very happy with it. Finally, a phone I can code for using my extensive experience with Unix programming.

Nokia, why don't you learn it? (1)

justleavealonemmmkay (1207142) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689282)

I'll write it in finnish, maybe you'll understand

Youkkou makken greatikken harrdwwiikken, bukkut youkkour sooffwakkken ikkis krakkap. Frokkom a ukkuseeer poikkoint okkof viiikkew, Sykkimbian is okkkkay, but dekkevelokkkpers hakketen it. Ikkit is a hekkel to wrikkete for. Mokkove to Akkandroid alreakkidy

Re:Nokia, why don't you learn it? (2, Informative)

Urkki (668283) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690640)

I'll write it in finnish, maybe you'll understand

Youkkou makken greatikken harrdwwiikken, bukkut youkkour sooffwakkken ikkis krakkap. Frokkom a ukkuseeer poikkoint okkof viiikkew, Sykkimbian is okkkkay, but dekkevelokkkpers hakketen it. Ikkit is a hekkel to wrikkete for. Mokkove to Akkandroid alreakkidy

FYI: Future of Symbian is Qt. After that, developer mostly doesn't even need to care what the platform is, especially if only targetting touch phones. It's not hell, it's heaven, already now. What I mean is, today you can download and install the Nokia Qt SDK, take an existing Qt application, compile and test it first in the Simulator (phone form factor selectable from menu), then (Windows only for Symbian, I think) hook up your two year old 5800XM to your PC with USB, install Qt packages from Windows Programs menu shortcuts, and compile and deploy the app to run on your phone. It'll stay installed too, so you can easily demo your creation to others even after unhooking the USB.

It's almost like Android already!

Warning: the SDK can be considered "beta quality" still in my experience, at least as far as installation is concerned, so it might, but also it might not "just work". If stupid installation problem crap puts you off, perhaps wait for next release of the SDK...

Of course having Qt doesn't do anything about the Ovi store, but perhaps the new CEO can do the necessary yelling, kicking and whipping to get the stupidities fixed.

Rebranding Is Overdue (0, Redundant)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689308)

Nokia really needs to rebrand their mobile OS line. Every time I hear "Symbian" I think of some odd mechanical sex device.

Re:Rebranding Is Overdue (1)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689588)

Nokia really needs to rebrand their mobile OS line. Every time I hear "Symbian" I think of some odd mechanical sex device.

Heh, really? When I hear "Android" I think of a sex device too... in the shape of a puffy doll! :)

Re:Rebranding Is Overdue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33690200)

Really? For me iPhone (and iPad of course) sound like a sex device. Strange!

Short answer: Probably (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#33689494)

I think they could do it, but I suspect that Symbian will become an also-ran with iOS, Android and Blackberry's new QNX-powered OS. It WAS good, but they don't have the marketshare nor, and more importantly, the mindshare, to fight it. What I don't understand is why they aren't looking at throwing themselves behind Android. Nokia owns QT, which is the base of KDE. Of anyone, you would think they would support a platform which would use their own stuff quite easily.

Wrong title and summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33689708)

Nowhere in the contest says the app has to be only Symbian. It can be written using the WRT (web run time) with or without Flash Lite, the Java Runtime (which is also for S40, which is not Symbian), or much better: using Qt, which will be available on MeeGo (and who knows, in the future, the Android, WebOS or iOS port might be available as stable too... right now it looks that many Qt features are in a pretty good shape in Android despite being done only by community people).

I don't get why people still don't realize that the placement that Nokia is making of Qt is a very good move on them. Qt is a great API for creating applications, and now is going to be present on a huge number of Nokia devices (like it or not, Nokia sells tons of them, even with bad products like the N97).

44% of market share? thats wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#33690176)

try something like 76% of world wide smart phones have the symbian OS.

Never too late... (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#33690510)

Here is a $10M idea - make an iPhone simulator that runs on the Nokia. Future proof.

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