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Nokia Reasserts Control Over Symbian OS

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the back-in-the-saddle dept.

Cellphones 135

jfruhlinger writes "Nokia is asserting its control over the Symbian OS that runs many of its smartphones, taking the tasks of developing the operating system away from the independent Symbian Foundation, which will now focus on licensing and intellectual property issues. Of course, this also illustrates Symbian's importance to Nokia's smartphone plans, even though the company is also developing phones that run the Linux-based Meego OS."

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They're still around? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34164606)

It's been a long time since I've used a Nokia. People still buy those cumbersome old phones?

Re:They're still around? (5, Insightful)

RobXiii (685386) | more than 3 years ago | (#34164734)

After reading a different mobile phone thread on Slashdot, someone mentioned how much they loved their Nokia N900. I picked one up after that, and I absolutely love it. I even managed to put NES/SNES/Genesis/C-64 emulators on it, and paired a PS3 controller to it, good times. It supports skype / google video calls, and uses wifi. It's the most modern phone I've used, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I enjoy it :P

Re:They're still around? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34164754)

I have a n900 for personal use and an iphone for work.

The n900 is a decent phone but is starting to fall behind. The open source of it is nice, but doesn't make up for the flaws.

Re:They're still around? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34164908)

Tell me when you can do multitasking (I currently have 5 web pages, one terminal and mailbox open) and dual/triple boot on your working toy. And BTW, I have done the comparison with a co-worker here - his iphone 4G drops calls like crazy unlike my 'falling behind' and 'flawed' n900.

Stop pretending you have a N900 - stick to your beloved toy and leave the minority of us alone. Just go away.

Re:They're still around? (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165038)

Damn, that must be one huge screen to have all those up and readable at once.

Re:They're still around? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166604)

All "visual" apps are full screen, or desktop widgets, so unless you check the task list, you don't "see" those apps running at once. Of course, the typical use of reading RSS means potentially a lot of browsers loading pages on background, and having running too some "invisible" apps (pedometer, music, gps related apps, etc) make you feel what means to multitask in such devices.

On iphone you can do some kind of multitasking, but is not even a shadow of what you can do in the n900, nor you can do it with the apps you want, not the apple provided. And if well things are a bit better in Android, still is not quite there.

Re:They're still around? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166804)

Actually one of the disadvantages of the N900 is that it's too small (screen & keyboard).
Whenever I have to use some form of public transport I usually take my 5" Archos Android tablet with me too, since its larger screen is more comfortable. And it doesn't hurt that Android offers far more apps than Maemo.
OTOH writing your own Android apps can be a pain in the ass, since they did such a half-assed job with the debugging capabilities of the SDK's emulator. But that's something for a different topic.

Re:They're still around? (2, Insightful)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167154)

I have an iPhone supplied by my company and it stays tethered to my dev box as a debugger. I never once had the urge to carry it around with me as I was happy with a plain dumb phone and an older (but much more capable than an iPhone PDA - the X51v with full VGA, 624MHz etc) for when I wanted to watch movies (without having to recompress them) while traveling. And sometimes I would have to do a little work while on the road, so a full keyboard, ssh etc were required.
That was until a year ago, when I switched to a N900. It can do everything my phone, my pda and my netbook can do (with varying degrees of success) and more!
- As a phone: I still say basic phones are better than any smartphone (and especially touch-screen ones) for the actual making of calls where large screens are simply a disadvantage and small sizes, physical keys etc make a better experience. Moreover, I suspect the "flaws" you refer to are in the phone part of the N900, since it is rather obvious that the developers had geeks in mind, so it still feels like a phone app running on a computer and not a phone that has more capabilities. But there really is nothing particularly annoying and the audio quality and reception are very good. Plus there are some nice advantages. For example when making a call you can go through your voice network or through skype - this is rather seamless from a UI perspective. Then, you have "conversations" which is like a multi-IM client, but SMSs are also treated the same way, showing discussion threads with your contacts.
-As a PDA: See below. It can do much more than any PDA has ever been able to do.
-As a Netbook replacement: I can't really launch my IDE, but I have ssh/svn and vi to do my emergency code edits and have my projects rebuilt on my servers etc. That is what I personally needed the Netbook for, but apart from that it is a full linux machine, even has a full (flash etc) browser and I can open and switch from/to many apps/windows without feeling I am on a limited device. Plus I don't need an extra 3G usb dongle to have broadband everywhere, or an extra bluetooth gps to find my way!
Anyway, let us say this is the ultimate geek device that can also act as a phone and it would be great if they can give us a worthy successor and also work on polishing Maemo/MeeGo for non-geek users so that everyone can enjoy the best (says I) mobile platform.

Re:They're still around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34168430)

so your saying your almost 1 year old nokia phone is STARTING to fall behind??? good thing you didn't buy an iPhone or Android phone last x-mass or your would really be in trouble...

Re:They're still around? (1)

CreamyG31337 (1084693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165432)

Yeah, it's not a phone for the masses, but it's definitely the best "geek phone" around. It's shameful companies like google and adobe don't make software for it, but the fact I can run or at least recompile and run thousands of other things for it makes up for this.
I'm always disappointed to see news of Nokia continuing to use Symbian, if they'd just dump it for MeeGo the added market share and dollars spent on their own software developemnt would "fix" most of the problems with the platform (currently maemo).

Re:They're still around? (2, Interesting)

eplawless (1003102) | more than 3 years ago | (#34168496)

The really nice part about their strategy is a unified development platform between the two operating systems. Applications I write for MeeGo will run on Symbian with few to no changes. Since Symbian has a 41% global market share as of Q2 2010 (numbers from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_operating_system [wikipedia.org] ) it doesn't make any sense for them to drop it, especially with Qt able to target both platforms trivially.

Re:They're still around? (2, Interesting)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165542)

The N900 is a great device that's insanely open, but the things you're listing have become pretty much everyday type things on Android and also, to a certain extent, iOS. The Skype support on the N900 is unparalleled, of course, and I haven't tried an actual PS3 controller on Android yet (do those work as Bluetooth HID devices? Because if so, the BlueZ module in CyanogenMod should pick it up fine, right?), but emulators are very standard fare these days, as is pairing a WiiMote for on-the-go gaming and WiFi and VoIP. :)

Now if you wanted to talk about, say, the N900's vastly superior multitasking (at least it seemed like it in the 15 minutes I used it), the much better keyboard than most Android devices and, well, the fact that you can much more easily run, well, pretty much anything on Maemo... that would be a different story ;)

Re:They're still around? (1)

CreamyG31337 (1084693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167182)

i can run kismet on it, get packet injection working (hard to get the driver but whatever), play with 3-4 different operating systems (using a boot menu), replace the camera app with one that does HDR and burst mode with full manual settings, connect to msn,skype,jabber,irc,etc all at the same time... I've also got an IR transmitter, usb-host mode, fm-transmitter, front camera, 32GB storage PLUS SD-card. It comes rooted, and I didn't even void the warranty to do any of these things. but, yeah, it doesn't have a RETINA display or stainless steel call dropper bezel, or sweet "store" to buy DRM laden crap I probably already own 3 times. okay, no google maps app either, and it took nokia just about forever to get some basic stuff working like the pc sync.
Hopefully they sell a crapload of MeeGo devices next year, and drop Symbian soon, because I've seen the potential of this device. With some more developer support, it would truly be the best (for me). One really can't complain that the default stuff on the phone is slow or hard to use, it's more like a prototype they were nice enough to manufactre and sell at a loss. They did their best (with limited resources) to support, update and fix it, and we can upgrade it to a MeeGo device with a simple firmware flash in the near future if we want. Meanwhile, the community has been patching and replacing whatever Nokia code we can, whenever we think we can do a better job than Nokia's developers.

and no, you can't conect a sixaxis to your phone. it doesn't work as a standard HID, sony is lame.

Re:They're still around? (1)

RobXiii (685386) | more than 3 years ago | (#34169344)

Good summary. As for the Sixaxis, were you telling the Android user they can't pair up a Sixaxis, or the N900? It took me forever, and I almost broke my Windows 7 install (something funky with the USB drivers and 64 bit) as Sony's controllers don't work outright. But they pair up nicely now with my N900, even the sixaxis part works, now I just have to figure out how to disable the tilt sensor, it's messing with the C-64 emulator :P

Re:They're still around? (1)

CreamyG31337 (1084693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170806)

android, i tried googling it and it looks like someone made a driver, but its just for a single phone :(
http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Sixaxis [wiibrew.org]
some good info there

Re:They're still around? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166014)

I have two reservations about N900:

1. Resistive touchscreen; as I understand, it also means no multitouch in practice

2. Lack of applications. The official store has around 70. Sure, you can run vanilla Linux Gtk apps, but they look very small and are horribly inconvenient to operate on such a tiny screen.

Hence my choice was Nexus One. But now that it is no longer sold, and no other "guaranteed to be open" Android phone is there to take its place, the next upgrade round is going to be interesting.

Re:They're still around? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34166494)

hey asshole, if you like paying taxes, maybe you should pay mine!

Re:They're still around? (3, Informative)

oji-sama (1151023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166514)

Did you check the repo(s) for N900? I don't see why the store and vanilla Linux apps would be your only (nor primary) source?

Re:They're still around? (1)

CreamyG31337 (1084693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166652)

1) yes, no multitouch. i got over it. I could connect a mouse & keyboard via bluetooth if I really wanted to though, and I can use a real stylus. It's not all bad.
2) what's a store? I'm glad this "store" thing with apps that cost money is nearly empty. Okay, so they have some free stuff there too, but the real place you should be looking is HERE [maemo.org] . That's the "extras" maemo repository, full of the free apps that made it through the community based testing & voting process. They're mostly written for the platform, not generic gtk stuff. There's other repositories with even more "apps" that are still in development or testing, and companies and individuals can host their own as well.

Re:They're still around? (2, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166830)

Resistive have advantages and disadvantages over capacitive. You don't have multitouch, but you can have more precision, use more than just your fingers (i.e. the included stylus), and have pressure sensiivity (and be able to do things like this [youtube.com] ).

Regarding lack of applications, yes, there is very few in Ovi Store, but a lot more in the repositories. Is not in the order of the iphone or android apps, but could be enough for your needs.

Re:They're still around? (2, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166978)

Resistive have advantages and disadvantages over capacitive. You don't have multitouch, but you can have more precision, use more than just your fingers (i.e. the included stylus), and have pressure sensiivity

I've used resistive touchscreen devices exclusively before going for Android, so I am familiar with the advantages, and I do not consider them to outweigh the flaws. More precision is only needed when the UI is designed to require it, and such a UI is generally still more clumsy than finger-oriented one on such small screens.

On a tablet, though, I'd probably prefer resistive, because I don't see much point for multi-touch there, and there are more meaningful applications for higher precision.

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34167702)

By "store" you mean this new fangled App Store everybody is talking about? And so, you are completely discounting the repos? I have about 500 (and more) 'apps' to choose from for my N900.

Re:They're still around? (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34164768)

Little out of touch (see what I did there?) are you?

Maybe you should visit their website some day?

They are still the 800 pound gorilla in the cell industry. Just because you don't see them much in the USA, don't make the mistake of dismissing them.

Re:They're still around? (4, Insightful)

NetCow (117556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34164850)

Market share is an iffy thing - it's here one day, gone the next. Unfortunately the Symbian adoption is not only slowing, it's negative (I say unfortunately because you can pry my beloved E72 out of my clammy, dead fingers.) Hopefully Nokia will be able to turn it around.

Re:They're still around? (1)

hyartep (1694754) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166272)

nokia still sells more devices each quarter. so their share is getting smaller, but nowhere negative.

Re:They're still around? (4, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166606)

Negative? When not presented as "percentage of growth" (deceiving if one player is much closer to the absolute limit "total number of mobile phones sold"), but as "annual growth in number of units shipped" - it's a top player.

And will continue to be big, if only because of being pushed into lower market segments (what happened to S30, which is still around, and S40, which is still around - in fact, is the most popular phone platform on the planet)

Re:They're still around? (1)

NetCow (117556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167724)

Sorry, my bad. I meant developer adoption rate.

yes (3, Insightful)

maestroX (1061960) | more than 3 years ago | (#34164794)

You mean those stable easy to use no frills just work everywhere days on a battery nokia's?
Well, unless you're into the Google maps latitude facebook youtube pinging skype goatse there's this thingy with which you can talk to other people without software disruptions or lag. Only 20-30 bucks.

Re:yes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34164934)

What good are Nokia phones if you can't visit Mr. Goatse's Facebook page?

rumours of death are premature (1, Informative)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34164890)

their top-phones beat an iphone in any hardware category available at a lower price, and they still sell more phones than anybody else. If they can make a more flashy UI, they can become a serious problem for Apple, Retaking control of their OS is the first step

Re:rumours of death are premature (3, Insightful)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165236)

They will only be a problem for Apple if they start to siphon significant developers away from Apple, Android, and Blackberry. They might be a problem for Windows Phone 7 though. That could be a battle.

They sell more phones than anybody, but not when you look at individual segments. For the smartphone market, they aren't doing very well and I really don't see what they can do to turn that around. Fantastic hardware isn't enough. In fact, I would say fantastic marketing is more important than engineering.

Re:rumours of death are premature (1)

hyartep (1694754) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166312)

they still sell more smartphones than apple, android or rim - but not in usa.

Re:rumours of death are premature (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#34169532)

It doesn't matter if the hardware is faster. People aren't benchmarking their phones.

Only two things matter to users, as far as hardware goes:

1) Will it run the UI and applications smoothly?

2) If there is an OS update, will you be left in the dust?

The iPhone isn't just popular because it's pretty, it's popular because the UI isn't too busy. You know Android phones are in trouble when you can't rotate the screen (or if you tilt the phone and nothing happens for 3+ seconds), and when there's a Nascar app included on every phone's front page, which on some phones you can not delete.

Re:They're still around? (2, Insightful)

M8e (1008767) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165014)

I buy them because they "just work", can be abused(Taking a few baths, going from +20c to -25c and back hundreds of times and being dropped repeatedly) and when it's finaly dies you can just use a spare/old one or buy a new one for 50$.

Another good thing is that their chargers have used the same connector and voltage for something like 15 years. Everyone have a nokia charger.

Re:They're still around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34165150)

The chargers are the same? No shit. I might have to look into that. It pisses me off that every time I buy a new phone they use a new proprietary usb charger, that costs me an arm and a leg to make sure I have a charger for work, home and the car. Any recommendations on a nice Nokia to look at?

Re:They're still around? (2, Interesting)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165808)

Anything in the E-series, Nokia's business line.

You have the E6x and E7x series if you want a Blackberry-like form factor with a full keyboard, or if you just want a good phone, the E5x series in soap-bar form factor.

All run a recent version of Symbian, all are full smartphones, although the ones without a full keyboard are of course a bit less useful in that regard.

And make no mistake, running Symbian is an advantage. It is a clunky OS to write apps for, but it's a real embedded real-time OS dedicated to running phone hardware, not a stripped-down PC OS shoehorned into a smaller box. So Nokia phones are just plain good at their primary task: being a phone.

Mart (Nokia fanboy)

Re:They're still around? (1)

mike_art03a (1722218) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166472)

Well, most of the Nokia dumb/feature phones use the same plug. Their smarthpones have switched to the Micro USB standard for combo charging/data transfer (My n97 being an example). But for the most part, there's only 2 plugs that nokia's used and that's it.

Re:They're still around? (1)

oji-sama (1151023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166600)

And for example N8 still has a small plug so you can charge it with your old charger too, even if the primary way to charge it is the micro USB.

Re:They're still around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34169118)

This is the AC you replied to. I have Verizon, and after checking the only available Nokia is the Nokia Twist.. and umm no thx. lol.

Verizon is the only real choice in my area, as AT&T sucks around here.

Although the N8 series looks really nice from what I can see.

My first cellphone was a Nokia 5165 It was the most reliable cellphone ever. They have reused the number apparently, but this phone has the same body. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_5110 [wikipedia.org]

Re:They're still around? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167454)

Re:They're still around? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34168006)

Actually, I can curse the EU for that. Nokia has kept the same charger for years. They shrunk the connector, and all of the phones that came with the newer socket came with an adaptor that let you use the old chargers with them. You can buy third party Nokia chargers for practically nothing. And now the EU has introduced a new rule saying that all of their new phones have to come with a different connector for charging - thanks EU. On the plus side, it's USB, so they can probably keep the old charging port as well as the USB port and support both kinds of charger.

I just can't help myself, but to see Symbian dead (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34164822)

I just can't help myself, but to see Symbian dead in its tracks. In User Interface so far behind, that no matter of add-on modules can save it from obscurity.

Re:I just can't help myself, but to see Symbian de (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34164936)

SJ, is that you? Don't forget to take your liver medicine today.

Re:I just can't help myself, but to see Symbian de (1, Flamebait)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165414)

When moronic drivel like this is modded "insightful", you know Slashdot is no longer a site for geeks and nerds.

Re:I just can't help myself, but to see Symbian de (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34165618)

Well, I have been serial modded to say anything against apple or anything pro-(apple competitor) so much that I had to choose to post anonymous all the time. And then Taco went and blocked my ip.

Now a days, I still visit /. - but only when there is nothing worth to read elsewhere.

This place is full of Steve Jobs' bitches.

Re:I just can't help myself, but to see Symbian de (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166480)

"Its easier to port a shell than a shell script"

Seriously, a shell along the lines of iOS or Android could be easily written for Symbian.

Yes i do (0, Redundant)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 3 years ago | (#34164838)

Yep, i do, i did, and would never change my precious Nokia phone for any apple, berry or whatever piece of s....strawberry. Whenever i want to buy a computer, i would buy a real, desktop computer, not some funny expensive and useless brick.

Re:Yes i do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34165000)

Yes i do

Unless you are getting married to the phone, I don't understand what this is in reference to. There was no question in the summary.

Re:Yes i do (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34165106)

I think it's just related to n900 Persecution Syndrome. The same way that n900 fanatics feel the need to crowbar their favoritest phone EVAR into every conversation no matter how tangental they make the connection just to evangelize their clearly superiorer phone (because they and they alone need to break the stranglehold the global conspiracy of all other smartphones has, which clearly exists else the obvious superiority of the n900 would dominate all, hands down), other Nokia users see accusations and questions in everything that has to do with cell phones in general, complete with the deeply-rooted urge to constantly defend their phone and their loyalty to it.

Re:Yes i do (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34168060)

Symbian is a really beautifully designed system. I used it back when it was called EPOC32 and have followed the development since then - the EXA2 kernel design is a piece of art.

Unfortunately, Nokia (along with other Symbian handset manufacturers) has spent the last few years piling a horrible userland on top of it. There's also some developer hostility from older Symbian developers, because the original APIs were designed for systems where RAM was really tight and required a bit more programmer effort than most people are used to (it originally shipped a full multitasking GUI on a machine with 4MB of RAM).

Good (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34164846)

This is good for both Symbian and Nokia; they can stop pretending that Symbian is a reasonable choice for non-Nokia companies (that would be better off with Android or MeeGo, operating systems that are designed to be vendor independent and don't require tons of Nokia specific knowledge to build).

Symbian still has lots of life in it, now that Nokia is getting their shit together (through massive technology refocus on Qt Quick, ending silly projects like Symbian4 that were only hammering nails on Symbians coffin). In a year or so, if Nokia has a few dozens of millions of phones running a developer platform that is as easy as iPhone/Android - there will be good momentum going.

Something Symbian never had before.

Re:Good (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165402)

For a smartphone, the app market is very important. How can Nokia compete with Apple, Google, RIM, and Microsoft for developers? I'm afraid that they will win the battle of the spec-sheet, but nobody is going to care.

If I were Nokia, I would start selling devices that can be loaded with Symbian or with Android, much like Palm did with Treo a few years ago.

My best prediction is that Symbian will do well in some vertical markets, but will never get very far in the consumer market.

Re:Good (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165694)

Discarding symbian now would be an atrocity, it's a very slim and lightweight OS with a lot of benefits, the only thing that really needs work is the UI, and i don't really think it's that horrible in S^3.
What they should do is add opera like gestures to acess stuff instead of having to go via multiple sub menus.
As for how they can compete? By having the entire world minus north america develop app for them. And probably north america too as they switched symbian apps to be QT based for cross platform compatibility.

Re:Good (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165972)

Discarding symbian now would be an atrocity

I think that depends on what factors you are judging. From a technical perspective, the death of Symbian might be as much of an atrocity as the deaths of OS/2 and Amiga.

From a business perspective, it might be an atrocity if Nokia continues to let their (perceived) relevance in the smartphone market slip away. They may be sealing their fate by continuing to invest scarce resources in something that has such a slim chance of succeeding. Even if they can make a better software environment, I don't think they can market it. Compare it to media players: lots of people make better MP3 players than Apple, yet iPod is the only one that matters.

having the entire world minus north america develop app for them

That's going to be hard. The iPhone is now dominating the Japanese market and is ramping up in China. Nokia's momentum is in the wrong direction almost everywhere (which is partially because it was so dominant).

Re:Good (3, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166774)

You miss the modus operandi of Nokia. They offer wide range of devices, starting from $20 (without contract!) S30 ones, via S40, Symbian, and now Meego. Each category made affordable to greater number of people, over time. "Slim chance of succeeding" is a misunderstanding.

"iPod is the only one that matters" is telling - you don't see how that's appears to be so only in very few atypical places (BTW, for a long time Nokia alone sells more music capable phones annually than the total number of iPods ever produced). Similar with "domination" of iPhone...

Re:Good (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167162)

I was talking about the smartphone market. If you look at a snapshot of market statistics, you would think I'm nuts. Instead look at the trends. If you were running the smartphone division at Nokia, would you be happy with their performance since the iPhone debuted?

Re:Good (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167240)

But this is also about smartphone market, about expanding it to lower price segments. Yes, look at the trends - for example at "annual increase in the number of Symbian handsets shipped" ("percentage of growth" is deceiving when one player has a big share already...)

Re:Good (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34168228)

In North America, the biggest impediment to expanding the smartphone market to lower price segments is the carriers. An iPhone 3GS is only $99 now. When Verizon starts selling the iPhone, I expect that will drop to $0. You can already get very cheap pay-as-you-go Android phones (that suck). So I think anybody who wants a smartphone, could get one. The problem lies with the plans. It's very hard to get a decent dataplan in the US for less than about $70 / month. I don't think there is much Nokia can do about that.

This might not be the case in other parts of the world though.

Re:Good (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#34169444)

"Music capable" phones are somewhat misleading. A lot of phones play music, and for most it's a bullet point on a checklist that most people are not interested in.

Re:Good (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166826)

It's about functionality available, not the number of apps (how many single e-books, radiostations, audiobooks or website(!s) UIs packaged as a single app do you need, instead of universal apps accessing those formats?)

And so far Symbian is the furthest in consumer market...

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166874)

Well, Japanese seem to also think it's a reasonable choice (though their flavor is not part of S60 lineage of course)

And a few dozens of millions of phones are already there - Qt SDK supports Symbian versions which are hitting 4 years now.

Re:Good (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | more than 3 years ago | (#34169282)

Really? Last I heard they pulled out of the Japanese market. This article is from 2008:

Nokia, the world’s leading mobile phone maker, said on Thursday it would stop selling and marketing its mobile devices in Japan because its market share there remained below expectations.

“In the current global economic climate, we have concluded that the continuation of our investment in Japan-specific product variants is no longer sustainable,” Timo Ihamuotila, executive vice president at Nokia, said in a statement.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/technology/view/nokia-to-pull-out-of-japanese-market [japantoday.com]

Unavoidable (2, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165160)

It was obvious when they started that they weren't going to get a large Open Source development community around the Symbian kernel and libraries. It just was not interesting compared to Linux. But unfortunately they were so proud of their kernel that they weren't willing to listen to that (and yes, I had the chance to tell them, and was pretty frustrated that they didn't believe me). Now that Nokia is making its major development direction around Qt over either Linux or Symbian, there is even less interest in Open Source development of the underlying Symbian platform. The sad thing about this was that Symbian was a profitable business before they Open Sourced it, making about 10 to 15 Million per year, not a ton of bucks for a company like Nokia but it was self-supporting and I never saw a reason to destroy that since they weren't going to get the community. It would have been better for them to concentrate their Open Source work on Linux.

Add to this the recent switch from Maemo to Meego, and it pushes Nokia's plans for Linux further back, even though n900 PR1.3 works excellently. So Nokia has to scramble to shore up Symbian for another generation of phones.

Re:Unavoidable (4, Interesting)

mrops (927562) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165588)

After owning Nexus for about a year, N95 and N86 combined for over 4 years. I concluded that Nokia still makes excellent Phones. Things just work. Problem is, in this day an age of internet, Nokia is finding it hard to make things more than a Phone. Having said that, they did pretty well integrating media and camera into their phones.

Stuff like simple Bluetooth pairing worked flawlessly between my car and the N95/N86. With Nexus, it frustrates, sometimes it just wouldn't pair, when it does, often it picks up, the call stays on the phone speaker/mic. I mean really, Google, what gives. This same car had no issues with either of the Nokia. So there is definitely something to be said about the symbian kernel (something positive).

Battery life, they were great too. Further, after the N86 came the Nexus one. The day I got the Nexus one is the same day my Photo and Video collection stopped growing. I miss that from my N86. I have a collection of my kids pics and videos for almost everyday, with a decent 8MP camera, the pics aren't SLR quality, but not bad. I would go back to N86 if it wasn't so sluggish. I would really really give up internet browsing on a mobile device to have a fast peppy N86. N8 is tempting me, but where are the apps Nokia.... argh... Nothing is perfect.

Re:Unavoidable (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165738)

I wasn't saying that Android was a good phone OS. They blew it with Android when they threw away most of the existing Linux run-time and replaced it with new Java code that is still quite immature today. Meego has the potential to be a good phone platform but is not there yet.

Re:Unavoidable (1)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165864)

I agree, with one caveat: Nokia' bluetooth stack is a little flaky if you use it as a bluetooth modem. I regularly have to reboot my E71 because the connection hangs.

Mart

Re:Unavoidable (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34168100)

I don't know if they've fixed it now, but their implementation of the file transfer profile was also pretty crappy. It didn't allow deleting files or moving directories, as I recall. My older Sony Ericsson phone had a decent implementation, but with 1.5MB of built-in flash and no expansion this support wasn't actually useful. Both had a decent ObEx implementation.

Re:Unavoidable (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167986)

Spoken like someone who never had a N97... (for the record - my N95 was a wonderful phone!)

Only phone I've had that seems to forget everything (basically reset itself to factory defaults) if I let the battery die on it...

No threaded SMS (I can forgive the N95 for not having this, but this was inexcusable on the N97 - even as an option for the Nokia apologists who don't want it), no core memory to speak of (ooh - 128 megs!), tons of tools (that Nokia makes - like OVI Maps) that only install to c:\ and hardly any space on c:\

You could pay me to have another Nokia smartphone but I'd never use it. Even the N1 (with its horribly buggy touch screen) was light years ahead of anything Nokia has built in terms of quality, performance and use. And my Droid X is even better than the N1.

I seriously don't miss the stability problems, lack of performance and out of memory errors and general quality assurance problems Nokia has :).

Re:Unavoidable (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34169676)

How the hell do one make SMS threaded? Unless there is some magic data i don't know of, one only have time and contact data to use for defining the "thread".

Re:Unavoidable (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170214)

Message threads? Basically it breaks down all your text messages by who sent stuff to you.

The N97 just dumped every single text message into a single folder. Fun ehh?

Re:Unavoidable (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170438)

ok, so it is not threaded in the email/usenet sense, but just being able to filter out the messages based on contact(s) involved.

Odd that the N97 would not be able to do so. I have a feature phone on hand that can do that if i tell it to (sort messages by contact, that is).

Re:Unavoidable (3, Interesting)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166364)

This is proof positive to me that Nokia's definitely a hardware company that doesn't know when it needs to give up it's software side. Maemo/Meego's been delayed, they're still using their awful Symbian OS. They're past the point of needing to shore up their software and just push something usable out.

How do you go from 70% market share to 40% with an all time low of 35%? Being an iOS fanboy, I've got a lot of criticism for the Android platform, but as a consumer, it looks more and more viable than Nokia's offerings. No matter how nice the camera or the hardware is on the N8, the software is still obscenely subpar.

Re:Unavoidable (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167138)

70% (was it ever that high?) to 40% to 35% happens when that's only a small part of total market, a percentage of percentage; and when growth of that part finally happens in places which were previously fed with locked-down RAZRs/etc. by carriers (shunting Nokia)

Re:Unavoidable (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34169432)

My first two phones were Nokia feature phones.

Nokia is no stranger to locking users out of their hardware at the whims of carriers. Nokia knows what side it's bread is buttered on.

Re:Unavoidable (2, Insightful)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34169700)

Perhaps on feature phones. But their smartphone range is a no show in areas where carriers love to "neuter" features (to get people to use one of their "services" instead), because said features is a major part of nokia marketing.

Re:Unavoidable (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167080)

How large is development community around Android kernel and libraries, anyway? (opensourcing Symbian supposedly was a response to it...) I've heard there's some amount of NIH Syndrome, etc.

Re:Unavoidable (2, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34168348)

The Linux kernel development community is usually about 1000 people, but not the same 1000 all the time. I don't know if the specific Android version has much of a community, but my recommendation is to always get a merge of what you want into Linus' tree (not the easiest thing to do, I know) and work with that community. Libc has a healthy community (despite any difficulty folks have in working with Ulrich Drepper, who is not one to suffer a fool gladly). I don't have info on the others at hand but my impression is that they are self-supporting.

Re:Unavoidable (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34169768)

Google have already run afoul the Linus way of doing patches when they tried to dump a whole new scheduler into the mainline source.

For something based on open source, android development at Google is very closed. They do development in their own, in-house branch, and only at release do they push the changes to the public branch. Consider that there is a 2.3 release around the corner, but as of yet there is no knowledge about what is coming.

But to be honest, Nokia handled maemo in much the same way. They did development behind closed doors, and updates where done in bulk rather then rolling. For example a simple bug fix to the email app ended up sitting for months as "fixed" in the public bug tracker, while the actual fix where only internally available and waiting for someone in management to ok the release of a update. This was especially infuriating when Nokia released fremantle and the N900, as various long standing bugs got market "fixed in fremantle" (meaning it would not benefit older devices). Mostly tho, this involved closed source sections (especially around wireless connectivity and power management).

Re:Unavoidable (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170286)

I have my preferred way of running kernel projects that I recommend to my customers, which is to work however hard the kernel team wishes to get the work accepted, because the benefits are worth it in the long run. I wish to heck more companies would do that. Sigh.

Re:Unavoidable (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170472)

well crap, talk about me not noticing who i was responding to until now. Wish i could email you a beer.

Re:Unavoidable (1)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167826)

I am not a programmer, so I have no idea which platform is easier to develop for, but having owned every single Maemo device Nokia has shipped (N770, N800, N810 and now N900), I loved them.

The N900 is by far the most tweakable device I've ever used, and the most open. How many smartphones out there can run a custom kernel that allows overclocking, shh-ing into the phone, and editing text config files? How about upgrading, downgrading and replacing individual packages?

The community built around these 4 generations of devices is fairly small, but very dedicated. At least it was before the Meego announcement. Since then quite a few developers have left, including the creator of rootsh (if you've done ANYTHING custom on the N900, the first step is installing rootsh).

Nokia should have banked on this community. They should have kept Symbian for the lower end, mass produced phones, and push Maemo at the high end. They have been promising this for a year now, but I only see Symbian phones coming out.

It saddens me when my overclocked N900 has almost identical specs to the high end iPhone 4, yet nobody pays any attention to it because it's a year old already. Developers do not want to waste time with old phones, they want to know there is something else in the pipeline that people will buy and run apps on.

Illustrates importance? (2, Insightful)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165512)

Of course, this also illustrates Symbian's importance to Nokia's smartphone plans, even though the company is also developing phones that run the Linux-based Meego OS.

To me this illustrates that Nokia is not aware of the 80/20 rule and has no focused coherent strategy for their OS platform.

At the same time as Nokia's competitors are hard at work proving the world needs only one smartphone platform, and it's their one platform, Nokia is one company making two platforms...

Re:Illustrates importance? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34165922)

Hmm... please update your facts. Have a look at how many platforms e.g. Samsung has. Or LG. Or HTC. Or Nokia, actually too (if "two" platforms wasn't a typo...).

Re:Illustrates importance? (2, Interesting)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166006)

I agree with you on this, and I've been desperately waiting for them to just give up on Symbian and focus on Linux phones. However, in the meantime, they are putting a lot of effort into growing the Qt API so as to minimize the pain of supporting two platforms at once. This is good for the Linux desktop as a side effect, because it provides a well documented, one-stop API for developers to write portable desktop apps that run on Unix-like operating systems, OS X, and Windows. Developers also used to have to pay to develop against Qt, and now it uses the same license as glibc.

Re:Illustrates importance? (4, Interesting)

hyartep (1694754) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166452)

they simply cannot forget symbian, because:
1) they are still relevant because of huge number of symbian users
2) meego is not ready and will some need time to mature
3) if there is problem with meego, or meego adoption and symbian is obsoleted, they are dead.

+ they need OS for low/mid-end and symbian is better for that than meego.

Re:Illustrates importance? (1)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167568)

Those are all really good points, I guess what I really mean to say is that I'm waiting for them to start putting m***o Linux stacks on their flagship phones like the N8.

Nokia isn't making clear why we should care (3, Insightful)

dara (119068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34165642)

I've been following the Meego 1.1 release news (I enjoyed http://www.visionmobile.com/blog/2010/11/the-meego-progress-report-a-or-d/ [visionmobile.com] ), and have read up on a few other Nokia stories (N8 reviews, rumored N9 devices, etc.) and I don't quite understand what their long run goals with Symbian are. I mostly read bad opinions of it, e.g. Engadget (http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/14/nokia-n8-review/) loved certain aspects of the N8's hardware but didn't like the software. Symbian is probably the main thing keeping me from getting an N8 (that and the screen is disappointing). Nokia has announced there will be no more high end phones (higher than the N8) that will run Symbian, they will all run Meego. Phones are always getting more capable and I imagine the Meego stack will be optimized going forward, so how many interesting phones going forward are even going to run Symbian?

Given that Meego isn’t ready, I could be a lot more interested in Symbian if Nokia released hardware that they promise will support Meego when 1.2 is released, but for now runs Symbian. I was hoping that would be the case with the N8 since I really like the camera on that phone, and it literally seems to have no competition right now, but I can find nothing online speculating that Meego will ever work on an N8. Going with a transition strategy would let them release more phones even though Meego isn’t really ready (I hope it is ready in Q1, but maybe it won’t be working all that well into Q4 or later.

One more gripe for Nokia - I sure hope they aren’t considering releasing an N9 with a camera that doesn’t match or supersede the N8. The leaks (which could be totally bogus) implied the camera was not as capable (smaller sensor size, no Zeiss, less pixels). What the hell. I’m not going to feel great about spending money on a Meego phone when older Symbian phones can outperform it in ANY area (GPS, call quality, speed, picture/video quality, you name it).

One big plug for Nokia - good job making offline map viewing a key part of Ovi Maps. One of the things I hate about my iPhone (and Android phones I’ve tried) is that getting Google to cache maps seems like a super pain - I don’t want to install third party programs just to be able to use this fancy piece of electronics with huge memory, nice display and a GPS as a stand-alone GPS. It is the main thing that got me to investigate Nokia as an option to move to from iPhone instead of Android. But I’m not really sure I can wait long enough for Meego and Symbian isn’t inspiring enough.

Re:Nokia isn't making clear why we should care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34165734)

The "leaked" images were of NOKIA E7, not N9.

Re:Nokia isn't making clear why we should care (1)

hyartep (1694754) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166484)

n8 is cameraphone. n9 will have great camera, but i'm sure it will be worse than n8's, n9 will have other selling features.

Re:Nokia isn't making clear why we should care (1)

CockMonster (886033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166580)

Nokia is not capable of back-porting Meego to the N8 hardware platform. It finds it hard enough to put bug fixes into customers' hands, let alone a whole other OS. Sorry.

Re:Nokia isn't making clear why we should care (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 3 years ago | (#34166662)

Nokia talks about open source. How about instead of a symbian or meego phone - one device architecture that can run both.
The handset division can then focus on compelling hardware.
An open hardware spec where the customer can choose what OS to run. None of this jailbreaking or locked bootloader rubbish that plagues ios and android devices.
Too bad nokia's support model is stuck in 20C.

Re:Nokia isn't making clear why we should care (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167008)

They only said that N-series will go with Meego from now on, it leaves plenty of space for Symbian (and devices with the latter exploit the somewhat more frugal hardware requirements, so a port of Meego is not feasible; though "no more S^4" apparently means its features will be gradually brought, via updates, to S^3...)

Re:Nokia isn't making clear why we should care (1)

darthservo (942083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167366)

Indeed. I've had Nokia phones for most of my mobile phone-owning life. My last and current phone is an unlocked E75. It still works great for what I need it to do, and being unlocked I've ended up saving money in the long run over the subsidized phones w/ higher rates. However, I've recently (last 9 months or so) been thinking about what would happen if I needed to get a new phone today: which one would I choose? And my answer as it currently stands is...probably not another Nokia.

It's unfortunate, because I've stuck with and have liked Nokia for so long. But this split between OS's is what would hold me back from buying one right now. Only until recently have they announced that they will be abandoning the ^3 > ^4 > ^5 Symbian schedule in favor of more incremental future updates that could apply to more devices. But where does that actually put their device support? Who's to say that Nokia will not favor one OS by this time next year? And where would I be left if that happened and I was stuck with the other? How much will they actually support each OS?

I've been hoping Nokia will solidly commit to something and be more open with their road map and market strategy. It's what's holding me back from investing in their company further at this point. Simply saying that 'these devices will run this and those devices will run that' is not sufficient. Give me some reasons to invest in one of the lines/OS's, because right now they're both kind of up in the air.

But, I know that most people don't even consider this and especially so in the US where Nokia's market penetration is very low. Even this fact seems to escape Nokia's attention in that they aren't really doing anything to gain market share here. Not that it is significant (right now, otherwise I'm sure they'd be scrambling), but it's disheartening when their Europe devices are generally favored first over their US counterparts. Ignoring this situation only contributes to this overall problem. All of it makes me wonder what is going on behind the doors in Espoo.

Not the last Symbian N-Series phone (2, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167542)

Nokia has announced there will be no more high end phones (higher than the N8) that will run Symbian, they will all run Meego.

That has been heavily reported, but it is flat out wrong. They announced that the N8 is the last high-end phone to run Symbian^3 - future phones will run Meego or Symbian^4: source [nokia.com] .

Re:Nokia isn't making clear why we should care (1)

wintermute000 (928348) | more than 3 years ago | (#34169572)

There are TONNES of 3rd party apps that allow you to use offline maps.
I use copilot live on android, it cost me under 40 bucks AUD, works as advertised.
I understand N900 still doens't have turn by turn (mistaken maybe?) so I can only compare to my old N5800 which did have turn by turn, but it ran like a dog compared to any 3rd party nav app on my droid

Re:Nokia isn't making clear why we should care (1)

dara (119068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34170976)

I wish I had a chance to follow this topic after my lunchtime post as I see a lot of replies I'm interested in.

AC points out leaked images of a supposed N9 were of the E7: This means my camera comment may be unneeded - I hope so.

Hyartep says the n8 is a cameraphone and the n9 will have other selling features: This may be true, but it is still disappointing and doesn't entice me as a customer. The camera is now a very integral part of a flagship phone and when you've already done that much design work AND are getting such critical acclaim, why not just reuse the whole damn camera module in the next phone and upgrade the display, processor, and other modules.

CockMonster says it is unlikely Nokia is capable of backporting Meego to N8: I read of people speculating the machine just isn't powerful enough, but haven't come across details on why the hardware isn't capable of doing it. If it is a hard task that Nokia doesn't want to be bothered with, they need to streamline their future offerings and use standard architectures (as was suggested in another post) to get both OSs working.

ChunderDownunder says:

"Nokia talks about open source. How about instead of a symbian or meego phone - one device architecture that can run both.
The handset division can then focus on compelling hardware."

I couldn't agree more. I agree that those that want Symbian should be able to stay with it (though I wrote my first post as a customer that would just view it as a transition to Meego.

sznupi (719324) says:
They only said that N-series will go with Meego from now on, it leaves plenty of space for Symbian (and devices with the latter exploit the somewhat more frugal hardware requirements, so a port of Meego is not feasible; ...

True. I'm not very interested in frugal hardware phones anymore - maybe when phones get absolutely amazing, frugal then will seem satisfactory and I'll go away from top of the line, but for now, I find the top of the line phones lacking. What we need is N8 camera like performance in every arena the phone works in: GPS performance, screen display, etc.

pavon gives a link from July 2 from Nokia stating future N series phones could use Symbian^4. As another poster (dartservo) said, I heard they abandoned Symbian^4 but perhaps they will use Symbian (incrementally updated) on N series phones. I still am not enthusiastic about it. Maybe if most of the apps I care about run on either OS (say using Qt), and Nokia releases a device that can run both, I'd find that I actually like Symbian. But it sure has a lot of negative publicity to overcome for me. It might not be that bad, and it might evolve into something better. But I wouldn't invest in a Symbian only phone at this point.

Finally wintermute000 says there are a ton of third party apps for offline map usage. True, I own two of them for the iPhone (Topo Maps and TopoPoint USA). They are both OK and perhaps it is unfair to compare them to Google Maps with a WiFi connection, but I don't find them as user friendly (they aren't street map oriented though). At some point I'll try an Open Street Map solution like Gaia GPS. I'd like to be able to download and save maps on a computer and then swap them in and out of the phone to save space. My first comment on third party apps related to programs that that let you cache Google's own maps. (I think there were some when I looked on the iPhone before I lost interest in that platform). But to have the main mapping program for a platform support this feature out of the box (Ovi Maps), that is way better.

This was fun. I typed up some thoughts earlier which offers advice to Nokia on what would win me as a customer in terms of hardware specifics at Matthew Miller's blog (http://www.zdnet.com/tb/1-86976, search for Dara Parsavand). I hope next year Nokia will have some interesting kit to read about.

Qt is pretty simple.... (2, Interesting)

csboyer (1101385) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167224)

Developing for Qt is pretty straight forward. . . . in two or three days of playing around with Qt creator I was able to setup simple UI's that are not very symbianish (bizillion sub menus) at all for symbian^3. There are a bucket load of examples on Qts website/forums and the community is pretty helpful. As IDEs goes, its pretty good. Anyways, most of the developers for android and iPhone are trash (I expect the same for Qt at some point). They are just mediocre programmers (most phone apps are trivial) getting on the next big wave. This sort of business and market do not attract high quality engineers as its not really interesting.

Speaking as 50% of a Symbian development team... (4, Interesting)

david.given (6740) | more than 3 years ago | (#34167874)

...I have this to say about Symbian:

JUST.

DIE.

Seriously, it is the most god awful programming environment I've ever had to use, and I have worked with a lot of different mobile operating systems (including some you've never heard of). Symbian has about five different (incompatible!) string classes. Symbian has its own home made exception mechanism built with macros and longjmp() which only allows you to throw integers and doesn't unwind the stack when you throw an exception. But that's okay because Symbian's also got a thing called a 'cleanup stack' which is a complicated and fragile way of allowing you to automatically do the cleanup in only 95% of the code it would have taken to do it manually. The Symbian standard data storage objects allocate memory in their constructors but don't free it again in their destructors. Somewhere, Bjarne Stroustrup is screaming.

The operating system itself is just as bad: it's a microkernel protected mode operating system with a strong emphasis on message passing... but it's also got a big writable shared memory area for use by the kernel, thus meaning it combines the worst aspects of microkernel operating systems (multiple slow context switches when calling OS components), protected mode operating systems (MMU and cache overhead) and unprotected operating systems (bugs can scribble over kernel memory and crash the system).

Let's not talk about the development environment, which is a chronically slow maze of perl scripts and autogenerated makefiles using a badly parsed and badly documented scripting language and which forces you to arrange the source files how it wants them, and not how your project wants them.

Symbian's big problem is chronic Not Invented Here syndrome. Everything is weird and different. It feels like the original designers didn't have enough oversight, and their pet ideas ran away with them and became top-heavy with kludges because nobody forced them to refactor the underlying concept once the problems arose. Those damned strings are a perfect example. Once they invented HBufC (an immutable string which is resizable and assignable!) someone should have said, um, guys, I think you're doing it wrong.

Usually at this point someone pops up and says something like, but C++ didn't have exceptions when Symbian was designed! (There's been solid support for exceptions in C++ compilers for about 15 years now.) Or, but this whole cleanup stack/string descriptor nonsense is needed to make applications run well on low memory systems! (No, good application design make applications run well on low memory systems.) Or, but you can do all those things if you use OpenC++/PIPS! (Unless you want to write code with a GUI.) These are not good reasons why we need to perpetrate such an abomination of an operating system. They are good reasons why it needs to be taken out and shot and stop sucking up programmer time. Even Windows CE is less evil to code for than Symbian, because even though it sucks, it at least allows us to use the programming skills we learnt on other platforms rather than forcing us to learn everything from scratch.

Now: things have gotten a lot better recently. Symbian did do a major push to modernise a lot of this crap with projects such as OpenC++ (real C++ on top of Symbian, although it's not useful for GUI code) and replacing the ghastly Series 60 API with Qt. The Qt stuff is particularly interesting because it also acts as an OS isolation layer, which means you can do things with the sane Qt APIs instead of the insane Symbian APIs. I'll admit that I've never had any contact with this, because our product is really aimed at Series 60, and it is faintly possible that if they do a good enough job they might make Symbian usable again. But if you're going to write code in Qt, why not just target Meego instead? And even if you do use Qt on Symbian, it's still built on top of all the Symbian crap underneath, and as soon as you stray out of Qt's comfort zone you are going to have to start wading through that crap.

Please. Let us work together to make the world a better place and just let Symbian die.

Re:Speaking as 50% of a Symbian development team.. (2, Insightful)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#34168200)

> But if you're going to write code in Qt, why not just target Meego instead?

Because of 100s of Millions of Symbian phones with potential customers?

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