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Why Linux Is Good For Low-End Smartphones

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the i've-never-needed-more dept.

Cellphones 163

jfruhlinger writes "Nokia's announcement that it was developing a Linux distro for low-end smartphones, shortly after abandoning the Linux-based Meego OS for Windows Phone 7, was a little puzzling. But it actually makes good business sense in the smartphone world. While WP7 aims for the high end, there's a market for cheaper and less complex phones that still beat boring old feature phones, especially in emerging economies. And, unlike Symbian and the heavily tweaked Meego, Linux can be quickly and cheaply brought to market as a low-end smartphone OS."

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163 comments

Linux is no good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37590786)

it can't even get a first post.

Linux: designed by hippies for hippies. Mmm. Hippie chicks.

It's not cheap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37590802)

Pay your $699 license fee, you teabagging cock smokers.

Also don't forget to pay Microsoft patent license fees.

Re:It's not cheap (-1, Troll)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37590898)

And we wonder why people tend to not like us linux users. Quit telling people whos cock they are sucking and just present facts. The whole of us will look better for it.

Re:It's not cheap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592090)

WHOOOOSHH!!

(Google "teabagging cock smokers" -- the guy being quoted is not exactly a stereotypical Linux user.)

Re:It's not cheap (0)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592400)

"Teabagging", in this context, refers to the homosexual act of dipping your balls into your gay lover's mouth, like a tea bag in a cup of hot water. This (along with cock smoking, posting to slashdot, and taking screenshots of your gnome/kde theme) is a common activity for linux users.

Here's why.. (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37590798)

Because 2012 will be the year of the Linux desktop.

Re:Here's why.. (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591034)

I thought 2012 was to be the year of Nemesis on the desktop (and everything else) as it smashes into the earth?

Here's hoping (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37590822)

I would love to see a very small version of Linux on a smartphone. Think kernel less than 1MB (less than 500kB ideally), and a very lightweight graphical library. This could easily be made to boot in under 5 seconds and run on put-put hardware. I've done it myself with a system with pretty old Arm v5 at 300MHz, with 32MB RAM and 64MBytes of ROM it's capable or running a lot of goods - certainly any simple smartphone task.

I wish them luck!

Re:Here's hoping (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37590884)

What you have described is a feature phone, which these days tend to run Nucleus and not Linux.

Re:Here's hoping (3, Informative)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591550)

What you have described is a feature phone, which these days tend to run Nucleus and not Linux.

I don't think he's quite described the end product so thoroughly as to be able to make that distinction between "smart phone" and "feature phone". Or at least I wouldn't feel like I could make that call without a little more information.

Re:Here's hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37590948)

While not quite to your expectations there is a very decent linux phone environment that's been around for a while and has been used on few products for developing markets. ALP(Access Linux Platform) from Access formerly Palm Access who previously developed garnet os(Palm os). http://www.access-company.com/products/platforms/linux/alp.html

Re:Here's hoping (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#37590958)

Who cares about boot time. Its a phone, when is it ever off?

Re:Here's hoping (1)

teg (97890) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591008)

Who cares about boot time. Its a phone, when is it ever off?

On airplanes. Some,also do this rather than silent mode when they don't want to be disturbed.

Re:Here's hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591236)

Who cares about boot time. Its a phone, when is it ever off?

On airplanes. Some,also do this rather than silent mode when they don't want to be disturbed.

Nope. All modern mobile phones have an "airplane" mode where the device goes silent and shuts down part of the comms stack, but still remains on and functional as an electronic device.

Re:Here's hoping (2)

thopkins (70408) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591292)

It's against FAA regulations to have your phone on during take-off or landing, even while in airplane mode. You're free to think that this is a stupid policy, but it's there.

Re:Here's hoping (1)

phoncible (2468768) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591354)

Might be their policy; doesn't mean I do it though. (Seriously, I don't, I just put it in my pocket on silent in airplane mode and call it good, and it always is)

Re:Here's hoping (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591304)

While I doubt it really matters, American Airlines tells everyone to shut them completely off for takeoffs and landings. Otherwise, they are allowed to be on, but with the airplane mode enabled. So if you are one of those people that always obeys the instructions you are given by airlines, you'd be turning it off and on twice for every flight.

Re:Here's hoping (1)

assstallion (2209046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591342)

someone should take a flight before correcting someone who has. that someone is you. airplane mode is not for putting your phone in during landing and takeoff. during a flight, you have to poweroff your phone twice. airplane mode is for in-flight. for a business traveler and many it consultants who take a flight or two a day, this is important. people should give advice on things they know about. you should shut the fuck up completely till you hit at least 16.

Re:Here's hoping (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591142)

Who cares about boot time. Its a phone, when is it ever off?

I only switch it on when I'm fairly sure to expect an important call while on the road.
That's at best a few hours per month.
And it better be important.

Re:Here's hoping (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591358)

If you switch it on because you're expecting an important phone call later that day, it really doesn't matter if it boots in 10s or 2s, now does it?

Re:Here's hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591766)

The difference is waiting 10s or 2 s before you can enter the PIN code.

Re:Here's hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591240)

When it fscking crashed for the third time today.

Re:Here's hoping (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591260)

Wait until something like Google Goggles tries to intercept a phone's photo and send it back to Google, cause the camera to crash. Then you'll appreciate a faster boot time. I realize my experience is nobody else's but my own. But for me, although reboots are rare, I find myself having to reboot the Android phone more often than I reboot Windows.

Re:Here's hoping (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591536)

I find myself having to reboot the Android phone more often than I reboot Windows.

Really? Which device and firmware do you have? I'm curious.

Re:Here's hoping (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592180)

I don't know what the GP has, but I have a Samsung Intercept with Sprint, carrier-provided Froyo (Cyanogenmod is not exactly ported to it), and it has extremely erratic behavior. Most of the time it works fine, then some days it's completely off its nut and freezes up for no apparent reason, to the point that I have to yank the battery. I very rarely have to reboot my Windows systems (one with XP, one with 7) and certainly have to reboot my phone a lot more often.

Re:Here's hoping (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591664)

The only time I have to reboot my android phone is when the battery runs dead, and that is unfortunately often, but no fault of android.

Re:Here's hoping (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591744)

Who cares about boot time. Its a phone, when is it ever off?

Yes, because anyone who does anything different from the way you do it is stupid, right?

I often turn my phone off. Longer battery life, fewer interruptions. However, when I need to make a call, I'd rather have my phone on as quickly as possible.

A quick boot is a great feature for people who use their phones as a tool, not for people whose life runs around their phones. And, believe me, despite what you see on the streets these days, there are people whose lives haven't been totally dominated by their phones.

Re:Here's hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591010)

Linux kernel devs have frequently refused to support a "tiny" embedded configuration. This request always comes up in regards to home routers.

Re:Here's hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591166)

This is what you consider "putt putt" hardware?

When first started using Linux, it was a 266MHz Pentium 2 with 64MiB RAM in 1997. It ran a firewall using iptables, I ran X with WindowMaker and a binary of Netscape navigator, I also used XMMS to listen to music routinely at the same time, and I even had a handful of interesting 3D apps that worked through OpenGL (before the age of programmable GPUs, the old fixed-function stuff). I wrote and compiled lots of pieces of complex software and generally did 90% of the things I would use a computer for today, had no performance issues to complain about, and this is considered terribly slow hardware for a PHONE?

I have never understood this desire to integrate everything under the sun into a mobile phone. I have it to make phone calls and send texts, neither of which should be particularly stressing with modern technology, and yet, my last 3 phones have been perfectly acceptable PDAs with a terrible phone packed in. Bad reception, dropped calls, etc. Samsung, Palm, and Motorola from newest to oldest.

Re:Here's hoping (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591346)

Wait, you've never understood the need for smartphones, and hate them, yet you keep on buying them?

I'm not sure the phones are the problem here...

Re:Here's hoping (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591540)

I first ran Linux as Slackware 0.9 on a 486DX2-66 with 12MB RAM. Took a weekend to get the x config working. I think it was fvwm or something like that for X. My partner in crime got his Textronix X term running remotely after a week of off-hours work and many, many firewall configs tried and failed. I lost all interest in dealing with SCO and System V after that.

My first LAMP server was catually a NAMP server - NetWare 5.1, same machine. Tomcat was a mess, but it worked.

Re:Here's hoping (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592328)

I first used Linux on a 486 with 66MHz 16 MiB RAM, and it sucked, I would never accept that level of performance on my phone.

I never had a 266MHz, but I had a 233, and a 450, and used Netscape on both, and it sucked. If my phone browser ran comparably to that (as in a few times better), I would be very disappointed.

Computers used to be slow, and the expectations from a phone are much much higher. I want my browser to open like Chrome on my 3GHz computer, not like Netscape on a 486 or a Pentium.

As for the smartphones, you're not the target. The phone part is the least useful feature of my pocket computer, but I am happy to have it.

Re:Here's hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592114)

Linux kernel is a monolithic operating system. Its size does not be multiple megabytes by default, only when you compile it with every possible feature and device driver. So if you want very small OS, you need to compile Linux with specific features and device drivers. By that way, you can cut it size of 100kb.

The big part what would still take if you want complete Linux software system, would be a choice to use GNU system library called glibc or then take slimmer version for mobile use from it.
The development platform GNU/Linux (Linux operating system + GNU development tools) takes too many megabytes as well and 99% of users does not need development tools so it is not smart move. Simply the Linux as operating system and then some basic system software gives you everything you need for basic phone.

Even in Android Linux is compiled so it has only specific hardware drivers and firmwares in it. Everything rest is left off. You dont need super computer codes or x86 codes in it at all. You simply compile Linux with wanted functions.

Re:Here's hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592686)

What about my 16MB RAM AMD K5 at 100 MHz, being my personal workstation running Linux 2.0.32, X, Enlightenment, Gimp, whatever?
What about my friend's 8MB RAM 386DX at 40 MHz doing kernel compilation in the 2.0.32 times?

These smartphones or even featurephones outperform most powerful workstations of that time.

Low end, only?? (1)

Dark Lord of Ohio (2459854) | more than 2 years ago | (#37590836)

Really? I think that SE Xperia and some HTCs are not low-ends. And Android is some Linux flavor.

Re:Low end, only?? (0)

tech4 (2467692) | more than 2 years ago | (#37590906)

I don't see why this is so usual bitching subject about it. So after all you people aren't happy that Linux gets to smartphones, even if it means it's on low end phones?

WP7 for high-end phones make a lot of sense because it's already done and is especially tailored towards those. It doesn't make sense to start again with Linux. Nokia has tried to get that done for the past few years. It even has MeeGo already. Why haven't you bought a MeeGo phone?

Re:Low end, only?? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37590956)

I know, how stupid are people for wanting Linux on high end smartphone hardware. They should be happy to get ANYTHING, especially in this market that is the rightful territory of Microsoft and Apple.

Re:Low end, only?? (2)

tech4 (2467692) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591072)

Nokia has several phones with Linux, already.

Re:Low end, only?? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591132)

Two, actually.

One of which is ~3 years old, the other is deliberately hard to find and unavailable in major markets. Of course, this is not relevant to your argument.

Re:Low end, only?? (1)

Dark Lord of Ohio (2459854) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591170)

I don't see why this is so usual bitching subject about it. So after all you people aren't happy that Linux gets to smartphones, even if it means it's on low end phones? WP7 for high-end phones make a lot of sense because it's already done and is especially tailored towards those. It doesn't make sense to start again with Linux. Nokia has tried to get that done for the past few years. It even has MeeGo already. Why haven't you bought a MeeGo phone?

I have Nokia N900 with Maemo (another Linux flavor) and cant tell it is low end phone...

Re:Low end, only?? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591274)

It wasn't a low end phone when it came out...

Re:Low end, only?? (2)

Dark Lord of Ohio (2459854) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592940)

yup, thats why Linux is good for both. I don't see any difference between $500 and $50 phone when it comes to an OS. Linux fits perfectly, the only limitations are applications, different for different phones.

Re:Low end, only?? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37590998)

I think they're talking about custom Linux distros for low-end phones for those who have gone with solutions other than Android at the high end of the market segment.

Re:Low end, only?? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591078)

And why would linux being ideal for a low end phone also preclude it from being good on a high-end phone?

Great news (1)

mikepost (2462284) | more than 2 years ago | (#37590864)

In basic terms I don't see how anyone could object to this, it seems great. Obviously low end phones will have to move towards basic smart phone capabilities just as they once had to start including address books and text messaging, and linux is a good solution. The only worry is that Nokia, being a phone manufacturer, won't be making this cross-compatible so an opportunity for the android-of-the-low-end-phone is lost. It's still better than Meego!

Re:Great news (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591156)

Obviously low end phones will have to move towards basic smart phone capabilities just as they once had to start including address books and text messaging

I don't remember a time when a low end phone did not have text messaging? When exactly was this?

Re:Great news (1)

mikepost (2462284) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591424)

Obviously low end phones will have to move towards basic smart phone capabilities just as they once had to start including address books and text messaging

I don't remember a time when a low end phone did not have text messaging? When exactly was this?

My first phone was in the States and only had 10 speed dial slots (instead of an address book) and no text messaging. It was called two way paging at the time and required a separate device and contract.

Wow, all of a sudden I feel old...

Re:Great news (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591952)

My Motorola MR1 could receive texts, but not send them.
The two line LCD display wasn't really geared towards SMS.

Re:Great news (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591762)

Some time in the early 90s. AMPS phones were not known to have SMS. My first OKI didn't, but it was a bag phone, and used the same battery as my VCR.

The android (1)

ravenswood1000 (543817) | more than 2 years ago | (#37590876)

Yes, what do you think android is? Chopped liver?

Re:The android (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37590936)

It's Google's liver, actually.

Re:The android (-1, Troll)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591462)

Way to go google-lover, cast Google as Prometheus and Microsoft as some great dark predatory raptor!

Re:The android (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591638)

Way to go, moron, for going off an random as fuck tangent.

Re:The android (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591904)

Way to go, diminutive rock, for confusing your indefinite articles.

Re:The android (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592824)

Obviously this announcement is nothing more than a M$ driven marketing strategy. Nokia is obviously whining to M$ that the WP7 strategy, even with M$ footing the bill, is costing Nokia too much marketing appeal.

"Linux OS for low-end smartphones" see get it, Linux is only fit for cheap phones 2nd grade phones and cheap 2nd grade customers, can't you just see the coked up M$ marketdroid cracking up over that genius marketing strategy, woo hoo, windows phone 7 is for first grade phones and first grade customers.

It really is all so lame and obviously M$ just throwing more money away and Nokia now locked into a self destructing strategy especially with Samsung picking up a huge amount marketing impact at the moment.

It looks like Ballmer is going to butt flock Nokia into oblivion, especially with Googles patent purchase likely to kick major holes into M$ strategy of charging companies using Linux B$ patent fees. Nokia better pull it's head out of it's ass, while those M$ dollars might look good in the short term Nokia is choking on them. People are going to start wondering who got paid more by M$, Nokia or Nokia's executive team.

windows mobile high end? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37590930)

pardon, but all the experience i've had with windows on smartphones ... it couldn't have been further away from high end than these.

My first phone with a linux kernel however (samsung gt-i9100..) - THAT is how high end feels!

Errr... (2)

Servaas (1050156) | more than 2 years ago | (#37590938)

And, unlike Symbian and the heavily tweaked Meego, Linux can be quickly and cheaply brought to market as a low-end smartphone OS.

Err... so 2 OS's that are already developed, marketed and beta tested are more expensive then 1 new one?

Re:Errr... (2)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591620)

The Nokia release of Meego is more a version of their earlier Maemo with some changes to be Meego-"compatible" (not that this is any different from Intel basically rebranding their netbook Moblin to Meego and tossing some Qt libs in there for good measure).

I suspect that unless someone at Nokia have gone axe crazy, this "new" one will be based on that again but have a interface and feature set more suitable for low end phones.

Slashdot, why? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#37590968)

How did this get a FP post? Does the iiotic poster and, apparently, the 'editor', doesn't realize that Meego, Moblin, Android, et al. are all cut from the same cloth?

I would not be surprised if these low-end phones ran some version of something like a stripped Opie or something based on minimalised QT libraries/UI. With 200Mhz for a low-end smartphone would be enough to make this work, and potentially much more featureful than existing crap phones. We were running more, back in the day, on 200Mhz/32Mb RAM/32Mb ROM PDAs, after all...

Re:Slashdot, why? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591016)

Meego, Moblin, Android, et al. are all cut from the same cloth

MeeGo/Moblin, yes. Android, no.

Android is an entirely unique and incompatible user space. That it shares a kernel with the other two is moot.

We were running more, back in the day, on 200Mhz/32Mb RAM/32Mb ROM PDAs, after all...

No you weren't. You thought you were, but instead you were heavily constrained by the storage and hardware capabilities of those devices. Everything done then is possible now, but now we have more options in terms of tasks assumed, how they are presented, and what we can do with them (did any of those devices have hardware GPUs that you could actually use?)

What you need to run Linux on a phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37590990)

Let's see here.. stripped-down kernel that doesn't need to support anything except embedded processors, internal SD storage and the radio chip for your CDMA/what have you. Support for encryption, maybe a little UI jiggery-pokery, because everyone hates the superscroll Linux boot screen... an address book that syncs with your social network of choice's extensible API via SSL requests, and that's all I can think you'd need for phone-linux. Phonux.

Re:What you need to run Linux on a phone (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592902)

"Phonux" DOES have a nice ring (pun of course intended) AND actually gives some fucking hint as to its purpose.

And Symbian S40? (2)

Parker Lewis (999165) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591022)

Why not just keep updating/upgrading S40?

Re:And Symbian S40? (3, Informative)

randomlogin (448414) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592904)

Why not just keep updating/upgrading S40?

Short answer - because Nokia senior management have now completely lost the plot. Symbian is still a much better option at the low end because underneath all the shiny stuff is an RTOS designed specifically to run on resource constrained devices. Proper real time capabilities were baked into the current Symbian kernel specifically so that a single processor could be used for both the protocol stack and the applications. As someone pointed out earlier, other vendors pay good money to use proprietary RTOS platforms like Nucleus for their low end phones because they deliver the same benefits.

Putting a full Linux workstation in your pocket in the form of the N950 is cool - and I wish they'd let me buy one. But this is a different market, and it's not one where using Linux makes a hell of a lot of sense.

Yes - lets just ditch that pesky phone bit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591048)

and use the processor and ancillary graphics gubbins for a reasonably useful, very cheap Linux PC.

Something like the Raspberry Pi [raspberrypi.org] :-)

If you really do want a phone, it shouldn't be too difficult for Nokia to put a version of Linux on one of their own platforms without too much difficulty.

And the trojan Elop does it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591070)

So when WP7 fails Nokia will still be paying m$ extortion fees. Way to go Ballmer: your rape of Nokia just sunk even lower and your victim now has AIDS.

Linux =! to a mobile phone operating system. (1)

beck001 (26515) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591092)

Perhaps I missed something, but Linux is just a kernel (and according to some people a huge chuck of GNU software). This still makes no sense, they will still have to create so much more software than just using something like Android. They could trim down android to the point where it is able to run on smaller less functional phones. This decision does not makes sense to me.

Re:Linux =! to a mobile phone operating system. (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591118)

Using Android places a dependency on Google. I'm pretty sure that Nokia doesn't want that (many vendors don't, but it's the only game in town.)

Re:Linux =! to a mobile phone operating system. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591264)

Does it really, though?

Surely the effort necessary to create a new custom Linux distro for phones, is greater than the effort necessary to slightly modify an existing phone-optimized Linux distro. I mean, their options are:

1. Create a new Linux distro, optimized for the phones in question. Requires a bunch of kernel tweaking, driver-writing, and packaging work. End product is something that is incompatible with existing code/apps/etc.
2. Modify the existing Android codebase. Requires driver-writing, and a little bit of re-packaging work. You can then either keep your codebase synchronized with Android, or totally fork and ignore any Android/Google dependency issues. End product is either highly or partially compatible with existing code/apps/etc.

The thing is, option #2 gives more leeway. They can change their plan later on with minimal effort, whereas #1 basically puts them off in their own branch from the get-go. Any 'dependency' on Google is purely voluntary. If you don't like the direction they are going in, then you simply fork, which is still less effort than option #1.

Now, they may have good reasons for going for option #1. Maybe they evaluated Android and found that they level of tweaking necessary would be horrendous because of the Android kernels. Maybe it really is easier to start a new fork. But, I highly doubt it. More likely this was done for marketing reasons (not wanting it to be "just another Android")... because fro a technical standpoint it seems much smarter to build off of the substantial effort already put into Android.

Re:Linux =! to a mobile phone operating system. (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591312)

Does it really, though?

Yes. Unless you fork completely and disavow compatibility, then you are dependent on Google for the development.

Surely the effort necessary to create a new custom Linux distro for phones, is greater than the effort necessary to slightly modify an existing phone-optimized Linux distro.

Which is why bailing on MeeGo was dumb. Push the distro out into the open, let it exist independently and among multiple vendors and not only do you not have a dependency on a single vendor whose interests may diverge (or conflict) with yours, but the overall expense is lower.

Requires a bunch of kernel tweaking, driver-writing, and packaging work.

Kernel tweaking and driver writing is required for ANY hardware port. Only Google massively modifies the kernel for their OS. Packaging work, well, using existing tools and procedures works pretty well.

Retaining a dependency on Google while not playing along with them requires that you be willing to do all the work Google won't be, whether because you have diverged massively or because they gave up and walked away or (worse) closed the sources on you. Remember: Android is "open" and absolutely not Free.

Nokia's Moebius Strip Time Warp Linux Development (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591144)

I think Nokia is tangled up in one of these critters. They will forever be developing a Linux for phones which will be abandoned just as or before it is fully rolled out. Rinse and repeat . . . forever . . .

See ya on this story again in two years, folks.

Smart for Nokia, perhaps. (1)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591146)

Smart for Nokia, perhaps. Everyone else just seems to be using Android. I wonder if Microsoft has Nokia's hands tied?

Re:Smart for Nokia, perhaps. (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591746)

Dunno. There is a company that has already demoed Dalvik (the Android Java VM) running on Maemo/Meego.

Not that i am sure Android could handle the utilitarian screen of a dialpad equipped featurephone (most of the apps would likely not scale down that far).

I wouldn't count MS out of the mid and low range.. (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591172)

I wouldn't count on MS not being interested in the low end smartphone range. Just because they're only barely crawling into the market now doesn't mean they aren't aiming for a huge section of it. That's why they partnered with Nokia, who did everything from the low end $20 phone to the $20k phone with dual sim and special call centre, and everything in between. But it will take time for that to emerge as viable (or, more likely, not) from MS. Nokia at this point cannot afford to wait around.

Re:I wouldn't count MS out of the mid and low rang (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591622)

Half a year ago Nokia reported that Meego was dropped because it did not perform well on low end phones. Now windows is dropped for the same reason......

I would count them out of 'feature' phone space. (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592028)

One, the timing suggests that MS can't be bothered to work this scenario. This isn't something that was (allegedly) in play before anyone even thought MS deal was happening, it happened after the MS deal was solidly in place.

I just don't see this as an appealing play for MS. We are talking about an environment that is explicitly anti-app and anti-cost. Given no per-device margins to be had by a software vendor and no promise of a rich application development and publishing ecosystem to reap revenue from, I don't see MS ever changing this situation.

Re:I would count them out of 'feature' phone space (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592456)

Feature phones still do have applications.. they just are not for heavy data users and browsing the web., With a feature phone, you get bored, and maybe download tetris or video poker or something...

Android is better (5, Interesting)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591248)

If a phone manufacturer wants to make a low end smart phone, Android is the way to go. It comes with a huge app ecosystem, more polished and cheaper to implement than any new Linux solution. I don't see how anything Nokia produces can compete with a $150 Android phone.

Nokia is probably only considering Linux after they realized that WP7 does not scale down to low end smart phones. They are covering up poor strategic decisions.

Re:Android is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591448)

$50 phone?

Re:Android is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592010)

Problem with Android is that it has quite high resource requirements, relatively speaking. It simply won't run on a phone with a processor speed below about 400MHz, and below about 600MHz performance of several key apps (especially the SMS/MMS app) is noticeably poor. Many low end phones are shipping with processors that are simply not up to scratch for running Android.

128MB is the minimum recommended RAM size, whereas a lot of phones only have about 32MB, and this is enough to run lower-end systems.

Android doesn't scale down to the kind of environment Nokia is almost certainly thinking about here, either. They need something that runs tightly-written native code, rather than a bloated JIT-compiling VM that needs twice as much memory as you would otherwise get away with, along with a too-complex system of inter-process communication to perform core tasks that should be handled by a single process. Yes, that sacrifices flexibility, but it probably halves the cost of the phone.

Re:Android is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592430)

I have ZTE Blade with Android 2.3.5.
I paid from that phone with contract 108 euros, and the 2 year contract is 2 euros a month for unlimited data amount&speed (as much carrier network can handle, what is now 14MBytes. Blade handles only 7.2 down and 0.4 up) and the phone and SIM is unlocked so I can swap those as matter I want. I am not whining at all about data connection as I get HSPA connection what gives me a 7Mbits connection anywhere I want (network depending) 2 euros a month, what is 20% of what typical 1Mbits connection is here.

The device has ARM v6 600Mhz CPU what is very low end. Still it allows me to do software encoding for 720p videos fine. Android is totally smooth without lagging at all. Many has overclocked the CPU to 700-740 but I have sticked to unlocked so it typically is 125Mhz in idle and then Linux governer handles its 256-600Mhz range when needed.

RAM I have 512 what is more than enough. I have only few times checked RAM usage now when I have used phone 9 months, and it is usually over 256 megabytes free. I dont use any "speedsters" or other task killers as they have just slowed phone down. Never I have ran to situation that phone have crawled or slowed down.

The screen is superbright LCD, 480x800 pixel and 3.5" by size. With automatic brightness, I can easily read text in direct sunlight.

NAND is used for permament storage in device and it has only 512MB. I have over 200MB free as I store all possible apps to MicroSD card (8Gb now) what gives me that only some apps what needs widgets or keyboards are on NAND. With Android 2.1 the NAND did get small but official 2.2 fixed that as well.

The device has all wanted functions from GPS to Bluetooth and Accelerometer and WiFi (g). GPS is accurate to 1 meters (usually 3 but if just left for a minute in place, it gets to 1-2 meters). The official 2.1 had bug that compass was 90 degree left but 2.2 fixed that bug as well. Nothing bad from GPS but digital compass could be tweaked so its output is not red so fast timing so when on map, it would not jump few degree now and then but would stay still or be little smoother on very slow turnings (360 degree a minute).

But the camera is the poorest part in the phone. 5 Megapixels with basic plastic cover in front of the lense. (You can find comparision of the photo quality with cover and without cover, it is amazing). The camera does not have a flash, that is real NO GO for shade or dark situations. If there just would have been single LED it would fixed the problem to use camera even to take contact book photos.

The sound quality is good, what can be said from mono speaker, and as you keep it just 90% volume as last step brakes the high sounds. Nothing bad to say about 3.5mm jacket what is great and located well as the speaker as well.

The MicroUSB slot is littlebit in bad position, I would prefer middle bottom part but now top left side it is just bad when needed to talk as it points littleout when keeping phone on right hand.

And now people can by that phone from stores under 80 euros (Android 2.2). And it is such a device that I would think twice before buying higer priced phone. Next time (after a year) when I buy a phone, it will be Android and somewhere 150-200 euros level.

Nokia has NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING to offer to replace this phone, not even from 500 euros class.
Even the voice turn-by-turn navigation wins navigation what is in Nokia phones and this country is Finland from what I am speaking, where Nokia HQ is located and where Nokia updates its maps first well.

The ZTE Blade could have all parts updated littlebit better quality ones, even if it would push price +50 euros, it would be something what people could very well buy, even with current state.

When comparing Nokia C3-01 and ZTE Blade, Nokia has big trouble with that 130 euros phone what is now over 50 euros more expensive than ZTE Blade.
If Nokia wants to win Android, it needs to push 50 euros Symbian Belle phones out with 480x800 resolution OLED screens and LED flash with 8Mpiz Carl Zeiss camera. While keeping same 24h "heavy" usage battery time as ZTE Blade allows (5 hours MP3 playing, 2 hours GPS navigation and 1 hour talk time or browsing and still about 15-20% battery left what gives another hour talking time or whole day standby).

Re:Android is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592786)

Android is a commodity OS, so Nokia would be competing with ultra low margin OEMs from China. They need to have a selling point, other than the price.

Qt? (1)

satuon (1822492) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591302)

It would be great if they used Qt for embedded Linux for the GUI. It's a great development environment.

Re:Qt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592740)

Thereâ(TM)s no point in using anything else. Itâ(TM)s their in-house solution, and they already implemented it for Symbian and Maemo/Meego.

So it would basically be nearly as simple as just dropping it in.

Sure, itâ(TM)s still shitty C++ (The Windows ME of programming languages, IMO.), and sure it's still bog-standard GUI widgets (something that should be replaced by a single generic flexible widget by now), but at least QT makes something halfway decent out of it.

Re:Qt? (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592888)

I'm pretty sure it will be Qt Quick, meaning QML and javascript, not boring old widgets. Nokia's continuing investment in hw accelerated Qt Quick wouldn't make much sense otherwise. They can't use it on Win phones, and Maemo/Meego and Symbian aren't something to put much future investment in. So what's left for Nokia to use Qt Quick with? This.

Nokia really wants to get bought out by Microsoft (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591322)

If you think back to the introduction of Netbooks, the first models were all running Linux.

Microsoft soon said, 'we can't be letting you do that'.
They introduced a slimline XP plus putting limits on the CPU, RAM etc that could go into a Netbook and qualify for the almost free XP licenses.

Fast forward to 2011.
Nokia is in deep do-do. I is losing market share hand over fist. The shareholders have seen their investment plummet. They want to get out with something before the share price hits zero.
Nokia has this nice little agreement with Mictosoft over WP7.
This hasn't stopped the slide in market share or the slide in the share price.
Nokia are IMHO getting desperate.
Result is to publicly start developing anothe Linux based phone O/S in the hope of making MS a tad pissed off with their now errant love child.
All thay want is for MS in the shape of Mr Balmer to call his old chop Mr Elop and tell him that he is being a very naughty boy and that Boss Steve Balmer won't be letting Nokia do this silly thing and offer to buy Nokia outright.

Then the shareholders will get something. Mr Elop will get a whole wad of cash and a seat on the Microsoft board.
The employes? The dole queue for 90%.

Job Done?
You bet.

Re:Nokia really wants to get bought out by Microso (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591776)

Microsoft soon said, 'we can't be letting you do that'.
They introduced a slimline XP plus putting limits on the CPU, RAM etc that could go into a Netbook and qualify for the almost free XP licenses.

How exactly did Microsoft say that they could not "be letting you do that", and to whom did they say it? Or did they effectively do this just by releasing XP cheaply. I can see your point there: how can Linux compete when their opposition virtual give away their OS?

Fast forward to 2011.

Actually, let's not. I think that you are making far too much out of this announcement. It is normal for Nokia to be using multiple phone operating systems at the same time. They usually have a wide variety of phones on offer from the high end smartphone to the bucket end dumb phone. And you can't act surprised when a company that has a history of developing Linux products announces that they will be using Linux in another product.

This is just business as usual. I think that it is a wise thing for Nokia not to have all their eggs in one basket.

Re:Nokia really wants to get bought out by Microso (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37592608)

There is "poison pill" in Nokia shares. If you buy over 30% of Nokia shares, you need to buy whole Nokia. Microsoft does not have money for that. And even then, price would jump up on same day about 100%.

Microsoft is wise, it does not buy Nokia as now it is totally risk free for it. With 1 billion dollars Microsoft got Nokia to manufacture it a WP phones and Nokia gives it maps and other services with it. Oh, and Nokia even shares development costs and manpower to develope WP more, with Nokia's 6 billion dollars R&D budjet a year.

Microsoft has no reasons to buy Nokia. It would be waste of money as if WP does not success and rise next year to 50% marketshare, Nokia is doomed as Nokia can not get even from that 50% the own 10-20% cut but competes with every other WP manufacturer what even now has stronger brands and better insight of markets than Nokia and Microsoft.

Personally I hope WP would get 10-15% marketshare and would stay there. Keeping both companies a live. But WP does not deserve higer than 15% share. Mobile devices should be Microsoft free as much as possible. If WP would be fully GPL licensed, then I would welcome it to have even 80% share.

But same time after seeing what Nokia has done to Finland and what kind asshole companies both are, I hope Nokia would be cut to pieces and its market share would drop to 10%. It deserves it as its high and middle part leadership has been total mess. Its blackmailing in Finland about leaving and lowering own taxes and forcing own laws (Lex-Nokia) is just examples how company can be totally bad for society where it works.

Come on! (1)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591402)

"...there's a market for cheaper and less complex phones that still beat boring old feature phones, especially in emerging economies. And, unlike Symbian and the heavily tweaked Meego, Linux can be quickly and cheaply brought to market as a low-end smartphone OS."

2 points:

1. Other little-known fact seems to be that linux is good for the high-end as well (as demonstrated by various android devices and the N9)

2. How is linux unlike meego? Given that two telephony devices have already been brought to market with the Nokia linux maemo base, I would say that is 'quicker than quickly'.

I think people need to stop discussing Nokia's recent decisions as if they were logical or rational, and nothing to do with other weighty factors.

They will do it for LOLs and for Linux patents (1)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591530)

And this is how Microsoft will finally get that Linux patent portfolio they were talking about all these years

Market segmentation gone wrong (1)

MM-tng (585125) | more than 2 years ago | (#37591644)

MS is trying to paint Linux in the low end corner. When in fact it is better at all functionality than anything MS can create. It will not work because the galaxy S II is already the most high end phone on the market. And it is running linux. They are too late. Imagine the next Samsung phone comming out next year. Microsoft will be way behind once again.

It will create publicity I'd rather not see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37591806)

"Linux? Yeah, exactly, that OS for low-end crappy smartphones, you know..."

Linux + Microsoft Mystery Patents = !(Cheap) (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37592004)

In theory, though, Nokia should have free reign to use Linux in their devices now that they are completely in bed with Microsoft. It would be unseemly for Microsoft to sue the company they bought... errr... partnered with to build the best possible Windows phones for patent infringement by making inexpensive Linux based smart phones.

Yeah, we know already that theory is pretty useless. Microsoft would do what they want and twist some serious arms for Nokia to not do Linux of any sort on any devices... "informally."

I think the form of persuasion Microsoft would use is (threats of) patent license fees.

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