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The Story of Nokia MeeGo

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the rise-and-fall-but-mostly-fall dept.

Intel 125

An anonymous reader writes "TaskuMuro, a Finnish tech news site, has anonymously interviewed various Nokia employees and pieced together an interesting timeline of the events which led to the abandonment of the Nokia MeeGo platform and to Nokia's current affiliation with Microsoft and Windows Phone. It appears the MeeGo project was rather disorganized from the get-go and fell victim to the company's internal tug-of-war, aimless management causing several UI redesigns and a none-too-wise reliance on Intel components which lacked some key features – namely, LTE support."

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Wow (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41634695)

I've considered Elop to be a massive fuck up but this sounds pretty bad. Maybe his move to Microsoft wasn't completely moronic (even if it ultimately kills the company because no one buys windows phones).

Re:Wow (5, Interesting)

mystikkman (1487801) | about 2 years ago | (#41634831)

Symbian was even worse. They had different branches of code for each phone and they were each run by middle managers who were always at loggerheads with each other and refused to merge code from their competing teams. Not to mention they always tried to scuttle any move away from Symbian.

Not really (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41635115)

Nokia builds great hardware, great cameras, has assets for mapping and navigation and they had 3000 people working on Software. With Android and some hard furious work they could have done some amazing things, no doubt.

Re:Not really (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 2 years ago | (#41635823)

No, no they couldn't have.

the culture at Nokia was really toxic. no one could execute. Even if they went Android the OS would've had a crap load of apps but outclassed by the likes of HTC, Moto and now, Samsung.

Re:Wow (4, Informative)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 years ago | (#41636455)

They used to have a normal organizational structure. Phones division, network division, research division, etc. Then in early 2000's it decided to go with a "grid" style structure. Business phones vs personal phones vs whatever going horizontally, and CMDA vs GSM etc going vertically, things like that. The traditional organization style is what got Nokia from a smallish company to a major world power; the new grid style ended up with 50+ different phones doing essentially the same thing and a shrinking of the market share.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41637543)

So much garbage

  • the "matrix" organisation dated from the 90's
  • the reason for the many phone models was OPK's obsession with rate of production of models
  • organisational structures, prior to OPK, lasted for about six months - the damage was in leaving it fixed

The company failed because it started believing that it controlled the market and didn't have to continue putting out good technology. Windows phone is another example of that. Instead of listening to what customers want (Android with good hardware) they act "special" and try to force customers into a walled garden. Instead of developing technology they are developing patents to fight ant-customer proxy wars with.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41639665)

Instead of listening to what customers want (Android with good hardware)

No-one wants Android, with its locked-down little world of "phone manufacturer knows best". Unfortunately it's the only current alternative to iOS.

My old Nokia E61 had more functionality and configurability than any off-the-shelf Android phone. And yes it ran "apps" that I downloaded and most of them were open-source.

Re:Wow (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41640165)

Instead of listening to what customers want (Android with good hardware)

No-one wants Android, with its locked-down little world of "phone manufacturer knows best". Unfortunately it's the only current alternative to iOS.

My old Nokia E61 had more functionality and configurability than any off-the-shelf Android phone. And yes it ran "apps" that I downloaded and most of them were open-source.

I hate to break it to you but your E61 was more locked down than _any_ android on the market now. try flashing a new kernel without keys from Nokia on that!

otherwise you could do pretty much anything on s60 3rd ed. But let me tell you, waiting for keys from Nokia sucked big time. essentially delayed a project I was involved in for a fucking _year_ back in the day since they didn't have a process in place for granting the permissions, only a best buddy system(which gave certain nokia execs a lot of power over 3rd party companies too).

Re:Wow (3, Informative)

CockMonster (886033) | about 2 years ago | (#41637921)

The Symbian Ltd employees who were bought by Nokia could not believe how fucked up Nokia was at software. To be honest, I'm wasn't aware of any competition between teams but I wasn't in Finland.

Re:Wow (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41639325)

Thanks CockMonster!

Re:Wow (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 2 years ago | (#41634889)

it's clear to me and others that what didn't kill meego was android or elop, it was the iphone. it's no coincidences that the dominant phone companies are now all software.

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#41634919)

You must realize, Microsoft has a long tradition of maintaining an internal tug-of-war, led by aimless management, and causing several UI redesigns. They're the perfect choice to synergize with Nokia's corporate environment to leverage their assets for market innovation!

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41635923)

Yep, supposedly MS Office did not get integrated pen support in 2001 because the VP of Office did not agree with Gates view that pen computing was the future and so stonewalled its inclusion on the office pack.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41640119)

It's how a lot of big companies work - IT suppliers and end-users alike. Both IBM and DEC would often have salesmen from different divisions turning up at customers competing for the same business with interally competitive product lines (big S/38 or small S/370; PDP-11 or DECsystem 20, etc). And all that was backed up with duplicated engineering effort. A large US bank I once worked for had two development teams on the same floor with two separate management structures essentially competing to have the most staff and influence; neither seemed to get much into production.

A bit of internal competition is useful as it provides space for new ideas to form. A bit of duplication is useful (sometimes you really need a Plan B in a hurry). If you have stacks of cash, it's very easy to see the usefulness, ignore the pitfalls and let things ride. Unfortunately when the financial screws start to turn you're left with an expensive legacy culture of rival groups that can't really pull together or have lost the discipline of actually delivering product.

Re:Wow (2, Insightful)

Kingkaid (2751527) | about 2 years ago | (#41635013)

Nokia didn't have a choice to partner with anyone but Microsoft. If they stayed with Symbian they were dead. MeeGo was dead before being born. Blackberry would have never partnered with them. Apple would have never partnered with them. This leaves Microsoft and Google. If they choose Google they are now competing on the same platform against a much cheaper Korean and Chinese manufacturers and designers. I am sure they could have made a go of it, but the company would have shrunk and likely be in worse shape than they are now. Microsoft was desperate for a partner and champion, so it was a match made in heaven. Now this doesn't say they won't die, but given where they were it was the best move to make.

A match made in Heaven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41635253)

Two companies full of backstabbing management clusterfucks.

Re:Wow (2)

Kartu (1490911) | about 2 years ago | (#41636005)

Nokia, known for great hardware, still selling gazillion of cheap phones (guess where they are produced? Nope, not in Finland) would have problems competing with the likes of Samsung, hence it had to become Microsoft's EXCLUSIVE delivery boy, how could that make sense, considering NON EXISTENT smartphone market share of Microsoft?

Re:Wow (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#41639063)

Margin generally requires a differentiator otherwise you are a commodity.

Google did not want to give Nokia an exclusive they were doing too well.
Microsoft was willing to give Nokia cash.

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 2 years ago | (#41637107)

This is another repeat of the "Nokia wouldn't be able to make their phones special under Android so they would just compete on price". I'm still trying to work out how the shills can even say this "couldn't differentiate" bullshit with a straight face. Let's get this right:

with Android you have the source code and support for almost all available hardware; You are allowed to change the interface and a number of companies have already done son. Also you are allowed to add any applications you want of your own. This makes it impossible to differentiate your phone from other ones

With Windows; there is a small set of limited standard hardware; There is no support for proper cameras which is why PureView had to be crippled to work on it. The interface is controlled by Microsoft and is pretty much the same commodity system on all phones. The apps are forced to a secondary role by Microsoft controlled "hubs" which limit the possibilities for presenting data. All of this adds up to an operating system where Nokia has excellent opportunities to differentiate.

Based on their inability to differentiate using Android, Nokia were wise to go with Microsoft, where not only will they have to compete with the same much cheaper "Korean and Chinese manufacturers" (who seem to be actually getting MS backing to release ahead of Nokia) but they will also have to compete with Microsoft a company which sees its self as devices company [zdnet.com] .

' Really; that's basically what you are saying. Astounding.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41638677)

Everyone forgets that MS and Google were bidding for Nokia's contract and MS won, so it wasn't a technical or market decision, it was who brought the most cash to the table.

Re:Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41640125)

And of course that the CEO of Nokia was a Microsoft veteran and a top-five personal Microsoft shareholder having almost as much interest in Microsoft as Nokia's entire market cap today is completely irrelevant.

Re:Wow (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#41639775)

Yea, they still compete against Android on features and price. Only now they can have the bulletpoint "Includes More Microsoft Software", not realizing that 1) There is insignificant demand for Microsoft Phone OS
and
2) More and more people have a general dislike for Microsoft software. They don't use it out of choice.

Re:Wow (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41640107)

It's an excuse. It only needs to be solid enough for plausible deniability. The bar is quite low.

Please stop repeating that nonsense. (4, Informative)

Tharald (444591) | about 2 years ago | (#41638119)

Seriously, I agree with all but the Android part. Back in 2010 Nokia was the biggest phone maker in the world, both in smart and dumbphones. They had the distribution network, the manufacturing capabilities and the brand name to keep that position. With Android they could have stayed in this position, possibly losing a bit of it or gained a bit more depending on their implementation and quality, but they would still have had a fighting chance to be the top dog.

Why the hell has Samsung gone from a bit player to a giant with Android while we should think that Nokia couldn't even keep their dominating position with the same system? It just doesn't compute. Of course Nokia should have seen the lights 5-6 years ago and either dedicated themselves to Meego/maemo or they should have jumped ship and gone with Android. But they would still have a be in a position if they had gone with Android instead of Windows close to 2 years ago. Of course they could still have fucked up, but saying they couldn't have competed with Android just makes no sense at all.

Re:Wow (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#41640095)

If Elop had kept his mouth shut Symbian would still have 20% share and enjoy a long tail. But no, we had to throw them off the burning platform and get fully committed to Redmond. Symbian buyers bought it because it wasn't Windows mobile. To think you could ever convert those customers to Windows Phone on the strength of the Nokia brand was just dumb.

Re:Wow (1)

zenith1111 (1465261) | about 2 years ago | (#41640313)

I know Symbian would not take Nokia anywhere, the Symbian "App market" is pathetic compared to Android's one and that's one of the things that sell phones, but why didn't Nokia built several lines of phones (Meego, Windows and Android) like Samsung, LG and HTC did? I know it would be expensive, but I'm sure Nokia had money in 2010 to match at least HTC and LG. I have a Nokia C7-00 (Symbian) and I like it, it's very well built and it does everything I need, the free worldwide turn-by-turn navigation is awesome and I got Symbian updates more often than some Android users did. If they had an Android handset built like this one and with the same free navigation I would probably replace it.

Re:Wow (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#41639967)

Wasn't Meego more an Intel project than a Nokia one? One brought about by what Intel at the time perceived was Microsoft dragging its feet about supporting the Intel Atom w/ Windows 7? Later, of course, it became Intel/Nokia's cellphone OS.

Incidentally, how is Tizen doing?

MeeGo name is strange. (1)

eexaa (1252378) | about 2 years ago | (#41634759)

I always had to think whether it actually doesn't sound like a "Mi-go" (from Whisperer in the darkness), and had absolutely no other explanation for the 'MeeGo' word.

Re:MeeGo name is strange. (3, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41634767)

MeeGo, the scourge of Carpathia, the sorrow of Moldavia, commands you!

Re:MeeGo name is strange. (1)

ReinoutS (1919) | about 2 years ago | (#41636357)

Mod parent funny! (at least if you know your Ghostbusters classics)

Re:MeeGo name is strange. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41635073)

amigo = friend in Spanish, sounds like ah-mee-go

Re:MeeGo name is strange. (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41635979)

MeeGo was supposed to be the industry-facing name for the platform. That it was spread farther was typical of the ineptness of the management at Nokia.

Re:MeeGo name is strange. (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#41639981)

Even the names of the parent platforms - Intel Moblin and Nokia Maemo - were strange, although Intel's sounded a tad better, just like Tizen does. What's even stranger is that they made the name of the joint platform a derivative of those names. Even the name 'Mer' of the current successor project doesn't sound that much better.

Re:MeeGo name is strange. (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about 2 years ago | (#41640361)

I liked the name Moblin (still do). Thought it was a shame when Maemo merged with it and killed the name. Tizen is OK sounding as names go, but I don't really understand what it's supposed to mean (other than sounding like a popular British soft-drink). Mer I understand ("MeeGo Restructured"), but I don't like the sound of.

How can big companies fail so hard (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#41634783)

You have to figure they're recruiting the best of the best, yet some of them manage epic F-ups. I can't imagine there weren't howls of disapproval from at least a few people in that organization.

Re:How can big companies fail so hard (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41634873)

I lived in Finland for some years and found multiple cases where an individual was dragging a whole department down and none of the collegues were fighting the horrible unfair situation.

It is a cultural problem in my perception.

Re:How can big companies fail so hard (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#41636133)

Antisocial person at work getting you down? Drink a beer!

Re:How can big companies fail so hard (1)

CockMonster (886033) | about 2 years ago | (#41637935)

You'd soon blow your beer budget if you were working with Finns and had to pay Finnish prices for booze.

Re:How can big companies fail so hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41640039)

Like this fellow here?? http://www.geekchic.com/linus2.gif [geekchic.com]

Re:How can big companies fail so hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41639891)

Antisocial person at work getting you down?

If another person is getting you down, YOU'RE the antisocial person.

Re:How can big companies fail so hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41635005)

They may recruit the best of the best, but they do not promote them. They promote the same useless crap as everybody else, and that makes them fuck up. Good companies are created under the extremely rare circumstances of competant manement who are slightly better than complete useless at judging the competence of others (I would have said good at, but I think Steve Jobs proved the management only need to not completely suck at it to be better than everybody else).

Re:How can big companies fail so hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41635219)

At big companies there is much less incentive to rock the boat... even when the boat is headed for an iceberg.

The best do not matter without focus (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41635595)

You have to figure they're recruiting the best of the best, yet some of them manage epic F-ups.

Like the article said though, the teams were great what they were coming up with was great - but they lacked focus, and Nokia was working on multiple platforms at once.

You cannot do that when Google and Apple both ALSO have great teams, also working but all with a focus on one system. Nokia was fated to fall behind these other platforms without the focus on building out a single ecosystem at the same pace Apple and Google were.

It's really a shame, Nokia had an awesome starting position and smart people. But in the end I have to agree with Elop that they were too far behind and the Microsoft partnership was the only way to let them catch up and yet stay distinct in the market (which would have been an issue with Android for Nokia).

Slashdot effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41634877)

Slashdotted in 1... 2... 3! Wait, what...!?

In any case 1487801 pretty much sums up Symbian in the "good old days". Can you say "clusterf..."?

subcontracting (4, Interesting)

mrquagmire (2326560) | about 2 years ago | (#41635043)

"...it was difficult to keep hold of the quality of the subcontractors' work..."
"...bad code written in India..."
"...communication problems..."

I'm shocked. How upper management types keep justifying this model with "lower costs" is completely beyond me.

Re:subcontracting (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41635067)

You have to understand they don't want to save money but just make it look that way.

Until they get their bonuses and have move onto a new company.

Vultures.

Re:subcontracting (1)

mrquagmire (2326560) | about 2 years ago | (#41635213)

Fully understood. But you'd think at some point that the myth of cost-savings-by-outsourcing would come to light.

Or maybe I'm giving them too much credit.

Re:subcontracting (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 2 years ago | (#41638755)

Its a self-perpetuating social phenomenon amongst middle management, I think. Sort of like how no heroin addict would ever call another junkie an addict; to do so would be too obviously a betrayal of their own nature.

Re:subcontracting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41635511)

There was a leaked NSN study in a Finnish magazine 3T: outsourcing to India is actually 35% more expensive than doing the same programming work in Finland. The reason is the low quality of work done there and the extra time required to fix the bugs.
(source: http://www.3t.fi/artikkeli/uutiset/talous/salainen_selvitys_intialainen_koodaus_on_suomalaista_kalliimpaa).

Re:subcontracting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41635989)

The initial large companies that outsourced did so on the basis of long term analysis.

But once that resulted in a upswing in profits and an accompanying upswing in share price as speculators tried to get a cut of the dividend it turned fashionable, with CEOs initiating similar projects on flimsy grounds just to placate the board with swift increases in share price.

Re:subcontracting (2)

BLToday (1777712) | about 2 years ago | (#41636369)

I've been there. It goes like this:
a) hardware manager is require to get his cost of the project to a level required by upper management => he subcontracts to the cheapest guys around => gets promoted because he exceeded his target.

b) software manager is require to get his cost of the project to a level required by upper management => he subcontracts to the cheapest guys around => gets promoted because he exceeded his target.

c) QA manager says whatever because hardware and software is substandard => collects his salary and push the product out

d) upper management doesn't know why projects keep failing.

Re:subcontracting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41636489)

Nokia subcontracting 101: Expand your budget and pump as much cash you can out of Nokia before they do a reorganization shuffle, if the numbers look good sell the subcontracting company for cash - lie to 3rd party investors that the budget figures aren't from short term contracting to Nokia.

Besides, if you don't have specs on what you should be contracting and the target sdk changes every 6 months, what does it matter if you put the Indians on the project payroll? it's not like you're going to get anything shipped, since Nokia fails to specify even vaguely what the code should do - the contractors who knew what OS they were aiming for were lucky(Nokia road maps were lies, treachery and deceit - every single one of them for past 10 years! EVERY SINGLE YEAR!).

They had more people working on concepts than actual working people working on what the next shipping product should behave like and those few people were so detached from development teams it wasn't even funny.

Posting as anon due to having done some work for the organization, as an outsider, as someone who worked at a 3rd party who shipped code embedded in firmware and as someone who worked for platform development. As far as I know some phones sold today still have couple of lines code from me - lines that could have been written by anyone out of school, but the tough part was waiting, waiting for graphics that wouldn't render on the shipping libraries, waiting for design specs. What good is a crack development team if the client supposedly has legions of UI experts but is unable to assign them to do any decisions? and what's the point of having dedicated graphics contractors if they don't bother to know the platform they're drawing their vector graphics for? what's the point of having project state management diagrams when every item on them is a variation "waiting for another team"? what does it matter to use Indians if once the specs do come in you have to wait for another team to finish their part of the api - that they were supposed to do 9 months ago but didn't since the platform was supposedly axed already - so you can actually do something resembling the specification within the limits your code is allowed to work under?

And SYNERGY! Few of you reading might get what that means but the way Nokia handled SW versioning would make for good source material for a really bizarre book. Only thing sadder than it was the usage of Visual SourceSafe at a contractor.

Nokia middle management was for the past 10 years mainly concerned about how to exit from the company - the usual plan was arranging Nokia contracts to preferred contractors, personally preferred contractors. This was a game in Finland in which hundreds of millions exchanged hands, code and product turn to secondary products used to screw both domestic and foreign investors out of their money due to unjustly inflated company value. How about a company doing only contracting to Nokia being sold at a value of 600 000 euros per employee due to their ultimately very temporary Nokia contract? Of course it is not he stupid who asks but who pays, but some of these cases are more than just borderline fraudulent.

One good example of this is how Symbian OS in it's later incarnations has wifi hotspot functionality built in, however you need a 3rd party UI to turn it on - the needed headers and platform security signing rights were given only to a certain company favored by a middle manager.

Kudos to those who managed to stay motivated to write code under these circumstances - of course few of them were very handsomely paid for their part in it, but most were not and were rather just used as peons in order to inflate budgets, to get more budget.

So management and contracting was in such a state that it wasn't that out of question to bring an outsider to clean house - but I really doubt that anyone thought that Elop would manage to fuck up even more than the old management. It's like Ford telling people to not buy the T-Model because he's going to license Citroen CV after the WW2. Elop was acting like a MS fanboi and couldn't hide it. He should have just kept nibbling on his pinkyfinger and said that they were working on something and only release information when they had something actually for sale, but for his motives it fit to accelerate the demise of non-wp platforms.

And the Nokia execs you see on news? THEY'RE JUST SALESMEN! JO HARLOW IS JUST A SALESWOMAN! ELOP IS JUST A SALESMAN!

Re:subcontracting (4, Informative)

CockMonster (886033) | about 2 years ago | (#41638017)

The 'bad code written in India' mainly came from the SoC manufacturers who'd write the baseports and drivers, in my time they were Broadcom and ST-Ericsson. (The Raspberry Pi uses the same graphics hardware as the N8). They were so flaky you couldn't believe. And on top of that Nokia management expected the entire stack to be developed in parallel. It was unworkable, they'd release new Symbian environments a few times a day and if it worked you got lucky, if it didn't you just wasted 4 hours downloading Gigs of rubbish only to have to delete it and see if anyone else had a working env. There were other Nokia-proper teams in India but the code they wrote shouldn't have brought down a board and if it did there was usually a workaround. However due to the *appalling communication* within Nokia it was nigh-on impossible to find out what the workaround was, or even who to ask. We'd have to do test runs everyday yet the phones in development crashed constantly and unpredictably so you couldn't tell if it was your code causing the problem or something else. Managers demanded answers and ignored the truth. To be fair the whole system was so fucked there really was nothing that could have been done. The subcontractors that I knew of were Sasken and another I can't think of right now.

I need a new phone soon (5, Insightful)

tantrum (261762) | about 2 years ago | (#41635271)

My N900 is almost 3 years old, and it is starting to show it's age. I really hope the combination mer/sailfish will turn out ok, as i haven't found anything able to replace my current N900 yet.

I'm going to miss Nokia if they go down for good :(

Re:I need a new phone soon (1)

WilliamBaughman (1312511) | about 2 years ago | (#41635937)

If what you want is a good, unlocked Linux phone, get a Galaxy Nexus. It's $349.00 [google.com] , it's unlocked, it runs Linux (wrapped in Android but allowing you to build your own kernels [xda-developers.com] ), and it's actually a good phone. If you're not in the US market, and you don't want the N9, consider the Razr i, which also has an unlocked boot loader. Me? I'm happy with my iPhone 4S, I'll just keep iOS 5, thank you very much ;-)

Re:I need a new phone soon (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41636001)

Except for that Android bit.

Re:I need a new phone soon (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | about 2 years ago | (#41636403)

>Except for that Android bit.

exactly

oh, and the capacitive screen

and the keyboard

Re:I need a new phone soon (1)

Arhaglor (2751573) | about 2 years ago | (#41636099)

My N900 is almost 3 years old, and it is starting to show it's age. I really hope the combination mer/sailfish will turn out ok, as i haven't found anything able to replace my current N900 yet.

I'm going to miss Nokia if they go down for good :(

you're not alone... I'll be desperate if nothing intelligible will appear to replace maemo I've on the phone... it's ridiculous, it's sad. I don't want android, I want something amazing for my n900

Re:I need a new phone soon (1)

cockroach2 (117475) | about 2 years ago | (#41637139)

I just recently got an N9 (after using an Android phone for about 2 years) and it's just an amazing phone (hardware *and* software wise). Maybe that would be an option for you, if you still manage to get one somewhere.

Re:I need a new phone soon (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#41637893)

Too bad it's on the slow side when browsing. Software needs polishing, too, but they managed one hell of an interface.

Re:I need a new phone soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41636377)

Time will tell, but keep in mind that the company name originated with a factory making rubber boots.

Re:I need a new phone soon (1)

kc8tbe (772879) | about 2 years ago | (#41637067)

If rumors are true, there should be five new Nexus-branded devices compatible with the Android Open Source Project coming out November 5. In addition to running the most hackable version of Android, it should also be relatively easy to get them running Debian, Ubuntu, or even MeeGo.

Re:I need a new phone soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41637325)

I used to have a N900, but I gave up on it due to inadequate battery life and resolution for any actual work. Now I have a N9 and it's no better as far as productivity is concerned. I caved in and got an iPad for my remote VPN/SSH/RDP needs and I'm quite happy with it. The N9 is now mainly used for voice and text messaging. I honestly don't think there's a phone on the market that will adequately function as a portable workstation, unless you have some kind of dock with external screen and keyboard to go along with it.

Re:I need a new phone soon (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#41639077)

jolla is going to be continuing the Nokia MeeGo line.

Slight re-evaluation of Elop (4, Interesting)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | about 2 years ago | (#41635287)

I'd always assumed Meego had been canned because Elop is a Microsoft Trojan Horse who just wanted to get back into bed with Microsoft and kill anything new, open-source and great. But reading this story of events, I'm quite dismayed to read just how unguided and wasteful the development process apparently was. Even though the final end product (the N9) was terrific, it looks like they only got it properly together when they were told that the project would be canned after the release of the N9. It really does look like a lack of overriding vision and lack of staff working towards a common goal which resulted in the Meego project swimming in circles while the tide took them out.

Going with Microsoft was obviously a bad choice, though. What he needed to do was scrap Symbian, say that Meego would be scrapped after the N9. Pretend to sign a deal with Microsoft. Wait for the greatness that was the N9. Sell the N9. Profit. Develop the N9 to get it to work on LTE., upgrade the processor, memory etc & Profit more...

Re:Slight re-evaluation of Elop (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41635733)

First of all, I don't think you "pretend" to do anything with Microsoft without a lot of legal bother later.

But also consider at the time that Meego just was not in the same place that iOS and Android were in terms of a rich SDK for developers, never mind the comparative lack of applications. Windows Mobile made a lot of sense vs. putting the effort into having Meego catch up to other mobile OS's...

Of course in retrospect with Microsoft tossing all WP7 phones onto the fire in terms of upgrade, perhaps Nokia did have the time to make that happen. But that does not matter anymore, at the moment Nokia is firmly tied to Microsoft and the only out for them is Android (or folding).

Re:Slight re-evaluation of Elop (3, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41636611)

"too many cooks spoil the broth"

once it was announced dead platform, the shit cooks went away. up until then it was billed as "the next thing" withing nokia and finnish scene - ironically it was at that state since announcement in maemo form, it was always 2-3 years from being on every nokia phone, however symbian and s40 were always going to run on inferior hw so that's why it was for the whole time in that "future" bracket.

N9 is still my favorite phone to develop for (5, Insightful)

CreamyG31337 (1084693) | about 2 years ago | (#41635651)

The phone itself is running x11 which is really great for porting apps to it. You get to use c++ and the great qt framework and extensions for pretty much everything, with the option of doing the UI in QML (a javascript based framework). You get to use deb packaging which you either know already or doesn't hurt to learn. If you use the qt creator sdk it does all the dirty work for you, but you can develop without it and just use the scratchbox environment instead if you prefer. Services run with upstart. The xterminal and related developer tools are already compiled and hosted in nokia's repositories, one click to install everything. The fcam camera api allows raw shooting and manual aperture and focus. Gnome tracker indexes your messages and music. The nolo bootloader can be set up to dual boot to another OS. I look forward to the new Sailfish OS promised by Jolla, I have faith the guys writing it are the ones behind some of the well designed N9 OS, and won't make it any worse. I tried windows phone 7 and you're not even allowed to run background services, let alone run your own code without paying a $99 fee.

Re:N9 is still my favorite phone to develop for (0, Flamebait)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#41636155)

The phone itself is running x11...

And that's where you lost me. Running a new product on a painfully outdated stack? No thanks.

Re:N9 is still my favorite phone to develop for (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41636477)

You would never know, quite honestly.

Re:N9 is still my favorite phone to develop for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41637309)

From what I can see X11 (with native code).
Has less of a penalty than using a virtual machine.
(Try Tizen / Android on an Advent Vega to see for yourself).

Re:N9 is still my favorite phone to develop for (1)

CreamyG31337 (1084693) | about 2 years ago | (#41637471)

Running, like from a users point of view?
Why do they care?
It's good for developers, though. There's lots of open source software that expects x11, now to port it all you have to do is change the window size and maybe set a few flags to make it fullscreen. Maybe write a double buffer extension using pixmaps because nokia removed the one that is supposed to be in x11. If you're writing a new app, there's lots of other frameworks available on the n9 that wrap all the x11 stuff away so you never see it, so it's really not that painful. The important thing is we have some options, if Nokia didn't basically tell everyone that this phone was discontinued the minute they shipped it, developers would have invested a lot more in the device. Maemo devices are real 'hacker' devices, I don't know why, but we have unofficial apps and clients for all sorts of things that just don't happen on other platforms.

It's good enough for the Kindle ... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#41638371)

... and frankly, a 1980s style framebuffer, even if redone today for the nth time, is the "outdated stack".

Re:N9 is still my favorite phone to develop for (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#41639091)

x11 has problems with high end video cards on desktops and $2000 laptops. On a phone its not really that outdated. And I say that as a Wayland fan.

Re:N9 is still my favorite phone to develop for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41636433)

I wrote a small app a few months ago for the N9, using the QtSDK and QML. It was the most fun writing software I've had in YEARS. Writing a nice GUI apparently doesn't have to suck, running code in an emulator and debugger apparently doesn't have to be abysmally slow, and deploying apparently can be done wireless over SSH without any problem.

And all that with free (beer AND speech) software. Suck on that, Android/iOS/Windows Phone.

(Although actually, Qt is / is coming for Android/iOS as well.)

Re:N9 is still my favorite phone to develop for (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41636711)

The phone itself is running x11 which is really great for porting apps to it. You get to use c++ and the great qt framework and extensions for pretty much everything, with the option of doing the UI in QML (a javascript based framework). You get to use deb packaging which you either know already or doesn't hurt to learn. If you use the qt creator sdk it does all the dirty work for you, but you can develop without it and just use the scratchbox environment instead if you prefer. Services run with upstart. The xterminal and related developer tools are already compiled and hosted in nokia's repositories, one click to install everything. The fcam camera api allows raw shooting and manual aperture and focus. Gnome tracker indexes your messages and music. The nolo bootloader can be set up to dual boot to another OS. I look forward to the new Sailfish OS promised by Jolla, I have faith the guys writing it are the ones behind some of the well designed N9 OS, and won't make it any worse. I tried windows phone 7 and you're not even allowed to run background services, let alone run your own code without paying a $99 fee.

The jolla guys are apparently avoiding any patent mines in the ui, so it might be different for that sake in too. if they're to hit their implied(in speeches, q&a sessions) release targets they'll have to release something pretty soon though.

and wp is so limited it's silly. s40 is more free. but ask the local MS branch for a free developer key and there's a pretty good chance they'll give one to you, it's there just to make source distributioning to end users a hassle.

Re:N9 is still my favorite phone to develop for (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 2 years ago | (#41638499)

The N900 is the best phone I have ever used. Full Linux system. Great physical keyboard. And it supports QT (as well as the GTK-based Hildon) if I ever get around to writing some apps for the thing.

Re:N9 is still my favorite phone to develop for (1)

DerPflanz (525793) | about 2 years ago | (#41640145)

I had a N900 and did some hacking on it with Python. I also have a Galaxy Nexus and am using the exquisite Android Eclipse plugin to develop for it.

I can tell you, developing for Android is way better than for the N900. You get better apps out faster. Plus they run on almost all devices, not just the N900.

Re:N9 is still my favorite phone to develop for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41640205)

Have you tried QML? I did. And for simple apps or the GUI side of big apps it beats Android's way hands down.

I haven't been fan of Eclipse. Recently my company swapped it in favor of IntelliJ which has even better Android support, as well as way better Maven support.

What a surface-level article. (0)

rwade (131726) | about 2 years ago | (#41636077)

In other words, this article is crap. It's not even an article -- it's a write-up. You see a multi-page write-up and expect some actual information and facts; instead, you get nothing but what could only honestly be called whining:

From TFA [taskumuro.com]

Products were mostly made by subcontracting without a top organization or support from certain sector’s professionals. No one intervened with the process and it resulted in quality problems in finished products. Considering the small resources and the subcontracting, lowest price was always the first priority in choosing components, space requirement was second and poor hardware performance was patched up with software optimizations as well as possible. Cutting expenses from the software developers didn’t particularly motivate anyone, considering the fact that savings were made in material expenses by using poor components, which then meant stress for the next couple of weeks in performance optimization.

Most of the people we interviewed from Nokia said that Nokia used too much subcontracting. Building specific knowledge from scratch inside the company is expensive and time consuming, and the OSSO team’s resources were limited.

There were a lot of problems, it was difficult to keep hold of the quality of the subcontractors’ work and the contracts weren’t supervised properly. The subcontractors could cheat in the contracts by changing the best experts, who were there in the beginning, to less qualified people. Examples given included bad code written in India and the communication problems with the Chinese and the Japanese because of their poor English skills. All this resulted in more additional work and delays for the project managers in Finland, when they had to take measures to repair the errors and poor quality.

Okay, so the development contractors were chosen based on low price. That is one fact.

Okay, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian coders were used. That is another fact.

But beyond that...no other facts. The article alludes to "bad code written in India and the communication problems with the Chinese and the Japanese because of their poor English skills." But what bad code?

It alludes to "project managers in Finland, [taking] measures to repair the errors and poor quality."

Examples of errors? No where to be found.

Re:What a surface-level article. (1)

hydrofix (1253498) | about 2 years ago | (#41636781)

You do understand that the interviewed current and ex-employees of Nokia had to speak generally and under the condition of anonymity because they are subject to very strict NDAs? Talking about anything specific could make it possible to identify the individual. We should be greatful that we even got this peek into the inner workings of the MeeGo project, and what went wrong.

BTW if you want a more in-depth (albeit slightly outdated) look at Nokia's downfall from #1 mobile phone producer in the world, have a look at this [www.hs.fi] article. It is also much more journalitically written, and touches extensively on MeeGo as well.

Thanks! (1)

rwade (131726) | about 2 years ago | (#41636863)

You do understand that the interviewed current and ex-employees of Nokia had to speak generally and under the condition of anonymity because they are subject to very strict NDAs? Talking about anything specific could make it possible to identify the individual.

So you're saying you agree that it is a surface-level write-up. Okay. Thanks!

Re:Thanks! (1)

hydrofix (1253498) | about 2 years ago | (#41637071)

Well yes, it's not maybe a Pulitzer Prize earning writeup. But these people are tech enthusiasts, not journalists, after all. Also, good to bear in mind that the original article [taskumuro.com] was published in Finnish, and translated to English by volunteers. However, I enjoyed the read because it provides very exclusive insight to the story behind MeeGo.

Re:What a surface-level article. (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#41640249)

Examples given included bad code written in India and the communication problems with the Chinese and the Japanese because of their poor English skills.

I have sometimes wondered, as Asians are the top dogs in hi-tech and electronics, why is their English language skill so poor then? One could assume that they would push it more in schools, especially along engineering subjects.

mod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41636297)

codebase Became FreeBSD's recent article put

The real problem: in-fighting (2)

hydrofix (1253498) | about 2 years ago | (#41636983)

Even before Nokia scrapped its whole smartphone strategy, the MeeGo project was in difficulties. The biggest problem was that Nokia clung to Symbian, refusing to see the obvious fact that the customers were attracted to the competitors' platforms because they had a much stronger offering of 3rd party apps. MeeGo/Maemo was a good development platform, but internal competition between teams meant that the managers of the much older Symbian division would do anything in their power to stall the development of the "competing" platform. Although this might have shielded a few jobs in the Symbian division for a short period, Nokia's customers, and eventually the company as a whole, had to pay a very dire price for this indecisiveness.

Relevant quotes:

First signs of Nokia’s internal competition between two platforms were seen with the N810 device. It was released in late 2007 and entered the market without phone functionality. It would have been Nokia’s first Maemo phone, but the decision to leave out the phone functionality was said to have been completely political.

According to a Maemo team member we interviewed, Symbian team directors were afraid of the possible competition between the N810 and the Symbian based communicator.

Inside Nokia, members of the Maemo team thought that the managers of the Symbian team were afraid for their jobs, and used their positions within the company to slow down the development of Maemo by any means they could.

N9 will remain most critically acclaimed and one of the fastest-selling and anticipated models in the company's history. Sadly, it could have been so much more, the beginning of a new platform like Android and iOS, but it was ultimately an executive-level decision to prioritize Symbian over Maemo. With falling market figures, this eventually lead to a situation where the whole strategy had to be scrapped in favor of Microsoft serfdom.

Re:The real problem: in-fighting (1)

21mhz (443080) | about 2 years ago | (#41638053)

N9 will remain most critically acclaimed and one of the fastest-selling and anticipated models in the company's history.

... in nerd mythology. Nobody outside Nokia has seen the real sales figures, though.

Re:The real problem: in-fighting (3, Informative)

hydrofix (1253498) | about 2 years ago | (#41638277)

... in nerd mythology. Nobody outside Nokia has seen the real sales figures, though.

Right on. Here [blogs.com] is the estimate (by Tomi Ahonen, a blogger and ex-employee).

Re:The real problem: in-fighting (2)

21mhz (443080) | about 2 years ago | (#41639757)

Ahonen is the single identifiable origin of this myth.

Meego sucked (1)

moonwatcher2001 (2710261) | about 2 years ago | (#41637305)

Spring and summer of 2011 I worked part time testing software at a company that wrote software on contact to Nokia and the big Android OEMs.I always hated when I got a Meego to test. Apps wouldn't launch, would crash randomly just a disaster.

I still don't get Elop's decision (1)

thammoud (193905) | about 2 years ago | (#41637745)

Nokia makes some of the most beautiful hardware. I would have seriously considered switching from iPhone to get a nice Nokia Android phone. I simply can not stand Windows phones or anything associated with Microsoft. They have (had) a great reputation and completely messed it up. There still is a chance that they wake up and bet on Android. Samsung is making money hands over fist on Android. Nokia can do the same. Windows 8 is a dead end for them.

Meego was a dead end. (0)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about 2 years ago | (#41637963)

meego was truly a dead end. There are far too many of these mobile platforms. The last thing the world needs is Yet Another Incompatable Mobile OS. Each company trying to do their own OS simply harms consumers, leading to scattered development. Developers basically cannot target more than 2 or so platforms.

It was smart for Nokia to dump Meego but questionable to go with Windows Phone. Like RIM, they should go with Google Android. It is actually confounding to watch companies spend years while their market share slips away, trying to reinvent the wheel, when they could take Android right off the shelf and have something in stores right away.

Re:Meego was a dead end. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41638557)

I agree that they had no choice but to dump Meego. However, going the Android route is no guarantee. Look at HTC and Motorola, they make excellent devices and yet they're still struggling.

Re:Meego was a dead end. (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#41639101)

And then what? With a generic OS they end up in the same position as the PC manufacturers as commodity vendors selling their phones for slightly more than the cost of parts. Where is the upside there?

BTW Jolla's MeeGo runs Android apps as does RIMs system.

That IS the goal of some futurists... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41639779)

Yes. The upside *for the consumers* is that the freaking phone works with anything and everything.

And if that "generic OS" can be *easily* customized to the user's every whim, is super cheap (or have no licensing fees at all like Android), AND is easy to develop for, then that will be the best seller. Guaranteed.

I was a Nokia Fanboi (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | about 2 years ago | (#41638465)

I have had innumerable Nokia phones going back to the Radio Shack branded Nokia hand held in the 80's. I especially like Maemo. I have an N770, N800, N900, and an N9.

I have also had a lot of Symbian phones. the best being my N95, and the worst of all the N97. I have an N8 which is a nice phone with a great camera, and an N808 Pureview which is a great camera infected with Symbian Belle which is flaky as hell.

I won my N900 as a door prize at the chicago Nokia store launch. Wow!

I just bought a Nokia Asha 311 to play with, and at least Symbian S40 is stable. Actually Symbian S40 at 1Ghz is fucking awesome.

I think many here have it wrong. The N9 was beautiful and would have sold well if it had corporate support. I also think Microsoft's main goal is to contractually tie up Nokia, then drive the stock price to the basement and pick up bargin maps and patents. I think that was the plan all along.

Nokia was the last phone company to make the handsets for the customers. All the other make them for consumers with spyware and ad injected bloatware.

End of an ERA.

Re:I was a Nokia Fanboi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41638973)

Nokia was at 40 and went below 2.
How much lower does it have to go before msft decides it's a good deal according too your dopey theory?

Nokia is simply an example of shithead management and european employees who sat on their ass for too long.

P.S. android is a pos os written for pos devices. But they are cheap and available. Most of the lusers can't even figure out how to move their contacts to another phone.
Windows will allow the average moron to click on a tile and make excel spreadsheets at a slighly higher cost.
Some here will look pretty stupid a year from now when everyone has a shiny new w9 phone.
APPLE will be scratching their heads and google could care less.

Re:I was a Nokia Fanboi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41639977)

Did you dream that shit while licking your father's anal rind?

Microsoft propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41639211)

Nothing to see there in that article. It's all just part of the massive $$$ PR bulldozing of Nokia history, plain and simple.

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