Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Symbian Blasts Google's Phone Initiative

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the well-now-there's-a-shocker dept.

Portables 276

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

cancel ×

276 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First step for symbian. (5, Insightful)

raffe (28595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21266861)

Hey, take a lesson from Microsoft:
1. First they ignore you (Linux? What is that? Who cares?).
2. They ridicule you (Linux is like cancer. Linux is un-American)
3. Then they fight you. (Our ROI is so much better and we have a roadmap too!)
4. Then you win

It will happen to you to symbian!!

Re:First step for symbian. (3, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21266973)

2.

I've always thought Symbian should merge with Sybian.

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

Ooo. Ouch! Man, Symbian kicked me in the nuts !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267523)

Ooo. Ouch! Man, Symbian kicked me in the nuts !!

Telling, but true. Mobile land is no place for kids and there linux.

Re:First step for symbian. (1)

MouseR (3264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21266989)

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

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

Now Google announce the same thing (which is probably how we ended up with 350+ Linux distros in the first place). now, Google is much larger and has more resources so I suppose next week we can expect something rather nice and complete (and full of adds), but it would have been nice for the "open" nature of this actually looked at and embraced other "open" solutions.

This is going to look as silly as the Blur Ray/HD-DVD war going on.

Re:First step for symbian. (1)

nektra (886676) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267419)

TrollTech is not comparable to alliances like HTC + Google. Have you seen HTC TyTN II [htc.com] ? The only weak point I see is building a good mobile GUI in Linux.

all i got to say is... (1)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267007)

Damnnnnnnn...that is cold.

Re:First step for symbian. (3, Insightful)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267063)

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

I would estimate that linux is more prevalent in the cell phone market than in the desktop market, so you're likely backwards here.

Re:First step for symbian. (4, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267279)

Uhm, the point here being that they have already passed step 1, 2, and is now doing 3.

Re:First step for symbian. (2, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267335)

Linux is winning, but not in desktop things yet.

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

The desktop will get there eventually. I hear more and more about Ubuntu making excellent progress, and thanks to Linux being open that means that any improvements to one distribution can propagate to other ones as well.

Re:First step for symbian. (4, Insightful)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267443)

These are different birds. Microsoft is not even a remotely large embedded player- to say that there are linux-based access points is a moot point, since they don't offer a microsoft based wireless router in the mainstream.

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

My point is simply that he's got it backwards- the cell phone market is much more promising for linux than desktop, at this point. Linux will really rely on the death of the classic PC market to enjoy total market "domination"-- or permeation, if you will- Microsoft is more vulnerable to the linux-based device market overtaking PC's than linux taking the PC market- if you're just arbitrarily anti-Microsoft you might like the see the captain go down with his ship, in this case.

Re:First step for symbian. (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267879)

Linux certainly has it easier in applications like cell phones, but I'm not so sure of that domination will have to wait for the death of the desktop. I don't think the desktop will die completely, for that matter.

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

Once you get to that point, there's little of importance to add, so you start piling up eyecandy and pointless features. You can see this in things like antiviruses. Once you have an antivirus that does what it's supposed to, what do you add to distinguish it from the competition? It seems that this currently means custom GUI widgets that are often less usable than the native ones. Windows seems to be going through something like that.

On the other hand, Linux still has a way to go in the desktop area, and has the advantage of that it can easily choose not to include annoying things Microsoft does (DRM, say). Linux, being able to deliver without being subject to the constraints of a company, can ultimately reach a point where it can provide things MS can't.

For example, with Windows you have to pay $$$ to get a domain controller. With Linux you don't need to pay extra, and in fact Samba makes it possible to make a box that works as one that's cheaper than just the MS license for the OS.

Re:First step for symbian. (1)

madirad (163824) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267679)

As a hardware (ASIC) designer I talked to Xbox last year. They don't even run their hardware design tools on any Microsoft platform. It's on Linux servers running Synopsys and Cadence tools.

Re:First step for symbian. (1)

saintm (142527) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267087)

I don't recall Linux winning the desktop yet, so there is another step in there:

3.5. ??????

Symbian must have some sand in their Bajingos (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267119)

It obvious that they see Linux as a threat, otherwise why would they be so hostile? They're clearly afraid.

Re:Symbian must have some sand in their Bajingos (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267199)

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

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

It's not always about revenue. The only platform that I know of that is more hostile towards developers than symbian is brew. Go and check the hoops you have to jump through to get your program published on their horribly broken platform.

(anon for a reason)

Re:Symbian must have some sand in their Bajingos (1, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267341)

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

Uhh.. what?

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

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

Compared to some platforms it's positively open.

Re:Symbian must have some sand in their Bajingos (1)

ORBAT (1050226) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267477)

Ever since Symbian 9.1 (or S60 v3 in Nokia-speak) signing of applications has been mandatory and it also broke compatibility with previous versions. You can always self-sign your application, but to do anything actually interesting like access any files or use the network connection, you have to get your application signed by a Test House (and possibly the cell phone manufacturer.) To get your software signed for free, you have to jump a lot of hoops, and if you're developing commercial software you have to shell out cash for the signature.

How is that NOT hostile?

Re:Symbian must have some sand in their Bajingos (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267581)

1. If you're making commercial software then paying for a proper certificate is a very minor cost - even independent devs do it.
2. Free developer certificates work fine.

You don't have to get your app signed by a 'test house' you sign your apps yourself using your companies' cerficicate.

Plus you can access files and use the network and other stuff like GPS with a standard developer certificate... heck I've even written stuff that does that myself. What you can't do with the dev certs is mess around with the OS itself - that requires a special certificate - but 99% of applications will never need that.

Most 3rd party symbian *signed* apps cost about £5. They can sell that cheap because developing for symbian is dirt cheap, and anyone can do it.

bunk (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267965)

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

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

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

Nokia would do well to continue down their current path of supporting C++ exceptions, POSIX threads, and BSD sockets. But - hey now - wouldn't Symbian be like Linux?

Whoops (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21266885)

Pride and all that.

Hmm... A bit of complacency there too.
 

Re:Whoops (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267131)

Pride? I think he sounds scared...

In that case... (5, Interesting)

OgreChow (206018) | more than 6 years ago | (#21266909)

I'm glad there's no cure for the common cold. Is this guy just completely missing the fact that some of the brightest young developers in the world work for Google? They don't need external developers in order to be a success. Any third-party dev is just icing on the cake.

Bingo! Monocultures will dominate. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267957)

Is this guy just completely missing the fact that some of the brightest young developers in the world work for Google? They don't need external developers in order to be a success.

Bingo!

MS dominates the world, due in no small part, that they are a monoculture and tightly control the platform while 3rd party developers make the apps, but still have to do things the MS way or their apps won't work very well.

Google will also be a giant juggernaut monoculture, stealing vast chunks of marketshare from MS... with the big difference being that they'll be based upon an open platform, but will tightly control the development end of things instead.

A lot of /what/, before /who/ gets out of bed? (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21266917)

Symbian and BREW developers are scarce, not because it's boring or unprofitable to develop for mobile platforms, but because it costs a fortune to get development licenses with the software vendors and distribution licenses with the carriers. If there was a truly open phone, with an SDK that allowed full network and display access, and users could install and run these apps without a carrier distribution aggrements, there would be many more mobile developers.

Nothing like building a big wall around yourself, then complaining that nobody ever comes to visit.

Re:A lot of /what/, before /who/ gets out of bed? (2, Insightful)

shirizaki (994008) | more than 6 years ago | (#21266983)

Nothing like building a big wall around yourself, then complaining that nobody ever comes to visit.
No, more like "We've built this big wall between us, the carriers, and the consumers to shave the sheep clean, and now all this open and free comes along to ruin it for us!" THAT is the real reason.

Re:A lot of /what/, before /who/ gets out of bed? (1)

kyofunikushimi (769712) | more than 6 years ago | (#21266993)

FTA:

It's costly, arduous and at times a deeply unsexy job of supporting customers day by day in launching phones. That's something there's very little experience of in Google's environment. "if you are a serious phone maker and you are asked to bet your handsets on somebody, you would want to bet on someone with a track record of delivery and support.
They're not delivering the phones. They won't be supporting phone users directly. They'll be dealing directly with the hardware companies, which is NOT the same thing as supporting end users. The phone companies will be supporting the end users. If you need some help with your iPhone chances are you contact AT&T, NOT Apple.

Re:A lot of /what/, before /who/ gets out of bed? (4, Insightful)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267099)

They're not delivering the phones. They won't be supporting phone users directly.

That's what he said - "supporting customers ... in launching phones". Helping customers, the phone manufacturers, launch phones.

"If you are a serious phone maker ... you would want to bet on someone with a track record of delivery and support."

But he does sound a touch envious of the lifestyles of those at Google - describing his own work as "a deeply unsexy job". Aww... ;-)

Re:A lot of /what/, before /who/ gets out of bed? (1)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267241)

Developer support is kind of a big deal in the real world. Real developer support is what open source's open access and fully available documentation pretends to emulate. The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of cell phone developers google would need to support. Thousands upon thousands.

When companies work with a corporate OS, they actually get plenty of open access to the platform and documentation- often with full source licenses. The benefit is that they don't have to deal with a customized fork of linux- a fork they may have to pour lots of money into to get through shoddy documentation and inaccessible, often proprietary work from competitors (like nokia-only extensions in X.org)-- they have a platform they can simply implement and get support on from the ground up, with predictable patch and release cycles and supported tools.

Too many open source people think that a device's hackability is the end all watermark if its developer-friendliness. This couldn't be further from the truth. When you're delivering to customers, you want predictable results and a stable platform- hackability is only relevant to students, hobbyists, and software activists. The embedded market is about making a self-contained device, not an unstable wide-open PC.

If you want hackability in phones, why not use something based on Windows mobile? The .NET development system offers developers a stable and fairly accessible alternative to tossing things together in Java or writing native programs without really compromising the system.

Re:A lot of /what/, before /who/ gets out of bed? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267091)

Palm? WinCE?
Both offer full TCP/IP access last time I checked. Even the Blackberry now offers access to the TCP/IP in their SDK.

Re:A lot of /what/, before /who/ gets out of bed? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267111)

Both have sizable developer communities too. There's a reason they weren't in my short list.

Re:A lot of /what/, before /who/ gets out of bed? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267705)

But you said, "If there was a truly open phone, with an SDK that allowed full network and display access, and users could install and run these apps without a carrier distribution aggrements, there would be many more mobile developers."
You said "If", that implies that there are no phones with that are easy to develop for. Just pointing out that there are phones already do have a easy to access SDK. As far as I can tell they are not Open as in the FOSS use of Open but they are easy to develop for.

Re:A lot of /what/, before /who/ gets out of bed? (1)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267367)

but because it costs a fortune to get development licenses with the software vendors

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

and distribution licenses with the carriers.
In symbian's case, you don't need to go to the carrier. It's another reason why their OS is years ahead of the game.

If there was a truly open phone, with an SDK that allowed full network and display access, and users could install and run these apps without a carrier distribution aggrements,

What are you waiting for? Right here: http://www.forum.nokia.com/info/sw.nokia.com/id/05c63dfd-d6e9-4c0e-b185-d365e7001aeb/S60-SDK-0548-3.0-f.3.215f.zip.html [nokia.com]

Symbian is in a sh!t storm right now. Microsoft is using their usual tricks resources to screw the better OS out of the market. Apple's out-shouting symbian with their platform. Nokia has all kinds of Linux initiatives going on but two products actually using it, and BREW definitely is not a "compile once run everywhere" solution.

Symbian's OS is arguably the best in the field, so I can understand why this guy is pissed. Maybe his business plan has other problems, but you are all missing out on a great phone OS that you CAN ACTUALLY WRITE NEW APPS WITHOUT THE CARRIERS BOTHERING YOU if you don't have one.

Re:A lot of /what/, before /who/ gets out of bed? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267389)

because it costs a fortune to get development licenses

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

There are many, many thousands of symbian developers and many many thousands of independent symbian apps.

Re:A lot of /what/, before /who/ gets out of bed? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267445)

Incorrect. The developer certificates are NOT free, Symbian signing is NOT free. It's only free if you're developing freeware, otherwise you're looking at about 500 to get an application tested and signed.

Re:A lot of /what/, before /who/ gets out of bed? (2, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267803)

Developer certificates *are* free. For anyone. You only start paying if you want to distribute a signed application.

You pay for the certificate if you want to start distributing commercial apps. That's no more cost than you would pay for a signing certificate on Windows for example and if you can't recover that cost how are you paying your devs in the first place? You do *not* have to submit the app for testing once your company has a certificate, as the signing application is part of the SDK. We actually have one, although the project that was going to be used for it got shelved.. the cert. is there though and I could use it if I wanted.

Even many independent applications distribute signed because it's easier on their customers. At the free end the more common model is to distribute unsigned and sign it yourself using a dev. cert. - and that's just a tedious extra step (pity they made it mandatory.. optional was far better).

That hardly counts as 'hostile'. Windows mobile needs signed apps, you can bet the google OS will have similar requirements and the iphone definately will (if they ever release the SDK to non-approved developers, which is looking doubtful).

Re:A lot of /what/, before /who/ gets out of bed? (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267511)

Well, BREW, whaterver its technical merits or problems, is all about the carriers being the gatekeepers between developers and the users. Once you've paid your SDK and testin fees, you have to sit down and convince a carrier to let you sell your product to their customers. Basically the carriers would prefer anything a customer does with their network to be tied to some fee producing service.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:A lot of /what/, before /who/ gets out of bed? (5, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267545)

Mod this down, it's complete bullshit from someone who hasn't a clue. The SDKs for Symbian OS are free downloads, there are plenty of shareware and freeware developers working on it, and you don't need any license to install such apps on a phone.

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

And... (0, Redundant)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 6 years ago | (#21266933)

... and that iPhone thingy will never take off either!

Methinks he doth protest too much.

Re:And... (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267221)

"You're not the boss of me!" - said a Symbian executive cowering under the stairs...

Competition. (-1, Redundant)

neoform (551705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21266949)

How *dare* google try to compete with us! The nerve of some companies!

Re:Competition. (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267185)

Except. Everybody is all excited about... Well at this point nothing.
What no screen shots? No docs? Not even a pretty phone to look at? I mean who really cares until they show SOMETHING!
The Iphone is a nice IPod+browser+phone but until I can add real apps it isn't what I consider a smart phone.
I still have not seen this SDK apple said was coming.
Yea I have high hopes but I can understand those that are more than just a little annoyed at the hype.

Re:Competition. (3, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267347)

What no screen shots? No docs? Not even a pretty phone to look at? I mean who really cares until they show SOMETHING!

Exactly. Given that it's Google, there isn't even a beta to look at... But this is Google at its finest -- stirring up a hornet's nest, dropping hints and outright misdirections, then rolling out there own thing like they're surprised anyone had ever heard of it or knew it was coming. It certainly generates buzz.

Re:Competition. (1)

DanielJosphXhan (779185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267505)

Maybe Google is the new Apple ;)

Re:Competition. (1)

link5280 (1141253) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267889)

No, because Apple creates polished and useful software and hardware. I have yet to see this from Google, beta this beta that. Their software sits in semi-finished state, or finished but hardly mainstream or full featured. This might change in the future, but that is what it is now. They are a good search and ad company, that's it. Oh, and they are good at buying other companies.

Re:Competition. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267629)

Buzz and FUD seem to be closely related.
After all Google hasn't hit eveyone out the park.
GTalk which is the only IM I use is not all that popular.
Docs and Calc while nice little programs have not replaced Office or Openoffice.
It could be really cool. Google has loads of money and talent so they have the potential to do great things.
I will say one more time. THEY HAVE SHOWN NOTHING YET. So I will go into wait and see mode.

Symbian v Google (3, Funny)

eraserewind (446891) | more than 6 years ago | (#21266977)

Maybe Google's inexperience will allow them to design a Resource API that doesn't leak memory when you create a variable on the stack. (on the stack! for heavens sake!). It's not for no reason that people complain about Symbian programming.

tro7l (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267011)

dying' crowd - chronic abus3 of obseesives and the As WideOpen,

PR stories on slashdot = lame (4, Insightful)

wattersa (629338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267015)

There are way too many public relations stories on slashdot. Basically you can disregard anything written in a press release or in a news story about what one company said to another. Every time, it is a carefully worded written statement made by the company's PR department or external public relations firm. They often make vague comments that work by implication and innuendo (leaving wiggle room and plausible deniability) rather than commitments to hard facts or positions. Every time someone takes a press release seriously, the company benefits. I for one don't believe slashdot should give top billing to stories like this.

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

Not experienced enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267019)

Heh, that's what Palm said about Apple when the iPhone was just announced. Any effort that shakes the incumbents in the mobile space out of their complacency is a good one as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Not experienced enough? (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267125)

And here's something I was wondering? How is a company to get experience at doing something until they do it. It's that vicious cycle we see when applying for jobs for the first time. They won't hire you because you don't have experience but you can't get experience because they won't hire you.

I say try something new! Google has got the the bank to try something risky and "unsexy" and if it fails, move on knowing that it's core is still making money enough for their private landing strip...

So what? They're not doing it alone. (4, Insightful)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267031)

FTFA
John Forsyth, vice president of strategy at Symbian, the platform that powers many of the world's phones, said Google lacked experience.

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


Among those firms are phone giants HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung. Additionally, they're apparently courting Nokia, as well. I don't think that Google's inexperience in designing phones matters one bit. They've allied themselves with virtually every major mobile phone maker in the market. They don't *need* any experience within Google. They have it in spades with their partners.

Re:So what? They're not doing it alone. (1)

Clarious (1177725) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267189)

Not all of them going to develope Android, they said they will 'support' it.

Re:So what? They're not doing it alone. (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267891)

Yeah, I'm pretty sure Google didn't have any experience writing Search optimized file systems or databases or anything of that ilk either... but it did. It also wrote a crapload of other nifty / amazing applications. Experience isn't necessary, it's just helpful. Did anyone freak out and scream "ZOMG Apple has NO experience making phones! They CAN NOT DO IT!!!!". No, that would have been silly. I think Symbian is just freaking out because they've seen the trouble Microsoft has had competing with Google and I'm sure they're afraid the same thing will happen to them.

I don't like Symbian.... (0, Redundant)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267045)

I always read it as Sybian ;-)

Cold (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267047)

Once your old and useless it's fairly normal to die from a common cold.

Then he threw a chair through the room and said: (0, Offtopic)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267053)

"I'm going to f#cking kill Google".

Lousy summary (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267065)

Saying that Linux is like the common cold is not a good summary of saying that the frequent linux mobile efforts are like the common cold.

But Symbian sucks (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267067)

Really, it's horrible.

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

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

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

I own an Nokia N91, I'd add.

Re:But Symbian sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267271)

Symbian doesn't do GUIs. Phone manufacturers do. Complain to them, not Symbian

Re:But Symbian sucks (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267431)

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

Still, I think it could be easier, and I think feature creep has added a lot of deep menu chains, so I wish it were more customizable for the features I use. I know Symbian devs spend a lot of time on memory safety (nothing can leak, ever) and I'm not sure if an open OS for mobile will enforce the stability as well, so I'm taking the wait-and-see approach. I've hard crashed my Palm T3 enough times with shoddily coded products to know how important that is in a mobile device. Obviously poorly coded programs on Symbian could do the same, but I haven't ever found one (not that I've looked hard, but I have unlocked my phone and mucked around a bit).

It's like HR departments all over again.. (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267085)

When they turn round and say "Well, you've not been doing this job for 20 years, so you're obviously not any good at it, as you have no experience".
The amusing thing is that experience doesn't necessarily equate to aptitude. You have to get into the game somewhere, and in a few years, Google WILL have the experience. You don't stop paying attention to good ideas just because they don't come from someone with that 20 year history. A good idea is a good idea.
Besides, it's just the opinion of one company; what carries the weight is what the other product producers in the consortium think of it, and whether they consider it viable to carry the idea through to product.

then why is the iphone killing everything? (4, Insightful)

k3v0 (592611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267105)

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

Re:then why is the iphone killing everything? (1)

bjelkeman (107902) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267385)

This sounds much like what Palm's CEO said previously [daringfireball.net] : "We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone," he said. "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in." Indeed not. Where are Palm now?

Re:then why is the iphone killing everything? (1)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267843)

Where are Palm now?

On my belt. For years. And probably will be for years. The iPhone was--and remains--a lot of hype. I'm happy for Apple with their success and if users like the device, I'm happy for them too. But they're not doing anything with their iPhones that I haven't been doing (or able to do) with my Treo for years.

Inasmuch as they may have improved some user interfaces, great. Competition is always a good thing.

Re:then why is the iphone killing everything? (1)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267387)

They don't. Theirs is just somewhat better than anything else right now.

Re:then why is the iphone killing everything? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267485)

If you think 'crashes constantly, buggy SMS, no MMS, crappy Bluetooth, 2-3 clicks before you can even get to a screen where you can use it as a damned phone' better than everything then you haven't seen many phones.

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

Google will probably go through the same learning curve.. IMO their project is doomed anyway - without nokia support they've lost 90% of the phone market to start with.. and apple will certainly never run googleOS they'll never be in the 'sexy expensive' phones.

Re:then why is the iphone killing everything? (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267565)

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

Other than that Apple is really REALLY good at making software?

Re:then why is the iphone killing everything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267927)

lol

Underestimated, again? (4, Insightful)

RayDude (798709) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267121)

I guess Symbian will become another in the great long list to underestimate Google.

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

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

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

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

Fools.

Re:Underestimated, again? (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267351)

What actually have we seen from Google that is commercially successful apart from search? For their monolithic size and supposedly cool creative environment, we haven't had much to show for it. Vast majority of their services are still in Beta! Outside of their core business of search and serving adverts, Google are doing nothing particularly special. Ye gods, they had to *buy* Youtube because Google Video was so poor!

Symbian have been in the business a *long* time, they are entrenched and have seen off Microsoft and Linux for years. It is supremely arrogant to think the magic Google touch is going to have a great deal of impact here, when it hasn't had much impact anywhere else...

Re:Underestimated, again? (1)

link5280 (1141253) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267709)

...and what area has Google been underestimated? As far as I'm concerned they are a search and ad company who diddles in a few software apps, none that I consider competitive either.

Re:Underestimated, again? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267949)

I guess Symbian will become another in the great long list to underestimate Google.
Yeah, they should just ask Microsoft what happens when you underestimate Google. I mean, besides the broken chairs and a crazed CEO shouting epithets and obscenities at them.

If google says they are going to do it and they have the skills and the deep pockets needed to do it: so why not plan on it and have product in place to protect your own company from it?
Exactly. Google has the some of the most brilliant minds in computing science and engineering working for them, and they can afford it. Call Google what you will, but if they want to do something, by the Gods, they've got the resources and talent to pull it off.

Show me the yachts... (1)

Zigurd (3528) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267151)

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

Google may or may not succeed, but they have moved the industry - the OHA members in particular - a long way in the right direction.

lazy developers? (1)

Gearoid_Murphy (976819) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267165)

I really don't get his comment about developers not getting out of bed unless they're showered with money. Linux has the boadest developer base in the world. Thousands of people contributing their bit and for free!!!. Not that I'm ruling out any potential showers of cash for the future, bring them on I say, I can take it. As for his insinuation that linux has parallels with the common cold, he would be prudent to take note of the legions of naysayers littering the wake that linux has made in this world. Besides, we all know microsoft is the real virus. LINUX RULEZ!!!

They have to say something like this. (4, Informative)

Britz (170620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267171)

Or should they go: "Oh no, we are going out of business soon!" I suppose investors wouldn't like to hear this.

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

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

Same with Google.

Re:They have to say something like this. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267911)

I have to question the the "have to" do this. Palm did this of Apple and I think it blew up in their face. Exactly what point does it become just a habit of dissing other products in order to protect yourself? I think it speaks of a lack of confidence in your own product. Not only that, if everyone catches on to the fact that practicing PR is basically speaking with a forked tongue, then what credibility would the company have when it tries to say something? As such, I think this sort of practice is self-damaging and nullifies or negates any benefit of having a PR department.

Look at Nokia Tablets (2, Interesting)

Draco_es (628422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267197)

Maemo devices work, and work really well. Are Linux based and are very hackable, which make them very appealing for the gadget lover. Don't know about OpenMoko, but probably is a good platform, too.

If Nokia tablets don't include a phone its probably because Nokia doesn't want to compete with their own NSeries. Why couldn't Google build something similar? They have the money, the best smart guys the money and reputation can buy, and don't need to compete with another device builders. Their are in another business. They only need to provide the middleware to access their web apps.

Re:Look at Nokia Tablets (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267863)

N800 is basically the same but a bit smaller and with a phone.. Linux based and very hackable.

You have a lot of zeroes in your sales figures? (1)

forel (172516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267217)

The summary cuts out the crucial part of that quote so that it means something else. It should say "You have to have a lot of zeroes in your sales figures before a developer gets out of bed," implying that money and prevalence drives developers to write for mobile platforms.

Why Phones Suck (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267225)

So that's why most mobile phones suck: Symbian's attitude is that developers aren't worth bothering with, phones need to be "sexy" more than "good", and Linux is to be dealt with like a virus, not a solution.

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

Re:Why Phones Suck (1)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267607)

Symbian's attitude is that developers aren't worth bothering with, phones need to be "sexy" more than "good"
Symbian must be high if they think their handhelds [mobiledataforce.com] are sexy. The company I work for does alot of work with handhelds, and the Symbian devices all look like they're made by Fisher Price.

I haven't seen one good Symbian phone (1)

Uksi (68751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267739)

I haven't seen one good Symbian phone. I have a coworker who develops on the platform and all the test phones are slow and frustrating to use. It's like: "Oh, another Symbian phone? *groan*"

Why is that?

That's why Symbian is afraid. They know their product can't compete well enough on its own merits, and so they resort to disparaging others.

Google has the experience... (1)

sim60 (967365) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267247)

...because Google has hired people with the experience, from out of Symbian, amongst other companies.

Symbian itself has been on a hiring binge for ages, since Google 'stole' many of their key staff.

Symbian C++ experience (1)

brilwing (659717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267327)

I had the pleasure to write Symbian C++ programs about 2 years ago. I'm happy that this time is over now. At that time I also did a little example to compared Java-MIDP and Symbian C++. I wrote a program that only downloads a file via http. The Java program had about 100 lines of code, the Symbian C++ program took 1000 lines.

A nice quote also comes to me mind from Oscar Wild: 'Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.'

Open is goood! (1)

KenRH (265139) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267361)

I hope this initiative is successfull, i would love to have a cellphone with an open software plattform where i could dowload FOSS-applikations or write my own.

(I would like to have a Kanji gold [web.uvic.ca] like program on my phone, excelent while waiting for the tube)

I you make your money making hardware like cellphones, why would you want to give a third party power over your produkt? Espescialy when there is no "default standard" yet as for the cellphone market.

I dont know much about symbians buisness pratices, but I would not lett Microsoft get within a mile of my hardware i I was making cellphones.....

Smoke and Mirrors (1)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267373)

This is smoke and mirrors, of course. Symbian is dying- the most serious nail in their coffin was the Apple iPhone, with which Apple proved that an intelligent and well run software company can simply create a superior platform without an excessive amount of work- because they're simply better.

Google is a classic open source cat wrangler at this point, they probably expect to be more hacking together open source projects than "creating a new platform" or whatever misinterpretation this Symbian fellow made. Microsoft should follow suit, seeing as they also have an excellent alternative platform available for them- the Visual Studio/.NET world would be excellent in the cell phone market, if they might like to try aiming for the consumer market share as opposed to business.

Since it's clear Apple doesn't have nearly the stamina to go cross-hardware (it's an old Apple indian trick to only make one or two target devices for a platform), Google is bucking up to a market where Microsoft does not enjoy total domination.

Google already enjoys a large amount of open source moxie- so they'll get plenty of slave... er... community labor out of "enthusiasts".

This doesn't seem even remotely illogical or crazy to me- and if Google's innovation in the past has been any indicator, the market will be eating out of their hand in a couple years unless Microsoft gets back on the consumer cell phone horse.

The irony... (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267395)

"Symbian has suggested that Google is not experienced enough or capable of fully developing a workable mobile platform."

As someone who has to deal with Symbian's crap on a daily basis, I can quite honestly say: Pot? Met Kettle.

Re:The irony... (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267427)

Of course, "Met" was supposed to be "Meet". Hopefully Symbian won't ridicule me for being incapable of fully developing a coherent English sentence.

He completed his statement by pissing his pants... (3, Funny)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267417)

Yes, believe it or not Symbian is known for their sexy software :)

Handhelds.org has been around for 8 years (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267435)

Handhelds.org has been around for more than 8 years now, providing Linux on handhelds PDAs and mobile phones.

The Bloviator vs. Reality (1)

rindeee (530084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267437)

I have a cell phone with service from my provider (ATT). My service consist of the cheapest voice plan I can obtain plus unlimited data and essentially acts only as a Bluetooth data modem. I carry a Nokia N800 for all of my voice, data, chat, messaging, etc. needs (VoIP, for voice) because there is no cell phone that is 'open' enough to fill my needs. Heck, I can even VTC from my 'phone'. The quantity and quality of the apps/OS mods developed are simply amazing. I truly have a Linux machine at my disposal. I wish the jackass at Symbian luck, as that's about all he's got to rely on. At this point, I don't much care about Google's phone OS because I have what I need in the N800. Well, perhaps I'll buy an N810 so I have a hardware thumb board. ;)

did anyone else read this as... (2, Funny)

josquint (193951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267503)

Sybian Blasts Google's Phone Initiative ?

yikes

Whatever (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267517)

I am not a google lover but come on. Yahoo said, google can't compete, MSN said yahoo can't compete. Blah blah blah.
If sym doesn't get over itself, they will be next Netscape. Sitting in the garage wondering what happened and talking
about how they can throw a football over that mountain....

Reminds me of a movie quote (1)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267551)

Charles Foster Kane on how to run a newspaper.

"You're right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars *next* year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in... 60 years."

Google can replace 60 with 6,000.

Ah, thank you YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzhb3U2cONs [youtube.com] .

inferred != implied (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267609)

The speaker implies. The listener infers.

It's just this simple... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267707)

Quoth Symbian: Google is not experienced enough.

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

And as: Symbian has run out of ideas. Pretty bad day to work for Symbian, or own Symbian stock as far as I can see.

Uh right. (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267865)

"Symbian has suggested that Google is not experienced enough or capable of fully developing a workable mobile platform"
Ummm....does this guy realize Google can walk into his office and double his developers' salaries and be "capable" in about 24hrs?

Re:Uh right. (1)

Futile Rhetoric (1105323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267947)

And you're assuming that Symbian doesn't have non-competition clauses in its labour contracts why, exactly?

so? (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267933)

To be fair, Apple didn't have much experience in the cellphone market either and look at how the iPhone turned out...Technology is technology folks.

One problem with Symbian's logic (1)

Atticka (175794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267975)

%80 of the population doesn't know or care about Symbian.

%80 of the population knows or cares about Google.

Just the name alone with push Google phone sales past Symbian's.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?