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Nokia taking Symbian development back in house, Foundation remains to control licensing and patents

November 8, 2010 24 comments

 

As mentioned before in the press release Jay posted, and has been rumored in the blogosphere for quite a while, it seems that Nokia and the Symbian board have taken a decisive step towards improving the Symbian OS, speeding up time to market, improving developer and OEM relations and at the same time cut out some of the bureaucracy that has held Symbian development up for so long. This move was hinted at when Lee Williams stepped down from the Symbian Foundation as executive director and was replaced by Tim Holbrow (former CFO) with rumors circling that winding down operations would commence imminently.  It seems that such a guess was not far off the mark.

I’m certain that a large percentage of people in the blogosphere are now shouting at the top of their voices that Symbian is dead, Nokia is down the toilet and are doomed and that Symbian has no place in the smartphone market (Engadget commenters are truly  remarkable no?). But I’d have to respectfully say that they are patently wrong. Below I’ll outline a few of the reasons why this change has happened and what the future may/may not hold for Symbian development in light of current news.

One of the most telling statements concerning Symbian development were the announcements of Sony Ericsson (SE) and Samsung, that they were discontinuing Symbian development and had no plans for the continued support and/or production of Symbian devices. Looking at those two announcements in a vacuum one might be inclined to think that two of the three major OEM  supporters and Foundation contributors (not dissing Fujitsu here) had withdrawn from an OS that was seemingly about to fail miserably.

Looking at the situation in context however, yields a starkly different story. Having tracked code package submissions to the Symbian Foundation from the fledgling days of S^2 & S^3, I’d yet to see any significant contributions of code by either company. While that’s not to say they didn’t provide any monetary support, the fact that the entire idea of the foundation was to distribute work amongst large companies with significant resources in the hope of faster iterating the OS than any single company could possibly achieve. Unfortunately for the Symbian Foundation, this was not to be, and Nokia has and will continue to contribute the VAST majority of the code.

 

 

 

Worse still, Android came along whereby OEM’s could get a free ride in essence, contributing little if any code, little if any monetary support while getting an OS that they could basically flash onto the base hardware provided by Qualcomm and run with it. While that’s not to say that this is a “bad” approach, in some ways it leaves the OEM’s at the mercy of Google’s whim and provides no real benefit, in the long term at least, for OEM’s looking to differentiate, grow profits significantly and control their own fates.

 

Android also had the benefit of provided an app store that integrated directly into the OS in the form of Android Marketplace, something that Symbian had categorically lacked before 2008. When Nokia came out with the Ovi Store in 2009, it became clearer still to all OEM’s involved with Symbian that not only could they not compete with Nokia in terms of hardware costs, reliability and scale, but they also couldn’t compete in terms of value added services to Symbian OS.  Worse still, Symbian Horizon, which would have been the go-to application repository for Symbian applications for all OEM’s, failed spectacularly leaving Samsung and SE high and dry with regards to added services, through no fault of the Symbian Foundation of course.

NB. Symbian in it’s base implementation comes without mapping applications and application stores

 

Having realized that there would be no financial benefit in sticking around, both companies decided to jump ship to an OS where all the work was done for them and they simply needed to toss an OS on some hardware and meet some nebulous requirements concerning the use of Google services and market and they’d be just peachy.

 

 

The second most telling statement made was by Nokia where they said that they had no intentions of sticking to the large-scale generational changes to the Symbian platform formerly known as S^3, S^4.x , S^5 etc and that they would be sticking to continuous, smaller scale improvements to what they would call “Symbian” with most recent devices getting the changes initially slated for the generational S^4 release. Furthermore, they publicly stated that Symbian development would give way to Qt development, in essence both dog-fooding and relegation of Symbian C++ to legacy status.

In hindsight, these events in addition to the rapid pace of development of both software and hardware in the mobile sphere has led to the predicament the Foundation has faced, and thusly the decision made in the conference call and board meetings today.

 

 

 

On the bright side of course, SEE2010 begins tomorrow with the MeeGo conference slated for the following week. Here’s to hoping for at least SOME positive news and seeing positive strides being taken in both domains.  Keep your browsers pointed here for more news on both Expos in coming days.

 

Nokia N8 v Samsung Omnia HD multitasking

iPhone owners look away now, here is an interesting look at the Nokia N8 being compared to the Samsung Omnia HD doing PROPER multitasking. I have got to admit the Samsung’s multitasking is pretty funky

thanks to KaiwanGailan for the heads up !!!

via Parttimereviewer on youtube

Should Nokia just concentrate making camera phone’s ?

Tomi Ahonen is a Mobile consultant for handset manufacturers and is a really respected man with a good amount of knowledge  and of course I follow him on Twitter. Today he made some very interesting comments on Nokia and their success in making camera phones.  Its no secret that Nokia are in a sort of trouble regarding their position of the world’s largest with Samsung breathing down their necks a lot of people have been suggesting that Nokia don’t innovate. Well I disagree Nokia does innovate but at a much slower pace and in places that people might find not that important. One area is camera and I have an interesting proposition or an idea or whatever you want to call it.

Read more…

Eldar Murtazin’s Official Statement on Nokia Situation

Is he telling the truth?

Eldar Murtazin Nokia’s favorite person on this planet right now is as you might now in trouble with Nokia about the supposed Nokia N8 prototype, which according to Nokia is in Eldar’s possession of course he strongly denide the claim from Nokia and after getting plenty of attention form the Tech media and bad media for Nokia he has come out today with an official statement regarding the matter which you can read here

Some key points in his post

  • Nokia are feeding false information through their official blog and interviews
  • Received the N8 from a “Source” (which he won’t name which is fair enough)
  • The “source” is not a Nokia employee, doesn’t even work in the mobile phone industry
  • He had “access” to the device, never actually had the device in his possesion
  • At best was only allowed to play with the N8 a couple of hours at a time
  • “Sources” provided pictures and received no compensation for that
  • With the limited access he had he was able to draw some conclusions (really?!?!?!?!)
  • He can’t return the device because he hasn’t got it simples 😀
  • Apparently it is his duty as  Journalist to provide information that matters to the public (which I don’t have a problem with, but not on stuff which is half finished which is my problem)
  • He is not a Samsung consultant (I think he is to be honest considering the amount of love he shows towards BADA)
  • Nokia are apparently scared that Eldar would pass secret information to competitors
  • But he says it makes no sense as the N8 is shipped to developers and engineers around the world so why not go them (alright, good point)
  • He is a JOURNALIST
  • Belongs to some Journalist organisation that frankly I do not care about and shows of his ID to prove he is a Journalist
  • Nokia’s beef started with Eldar with the original 5800 way back when
  • Apparently Nokia didn’t replace faulty 5800 a la Apple and iPhone 4 after the earpieces where faulty Mobile-review (Eldar’s site) spent good money testing several units and Nokia still ignored them
  • Whole issue became even worse when Eldar got a prototype of the infamous Nokia N97 and their not so working widgets
  • Eldar was told that it was early software and was promised it would be fixed and he wrote an overly generous review of the N97
  • Calling the Russian Authorities on Eldar is ‘revenge’ on Nokia’s part

OOOOKKKAAAY seems like there’s a lot of background stuff between Nokia and Eldar and some things we will never know. It seems Nokia are trying to cover a lot of things here, now I am not trying to believe Eldar here but he makes some very interesting claims in his post and you know my respect for Eldar has grown a bit I have got to admit, most of the claims in his post seem legit to me and an N8 prototype could have surfaced from anywhere how about a factory in China?

One thing I don’t agree with Eldar is his review or early impression or whatever he wants to call it on the N8. I mean the N8 was very early prototype and a very early build of the software and the final software on the device will be nothing like his thoughts on Symbian 3 and the N8 when the retail version hits the shops.

So as a Journalist who serves the general public shouldn’t he telling the truth rather than making irrelevant comments on unfinished products ?

Anyway let us know in the comments on what you think, have you forgiving Eldar?

Rant: The death of another Symbian blog and the loss of another one of Nokia’s Evangelists

July 1, 2010 43 comments
This started out a reply to a comment posted in one of my most recent articles which posted a link to Symbian-Guru’s Ricky Cadden and Dotsisx Rita el Khoury final rants and goodbye to the Symbian-Guru website and blog. A link to the post can be found below.
You should definitely give it a read.
I’m surprised but then I’m not. It’s been a frustrating time being a Nokia user, watching symbian’s UI dying a painful death over the years with little being done to repair it. (For the most part)
It’s been painful watching Nokia not release the brilliant hardware that we all knew they were capable of, especially if you were a N97 user.
As a Nokia user in the USA I can definitely sympathize with Ricky for the most part. It’s frustrating having to explain to people that no my nokia isn’t crap, and yes it does things you wish your phone could do. And wonder to myself why Nokia isn’t at least trying to market devices over here.
I definitely understand why Ricky made the step to end the blog after reading the rant and I hope for Nokia’s sake that Nokia World 2010 provides a reason for developers to jump on the platform, proper integration of the Ovi services with awesome hardware to make the public and the blogosphere drop their collective jaws and software that catches the eye and imagination while maintaining the great functionality of Nokia’s older operating systems.
This is truly a great loss. It’s been mentioned many a time,that Nokia has been losing the people that used to evangelize and were willing to evangelize and preach their platforms to the masses, the people that spoke to an audience that for the most part Nokia has ignored. The larger blogs like Symbian-guru and World Of Nokia are shutting up shop. How soon will it be before the users themselves grow jaded with the stagnation of the manufacturer and move on. How soon before interest in blogs like these are forced to close up or widen our audience so as not to drown in a quagmire of nothingness.
Good luck in all your future endeavours guys and appreciate what you’ve contributed to the Nokia community in your 3+ years of service.

Thanks kaiwangaila for the heads up.

Video: MeeGo Phone UI

After Meego’s spectacular world official unveiling (sarcasm :-)) the team also unveiled a short video of a disguised device (I think) running the OS

Meego looks very promising and I like all the colourful background, I hate the icons too much Samsung touch wizzy thing going on but I am hopeful they will sort that out. But is has nice TRANSITIONS YYEEESSS !!!! 🙂

Now I don’t have a clue what the device is but my first guess was the N900 now I am not so sure but anyway enjoy the video

Categories: Maemo, MeeGo, Nseries, OVI, Samsung, Video

BBC Documentaries: (1) Life and Death of a Mobile Phone and (2) Upgrade Me

October 7, 2009 Leave a comment

The BBC recently aired a couple of technology focused documentaries, one called Life and Death of a Mobile Phone and the other Upgrade Me.

They’re available to watch/download on the BBC iPlayer (Sorry, UK residents only – er, unless you know how…)

I always find it interesting to see technology related programmes designed for the mainstream.

Life and Death of a Mobile Phone

brick

This first 30 minute doc shows how mobile phones have become an utter necessity to modern day lifestyles – we live in a world where we are compelled to always be connected. You’ll see a brief history of handsets – some brick carphones progressing to the pocketable variety, and people’s mobile phone habits.

You’ll also see where mobile phones go when they’re no longer wanted: Some are recycled and resold, others are broken apart and spare parts taken, metals extracted. With 500 tonnes of mobile phones, one particular plant extracted 150kg of gold.

Via BBC iPlayer

Gold

Gold "mined" from Mobile Phones

Upgrade Me

If you’re reading this, most likely you’re obsessed with technology. You love gadgets, always seeking to get the latest one, even though what you’ve already got might already still be pretty functional.  Cameras, TVs, Computers, MP3 players, and of course, mobile phones.

Are you upgrading out of  ‘need’? Or is it something psychological – a status symbol, or perhaps, as mentioned, you just want the newest, shiniest gadget?

The content of this video is what I expected the first video “Life and Death of a Mobile Phone” to be about. How with the upgrade culture, we’re constantly upgrading our phones and disposing older ones.

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“Upgrade Me” shows the gadget culture to constantly upgrade to the latest and greatest.  It’s interesting to see that the Apple’s iPod and iPhone are seen as the landmark devices that people covet. When Simon Armitage visits a school  – the most desirable, ultimate gadget the children mention is iPhone. It’s nice that people are opening up to the world of Smartphone and convergence devices, but it’s a bit disheartening as a Nokia Geek that Nokia isn’t getting a mention.

Frankly though, I can understand it – except for pre-iPhone era, Nokia have still got to put a device out there with the intrinsic desirability factor of the iPhone. It’s not so much that the iPhone is particularly better than another phone, it’s just THE device of the moment. Like how a lot of (non tech) people confuse all MP3 players as iPods, people are associating high end only with iPhone. With the great advertising hype and inevitable word of mouth, Apple have TAUGHT people, like with the iPod, exactly what to desire instead of just “listening to the market and following what consumers seem to want…*cough*Nokia*”. Apple don’t play things safe and follow trends, they take risks and set new ones. (Though when they do “copy” no one really bats an eyelid)

I really wish that Nokia will push the boat out in 2010 to give us something truly wow-worthy. The N900 is the closest we’re gonna get so far, and it’s pretty good. But from Nokia, I want to see that device where (in addition to the internet/messaging/possibly gaming/touch prowess of the N900) I can leave my point and shoot camera and video cam behind by giving us the imaging performance that could rival dedicated counterparts. Nokia are already there with bringing the best Mobile Web experience, possibly even with gaming on Maemo 5. It’s all about just bringing it all together, in that one device.

Then there’s the trouble of shrinking all that, and perhaps like Apple, keep some sort of ICONIC design/appearance/NAME to maintain that recognizability even with future physical updates of that device.

Samsung also get a big mention. Simon takes a trip to Samsung HQ in South Korea. Apparently, the key to Samsung’s success is they’re always striving to bring new technology. I remember the days when samsung phones were purely style over substance, with any ground breaking phone looking extremely hideous (7MP camera phones with opical zoom *yuck*!). They were quite laughable. Now, Samsung is constantly punching the pistons to the max, delivering the very best in convergence hardware (e.g. i8910, W880/Pixon 12). Samsung of course, aren’t just phone manufacturers, they make practically every type of consumer electronic device. Still though, their “Future House” looks kinda stupid to me. Design wise, they’re nice, but they’re not at all futuristic, not by today’s standards anyway.

Future House

Towards the end of the video is most interesting – with nanotech/biotech, we may soon be able to upgrade ourselves, restore hearing/sight, monitor internal physiology and something I’ve always thought the inevitable, the physical integration of “mobile phone” with the human body.

Via BBC iPlayer

Video: The Phones Show – Episode 86 – Samsung Omnia HD/i8910 Review

In Episode 86, as shot on the Nokia N86, Mr Litchfield focuses his attention on his long awaited Samsung Omnia HD…I mean i8910. But before that

  • News: Surge in the States, HTC and 3.5mm jack, Ovi Files now free, Symbian Horizon, Nokia’s Q2 09 results
  • QWERTY Keyboard Rant
  • Discovering Real/Usable Digital Zoom on the N86
  • Unparalled 3.7″ screen
  • Blindingly fast at almost everything
  • DivX playback – Native !!!!!! (Nokia, helloooooooooooo?!)
  • 154MB free RAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Nokia! Power User Multitasking!!!) Never ever an out of memory message?! Jeez!
  • No Software support for Nokia Centric apps
  • Widget homescreen is utter Gimmick – no live info like N97

Via 3lib

Video Samples: Nokia N97 vs Samsung i8910

June 8, 2009 5 comments

720p on the Samsung i8910 looks stunning, more detail,crisper, at times more natural looking colours. However, the sound is absolutely dreadful, resembling the tinny audio quality of 2004 handsets – this may still be fixed though.

The N97’s video also performs very well, some slight over saturation in parts – it also just doesn’t look right though after seeing 1280 x 720 first then 640×360. On the other hand, audio recording is fantastic and crisp – as it has been on nearly all Nseries devices.

It’s worth noting that both videos do appear better in the original format than after being uploaded to YouTube.

Nokia N97 – [download original 11.98MB]

Samsung i8910 [download original 43.42MB]

Both videos are more or less similar in length, but with the higher resolution i8910 eats up approx. 4 times more memory, so a 10 minute clip would be about 733 MB on the i8910, but 195 MB on the N97.

I guess if you transfer videos to your computer regularly that won’t be a problem. On the N97, that’s less of a need, since the video sizes are smaller BUT ALSO you have 32GB of memory to fill.

tnkgirl vis blog97

Samsung delivers ultimate camera phone!

June 5, 2009 2 comments

I love the direction Samsung is going with their products. In terms of hardware –  it’s good, you keep it, it it’s bad leave it out. Simple. As a Nokia fan, you get to watch Nokia making a good product – then producing a “successor” which leaves something you thought would and should have become a standard feature.

For example, in terms of creating a killer camera phone, Nokia HAVE one time or another produced a device which contained these features:

  • button for switching between still photos and video (N93)
  • dedicated flash button (N93)
  • Xenon Flash (N82, 6220)
  • 3x optical zoom (N93)

Imagine if the Nokia N86 – Nokia’s “flagship camera phone” had all that? Sure – it’s not in the 12MP league, but for point and shoot cameras which camera phones are attempting to replace,  do not require much more than about 7MP. The move from 5 – 8MP had not shown much if any improvement in terms of image quality as it just became a numbers game to impress the general public.

Anyway, rant over – introducing the Samsung M8920 with killer  combination of camera phone features:

  • 12 Mega Pixels
  • Xenon Flash and LED (possibly just for autofocus – could be additional for video) – sorted for majority of light conditions
  • 3X Optical Zoom – get closer to your subject and frame your scene better
  • Automatic camera cover – doesn’t leave your camera lens accidentally open to get clogged up with dust
  • GPS –  also for Geo Tagging
  • WiFi – possibly uploading media directly over WiFi (or any internet connection)
  • DLNA  – maybe viewing content quickly over DLNA compatible TV
  • “Huge” touch screen to frame your scenes and play back your images later.
  • 8GB internal memory for storing your media

sammyvia GSM Arena

I hope 2010 is the year NOKIA stops taking steps backwards.