View Full Version : Bookmarks and Comment: Linux & MS Challengers to Symbian


Rafe
13-01-2003, 10:16 PM
Its not often that you can honestly say that Microsoft and Linux have a common foe, but in this case they do in onse sense. Both Linux and Microsoft are being touted as alternatives to Symbian. This Yahoo (http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/030112/microsoft_s_wireless_war_1.html) article talks about Microsft and its entry to the market, while this news.com article (http://news.com.com/2100-1033-980214.html?tag=fd_top) discusses Linux.

If you can read through the spin on both these stories it makes an interesting read. While Symbian does have challengers they aren't at the moment very credible. While I fully expect them to take market share I think we can expect Symbian to have an overwhelming lead that may never be broken.

Linux is touted as strong because its Open Source and while that is a fair point Symbian allows unprecedented access to source code for liscensee and development partners. This is what they want, they dont need genuine open source they get the access they need. Indeed many companies will view this as better feeling that it enhances security and protects their IP. The people most concerned with saving money by using Open Source would be the manufacturers but since they are part owners of Symbian any real value gain is lost. Linux will be doomed to fill a very small part of the market much as it has on PDA's. They are not a credible threat.

Microsoft because of thier sheer size and financial power does pose more of a threat but their biggest problem will be being accepted by the manufacturers. Even using OEM producers wont really work in the brand and style conscious mobile phone sector. If Microsoft are to mount a challenge they need to improve their software, and this probably means an entire rewrite designing for a wireless base, not downgrading existing programming. Symbian OS strength is it was desinged with mobile devices paramount. Smartphone 2002 is always going to be dragging along the chains of it parenthood. Symbian OS is a ready now OS is memory and power efficient and is widely recognised as several levels above everything else. The trend of the OS being hidden may seem to mean this doesn't matter, but the OS will impact upon the user experience and that is what will make the difference. Consumers will go for the stable, crash free, and resource friendly phone.

Symbian also has the advantage on a coherent strategy and roadmap. While last year saw some confusion Symbian looks set to have handsets powered by its OS in all price categories. Microsoft will remain a high end system. The low end is where the numbers are in quantity terms and with a fixed cost per liscense Symbian is in a very strong position. Symbian multiple cetagory / price approach can cause some trouble with development, but this is laregly being negated by development tools being cross platform or the use of cross platform languages such as J2ME.

Symbian isn't perfect and it does have some point against. First of these in my opinion is lack of control over the end device. This problem is seen in the low memory specifications for all the existing phones. This happens because Symbian gives the manufacturers flexibility (something which the manufacturers like), but results in devices that are not as strong as they could be, thus giving the OS a bad name. That the 7650 and 9210 have done so well despite being equipped with 4MB of memory (internally) is a credit to the Symbian OS and its low resource use (can you imagine a similar Microsft of even plam device doing so well with this little memory?).

Symbian are also handicapped by being a relatively small company, meaning that they can only do so much at once. It also means that they do not have the finanical muscle of the oposition. Again it is a credit to Symbian that they have produced the leading and technically most brilliant OS from the lowest resource base. You might think with the support of so many mobile phone manufacturers that they would have lots of cash, but things dont work like that!

So 2003 is the year of the wirerless OS wars? Expect Palm to mount a challenge, Micorsoft to get serious and Linux to have a go. But expect Symbian to win, and enjoy it! It is not every day you see David win these days!

TANKERx
14-01-2003, 07:22 AM
Go Symbian! Go Symbian!

I am concerned that down my local 'The Link', an Orange SPiV is a couple of quid cheaper than the 7650, so I don't know why the Yahoo! article is saying that Symbian is necessarily cheaper (though I do believe that it will be cheaper in the long run when more Symbian phones are released).

I do think, though, that Brian Bergstein is possibly confusing smart phones with PDAs. A PocketPC Phone Edition (which is what he refers to at the top of the article as soon to be released on CDMA is a PDA with some phone functionality (not very good functionality at that if user experience is anything to go by), while a smart phone is a phone with some PDA functionality. So, bunching the new CDMA devices with the Orange SPiV is a little misleading (IMHO). While he did say that they are 'handhelds with phones', the context within which they were mentioned was clever, but wrong.

I so agree with Rafe's point on how Symbian work well with so little RAM! It goes to show how a well thought out OS can be resourceful and smart. I remember the stuff my Amiga could do with a couple of floppies while my mates had megabytes of HD space on their PCs. AmigaOS was (and still is - some might say) more resourceful than Windows.

Anyway, I digress; I really hate the way Microsoft has hijacked the word 'Smartphone'. Already people are assuming that all Smartphones are Microsoft's and anything else isn't a smart phone (granted, he was a Microsoft fangirl, but you get my point).

Doing business with Microsoft is like a male spider's after sex relaxation which is not so much a quick smoke but an irresistable invitation to dinner. After what Microsoft did to screw Sendo sideways and shaft them a good one, I can't see new manufacturers wanting to jump into bed with the school tart! The manufacturers may want to follow Gareth Keenan (http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/theoffice/gareth/)'s example and say "Sorry, I don't do sloppy seconds".

Don't underestimate Microsoft's ability to talk up its mediocrity. That flagship advertisment for all things Microsoft, PocketPCThoughts (http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com) described the Sendo Z100 as 'off the scale' in terms of interest, capability, style and leading edge technology..... until Sendo decided to leave the shovel, by which time, the fangirls (http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/forums/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=2&PHPSESSID=fd7b5df 641816952ce9dca20ebf294e2) had decided that it wasn't any good anyway, that it was a tacky device that didn't respond. So, when were they right and on which experience did they base their opinions? Or was is simple coincidence that they all managed to get their hands on a recent Z100 the day that Sendo abandoned Microsoft thus causing their opinions to suddenly change?

Anyway, I can't see Linux as being a big threat because there isn't so much of a 'We want to posess the market' central thinktank as there is with Symbian, Palm and, ermmmm, what they called.... oh yes, Microsoft :D. Linux's strength is on the desktop with life being breathed into it by the community that develops it. I doubt that such a strong community would be able to back a Linux based phone in the same way. They will be cool phones and will occupy some of the market, but dominance is not, in my opinion, an option that Linux users will be looking for.

I am of the opinion that Java will be the most important factor when buying a mobile phone, with OS second. Of course, Microsoft has made an enemy of Java so don't expect too much hype for Java on Microsoft SPiVs, but rather, don't fall of the floor in shock when you see them touting their .NET as the best thing for mobile phones since SMS. Could it be that .NET will be Microsoft's attempt at back-dooring their way onto other platforms? .NET serv

Oh! I'm rambling and wound up again! Please forgive me.

GhostDog
14-01-2003, 12:46 PM
Symbian? an OS?
That is what people will say when asked about it.
Here only a few know about it,the Erricson r380 and communicator users.
As Rafe said,that is going to change.

Why do most people use windows? Because of its stability? Speed?
I dont think so,they are used to its shiny colorful interface.
Symbian's interface is preety colorful and people are really impressed by it
even the non techy phone users.I dont see that as a good thing,people should
get used to its realiability,speed,performance,and not some shiny picture/logo
on their screen.
For Joe Average's sake,its better to be peted by Symbian then stomped by Microsoft.

I think Microsoft is behind here,they were to late with the release of the SPV,
no one here has even heard of the SPV.
The top story here is the communicator,7650 and the p800
(Mainly advertised by me,if SE are reading this,small fee wouldn't hurt)
Even the Microsoft PocketPC worshipers dont know about it.
Microsoft my be "some" competition but in the long run
i believe that Symbian will owertake (for our sake)

I agree with TANKERx on the Linux issue.
It would be nice to see a Linux powered smartphone.
Imagine a bash shell on your 7650,or a KDE3-ish or Gnome-ish
interface on the new communicator,i have used Linux distros that can fit on the 7650's ROM chip
like a glove.And they look nice too.
As TANKERx said,Linux is not for domination,its still number 2 on the Desktop market.
I hope that will change,soon (for our sake)

I smell something,its chicken,and its well done or maybe too well.
Of i gooo!!

JyriK
14-01-2003, 08:39 PM
I dont think that the 4Mb memory limitation on the 7650/9210 is such a bad
thing, because it forces the developers to do much tighter code. (Unlike with PCs)

And when the more advanced phones with more ram comes along the
program sizes hopefully remain about the same.

Tomahawk
16-01-2003, 01:34 PM
There's some comments above about which OS the consumer will buy. I don't believe that this is a primary factor - the vast majority of consumers purchase phones based on 3 criteria - style, functionality, price. The typical consumer doesn't care how it is delivered. Reliability & performance won't lead to a decision to buy. These factors may lead to a decision NOT to buy if they get enough bad press.

So, the manufacturers will make the decision about OS based on cost and their perception of what functionality the market wants (or they can sell, which isn't quite the same). At present there are two technologies converging:
(i) phones getting PDA functionality
(ii) PDA's getting phone capability.

The big question is which of these routes is going to drive the market (a bit like VHS vs Betamax a few years back). So, what are the worldwide sales for phones that need an OS (like Symbian / MS / Linux) vs. sales of PDA's? If one dominates, then that is likely to drive the market. If it's phones (my suspicion, but I have no data) then:

a) The manufacturer's costs are mainly parts and manpower.

b) For hardware, the manufacturer will probably accept an OS needing more memory / processing power if it costs <$5 to deliver, or if the OS savings offset the hardware cost. He won't use a system that costs >$25 extra. Somewhere in between, there's a break point.

c) The main manpower cost is in programming. So the OS that is easiest (quickest) to deliver the functionality on will be cheapest and hence preferred. In this respect, portability of software from one device to another will be a big factor, because phone manufacturers have a large range of phones and update them regularly. Another factor is the cost to change. If you are already on Symbian, there's a big cost to switch your OS to say M$. Thus phone suppliers will tend to stick with what they've got (symbian) - PDA suppliers will stick with M$.

This all pre-supposes an evolutionary scenario. If someone brings breakthrough technology to market then all bets are off.

towel401
27-05-2003, 11:20 AM
go (any OS that dont have this DRM sh*t in it)!!!