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« Q4 Results and other notes from Smartphone Bloodbath - LG, Lenovo, RIM, ZTE, Jolla, Vertu, etc | Main | Quick Update in our 'Guess Windows Phone Q4 2012 Market Share' Twitter-contest »

January 31, 2013


newbie reader

// If the OS of a smartphone doesn't matter
// to the consumer, then anything can happen.

Many ppl are asking my advise which phone to buy. And I never allow my attitude to interfere their choice and only provide them with information.

And the first thing I always tell them, that they have to choose OS first.

I always say, don't get Nokia, it is Windows, and it is shucks... ok, not mature enough.

So, first they have to choose Android or iOS, then only vendor.

And that is advise that any honest techie would give.

So, people would get educated sooner or later.


@will: Serious - I still think there are use, space and developers for Firefox OS and HTML apps.

HTML apps - yes (to some degree), Firefox OS - no. Any platform which does not support good old C/C++ is non-starter. Microsoft found out it the hard way with WP7.

P.S. And, surprise, surprise, ChromeOS *does* have support for C/C++-based development.

dies felices

I am hoping that hardware virtualisation will be utilised to run multiple OSes but I won't hold my breath. I think it have a stronger showing on Tablets which I think any new OS will need to offer as well. My thoughts are that the smart phone will become the new feature phone and the tablet will take the place of the current smart phone.

The reasons I think this are two fold, one if you look at PC monitors as the platform matured they got larger and larger until they reached their maximum practical size and two you can will use a tablet to do a lot of the (intelligent/complex) things you currently use a smart phone for. Plus you'll be able to do more and better in the future. Let's not forget we're already seeing devices in the form factor of Phablets.

As an N9 owner, I am hoping Sailfish does well.


@ Spawn
I am a big fan of QT and can't wait till the iOs and Android targets are available this summer..... But that only helps the QT developers, native Andriod devs will not move. This makes Elops crime of killing the migration strategy even more painful since QT "could" have been the top dog framework for mobile.

For all the +/- of HTML5 the reality is that we will need a transition period. Now the companies that created the "cult of the ecosystem" are about to get co-opted.... last weekend I downloaded WindowsAndroid by SocketEq a chinese startup it runs Android as an app under windows - NO NOT ANDROID APPS UNDER WINDOWS, THE WHOLE ANDROID OS AS A WINDOWS APP. So I can run full android on my Samsung windows 8 tablet (Again proving that no one wants a Windows Tablet) and have a better UX experince the Windows 8.

So we are seeing Apps replace the ecosystem and even OS components...why do mobile OS's have calenders and calculators,etc...because they evloved from PDA's. Why as a mobile OS maker do I have to make these anymore? They should just be apps. Jolla is doing something right focus on the Navigation and Use of the UX/OS as a shell for apps. Of all the screen shots of Tizen seen so far we have Android UX with N9 task switcher screen.

Sammy is number one, they will not put all the muscle behind Tizen as not to get afoul of Google and the Open Handset Alliance, just dip a toe in to see how it goes. Lenovo,ZTE... would put all the muscle behind the project.

All in all interesting times.


(sorry, I can't post??)


I can't post???
maybe i hit certain word that considered as spam or red flag??


@Tomi: yesterday I attended a 'meetup' related to smartphones. The speaker opened the event with a picture of a CEO of once a glorious company who let Android fly with leaking one single memo. He also mentioned the two famous effects... :-)

Interestingly he did not see any room for a new OS but the dominating Android and (maybe) iOS, but declining.

On the other hand he had no clue what Asha Touch is, so... :-)

He was not so much interested in 'smartphone like feature phones' either - I think it is quite ignorant...

There was an investment capital representative there, too. Surprisingly he was quite ignorant for China, India, Brasil and Mexico - but English speaking markets only...



Of course performance is still a hot topic with HTML5. Yes, performance is good enough for run-of-the-mill website-ish applications, like Google Docs or Office365 or a sprite-based Civilization. These are high-latency, low-performance applications.

But I wish you the best creating an high-performant application in HTML5, including a full-blown rendering engine, collision and input detection be it a game or an augmented reality application - delivering 60+ frames per seconds.

There is a reason we have a Native Client on Chrome.



>> But that only helps the QT developers, native Andriod devs will not move.

I tend to disagree here. A Qt for all platforms will all those developers who would like to be efficient.

In the previous company I worked for they had an iOS team and an Android team, with nearly no information exchange between them. The code produced by one team was so heavily platform dependent that everything had to be done twice. Of course in such an environment a platform independent framework is useless. But also, such an environment only works if you have to deal with only two platforms.

However, with all the new OSs emerging such a strategy won't work. You have to use a more platform independent approach. And I'm quite certain that many developers would love to have a framework that not only lets their apps run on iOS and Android but also on BB10, Tizen and what else might come along.

The only platform left aside will be - small surprise here - Windows Phone, because it doesn't implement such all important stuff like OpenGL and instead goes their own way here. So bad luck, developers, you'll have to do separate coding here. I doubt many will do. They'd rather do BB10 and Tizen ports which would require a lot less work.

If I can reach 2% of the market with far less than half the amount of work to reach 3% it's a no-brainer.

So, the more diversified the OS landscape becomes, the more important it will be to offer development capabilities that allow to implement standards.

And this also means that a HTML5 only OS like Firefox will most likely be DOA, at best it'll be the next generation of feature phones. Don't forget, those are programmable, too, just not as powerful as smartphones.

HTML5 looks to me more like the successor of Java Mobile (J2ME), not like a 'smart' environment.

Tomi T Ahonen


You're not blocked and as far as I know, Typepad doesn't stop you from posting based on a word in the comments - I delete the comments manually that I find offensive of against our rules. And definitely you are not blocked by me, nor censored by me either..

Sometimes Typepad is just weird, they sometimes seem to have a 'length blocker' that works, ie if your comment is too long, Typepad acts like it was accepted, but won't actually accept it. That might be what happened, in that case, please re-post in two or more shorter comments. Try that please. But definitely you aren't blocked by me... Cheers :-)

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Hi Tomi Perhaps we will see webos growing again now that HP has oos'et it
Or opened up the source code!



"Why as a mobile OS maker do I have to make these anymore? They should just be apps."

I am intrigued by the idea of a bare-bones phone platform where one would configure all essential services by downloading applications. It could be ideal in a professional setting (corporate devices tailored for the personnel).

But for the vastly larger consumer market? A deadly avenue.
1) Most people do not like to install system apps, and avoid to do it. A persistent question for the past few years has been "why do Android users use so few apps -- especially compared to iOS users?".
2) One of the major advantages of having standard utilities from one source is that they are integrated (you can use the services of the phone book from the calendar, jump to the maps from the phone book to navigate to the relevant address, launch the browser from a point of interest in the maps, open up the BT transfer from a media gallery, etc). Even if the OS is well-designed to allow such service integration, there is no guarantee at all that applications from a variety of suppliers can work together.
3) Updates of a balkanized set of apps, in particular system standard ones (calendar, e-mail, file transfer, etc), become fraught with problems.
4) Commercially, many apps -- especially those that involve user data and communication, are essential assets in a cloud environment. Do you really think that Google, Apple, Microsoft are going to relinquish the treasure trove of user information and user lock-in represented by their e-mail, messaging, calendar, mapping, etc, services?

There was a time with PC where one had just to do as you suggest: install a word processor, an e-mail client, a browser, a backup utility, a firewall, an antivirus, a CD/DVD player-writer, etc. Nowadays, they all come pre-installed and integrated in Windows. Expect even more pre-defined, standard utilities and apps from Google, Microsoft, Apple and Blackberry in future smartphones, not less.





Thanks for sharing the link on visionmobile



>This may be a stupid question but what's wrong with Android from operator point of view?
>Elop keeps saying operators welcome a third option to Android and iOS but I personally don't
>trust anything he says. I like Google services and I'm not the only one...

This is a hype!! and also a war slap.
* Elop were trying to tell carrier that "HEY, YOU (carrier) would be better if there's an alternative to Android and iOS". The story behind this actually lies on Apple way of conducting business. Apple lock carrier for certain year of subsidising iPhone, if the carrier don't want to do it, then Apple won't support that carrier. Elop hidden message were something like "screw apple, we'll give you better deal".
* And this is really have nothing to do with OS. Because Manufacture (samsung, lg, sony, huawei, zte, htc, nokia) were the company that making the deal with the carrier, not the OS company. Elop here were acting like Microsoft pupet (read: spoke person), he might just got beaten up, and forget which company he's currently at.



>It's Google dominance. If there is one OS used by 90% of devices being sold, carriers don't
>have other options to turn to when Google starts going nasty and blocking carrier services
>replacing them with their own.
>Apple is bad as a medicine as Apple is notorious for dictating terms to operators in a
>"take it or leave it" manner. Third option is needed so those primary two can be kept
>in control.

I'm gonna say that this is a hype/FUD that Elop trying to spread. Any carrier can contact any phone manufacture to create custom made android phone. and Google won't block carrier services. Google also allowed other than google to be set as default search engine on android. Google use the OPEN STANDARD of (mostly) anything from mail to calender to address book. Any company can also create a Web Storage solution (box, skydrive, etc) and don't have to share revenue to Google (unlike apple). Apple is the one that trying to lock the user into iTunes, and elop just generalizing and discrediting Android.

>AT&T used Nokia for that: they could negotiate better deals with Apple and Samsung by
>saying they'll sell Lumia 900's instead if two previous if terms of contract do not match
>AT&T wishes.
>Whether AT&T was really planning to sell those Lumias is irrelevant for the strategy value
>of the capability to say they would.

Exactly...!!! Carrier WANT.... I repeat WANT.... more phone manufacture, NOT more OS.
More OS means higher cost because they need to train their staff to understand the OS problem, and also creating the apps (some carrier have custom apps) for more platform. Elop just trying to fool non-teechie into thinking this.

So, Carrier can say to Samsung & Apple that HTC & Sony & Huawei & ZTE & Lenovo give them better (android) deal....

Cristian Radu

Game developers (I'm assuming you are talking about them when discussing OpenGL/DirectX) can either use a framework engine like Unity3D or do their own engines that target different OS plaforms.
Also, don't forget that by doing DirectX you are not only targeting Windows Phone, you are also targeting PC (through Metro), Surface and Xbox (and almost certainly next-gen Xbox too). Games that work on all these platforms have just begun to appear so the scenario is not a hypothesis it has already begun to materialize. It all depends on the installed base for the developers (possible customers) and I don't think they will toss aside a massive installed base so easily as you are suggesting.

Anyway, great blog post by Tomi, I've liked it.
There are many variables in play when trying to forecast trends and it's nice to see how are things going from the companies perspectives. There's also a consumer's perspective I think.



ChromeOS (chromebook/ChromeBox) is a different market than HTMLOS phone.
In Desktop (ChromeBook/ChromeBox), such as the use for public library or office usage, the internet/intranet is considered **STABLE** and fast.

In phone, sometimes we hit a blank spot. Or maybe no signal at all such as on the plane. Therefore my question is:
1. If in FirefoxOS the apps can be installed offline and can't be DRMed? Will Commercial Developer interested? Game developer were very sensitive to this stuff.
2. If must use the Client-Server, will the user interested (because the apps performance will be lousy just like HTML-based facebook apps)?

and no, client-server is NOT consider DRMed... It's cloud based! not DRMed.

BTW, the Civilization game you mention is FREECIV.NET, it is the open source version of the commercial Civilization.
Google Docs, Office365, is selling the cloud based services. It's not the same as Game/Apps that don't sell services.


@Cristian Radu:

Also, don't forget that by doing DirectX you are not only targeting Windows Phone, you are also targeting PC (through Metro), Surface and Xbox (and almost certainly next-gen Xbox too).

Let's see:

WP8 - low market share, not interesting
Surface - even lower market share - not interesting
Desktop Metro - low market share - not interesting. Aside from that, I could to a Qt-based desktop version and circumvent Microsoft.
XBox - totally different market. And it's not interesting for smaller developers.

Overall, I don't see anything here that's worth doing double work for. With Qt/OpenGL I reach far further than with Microsoft's locked 'ecosystem'.



HTML is not bad, but HTML have it's strength and weakness. The same as web apps.

HTML strength is it's platform independent. So it's good for news site, blog, and small-size game.... weakness, can't be DRM-ed.

Apps strength is, part of the apps can reside in the phone, so, it won't need to re-download. The positive part about this were, large 1GB-3GB game, no-internet zone.

This is the reason that I think FireFoxOS have different market market as Android/iphone crowd, and it also can't be considered as Smartphone.


I think it will depend very much on the prices and the relationships with carriers. Given the global economic situation, how many people can change 600 euro phone any year?



Actually.... There were 3D browser game...



>And this also means that a HTML5 only OS like Firefox will most likely be DOA,
>at best it'll be the next generation of feature phones. Don't forget, those are
>programmable, too, just not as powerful as smartphones.
>HTML5 looks to me more like the successor of Java Mobile (J2ME), not like a 'smart' environment.

I totally agree with you on this part


@cycnus: Any carrier can contact any phone manufacture to create custom made android phone.

Well, to some degree:

@cycnus: and Google won't block carrier services. Google also allowed other than google to be set as default search engine on android. Google use the OPEN STANDARD of (mostly) anything from mail to calender to address book. Any company can also create a Web Storage solution (box, skydrive, etc) and don't have to share revenue to Google (unlike apple).

This is all well and good - but it's because of Google's kindness, not because it can not do that. Microsoft was once perceived as a liberator from IBM clutches, too. But once it grabbed 90% market share it stopped being so nice. Google can not do that (companies can always leave OHA and create a new coalition to develop alternative), but it still can push both handset makers and carriers around quite effectively even without pissing them so severe as to make them leave OHA - and carriers and handset makers don't like it.

Cristian Radu


Low market share you say. Well, imagine I develop a casual game for Xbox Live (lets say a card game like UNO or a board game like Carcassone, I think these are already out on Xbox Live) that has maybe a 20000-30000usd developing cost.
With just a day work (click of a mouse) I can recompile it for Metro which has an installed base of 60milions based on the latest data.
The WP/Surface has some millions as well.

I don't see how you can justify not reaching so many potential buyers for a low cost game, when is so easy to do so. Even if you sell another 10000 units on these other "low market share" platforms, that's a hefty sum.



All a matter of how datatransfer-pricing develops in the future. In developed countries there is the free-wifi trend emerging. It doesn't need to be free but just cheap enough. Unlimited transfer for $5-$10/month isn't that far away.

Beside the transfer itself I think pricing of the services will be a point. Google did a very good job on defining a expectation services need to be free or very cheap. Hard time for small players to become profitable in that business.


> So I can run full android on my Samsung windows 8 tablet

Good point. We are still at the beginning but its already clear that Android is going to be a cross platform application framework. It will achieve where Java failed.

Blackberry's Android integration is clever cause they are first in line to profit. Needless to say that only Nokia MeGo was ahead with two Android runtime stacks that never made it to the MeeGo-market cause of Elop's burning.

Tizen, there is no sign yet but Samsung isn't stupid like Nokia is. They may well work on Android runtime integration for Tizen. Getting Tizen and Android closer together would be in the best interest for Samsung. How or if OHA goals are preventing or complicating Android runtime integration on other platforms like Tizen remaings to be seen. I doubt it would else its a serious disadvantage for OHA members. In the case of Tizen: Intel isn't OHA member or are there? :-)

> Lenovo,ZTE... would put all the muscle behind the project.

Recently Lenovo showed interest in Blackberry.

From all those platforms Blackberry is the one who may surprise us most. The biggest stopper arn't the carriers but missing low-segment partners. Blackberry alone is not going to win much market share with Blackberry 10 but a chinese low-segment partner could. This is what I think they nerd most currently. Cheap Blackberry 10 devices flooding the markets. If that happens then all is possible again. If not not.


> He was not so much interested in 'smartphone like feature phones' either - I think it is quite ignorant...

And I think he is right on that. You need to look at the markets where Asha is strong to see the context. In asia following happened last 2 years:

At the beginning everywhere Nokia customers, Nokia shops. In the 2 years the offered high-end top phones where Nokia N8 and Nokia N9. Those both where all Nokia had for 2 long years. No single Lumia, not one. Neither in shops nor in customer hands. No other phones, no form factor, no improvements at Nokia's smartphone segment for 2 years! Its lik Nokia just stopped doing phones.
Nokia shops vanished and got replaced with Samsung shops. Nokia customers switched to larger phones, newenshiny devices, not offered by Noka cause they had NOTHING new for 2 years. Samsung had.
What an essential failure that Nokia didn't even deliver 808 Pureview en mass. They did not. Nokian stopped doing ANY smartphones for 2 years!
Close before they got finally finished, faded out, Asha came to market. Th first Smartphone (or Smartphone like feature phone) Nokka did in 2 years. Thise customers who not switched to Samsung yet or had a lower budget or just are still on the Nokia brand baught in.

But that's not going to change the fact that within that 2 years Nokia lost huge. Samsung picked up. Today you have one, only one, new (smart-)phone by Nokia. The Asha's. And tons of different by Samsung. Samsung is so omni-present and Nokia so tiny that it isn't fun anymore. In parts of Asia you not get anything else anymore then Samsung.

Lumia, a flop.Never ever did I saw a single shop offering any. Not even the Nokia shops. They not have Lumia, not have N8 and N9 any longer either. They have only one: Asha.

That's why Asha still gets decend sells. But its vanishing too. All of Nokia is vansihin, fading away in asia. They are mostly gobe already. The landscape changed and now its without Nokia.

> Surprisingly he was quite ignorant for China, India, Brasil and Mexico - but English speaking markets only...

There are culture differences and you need to understand them. What sells good in US will very likely fail to sell in asia (and yet Lumia failed both, lol). Either you are aware of that and take it into account beforehand or you better not try. Understanding the markets in china, brasil and mexico will cost you money. Executing an adapt strategy will cost you money too. This markets are not there just waiting for you to enter but you need to do something, invest, to sell. That's what Elop never got and why he failed. If it sells in US it sells in china too? What a naive view.

Really, if somebody not likes to invest to understand the market and not invest to address demands in that markets he better not even tries to sell in that markets.

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