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June 04, 2014

Comments

Sihtoo

@RottenApple

"So, yes, two systems, but significantly reduced development cost."

This really sounds like two systems with synergies but it's hard to see how that would turn them into one ecosystem. If that was the case, Android and iOS would also be just one ecosystem because of the possibility of deploying the same app for both of the platforms. Another matter is that both Symbian and MeeGo had incompatible Qt UI libraries. I don't know the full story about that but it sounds like that wouldn't have helped porting or making Symbian and MeeGo into one unified platform.

"As for BB10 I think he was referring to backwards compatibility with BB7."

Isn't this almost exactly the same with Symbian and MeeGo? MeeGo wasn't backwards compatible with Symbian apps dating before Qt. How many of the Symbian apps were made without using Qt as the development platform? Probably most of them since Nokia didn't even accept Qt apps to Ovi Store before very late 2010. That would mean that almost all of the Symbian apps in late 2010 were incompatible with MeeGo since they were coded without Qt. Apparently the idea was to make only the new Symbian apps, released after the late 2010, portable to MeeGo since Ovi Store didn't have those and it's really hard to believe there would have been too many of those distributed outside Ovi Store. What's the difference between that and BB?

RottenApple

"This really sounds like two systems with synergies but it's hard to see how that would turn them into one ecosystem. If that was the case, Android and iOS would also be just one ecosystem because of the possibility of deploying the same app for both of the platforms. Another matter is that both Symbian and MeeGo had incompatible Qt UI libraries. I don't know the full story about that but it sounds like that wouldn't have helped porting or making Symbian and MeeGo into one unified platform. "


Depends what Nokia was planning. It was still a bit rough and unfinished when it all was abandoned. This can't be answered definitely.


"Isn't this almost exactly the same with Symbian and MeeGo? MeeGo wasn't backwards compatible with Symbian apps dating before Qt. How many of the Symbian apps were made without using Qt as the development platform? Probably most of them since Nokia didn't even accept Qt apps to Ovi Store before very late 2010.
That would mean that almost all of the Symbian apps in late 2010 were incompatible with MeeGo since they were coded without Qt. Apparently the idea was to make only the new Symbian apps, released after the late 2010, portable to MeeGo since Ovi Store didn't have those and it's really hard to believe there would have been too many of those distributed outside Ovi Store."

Correct, but let's not forget that this Symbian ecosystem was basically non-existent. It was basically unprogrammable natively. Most S60 apps were written in J2ME, Qt was Nokia's attempt to make the platform competetive. Plus, with Qt you COULD make new apps for both platforms.

"What's the difference between that and BB? "

Quite simple:

BB10 and BB7 had no synergies whatsoever. BB7 was Java only, and worse, a really bad Java implementation to begin with.
BB10 was to be programmed natively, so nothing you made for it could be made to work on BB7 without complete reprogramming - and due to BB7's abysmal performance even on high end devices these ported apps would even have had speed problems, too. I have been doing some BB6 and 7 programming, this platform was a complete and utter nightmare.

Symbian, on the other hand, could easily compete with Android and iOS in terms of performance in 2011, and that was supposed to be Nokia's low end platform.

Sihtoo

@RottenApple

You really are saying that the Symbian ecosystem was basically non-existent in 2010? That would make the future apps as the difference between MeeGo and BB10. In that case Symbian and MeeGo really were not united in 2010 because there were only a handful of apps made for both of platforms.

If what you just said is considered as a valid point, wouldn't the most reasonable way to evaluate the probability of MeeGo's future success walk hand in hand with evaluating the future of Qt apps? What was the projected rate of Qt apps emerging in 2011? With Qt unfinished as you say and the apps only going to be developed, it doesn't look too good. It's almost like there wasn't any ecosystem ready for MeeGo's launch if that's true since practically all the apps were going to be developed some day in the future. That makes me doubt if MeeGo could have competed against iPhone and Android in the high end. How could it have been competitive if there were practically no apps half a year prior to the launch? That really makes me doubt if even half of those 5-6 million potential Nokia customers would have chosen MeeGo. What would have been Nokia's advantage in the war of ecosystems if the developers were just starting to design the apps? After all apps were an important selling point for high end phones.

RottenApple

I think you now got precisely to the point where Elop sold his poison bag to Nokia's board.

But what both he and you forgot is that there were tons of developers eager to finally be able to make decent software for Nokia's phones.

On the other hand, nobody was making software for Windows Phone outside those heavily invested in proprietary Microsoft tech. Remember: WP7 required use of C# and therefore complete rewrite of all code.

I'd agree to the point that the best option for Nokia would have been Android but that being dismissed by default, MeeGo was the only way to go for them.

Sihtoo

@RottenApple

I didn't really get there but only followed your lead on putting together the pieces of this puzzle. The developer support is something I definitely didn't forget since it's exactly what I was asking for in the last message. It's obvious that there were developers ready to develop apps for MeeGo but the actual question is how many developers and how many apps would they have been able to deliver by the end of 2011 or 2012? Since Qt was a very new option for Symbian and Nokia started to accept Qt apps to Ovi Store only in late 2010 it's probable that all the development was just starting at the time Nokia changed the strategy. WP was a failure but no one seems to be able to answer the question about the rate MeeGo was supposed to get apps. This however is the critical question. If WP had 10 000 apps by the end of 2011 and MeeGo would have had 15 000 it's hard to see how either of those could have succeeded since iOS had 350 000 apps and Android almost that amount at the time.

This leads us to the ultimate question. At what time and how MeeGo would have been able to reach the number of apps iOS and Android had or lat least in minimum half of those. As you said, all these apps would have been new ones or ports from either of those platforms. Can someone honestly say that MeeGo would have been able to succeed while not being able to answer that question? Apps are critical for selling smartphones. Without knowing something like that, how would it be possible to know if a new platform starting from high end would be able to succeed?

RottenApple

@Sihtoo:

"Can someone honestly say that MeeGo would have been able to succeed while not being able to answer that question? Apps are critical for selling smartphones. Without knowing something like that, how would it be possible to know if a new platform starting from high end would be able to succeed?"


Apps are not the only measurement.

Before you get apps you need a device people like. Once that happens, the app problem will resolve itself automatically.

Developers will target platforms that find their customers and this being Nokia it would have found their customers. Remember how long it took for Symbian to fall into oblivion - and this all despite not having a viable app ecosystem!

The argument you are trying to make looks like precisely the same error in thinking that caused Nokia's downfall. They were trying to solve a secondary issue before having solved the primary one, i.e. having a device on offer that gets sold.

Remember, the first iPhone found its users despite not having any app capabilities - just because for its time it was a great phone that vastly outclassed the competition. Even the first Android phones, despite being mediocre at best, found their customers because Google got one thing right: The user experience was vastly better than the average offering of all competitors.

Now remember what the N9 got its most praise for: Yes, again, great user experience!

As I already said, the problem would have resolved itself. Developers were eager to make software for the platform, the average Nokia customer has never before experienced the effects of 'ecosystem' - and the phone looked great for its time.

In 2011 apps were important but by no means critical. How else would you interpret the fact that until Elop's act of insanity it still was the most selling smartphone OS?

Sihtoo

I'm not saying that the app issue would have been something that couldn't have been solved. I'm simply asking about the time table it would have taken for the apps to appear for the platform. Besides, there was hardware available before the decision was made. Qt on Symbian was available and Nokia actually started taking Qt apps on the Ovi Store in late 2010. It's possible that there would have been enough apps but on the other hand it's also possible that there wouldn't have been enough of those. While the platform is required for getting the attention from the developers, it doesn't guarantee apps emerging even if the development tools are there and working. This is why I'm asking about the apps. It sounds strange if all we have for the apps for MeeGo is that there would have been those. No time table, no estimations about the number of apps. Simply nothing what it comes to apps. Just people saying how there would have been those if Nokia had continued with the MeeGo development. How can you know?

When the first iPhone was launched the apps and ecosystems didn't matter because as you said, Symbian didn't really have too many of those. Neither had any other platform. In just few years apps became a very important part of the equation and now you say they didn't really matter too much? The user experience matters but once it's good enough it no longer matters too much. Now it sounds like you were saying that MeeGo would have been selling well with considerably less apps but mostly because of the user experience. Sounds like a gamble to me.

Was Symbian really the most selling smartphone OS? Looking at the graphs it looks like Symbian was selling approximately as many units as Android but not really more. In early 2011 that is. Also the ASP of Symbian devices were sold was less than of the ASP Android had. The ASP matters for the developers since people buying the less expensive phones seem to be spending considerably less money on apps compared to those with more expensive phones.

RottenApple

What are you trying to argue here?

I really fail to see the point. It looks like you are getting hung up on a technicality.

Was the app support guaranteed? No.
Was app support looking better than the alternatives? No, for Android, but a resounding yes for WP.

So it really doesn't matter how this question would have been answered, seen in context (i.e. deciding to drop their own OS in favor of a guaranteed failure) having their own OS would have been a good decision.

Symbian may have been low ASP, but it had massive market dominance which by itself would have made it interesting for developers, and seeing that Nokia was trying to target MeeGo with the same development tools, it would have gotten support almost by default.

Sihtoo

I'm not even trying to argue here. The point is that I'm trying to figure out how well Nokia could have succeeded with MeeGo. It doesn't matter if it would have been a better choice than WP if it was not competitive enough. The loyal Nokia customer base would have been 5-6 millions per quarter for at least for the first year. For that time it would have been a high end product. From those 5-6 million it would have been selected by people who didn't really want apps and who weren't lured by iOS or Android. That would have been maybe 2-3 million assuming that some people would have selected Android or iOS anyway because everyone else had those and maybe half would have wanted to get the best apps.

On the app front you make it sound like MeeGo would have been 3 years behind Apple and Google. They started in 2008 and Nokia would have started with Qt only in 2011 as you just pointed out. You don't want to give us an estimated app count which may be a safe bet but we do know iOS and Android had a 3 year head start. That's actually a real 3 year head start if what you said about nonexistent ecosystem for Symbian in 2010 is true. This is because if the Symbian users using the installed base were not getting apps in the past it's unlikely they would have changed their minds in the future. There was few high profile apps made for Symbian but those were never either made for the older phones or people were not buying those. Can you say what reason we would have to believe the owners of the older Symbian devices would have been starting to use money for apps? They didn't in the past even when there were few gems available. Why would they have started at a later time when the screen sizes of the older phones were small and most of them didn't support touch in any form?

One example of the older phones not getting apps is Angry Birds. Probably not even half of the installed base of the Symbian phones were able to run Angry Birds and that was a prime example of a game coded with Qt. Why wasn't Rovio deploying Angry Birds for all of the Symbian phones if it would have been possible with Qt?

AndThisWillBeToo

@sihtoo
Probably because it wasn't possible?

While Tomi complains about WP7 phones not being able to update to WP8 (and WP8 apps not running on WP7) he magically forgets that it was same with Symbian:

Symbian^3 phones could run apps made for old Symbian phones.
Old Symbian phones (like previous flagship N97 or best-ever-selling-smartphone-from-all-makers 5230) could not run Symbian^3 apps.
Neither did they get upgrade to Symbian^3.

There were several features in Qt only available on Symbian^3 phones (at least multitouch AFAIK) which caused apps like Angry Birds to be developed mainly on S^3.

When people talk about performance of Symbian they seem to forget there was a reset done for the OS late 2010.

WonTheLottery

Google promote their Polymer toolkit and evangelise the use of web components to enable web developers to build web apps that appear just like native Android apps including 3D rendering and animations that run at 60FPS.

Google blur the distinction between installed apps and web apps by merging recently used apps on the same tabs as recently visited web sites.

Called it, nailed it.

Earendil Star

MS is now planning to use the Nokia brand much longer than anticipated... No wonder here... Another Elop blunder being corrected... And the new (former softies) Nokia execs will grant that for peanuts as usual... The pillage of Nokia is going on even after Nokia's mobile unit fire sale...

AndThisWillBeToo

What comes to the age-old Samsung vs. Apple debate, we have (again) most sold phone models from Finland (July timeframe).
To those not familiar with this list, it is based on real sales that took place in reported month. No channel stuffing, pre-reservation or other gimmick can alter it. Phones are sorted by the amount of sold units.

http://www.puhelinvertailu.com/uutiset/2014/07/01/kesakuun_myydyimmat_suomalaiset_valitsivat_mieluummin_iphone_5s_n_kuin_galaxy_s5_n

iPhone 5S, the massive overpriced gadget that is seriously falling behind competition and only bought by hardcore gamers sold more units than Samsung Galaxy S5, on all three operators.
This while it should have no advantage over SGS5 due to smaller display, locked down OS, old and boring UI and of course the app offering which is no longer better than that of Android.
iPhone 5C did not register on any top 10 list.

RottenApple

Three questions, as I do not understand what the article says:

1. What's Apple's market share in Finland?
2. What's the percentage of phones not sold through carriers?
3. What about price points and subsidies?


The problem with all of this is, that without a frame of reference it's useless.

All of that said, the Galaxy S5 was a major misstep by Samsung, I'm not surprised that it doesn't sell well. It got almost no advantage over its predecessor, so as Android customers are inevitably more cost conscious than Apple customers may opt for the older model instead.

AndThisWillBeToo

@RottenApple
1. Couldn't find up to date data. It was 30% (June 2013), decreased to ~25% (Dec 2013) and is expected do decrease close to 20% in 2014.
2. For this I can only guess. 50%? There are no "carrier exclusives" and lots of people buy their phones unlocked without contract.

3. This is what we should be discussing. The lists as we see them reflect the consumer behavior to sufficient degree. What can be seen is that none of the high-priced options hit the sales of iPhone. Sure, it is outsold by Samsung Galaxy Trend Plus, which is sold for 95€ unlocked, unsubsidized. Apple has 0% presence in that price category. Unlocked iPhone 5S costs 645€ (16GB) to 875€ (64GB). SGS5 costs 639€.

I personally think it is difficult to make high-margin overexpensive Android phone because in many cases same features are available with same or close to same performance in lower priced models. People buying Galaxy Trend are probably happy they got "Samsung Galaxy" and it is hard to justify the over six times higher price of SGS5 that in the end hooks to same ecosystem.

Sihtoo

@AndThisWillBeToo

"Probably because it wasn't possible?"

If that's true, I don't see how MeeGo could have succeeded if only half or less of the Symbian installed base was not able to run a simple game made with Qt. Was it running even on half of the installed base?

RottenApple

@AndZhisWillBeToo:

"I personally think it is difficult to make high-margin overexpensive Android phone because in many cases same features are available with same or close to same performance in lower priced models. People buying Galaxy Trend are probably happy they got "Samsung Galaxy" and it is hard to justify the over six times higher price of SGS5 that in the end hooks to same ecosystem."

Agreed. That's what I have been saying for quite some time. And for the S5 it's even worse because it doesn't have many distinguishing marks over its predecessor.

But I still wonder when these developments will hit Apple. As we can clearly see, those lower range phones of today are more than good enough for most tasks, so at some point people will ask themselves why they have to pay 4-6x as much money to be part of the Apple ecosystem. I think at some point Apple will have no choice but to lower prices.

I own a €160 Android phone myself and I really see no need to have more.
It got one GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage plus SD card extension and a 5'' screen.

It's good enough to make phone calls, good enough to do instant messaging (with various clients), good enough to view even some advanced websites, good enough to play music, good enough to run casual games (as that's the only type of game I have the patience for playing on mobile), and it's certainly good enough to run all the utility apps I use.

So, despite my admittedly present anti-Apple-bias, they'd have a hard time convincing me why their phone needs to cost 4x as much.

In the past this was different. Even going two years back, the phones at these <€200 price point were really not worth bothering much due to their poor performance. Things have changed, though.

AndThisWillBeToo

@Sihtoo
Symbian installed base at end of 2010 was about 300M devices. Included are those 5M Symbian^3 devices Nokia shipped in 2010. I don't know how many of the devices shipped in Q1 2011 were running Symbian^3, but less than 10M for sure. And anything after that we have to ignore due to Feb 11th happenings.

Sihtoo

@RottenApple

You are apparently from Germany? In Germany Android has been getting more market share and Apple has been losing it in the last few years. If compared to UK it's really quite different. There Android has been gaining but iOS has not been losing like in Germany.

It's easy to say that Apple will eventually lose market share and will have to lower prices. It takes no effort to know that this is inevitable at some point of time. However the good question is when will that happen? This is what I'm asking. Do you have any idea of when this will happen or are you simply pointing out the obvious?

If you are simply pointing out the obvious without any idea of when it will actually happen I must as what's the point in that? Currently you make it sound like WonTheLottery telling us how the distinction between installed apps and web apps is disappearing but at the same time failing to say if it will take one year or 10 years to happen.

RottenApple

@Sihtoo:

"It's easy to say that Apple will eventually lose market share and will have to lower prices. It takes no effort to know that this is inevitable at some point of time. However the good question is when will that happen? This is what I'm asking. Do you have any idea of when this will happen or are you simply pointing out the obvious? "


It will happen if the price difference can not be justified anymore.
No, we're not there yet as high end Android phones still cost the same amount of money as iPhones.
As long as the competition manages to sustain a viable high end market, prices will not go down.

But what we start to see now is that the Android high end market is slowly starting to erode, with customers preferring lower cost solutions because the added offerings of the high end no longer justify the added expense. The inevitable outcome of this is that prices overall will have to come down, leaving Apple exposed.

How long it will take? Hard to tell. One thing is clear, though: Customers in general do not need what the high end has to offer anymore. A lot also depends on how much price fixing through subsidies is happening. Especially in the US it is constantly used to hide high prices from the customers. That of course will slow the process down.

The bottom line just is, that two years ago, Apple's offerings were right in the middle of the comfort zone of what people wanted to have. Right now, Apple's offerings are at the top end of the comfort zone, and still gradually moving upward. That trend will let them end up in a niche market once the comfort zone settles below their offerings.

As for stating the obvious - sure for you and me it's obvious that these things will happen - but some people seem to believe that Apple can go on just as they are now - raking in endless amounts of profit while serving the high end of the market (or to be more precise the high end of the market's comfort zone.) The problem just is: If their market moves outside the comfort zone, there is no more record profits.

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