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Communications Operating Systems Software Handhelds Hardware

Mobile Carriers Cry "Less Operating Systems" 217

Posted by Hemos
from the less-qq-more-pew-pew dept.
A NYTimes story says "Multiple systems have hampered the growth of new services, mobile phone executives say. " The story does a good job of capturing some of the changing dynamics in the mobile OS market — but rightly raises the point that given the sheer size of the mobile market, it's unlikely we're going to see the homogenization we have in the desktop market.
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Mobile Carriers Cry "Less Operating Systems"

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  • by Vollernurd (232458) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:01AM (#18315843)
    "FEWER" systems! "FEWER"!

    I know they have trouble adding-up, but jeez...
    • How in the hell was this post marked redundant? And did the Times really make such an awful grammatical mistake?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by PMuse (320639)
        And did the Times really make such an awful grammatical mistake?

        I don't know about "awful", but it is wrong. "Operating systems" is a count noun, not a non-count noun [wikipedia.org]. To be sure, fewer people will recognize that it's wrong (and fewer still will know its name) than if the Times had made a common error, like substituting a possessive for a contraction, but that doesn't make it right.

        Instead of less mistakes, we should strive for fewer.

        --not-your-friendly-neighborhood-grammar-snob
        (That'd be my sweetie.)
        • If they did commit such a solecism, they've corrected it by now: "As Mobile Phones Grow More Complex, Carriers Insist on Fewer Operating Systems" is what appears in TFA at the moment.
      • by 1u3hr (530656)
        did the Times really make such an awful grammatical mistake?

        of course not. The Times' headline is "As Mobile Phones Grow More Complex, Carriers Insist on Fewer Operating Systems". Typos happen, but never like that in a newspaper headline. The blame is 100% on the illiterate Slashdot editor (regardless of what was submitted, editors are supposed to be quality control).

      • I'm a real stickler. I still insist that all of my scientific papers be written in Latin.
      • did the Times really make such an awful grammatical mistake?
        Well, there was definitely a grammatical error, but I don't really think it rises to the level of inspiring awe ;)
    • by scumdamn (82357) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:12AM (#18316021)
      I logged in JUST to type the same thing. That grated on my eyes something fierce. I thought "Might they mean 'less operating system' as in a smaller one?"
    • by doggkruse (621549) <shlashdot@b l i n k e y . k icks-ass.org> on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:13AM (#18316037)
      THANK YOU!

      For those who don't get it, fewer is for things you can count, less is for things you can't.
      • So you're saying theres so many OS's around that you can't count them?
      • It's like this right?

        Slashdot would be less annoying if there were fewer grammar Nazi's.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          try

          Slashdot would be less annoying if there were fewer grammar Nazis.

          Apostrophe Nazi and proud!
        • Not Quite Sure... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:42PM (#18317953)
          This may be flamebait, a troll, or just general bitching, but I've got some karma to burn, so WTF. I am always amazed that computer geeks have such a negative attitude about spelling and grammar, considering that most people here have some knowledge of and experience with programming, and many program for a living. It seems to me that if you can't spell, you can't program.
          int main() works, but
          innt mayn() doesn't
          So why is it that people who are proud of their fluency in C++, or whatever, are proud to sound like a drooling mouth-breather in English?
          • Oh, stop. It's supposed to be a funny. I thought it rather clever after only two cups of coffee. Of course, YMMV. Actually, I like the Grammar Nazi's. After being a TA in Grad School when the faculty (of a Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology) was all bent out of shape because college freshman presumably in the top 1/3 of their class could not write a simple, declarative sentence in English, and thence made all of the tests in essay format, I look at any attempt at improving the country's langu
    • by antoinjapan (450229) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:21AM (#18316139)
      $ less operating systems
      operating: No such file or directory
      systems: No such file or directory

      Cygwin doesn't like it either.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by bonefry (979930)
      Article demands a new tag: monopolywanted
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mr_walrus (410770)
      less is more! :)

      didnt realize /bin/less required its own operating system...

  • Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:06AM (#18315921) Homepage
    it's unlikely we're going to see the homogenization we have in the desktop market.

    I sincerely hope so. More competition -> better products.

    Right now if a mobile phone gets popular it's because it has features that more people want, not because 'everyone else uses that one'. That's the way it should be.

    Now if only we could get the desktop market to behave that way.
    • Re:Good! (Score:5, Funny)

      by fireboy1919 (257783) <[rustyp] [at] [freeshell.org]> on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:18AM (#18316099) Homepage Journal
      Except the razr, which looks pretty but has almost no features to speak of and breaks easily.

      That ones popular because they've made a dozen pretty version of it. That phone is being treated like an accessory to an outfit rather than something to talk to people with.

      If that trend continues, we'll end up with phones that you can't actually use with a plan...because they don't actually do anything except make cool noises (i.e. you can't communicate to other people with 'em).
      • by eln (21727)
        I bought the razr because I could keep it in my pocket and not even feel that it's there most of the time. It works out very well in that regard.

        On the other hand, it does crash a lot more often than you would expect from such a feature-poor phone. However, from a physical standpoint it's hard to get it to break.

        Personally, I'm thinking of trading it in for something a little more feature rich. I figure, if my phone is going to freak out and reboot itself in the middle of a conversation once or twice a m
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Thaelon (250687)
        You're full of it. I've had a Razr for over a year and as a phone it works really well. It fits nicely in my pocket, has no external antenna and gets fantastic reception. What features are you looking for? It runs java apps, supports bluetooth headsets AND file transfers, takes pictures, has a built in calendar, address book, and can text msg. As for breaking easily, mine has survived being wet to the point that all the internal got-wet indicators have been tripped and I've dropped it several times and
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Except the razr, which looks pretty but has almost no features to speak of and breaks easily.

        Hello! You do not know what the fuck you are talking about.

        I have a RAZR V3i. I've made some pretty major drops to it, some on the corners and some flat. It's barely even been scratched. I'd say the RAZR is at least twice as scratch-resistant as the V555, my last phone. The only thing that's ever happened to it when I've dropped it is the battery cover flies off.

        Also, it has all the features I need in a cellphone

    • Similarly telling is the fact that many cell phones don't let you upload your own software, and cell phone companies tend to regard the idea with skepticism. And who can blame them really—I won't pay for a tetris program I could easily write myself.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by teh_chrizzle (963897)

      Right now if a mobile phone gets popular it's because it has features that more people want, not because 'everyone else uses that one'.

      a mobile phone gets popular because it's "pretty". case in point: the razr which is functionally worthless, hella expensive, and in the purses or pockets of nearly every human in the continental united states.

      • by Angostura (703910)
        In the UK the Razr is just about the cheapest tri-band phone with bluetooth - the two features I need. Which is why I bought it.

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        The razr is small (you hardly know it's in your pocket), cheap (can be bought off contract for £100 now), works well, and is popular for just that reason.

        It fulfils a market need - therefore it's popular.

        Slashdot geeks that want bricks that run linux and have every feature under the sun are a *very* tiny minority of phone users.
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:07AM (#18315937) Homepage Journal
    Say what you will about Windows on the desktop, but the homogenization of the desktop OS is one of the main things that accelerated the growth of the PC. I'm not saying that it would be good for the mobile market by any stretch of the imagination -- one of the reasons we have so many OSes is that we have so many devices, each targeted at different tasks.

    However, in my mind only one OS could possibly fill the bill for all mobile devices, and that's Linux. Linux is easily and readily modifiable, not just by license, but by the way it's grown into a modular kernel that's fairly platform agnostic these days, one that can be stripped down to the tiniest sizes if necessary.

    If I had one mobile OS to choose from -- well, Linux would be it. And it's not just because I'm a Linux-using geek, but because it really is the best tool for the job.
    • by Vexorian (959249) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:22AM (#18316155)
      err, under that logic, wouldn't Apple have had an even bigger advantage?
    • That still doesn't address the architecture issue, both software and hardware. I'm almost certain that ARM is the thing to use, but there are so many variations on it that I don't know if testing them all is feasible.

      There isn't a good standardization system under Linux to provide anything that looks like the homogenization that you suggest. Every distribution does a lot of things a little differently than the next, and if every carrier makes their own, I can see that the flexibility is a double-edged swo
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aim Here (765712)
      "Say what you will about Windows on the desktop, but the homogenization of the desktop OS is one of the main things that accelerated the growth of the PC."

      Do you mean the growth of the PC in the 1980s, with all those DOS clones that have since died, or the growth of the PC in the 1990s, with about 4 flavours of Windows to choose from, not to mention all the x86 unices that were being born around that time? The PC was about the only major desktop machine in those days with a choice of OS, and the hardware it
    • by jodonoghue (143006) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:57AM (#18316609) Homepage Journal
      Hmm... not sure whether the parent has really worked on a mobile phone platform. I've worked extensively on several: many proprietary RTOS platforms, Linux and Windows Mobile, with a little Symbian thrown in.

      Linux is a kernel. A pretty good one, I grant, but it only provides kernel services. The key to a mobile device is what sits on top of the kernel, and Linux has less of a good story to tell. Look at Windows mobile or Symbian and you'll notice that they each provide a well-defined set of telephony oriented services and APIs and a set of applications which use these.

      If you want to build a product based on Symbian or Windows Mobile, you basically just have to implement a set of well-defined APIs and device drivers for your platform and you're good to go. While this is far from being a trivial undertaking, it provides a stable environment for 3rd party application developers, who stand a reasonable chance that their application will work as expected on any device supporting the OS.

      The Linux situation is fast-developing, but there's no question that the rich telephony middleware layer isn't really there yet. There are a variety of different consortia, all of which have websites with "white papers" and some of which have formal API documents. To my knowledge, however, none has anything close to a complete, commercial quality implementation of a reasonably full suite of telephony middleware and user applications. I don't doubt that this will eventually arrive (there's a lot of pressure in that direction), but there's no 'standard' that I can see.

      Let's just look at UI and application framework: there are at least two common options and a rich variety of more-or-less unsupported options: QTopia (which is probably the most mature right now, but costs $$$) and GTK+ (which is free but less mature on embedded platforms). If I'm an application developer, which do I target. Unlike Linux desktop machines, most of which resolve the problem by installing most of the libraries for both, space is at a premium on mobile devices - so QTopia devices require QT for the UI (and lock out GTK+ applications) and GTK+ devices do the converse. This is important to operators as a QTopia based phone is sufficiently different to a GTK+ based phone that they would really need to treated as separate platforms even though the kernel is the same.

      At least the UI frameworks exist and work pretty well. What about the code to do things like:
      * Manage a SIM-based phonebook
      * Interface with a CDMA or UMTS modem (which needs to be specified
          in an abstract way to support the many different chipsets out there)
      * Implement the SIM toolkit
      * Implement all of the user notifications required for SMS, supplementary
          services, SIM and so on.
      * Gracefully manage multiple network connections in a seamless manner
          (upmarket device probably has cellular packet service, Bluetooth,
          WiFi, possibly tethered connection to desktop machine, IrDA, ...)
      * Secure update of the software images on the device
      * Over the air provisioning of connections and services

      I could go on, but I guess the point is made.

      Sadly, Linux for embedded mobile devices risks becoming marginalized by a repeat of the 'desktop wars': several incompatible implementations of some pretty basic services which end up fragmenting the market because none achieves critical mass. Success means reducing the number of 'initiatives' (probably to one) and showing us the code. Enough of the white papers...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        There's actually a wealth of mobile telephony and PDA APIs and applications available for Linux. Check out the software page on TuxMobil [tuxmobil.org] -- this kind of software is still somewhat in its infancy, but if you're interested in Linux on embedded devices -- heck, why not join in the development process and help out?
      • no repeat (Score:3, Insightful)

        by oohshiny (998054)
        Sadly, Linux for embedded mobile devices risks becoming marginalized by a repeat of the 'desktop wars': several incompatible implementations of some pretty basic services which

        And this is different from Symbian, how?

        so QTopia devices require QT for the UI (and lock out GTK+ applications) and GTK+ devices do the converse

        That's incorrect; GPE is based on X11, and it can run Qt applications. Furthermore, the amount of space the Qt libraries take is not that large.

        QTopia (which is probably the most mature righ
    • by mnmn (145599)
      How do you know it's the best tool for the job?

      Linux takes way too much space for an embedded OS and REQUIRES a 32-bit cpu. It's also quite complex and therefore better suited to larger and more featureful devices. Even there, the numerous distributions lack of standards and standardized packaging and nonstandard GUI hampers it.

      That's the reason why PalmOS, Symbian, QNX and wxworks exist. Not to mention eCos, uOS, FreeRTOS etc. Linux is not simply the best tool for the job. Linux is the best tool for certai
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Linux takes way too much space for an embedded OS and REQUIRES a 32-bit cpu.

        If you're not using all the features of the kernel you can strip it down (2.6 is even more modular than previous) and get it under a megabyte. You can use fbui [comcast.net] and for another ~50kB get a gui with a window mangler in the kernel. uClinux [uclinux.org] runs on [uclinux.org] more limited systems (including those without MMUs). It runs on several 16 bit platforms, for example H8 300S [elecdesign.com].

        It's also quite complex and therefore better suited to larger and more featuref

    • by vertinox (846076)
      Say what you will about Windows on the desktop, but the homogenization of the desktop OS is one of the main things that accelerated the growth of the PC.

      Umm... No, it wasn't the ubiquity of Windows, but rather the fact that it ran on almost all common (cheap) hardware. The reason the Mac failed in the 90s was because they didn't allow anyone to make clones, but Windows ran on cheap generic hardware (Intel, AMD, and even Cyrix... remember them) and anything could usually run on it.

      So it was decentralization
    • by dfghjk (711126)
      "However, in my mind only one OS could possibly fill the bill for all mobile devices, and that's Linux."

      In order to arrive at the right answer you have to be considering the right question. It's clear, and the market proves it, that you aren't.

      Linux may desire to scale optimally to the smallest devices but that doesn't mean it's optimal at doing so. Furthermore, many manufacturers won't consider the GPL. Linux is only a kernel as well and UI is critical to mobile devices.

      There are plenty of platforms as
    • by DrSkwid (118965)
      lol, you are amusing.

      How did you evaluated all the other alternatives, for instance Inferno or Plan 9 ?

      Lucent use RT plan9 in their Cellphone base stations so I'm pretty sure it can cope with being on a handset.

      How did the two comapre to Lunix ?
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Lucent use RT plan9 in their Cellphone base stations so I'm pretty sure it can cope with being on a handset.

        And Microsoft uses Windows Server 200x to run Exchange which Windows Mobile devices cunnect to, so I'm pretty sure you could put Windows Server 200x on a cellphone.

        Oh wait, that doesn't make any sense whatsoever either.

        Are you talking about reliability? Linux is used, well, everywhere.

        • by DrSkwid (118965)
          I meant the RT part, it's the same codebase.
          I'm pretty sure that Windows Mobile doesn't share much source code with Vista.

          Whereas I know that plan9 and plan9 RT are virtually the same. I watched Sape Mullender do a talk on it.
          • by drinkypoo (153816)
            Gotcha. All has become clear. There's not much difference between linux with and without realtime, is there? (Not that rtlinux is, from what I hear, the equal of other rtos packages. But I could be misled there too.)
  • Our needs (Score:5, Funny)

    by daemonenwind (178848) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:08AM (#18315955)
    What we need here is a good, old-fashioned monopoly.

    You know, something we can praise for setting standards and reducing overall expense now, and hate for existing later on.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:09AM (#18315963)
    Will all of the lock down, lock in, and prison sentences (aka 1-2 year cell phone contacts)
    I once tried to get a windows mobile phone and they said that you must pay for 2 years for data + voice to get it at the deal price.
    T-mobile is cutting off data / internet to non T-mobile apps on some of there phones.
    others lock down Bluetooth to force you to use there network, and some have internet data limits.
    The I-phone is cool but they only want you to use payed for apps on it.
    • I once tried to get a windows mobile phone and they said that you must pay for 2 years for data + voice to get it at the deal price.

      You're complaining that you have to sign a contract in order to get a huge discount on your phone? If you don't like the terms of the contract, don't sign it. Pay full retail, or buy a different phone. I don't like that BMWs are so expensive, but I don't begrudge them the right to set their prices. Sorry, had to get a car analogy in there.

  • Ah-diddums. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MROD (101561) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:10AM (#18315993) Homepage
    You have to feel for the poor mobile telcos.. They have to work so hard supporting a number of operating systems on phones so that they can hobble them and make sure that their customers are wrung of every penny they can be.

    Now, instead of crying about possible missed new lock-ins because it's too much effort to write the shackling software they should just shut-up and let the phone makers produce phones that the public want rather than those designed purely for the mobile telco's mean, narrow minded, penny pinching marketing departments.
    • by Danse (1026)

      You have to feel for the poor mobile telcos.. They have to work so hard supporting a number of operating systems on phones so that they can hobble them and make sure that their customers are wrung of every penny they can be.

      QFT. I mean, where would they be if they couldn't charge me 10 bucks a month for an extra feature that costs them essentially nothing? What we really need is for cell companies to get the hell out of the phone business.
    • by krbvroc1 (725200)
      You hit the nail on the head. The Cellular carriers are being slowed because of the extra customization required to disable all the useful features that cut into their profits. It takes 10 times longer to disable the capability for the owner of the phone to load their own local ringtones, use their own Wifi or Bluetooth on 10 different phones rather than 1. They've got to test all those crippled permutations which slow time to market.
  • Waaaaah! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by turnipsatemybaby (648996) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:12AM (#18316025)
    Oh poor carriers! Boo hoo hoo!

    They're just upset because they put a lot of research and development into stripping the features out of phones that they find inconvenient, and having multiple systems means they need to spend that much more in tech so that they can hamper the new devices similarly.

    I mean, they CAN'T just let the phones be, can they? If they did, then the phones would have the out-of-the-box capability to transfer ringtones and wallpapers 'n whatnot directly from people's PCs, or from web sites OTHER than the carriers!

    New OSes have *nothing* to do with the fact that adoption is being hampered. It's the greed of the telcos that are hampering things, because they demand that phones be completely locked down so users are ONLY allowed to do what the telcos want, like paying 4 bucks for crappy renditions of Madonna songs.
    • Bingo. Well put.

      Phones follow standards [like GSM or CDMA]. All the carrier needs is your ID (ESN, SIM number, etc). The rest doesn't matter. Unless you want to lock your "users" into half-usable phones.

      Tom
    • The carrier doesn't directly have to spend any money or research time to cripple a phone. They just have to demand that the phone maker turn off the features they don't like, and provide them the key information needed to re-enable said features once they've gotten more money from the customer.
    • ... And this has the following effect: NO MATTER how much you pay for a phone, you can't get any of the features you really want. The only way you can get the features you want, is by forgoing the carrier's subsidy (which you STILL have to pay as part of your mandatory contract) and getting an unlocked phone directly from the manufacturer.

      Which means that, in order to get out of paying for $4.00 MP3 ringtones and wallpapers, or $29.99 for a terminal/ssh client, you have to spend about $200.00 upfront -- p

      • by Grishnakh (216268)
        Exactly. This is why I only buy the absolute cheapest phone offered. Even the $10 phones include the basics: making/receiving calls, contact list, etc. (plus a few extras like a calendar and calculator), it just isn't worth it to pay a penny more for an "upgraded" model. What does the $100 model do that the $10 model can't? Nothing, unless you pay huge fees to the carrier for access to these features.

        I made the mistake of buying an upgraded phone when I got my first mobile phone. Never again.
    • The Motorola phones on the T-Mobile plans seem to be fairly open as per the factory spec from Motorola. I was able to upload a collection of MP3 ringtones that I cut myself directly from my PC to the handset via the included micro USB cable as soon as I got home with it. I just plugged the phone in and copied the files directly to the memory card (Windows XP sees it as a removable disk drive). In fact that was part of the reason why I chose to go with T-Mobile rather than Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T becaus
  • by HerculesMO (693085) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:25AM (#18316193)
    But this is why Microsoft is actually a good thing on the desktop market. I'm all for using different OSes, but the sheer number of applications available for a single OS (And in this case it happens to be Windows) is staggering compared to how bad it COULD have been had we had multiple OSes that were popular. It's expensive to develop cross platform support, which is why most companies will aim for the market that makes them the most money.

    I'm still looking forward to Linux and Click and Run technology -- that is the first step of many needed to start surpassing Windows on the desktop.
    • by Trelane (16124)

      It's expensive to develop cross platform support,
      It is not that expensive if done from the initial stages (Yes, MFC->wxWindows or whatever will be, of course). It'd be much cheaper if Windows weren't superdominant.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by sheldon (2322)
        I think he meant... It's expensive to develop cross platform apps that don't look like Ass.
        • by Trelane (16124)

          It's expensive to develop cross platform apps that don't look like Ass.
          I humbly disagree with your assertion.
        • no text :)
        • Dunno ab't mobile programming per se, but it wasn't expensive at all (and still isn't) to keep a Win32 and OSX port of a full 3D compositing app [daz3d.com] whose UI is consistent and sharp-looking across both platforms, with the only variations being OS-specific. OTOH, it weas designed for multiple platforms from the ground up, and uses a UI toolkit (Qt) made for multiple platforms. (The app is a free download for OSX and Windows - grab both and compare if you'd like).

          All it really takes is for the dev team to use t

    • You're kidding right?

      You can click and run most common GUI applications in both Gnome and KDE (and others) out of the box. In fact, this firefox browser was brought up through a menu. Weee. Whomever modded your post up, hey it's not 1994 anymore.

      As for portability ... if the application was written to be portable in the first place [as another pointed out] the costs of supporting multiple platforms is not that high. Especially if the application doesn't do a lot of non-portable things [e.g. use assemble
      • by NDPTAL85 (260093)
        Click and Run refers to Linspire's installation technology for its Linux distro, not as a way to simply activate programs.
        • I wouldn't want users installing applications anywhere but in their own directories. That's what makes Windows so damn insecure in the first place.

          There already quite a few random GUI installers for Linux though. UT2K4 [the game] uses one. So do Samsung laser printer drivers.

          Tom
    • But this is why Microsoft is actually a good thing on the desktop market.

      Operating system advancement has been slow as molasses and almost always driven by someone other than MS. To argue that MS is a good thing for the desktop market is so wrongheaded it makes me want to send Gary Coleman to your home or business with orders to bitchslap.

      'm all for using different OSes, but the sheer number of applications available for a single OS (And in this case it happens to be Windows) is staggering compared to how bad it COULD have been had we had multiple OSes that were popular.

      I think your cause and effect are completely backwards. Because there is one dominant OS, most software is not designed to be cross platform and MS has the power to encourage that trend. Because there is one dominant platform, there is les

    • by ivan256 (17499) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:58AM (#18316619)
      That isn't the problem at all. The vendor of each OS has to deal with that problem, not the carrier.

      The problem is that carriers want to develop features they can charge for on a recurring revenue (pay-per-use) basis. In a multiple OS, high flexibility world, features exist on the handset, not on the network. That means the customer gets to use music, video, voice dialing, games, photos, VNC, SSH, instant messaging, e-mail, etc, and it all looks like data to the network, or doesn't even use the network. This stops them from charging you per message/photo/song/minute of video, because messages become tiny bits of inexpensive data, photos get transferred to the user's PC via a memory card reader or data cable instead of through the high priced photo service (or as a message that is indistinguishable from a tiny amount of data), etc...

      Developers don't write for mobile platforms because they aren't welcome there, not because there are too many OSs. When the carriers say that the number of OSs limits new applications, what they really mean is that it limits their ability to lock down applications as a service.
    • I know nobody wants to admit it... but this is why Microsoft is actually a good thing on the desktop market.

      I disagree completely. Ignoring the question of whether the 'one OS is simpler to develop for' argument was ever true, it certainly isn't anymore. Develop once in a cross-platform tool - say, Java or Python, using GTK+ or Qt - and basically you can run anywhere. Yes, yes, you do need to test on lots of platforms, and yes, there will be problems. But then there are also problems running Windows 2000

  • Thank god (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:31AM (#18316287) Journal
    I do not know about you guys but I prefer more competition and less vendor os lock in.

    Java is huge in the mobile market as a result.

    The problem I have is all the oses are dictated by the monopolies of the carriers. Even the menu's must work all the same and all applications except java applets need to be signed so they can be the gatekeepers aka the carriers.
    • Competition is pointless and useless if it doesn't produce anything of value. I'd very much like to be locked into something that works REALLY WELL which is why I can't wait for Apple's iPhone.

      Java on mobile devices sucks. I have a Treo 700p and Opera Mini for it just doesn't work as well as a native app would. It friggin asks me everytime I start to use it do I want to connect to the internet. No I opened up a web browser so I could NOT connect to the internet. WTF?
  • The other approach that Apple seems to be encouraging, is to let the hardware manufactures support their own devices. Sure it means the mobile carriers lose some control, but in doing so they also offload some of the headaches. Mobile carriers want to control so much, that they are causing their own problems.
    • by dfghjk (711126)
      So you are saying that denying the carriers the ability to modify the products they resell and subsidize, something they clearly want to do, is somehow doing those carriers a favor? Is this another example of "Apple innovation"?

      Apple denies SDKs to the iPhone for its own, selfish reasons but you can be sure that Cingular is not excluded from the process. Cingular isn't simply going to "let" Apple make the decisions you suggest. You think it's Apple that doesn't want a VoIP app on its device?
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:54AM (#18316559) Homepage
    On today's build list:
    • Symbian UIQ
    • Symbian Series 60
    • Symbian Series 60 v2.0
    • Symbian Series 60 v2.2
    • Symbian Series 60 v3.0
    • Symbian Series 80
    • Symbian Series 80 v2
    • BREW 2.10
    • BREW 3.12
    • BREW 3.14
    • Palm 5.4
    • Palm 6
    • WinCE 4 SP 2003
    • WinCE 5 SP
    • WinCE 5 PPC
    • J2ME CLDC
    • J2ME CDC
    • J2ME JSR-184
    • J2ME M3G
    And that's just the ones that I can remember off the top of my head. Some of these are legacy builds, but there are still customers who want them. A large part of our product family is platform abstraction code; if you want to support multiple mobile platforms, you either bloat your code with abstractions, or drown it in #ifdefs. In either case, you have to write to the lowest common denominator, and avoid anything that's even remotely platform dependent, which does engender decent coding discipline but at the result of reducing productivity. That's mostly a C issue, but even J2ME isn't immune, particularly when you have to deal with extensions like OpenGL ES or M3G.

    If I never had to work in anything but (e.g.) J2MD CDC OpenGL ES or (gasps of outrage!) WinCE SP2005 again, I'd be a very happy bunny indeed.

    • A large part of our product family is platform abstraction code; if you want to support multiple mobile platforms, you either bloat your code with abstractions, or drown it in #ifdefs.

      That thing you call "bloat" some call good coding practices. And it's not like it will bloat your binary if you code it correctly, which is all that really matters.
    • by lpontiac (173839)

      • Palm 6

      Palm OS Cobalt was stillborn and buried quite a while ago now. Unless you're talking about whatever Access' forthcoming offering is called?
  • by shog9 (154858) on Monday March 12, 2007 @11:16AM (#18316847)
    "Mobile phone executives have hampered the growth of new services", mobile phone users say...
  • Easy Fix (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday March 12, 2007 @11:33AM (#18317073) Homepage Journal
    The fix for this is easy, and I understand already implemented in Finland and a few other countries - phone manufacturers can't sell service plans and network companies can't sell phones.

    Open access, open API's, competition in the phone market, competition in the rate plan market.

    This appears to be the sweet spot for government regulation in this market because it increases competition, not decreases it.

    I imagine it also drives towards Internet-based services as a means to avoid redundant negotiations with multiple carriers for every new feature a phone manufacturer wants to implement.
  • Standardizing the OS is unimportant. Even the web is OS neutral, r.g., HTML, PDF, MP3, etc. The industry just need to define open file/transport protocols and let the handset makers innovate all that they want.
  • They complain about all the phones because they have to configure them all. Well, this is a bunch of horseshit. The manufacturer will be happy to do that for you, aside maybe from loading in custom graphics. And it's unimportant anyway, because you can't even take the config from a RAZR V3 and dump it to a RAZR V3i for instance. Many settings are the same, but many settings are NOT the same (the speaker/mic gain table is not the same, for example) so you actually have to roll a whole new config file not jus

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