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Motorola Moving to Android, Windows Mobile for Smartphones 136

Posted by Soulskill
from the changing-horses dept.
nerdyH writes "Motorola will ditch its MotoMAGX Linux stack and UIQ Symbian stack in favor of Google's Android Linux/Java stack and Windows Mobile 6.5 and 7, it announced today. The news comes after five years selling millions of Linux phones in Asia, and after a year during which many of Motorola's top US phones used the homegrown Linux stack. Motorola's current Linux phones in the US include the RAZR2 v8, E8, EM30, U9, ZN4, and ZN5." This also comes alongside news that Motorola's financial hardships are causing them to cut 3,000 jobs. It also puts into perspective their recent plans to hire hundreds of Android developers.
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Motorola Moving to Android, Windows Mobile for Smartphones

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  • by plover (150551) * on Friday October 31, 2008 @10:21PM (#25591723) Homepage Journal

    Maybe this means they'll finally deliver a non-buggy app suite. I think Motorola has been suffering because of the quality of their software. I have had very few problems with the hardware I've owned that weren't software based. (I don't blame Motorola for the broken hinge on my son's RAZR.) I like that they have adopted many standards, such as mini-USB connectors on every device that are used for both data and charging, they've been a big supporter of the Bluetooth SIG, and their attempt to go with Linux (even though they kind of went off on their own with MotoMAGX.) I even bought a Z6 from them earlier this year for geeky reasons: the Linux OS and the fact that they sell them unlocked directly to consumers.

    I hope that they do survive their current turmoil, and an Android stack is pretty exciting (even though it's a year late) because that promises a large suite of apps.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by glebd (586769)
      Unfortunately, Motorola phones seem to suck in quite a platform-independent, or shall we say, portable way.
    • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Friday October 31, 2008 @11:23PM (#25592083) Homepage

      mini-USB connectors are definitely a huge plus. the last time i went to Best Buy was while accompanying a friend to get a data link cable for his phone (i forget which model it was), and after looking at 10-12 different link cables, we still couldn't find one that fit the proprietary data port on his phone. the closest thing we saw was an "All-in-One Cell Phone Data Transfer Suite" which came with 10 different cables for various brands of phones, but it cost something like $90.

      there's absolutely no reason to use a proprietary connector for what is basically just a USB port. it would be so much easier, and more convenient, for consumers if all handset makers just used mini-USB connectors like everyone else. you don't see digital cameras or external hard drives coming with their own proprietary USB/FireWire ports. it's such a blatant attempt by handset makers to rip off their customers with overpriced data cables--which they usually have to buy separately in addition to requiring a different one for each handset.

      i mean, if you wouldn't put up with this kind of scumbag business move with your external hard drive, digital cameras, or MP3 players, then why would you put up with it with your cell phone? heck, my PSP uses Sony's overpriced Memory Stick Pro Duo format instead of the more universal Micro SD format, but it still uses a standard mini-USB connector like pretty much all other portable devices.

      • by nido (102070) <nido56.yahoo@com> on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:33AM (#25592425) Homepage

        The chinese government has decided that, in the future, all phones will be required to use the humble USB port for charging [techdirt.com].

        I have a Motorola phone with the USB port, and was quite distraught to find that it wouldn't charge when I plugged it into my computer. WTF? There's a russian site online that shows how to short a USB cable so it can charge. I eventually found that if I installed Motorola's drivers it'd charge just fine.

        • yeah its good that one isn't it, I believe its because it thinks it may be a headset.

          It is actually a windows issue, plug it in to a pc running ubuntu and it will charge.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Dr_Barnowl (709838)

          I believe the USB port in Windows will only supply power when the device is identified, to save power.

          Of course, if the phone has no power, this is a monstrous inconvenience. I've taken to carrying a wind-up LED torch with a charger socket ; that way, I can prolong talk time when the battery is low and I have no outlet, and when it's flat, I can give it enough juice for the computer to charge it.

          I'm not sure whether Ubuntu will charge it with a flat battery either, I must try that. But it certainly seems to

          • by KGIII (973947) *

            It has been my observation that when charging the phones with the USB data cable and a PC that if the phone's power is completely drained that if you just plug it in and don't touch it and wait then after about 10-15 minutes it will turn itself on and charge.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I have a Motorola phone with the USB port, and was quite distraught to find that it wouldn't charge when I plugged it into my computer. WTF?

          Yes, this is stupid. You discovered the need for a driver. If your phone has a data mode, set it to that, and then you don't need to install a driver for anything but mass storage.

        • by mgblst (80109)

          That is windows fault, it needs the drivers before it will allow power to a USB port. plug it into Linux, and you wouldn't have this problem.

      • by wall0159 (881759) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @02:04AM (#25592805)

        "you wouldn't put up with this kind of scumbag business move with ... MP3 players"

        you mean like the ipod?

        (I say this as the owner of an ipod nano)

        • by UltraAyla (828879)
          good point, but remember that even though their connector is proprietary, they give you a cable for it when you buy the unit - it doesn't require you to go buy another one. But you're right when it comes to buying 3rd party peripherals. The car charger for your phone won't work for your ipod (which would be nice)
          • by Bert64 (520050)

            So you have to carry the cable around with you all the time incase you need to recharge or such...
            Using standard cables means there will always be a cable or two at work you can use, and any friend's house or car you find yourself in is likely to have one too.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by samkass (174571)

            Actually, almost all the cars in the world these days have factory options for iPod/iPhone rechargers. Almost none have options for USB chargers.

            Considering the ubiquity of iPod connectors in planes, computers, clock radios, cars, etc., I wish the Chinese had chosen it instead of mini USB. If you have a mini USB phone, about the only thing you can use to charge it is a computer, and that's not very convenient.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Dr_Barnowl (709838)

              Great, so you have to buy a new car to get the charger... or an accessory to plug into the 12V cigar lighter socket.

              You can also get 12V lighter socket chargers for USB, and wall outlet chargers with USB sockets on too these days.

              I wish Apple had chosen a standard instead of their proprietary connector, but it obviously has more functions than just power and data. An mini-usb with a small extension for the extra lones that was physically compatible with a standard connector (for just data and power) might h

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by fermion (181285)
          Recall that the dock connector was not developed as a USB connector. It was developed as a firewire connector, which could also use USB. While this capability is not useful for most people, and therefore not worth the extra hassle, it at least somewhat justifies the existence of the $30 cable.

          I recall when I bought my mini, and how nice it was to have firewire and not to have to wait forever for the music to load over the slow USB port. I also recall leaving the cable plugged into the back of my hard di

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        there's absolutely no reason to use a proprietary connector for what is basically just a USB port.

        What about shameless profiteering?

        Why let someone buy a $10 mini USB to USB cable from Best Buy when they can buy a $15 proprietary cable from YOUR company?

    • I think the quality of hardware is fine (as in I feel like the RAZR was a pretty solid phone that would not break easily).

      Where I diverge is that I don't think Motorola is good at making usable hardware. After a year or two, I hated the buttons on the RAZR. I didn't like the keypad, and I thought they way they used the side buttons was demonic and caused me to miss many a call hitting them as I reached into my pocket, or randomly changing things I did not want changed.

      However I absolutely agree with your

      • by plover (150551) *

        For the most part, their hardware usability has been improving. I intensely disliked the stainless steel cut-out buttons on the RAZR V1 (my fingernail would slip along the digit edges and scrape, giving me that fingernails-on-chalkboard feeling) but their later models have silicone filled them from behind, leaving smooth buttons with raised divider lines, and they raised the digit 5. The keypad is now very usable.

        I fully blame the RAZR's "phone edge" buttons annoying behavior on the software, not the h

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I fully blame the RAZR's "phone edge" buttons annoying behavior on the software, not the hardware. When you shut the phone because you don't want it to work any more, how freaking hard is it for them to disable ALL the buttons?

          You bought the wrong phone. The RAZR was intended as a fashion phone, which is one obvious argument; but another is that it was intended to be used with a headset (bluetooth or no) in the closed position.

          I'm still waiting for someone to offer me a cellphone as a constellation of bluetooth devices; one keypad/display/phone, one camera, one headset, one speaker-only for the other ear. I'm pissed at my RAZR V3i (whose hinge has just inexplicably begun to flop about, without receiving any recent trauma) for the

          • by plover (150551) *

            You bought the wrong phone. The RAZR was intended as a fashion phone, which is one obvious argument; but another is that it was intended to be used with a headset (bluetooth or no) in the closed position..

            I didn't buy the wrong phone, I bought the first RAZR when they came out because Bluetooth was a requirement for me even back then. And I've used a lot of cell phones with a variety of headsets and handsfree car kits. Absolutely none of them require me to interact with the phones, closed or open, in any way. All controlling of the phone is handled through the headset controls. There has never been a need to access the phone's buttons.

            I'm still waiting for someone to offer me a cellphone as a constellation of bluetooth devices; one keypad/display/phone, one camera, one headset, one speaker-only for the other ear. I'm pissed at my RAZR V3i (whose hinge has just inexplicably begun to flop about, without receiving any recent trauma) for the general poor quality of the software, but I'm not really sure what I should get that's anywhere near as small and that would suck less.

            I'm not sure what you're asking about with the "constellation" of d

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              I didn't buy the wrong phone, I bought the first RAZR when they came out because Bluetooth was a requirement for me even back then.

              You could have got a V5xx.

              And I've used a lot of cell phones with a variety of headsets and handsfree car kits. Absolutely none of them require me to interact with the phones, closed or open, in any way.

              The headset and the phone both have a volume setting. I have had to manipulate both to get good range.

              I'm not sure what you're asking about with the "constellation" of devices. All those devices are independently available today (apart from the two-separate-device headphone thing.)

              The problem is making them all work with one device at one time, which from my limited understanding (never actually having tried myself) is problematic at best.

              • by plover (150551) *

                A V5xx would have been a large, clumsy step down from my little Sony Ericsson T637, and software-wise they came with the exact same crappy OS and applications that came in the RAZR anyway. Their Bluetooth stack was equally unstable on both platforms. That's what started this thread: Motorola's OS and applications have basically sucked for many years, and only their MOTOMAGX Linux offering has shown any improvement.

                Regarding the simultaneous connectivity issue, I have quite a bit of experience with Blu

                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  So yeah, Bluetooth is good, and still has a lot of promise. But it has a long way to go yet.

                  I've actually been pretty well dismayed with the state of Bluetooth on Linux. It seems like tooth-pulling every time I want to get a new device working. I had to read two FAQs just to get my GPS paired... And I've never had any luck with my headset. I sure would like to have a mouse, but it's got to be a Logi...

                  I've been a Motorola junkie in phoneland in spite of their crap software because of the generally high quality of their hardware. I've abused my phones mightily and still had fairly good results, eve

    • by reidconti (219106)

      Maybe this means they'll finally deliver a non-buggy app suite. I think Motorola has been suffering because of the quality of their software.

      Wrong. Motorola makes unholy crappy hardware AND software.
      The WinMo based Motorola Q is a perfect example of what not to do. It's basically an unusable device. I don't know how much to blame on Moto (probably the parts about the battery always dying, it not recognizing when it was plugged into a charger half the time, constant crashing, etc) and how much of it was Microsoft's fault (some of the crashing, failing to ring when a call comes in, etc etc).

      It was not my first Moto; I had a few Nextels as well

  • Moto's financial hardships are mostly the result of their crappy phones no one wants because they break too easily, are too sllllooooowwwww, and just all around suck. Maybe Android will help them out.

  • I too hope Andriod will strengthen them on the market. I didn't really like G1 phone. Just looks weird. Slider (looks like it) is about to fall off and bottom part looks like it is glued to the phone :).

    So hope there will be more Android devices and soon, I am eager to give it a try.
    • by pcolaman (1208838)

      This comes from your apparent vast experience with the G1, right? /endsarcasm.

      I got a G1, and the thing is an absolute dream. About my only complaint if that there isn't a great selection of good carrying cases so far and I find myself relying on the sleeve that came with it. The slider is solid feeling, the phone as a whole has a very durable feeling to it and the bottom is not "glued on." I actually find that the angle of the bottom makes it easier to use the hardware keys and only slightly interferes

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 31, 2008 @10:27PM (#25591755)
    In other words, they're switching from Linux (custom stack) to Linux (standardized stack). Normally such a move is lauded; Motorola needs to do less to upkeep their stack, offloading the work onto Google and the community. It helps standardize their software more, meaning that software can move from Motorola Phone #1 to Samsung Phone #8, which even with Java it's damned hard to do today.

    It's news, but it's not earthshattering news.
    • by pcolaman (1208838)
      Not earth shattering, but certainly a step in the right direction.
    • by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @02:15AM (#25592843) Homepage

      In other words, they're switching from Linux (custom stack) to Linux (standardized stack).

      Or the opposite, if you remember that Android supports neither native Linux applications nor J2ME applications.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Motorola's ZN5 Reviewed, and compaired to the T-Mobile G1 and iPhone:

    http://linuxslate.com/Review-Motorola_ZN5.html

    It's a plug, but it is relevant to the article.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      That looks like a newer version of the L6 [motorola.com].

      My L6 has been durable, fantastic, and simple with no problems except for one: the buttons are way too damn small.

      It's great for the ladies or for very small hands in general but I have to use my finer motor skills else I get the keypad-mashing effect.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by coastwalker (307620)

        As a European who uses text more than calling this is an endemic problem with cell phones - they are universally crap for texting because of small buttons. Maybe now that the super hype of money for nothing style over substance shallow consumerism has landed each and every one of us with a tax bill of a couple of hundred thousand dollars of future taxation to pay off fucking barking mad asset inflation - we can get back to consumer goods that do what we need them to do rather than some marketing droids drea

      • by xaxa (988988)

        I've had an L6 for about 18 months, but I find the buttons are prone to falling off -- they're just glued on (don't pull at them to check, they'll come off). I've superglued them back on several times now.

  • So does this mean users of the A1200 will be able to run android? One can only hope, I know OpenEZX has put a lot of effort into being able to install your own Linux variant on the phone but I would not be able to do that, there's no guide on their site for one, plus I bricking my phone isn't an option.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday October 31, 2008 @10:49PM (#25591891)

    Motorola going to Android, ditching old crufty phone OS'es - a fantastic idea.

    But they follow the ill-fated palm of Palm in dividing resources, by going both with Android and Windows Mobile! When Palm pulled that move they lost focus, and products suffered as a result. I can't help but forsee the same fate engulfing Motorola as they go further down the path of becoming a has-been...

    I don't know what company will take Android to the heights it could achieve, but now I don't think it will be Motorola.

    • by LingNoi (1066278) on Friday October 31, 2008 @10:56PM (#25591941)

      They're probably balancing on the fence keeping their options open. I doubt they'd keep two code bases maintained.

    • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Friday October 31, 2008 @11:36PM (#25592177) Homepage

      i wonder if HTC has adopted a similar strategy. they used to use Windows Mobile exclusively for all of their handsets, but now that they're in the Open Handset Alliance and have produced the Dream/G1, does that mean they're going to be an all-android handset manufacturer, or are they still going to keep making Windows Mobile handsets?

      i guess since Android is still a nascent and largely an untested platform, most OHA members probably aren't going to put all of their eggs in one basket just yet. but perhaps in a year or two, once Android has proven itself commercially, companies like Motorola will be more willing to commit themselves to the platform and drop Windows Mobile.

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @12:46AM (#25592491) Journal

        IMO, none of this matters if the Cell Carrier is allowed to fark up the handset manufacturer's hard work with a custom firmware that strips out features.

      • I'm pretty sure HTC has stated that they're going to keep producing WinMo phones for the foreseeable future. Since they're the biggest/best manufacturer of WinMo phones, I don't see why not. And while Android is cool, at this point it's still a 1.0 product without as much software available as WinMo. I doubt HTC would ever drop WinMo since it seems to be heading towards improvement with the increased competition.
        • by jargon82 (996613)
          Interesting. I agree here, as I feel WM 6.1 was a MUCH greater improvement over WM 6 than 6 was over 5. I'm using a blackjack II (which I chose for it's decent keyboard, lets me ssh from it without too much pain) and the 6.1 upgrade fixed and improved a handful of things relevant to me. My move from a WM 5 to a WM 6 device brought me almost no benefit, initially, other than improved hardware but the WM 6.1 upgrade has been great. Maybe at least one arm of MS is getting the picture? The time to compete is
          • I think Microsoft is sort of getting attacked on all its fronts, although Apple represents the biggest threat, both in the smartphone market and the OS market. In the MP3 player market Microsoft entered late but is making headway into Apple's marketshare, and the same goes for the video game console market.

            It seems like this competition is forcing them to actually innovate and improve their stuff. Windows 7, for one thing, actually looks significantly different than previous versions of Windows. I think the

    • Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Britz (170620) on Saturday November 01, 2008 @06:18AM (#25593629) Homepage

      No focus was one of the reasons they went down in the first place. Can someone tell me how many operating systems they had in use for their phones?

      Off the top of my head:

      1. Some JavaME thing (don't know the name)
      2. MotoMAGX
      3. Symbian
      4. Don't they already have Windows Mobile?
      5. P2K (for the low end)

      Are there more?

      Anyways, they now want to "focus" on "just" three. P2K, Windows, Android. IMHO they should either go for Android or for Windows. If they really want Android (Windows Mobile is a little 90s) they could just buy Windows phones from China and rebrand them for their business customers that need Windows Mobile.

    • by mgblst (80109)

      Palm was focused? Really. Palm lost it a long time ago. They were ahead of there game, and just didn't release anything good for ages. It took them years to come out with each product, that was mildly better. They could have one this whole game years ago if they had any sense, but somewhere along the way they decided they would rather be losers.

  • WinMo upgrades (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Friday October 31, 2008 @10:59PM (#25591957)

    Last WinMo device i had, the manufacturer simply didn't feel like updating the software for my specific device when a new version came out, even though it could in fact support the newer version. A hardware manufacturer shouldn't have that level of control over the software.

    That was the last WinMo device i bought and it's going to stay that way. Of course most of these upgrades to WinMo amount to "Now with 15% less suck!" so I'm sure i wasn't missing much, but it annoyed me into never buying one again.

    • by aliquis (678370)

      On the other side with anything else aren't you stuck with the same amount of suck the whole time?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mlts (1038732) *

      I have had a WinMo device which people cleverly made a custom ROM for WM6 (it was a WM5 device). This allowed encryption of the MiniSD memory card, as well as the ability to have the phone erase itself on command from an Exchange server.

      Its worked well for me for daily use, but I don't see many new apps coming out for WM, nor much interest in new stuff, other than minor software updates.

      It seems like everyone and their dog has seemed to have dumped Symbian, Blackberry, and WM for iPhone SDKs and placement

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        As more people pick up cellphones around the world, the number of operating systems for which there is room increases. Eventually something will come out which won't suck. Don't give up hope! Too bad it hasn't happened yet. I think there is room for a hacked system on top of Android, though. It could provide support Linux programs...

  • Wanted (Score:5, Funny)

    by Gastrobot (998966) on Friday October 31, 2008 @11:00PM (#25591959)
    Android Developer Must have BS in computer science or related field or equivalent experience. Minimum 5 years developing applications to run on Google's Android. Java certification a plus!
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Android Developer

      Must have BS in computer science or related field or equivalent experience.
      Minimum 5 years developing applications to run on Google's Android.

      Java certification a plus!

      You missed the memo. The BS has been superseded by the MS with a PhD preferred. Minimum 5 years developing multi-network-aware client-server applications to run on Google's Android. J2ME certification mandatory.

      • by pavon (30274)

        No, no, no. BS is childish. MS is mandatory, PhD is overqualified, and unhirable.

    • by shermozle (126249)

      You know when Java first came out, I saw some job ads asking for five years' Java experience. I don't think Bill Joy applied though.

    • You forgot the experience summary "0-3 years".

      See, if you create job qualifications that are mutually exclusive you can keep the job open for years and then complain to the US government that you need more H-1B visas since you couldn't find any US candidates that meet the job requirements.

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <(deleted) (at) (slashdot.org)> on Friday October 31, 2008 @11:05PM (#25591999)

    First the outsource to india, and now robots??

    The take our jooobs! [youtube.com]

    Dey dak err jaaabs!! [youtube.com]

    Dek uuur dewwww!!! [youtube.com]

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday October 31, 2008 @11:05PM (#25592001) Homepage

    Is bring a good competitor to the G1 to Verizon. I don't know what most states are like, but almost everyone I know who doesn't own an iPhone uses Verizon in Virginia. If they could get a quality Android-based product available for $200-$300 on the Verizon network, they'd see a huge surge in sales in this state.

    • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Friday October 31, 2008 @11:27PM (#25592121)

      Verizon doesn't want something open. They want to own your ass from the cradle to the grave. Android does not fit in their business model. If you want more functionality, they want you to PAY for it (and pay...and pay again).

      • by pcolaman (1208838)
        Yeah, one of many reasons why I just left Verizon for T-Mobile. They lock down any feature of a phone they cannot figure out a way to charge for or feel that would rival one of their sold services, and they cannot even get a reasonable selection of quality phones. And don't you dare call phones such as the Voyager quality phones or I'll smack you in the face. Was getting near the end of my contract with Verizon and needed to replace my old phone (started crapping out from being dropped too many times) an
        • Seriously, Verizon is such BS with their phones. They have less phones with Wifi than most people have fingers on one hand, last I checked, and they're way more expensive than the equivalent GSM models. All their Blackberries don't have Wifi I think, yet the nearest equivalent AT&T model usually does. If they didn't have a good network I wouldn't use them at all.
        • A phone made by Fisher Price would probably hold up better to abuse.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Friday October 31, 2008 @11:12PM (#25592039) Homepage Journal

    Sprint will continue to do what it does slow, weird, late and expensive.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mlts (1038732) *

      Sprint needs to turn themselves around. First, they need to get G4 service or WiMax out there nationwide, as perhaps an alternative for home Internet service other than DSL or cable. Second, they need to make people want to buy their stuff. There are a couple cool Sprint phones, but most people tend to either buy a free (with plan) handset, or an iPhone. The low end handset does what most people want... take/receive calls, some text messaging, basic addressbook. The iPhone has pretty much locked up the

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pcolaman (1208838)
        When you call the iPhone a smartphone, god kills a kitten. Apple determines what software is allowable on the iPhone, and most of the apps on it are for entertainment purposes or is garbage. The main use for the thing, as admitted by Apple, is to basically have an iPod phone that delivers your need for both a cell phone and a music/video device. The iPhone isn't even in the same sentence as phones such as some of those made by RIM, HTC, etc in the smartphone argument. It's a music/video/toy phone. As f
        • by Guy Harris (3803)

          Apple determines what software is allowable on the iPhone, and most of the apps on it are for entertainment purposes or is garbage.

          So what are the statistics for other platforms? My-Symbian.com's list of Series 60 apps [my-symbian.com] has the most apps in the, err, umm, "Games and Entertainment" category, followed by "Miscellaneous Utilties", followed by "Graphics & Multimedia".

          Browsing Microsoft's Windows Mobile Catalog [microsoft.com] shows, by far, the most apps in, well, "Games and Entertainment", followed by "Business and Office Productivity".

          The main use for the thing, as admitted by Apple, is to basically have an iPod phone that delivers your need for both a cell phone and a music/video device.

          Citation for that admission, please?

    • And yet Sprint's data bandwidth on EVDO-A through my HTC Titan seems to be around 800 Kbps, and 1.2-2 Mbps when tethered (CPU seems to be limiting factor here). Using the WiFiRouter to share out SPrint's 3G connection to various laptops, I've downloaded torrents at ~DSL speeds. Maybe Sprint's fast network speed is a function of its unpopularity?

  • by gtada (191158)

    Motorola's software is on par with Sony's (absolutely horrendous). They really need to just focus on making solid hardware with appealing industrial design.

    I tried writing software for the A780, a very interesting hardware platform with a built-in GPS. But, they never allowed access to the GPS and the other interesting bits. Really short-sighted... why would anyone want to write software for a platform sandboxed to hell?

  • by Alex Belits (437) * on Saturday November 01, 2008 @04:36AM (#25593305) Homepage

    Java, Java, Java, Java,
    Java, Java, Java, Java,

    mushroom(*), mushroom!

    Java, Java, Java, Java,
    Java, Java, Java, Java,
    Java, Java, Java, Java,

    mushroom, mushroom!

    Java, Java, Java, Java,
    Java, Java, Java, Java,
    Java, Java, Java, Java,

    Oh, snake(**), oh, snake! Oh, it's a snake!

    --
    (*) Obviously a hallucinogenic kind that they have at Google if they think, Java is appropriate for mobile devices

    (**) Python that ironically is also developed by a person who works for Google -- and would be more appropriate for the purpose.

    • by shish (588640)

      if they think, Java is appropriate for mobile devices

      The java mobile stack is very different to the standard stack, like the only thing it has in common being the .class file format; Python (AFAIK) only has the PC-optimised version (as well as java and .net implementations, but they're also PC-optimised...)

      • by Alex Belits (437) *

        The java mobile stack is very different to the standard stack, like the only thing it has in common being the .class file format;

        And the whole language implementation. And the whole design based entirely on the ideas that poorly apply to embedded and semi-embedded environments. All for the sake of platform independence (runs on ARM and... faster ARM), sophisticated object-oriented language (mostly used to build overcomplicated GUI that would not be appropriate for a phone), and to support the use of massive librarird (that as you have noticed are suspiciously absent in mobile versions).

        Python (AFAIK) only has the PC-optimised version (as well as java and .net implementations, but they're also PC-optimised...)

        Please, once in a while try to stick your nose o

        • by pavon (30274)

          Python is relatively lightweight

          The hell it is. Python is the only language that where I've had to consistently rewrite code in another language because it ran so slow. I was spending more time optimizing the python code then I gained from it's high level syntax, whereas my first-try straight-forward implementation in C or Java was plenty fast enough. Scheme, OCaml, Haskell, and Lisp are all an order of magnitude faster than python. The stock JIT does use a bit more memory than python, but mobile systems don't use the stock JIT. Python is

          • by Alex Belits (437) *

            Modern mobile devices have fast CPUs yet very limited RAM. And no swap.

            • You've just explained why Python on a phone is a dumb idea. Have you ever looked at the memory usage of a Python program? Java is bad but Python is absolutely insane. For the longest time (and perhaps this is still true) the Python interpreter just never released memory back to the OS once it had been allocated. That's how much they cared about memory usage.

              Here's a few more reasons why Python would be an awful language to develop phone software in. The Python interpreter doesn't "do" multi-threading. It's

              • by Alex Belits (437) *

                You've just explained why Python on a phone is a dumb idea. Have you ever looked at the memory usage of a Python program? Java is bad but Python is absolutely insane. For the longest time (and perhaps this is still true) the Python interpreter just never released memory back to the OS once it had been allocated. That's how much they cared about memory usage.

                It was fixed in 2.5.

                I have just checked how a Python GUI (GTK) program looks like in memory, and most of its memory usage is libraries (written in C) th

              • by Alex Belits (437) *

                (missing quotes...)

                You've just explained why Python on a phone is a dumb idea. Have you ever looked at the memory usage of a Python program? Java is bad but Python is absolutely insane. For the longest time (and perhaps this is still true) the Python interpreter just never released memory back to the OS once it had been allocated. That's how much they cared about memory usage.

                It was fixed in 2.5.

                I have just checked how a Python GUI (GTK) program looks like in memory, and most of its memory usage is libraries (written in C) that its numerous modules load, not the interpreter's data itself. In reduced environment memory usage can be easily reduced as libraries are scaled down.

            • by landonf (905751)

              Modern mobile devices have fast CPUs yet very limited RAM. And no swap.

              They have faster CPUs than they used to. The CPUs are still not "fast".

              I spent the last week implementing, profiling, and improving up disk-backed image caching with a front-end LRU memory cache for the iPhone, and experimenting with offloading batch image processing off to a OpenGL FBO. Doing image interpolation while scaling is so expensive on the iPhone's relatively fast CPU that it's absolutely necessary for me to cache thumbnails.

              The cache implementations themselves had to be highly optimized in order

      • I think terms like Windows, Linux, Java, etc are just brand names as far as embedded devices are concerned.

    • by swillden (191260)

      Obviously a hallucinogenic kind that they have at Google if they think, Java is appropriate for mobile devices

      Why?

      You can't be talking about performance, because Java runs significantly faster than Python in nearly every benchmark you can find -- particularly if you're comparing current implementations, because Java6 saw some huge improvements. Java was faster even before Java6, though.

      You also can't be talking about memory, because while the desktop and server versions of the Java libs are huge, and memory requirements follow suit, Java for mobile devices is a different beast. Heck, I write Java for smart ca

      • by Alex Belits (437) *

        You also can't be talking about memory, because while the desktop and server versions of the Java libs are huge, and memory requirements follow suit, Java for mobile devices is a different beast. Heck, I write Java for smart cards from time to time, and those JVMs run happily on devices with less than one KB of RAM.

        Last time I checked, smartcards never do anything but perform calculations -- in theory they should be able to work with eight bytes of RAM and the rest of program in ROM.

        In real applications memory limitations change things completely, but a more important question is, WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO STUFF MASSIVE INFRASTRUCTURE OF JAVA TO RUN APPLICATIONS ON A SMALL, SIMPLE DEVICE? Java's only excuse for existence is that it allows code to be shipped to user without knowing his hardware platform and without givi

        • by swillden (191260)

          Last time I checked, smartcards never do anything but perform calculations -- in theory they should be able to work with eight bytes of RAM and the rest of program in ROM

          You haven't checked in quite a while, then. Smart cards these days run some pretty sophisticated calculations, with lots of crypto, dynamically-loaded programs (stored in EEPROM, not ROM), with dynamic allocation, garbage collection, fairly deep stacks (the biggest consumer of RAM), etc.

          When Python program runs, most of the code that takes any noticeable resources is actually libraries written in C. Java is chock-full of pieces of its authors' ideology, and one of those pieces is the idea that everything that can be implemented in Java must be implemented in Java, so Java ends up being more "consistent" but inefficient.

          And yet, in practice, Java is not slower except in cases where the Python code really is doing nothing of substance, just gluing together C libs.

          There is an interface to native methods/libraries, but they are supposed to be avoided to achieve "portability".

          Actually, the biggest reason for avoiding JNI is that it sucks. For the impor

          • by Alex Belits (437) *

            You haven't checked in quite a while, then. Smart cards these days run some pretty sophisticated calculations, with lots of crypto, dynamically-loaded programs

            Dynamic loading happens once -- as long as it happens at all, you are fine.

            (stored in EEPROM, not ROM),

            EEPROM is a form of ROM.

            with dynamic allocation, garbage collection,

            If you use dynamic memory allocation and especially garbage collection while doing encryption of data passing through your card, something must be terribly wrong with your algorithm. I don't think, anyone even remotely sane would use those features of Java in those conditions.

            Otherwise you will just have terrible startup time that no one cares about because it only happens when device is turned on or card is i

            • by swillden (191260)

              (stored in EEPROM, not ROM),

              EEPROM is a form of ROM.

              Technically, but since smart cards also have true ROM (i.e. not erasable and rewritable), ROM has a different meaning in that context.

              with dynamic allocation, garbage collection,

              If you use dynamic memory allocation and especially garbage collection while doing encryption of data passing through your card, something must be terribly wrong with your algorithm.

              Smart cards do much more than encrypt information passing through them. Actually, they don't do too much of that, other than small bits of data as part of challenge-response protocols.

              fairly deep stacks (the biggest consumer of RAM), etc.

              If stack is "the biggest consumer of RAM", then you don't use dynamic allocation much.

              The heap is in EEPROM. Some applications do use it extensively, though only on cards with JVMs that support GC. Normal procedure for OSes without GC is to do a single large heap allocation du

    • How is Python - an interpreted, dynamically and loosely typed language with a number of inherent optimization challenges - is better than Java for a resource-constrained device?
  • If that house of pain Motorola gets involved in Android sales, it'll start bleeding it's disasterous management into the Goog's advertising revenue utopia & take the Goog down with it. Anything but a Motorola/Goog partnership. Why not Nokia or GM, or Chrystler?

  • I can't say I am happy to hear that Windows Mobile is gaining more ground and will have trounced Linux on the Motorola platform. It is a sad day for me.

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