07 August 2009

Google Controls Nokia

Google just bought On2, international company developing multimedia codecs. On2 bought 2007 a Finnish company called Hantro, which has been delivering hardware and software video codecs for Nokia for years (here, here and here).

Yep, Google now owns an important piece of Nokia platform.

Officially On2 codecs will be used to make Android platform better - but isn't it a nice coincidence to get control over Nokia at the same time. Now Google knows all about Nokia multimedia hardware and software architecture, problems and solutions - not to mention roadmap for the forthcoming years.

What a "lucky break" for Android, Google owned and controlled mobile device platform seriously competing with Symbian OS (used mostly by Nokia). It's going to take Nokia a few years to get out of this situation. Fortunately there are several H.264 video codec chip manufacturers.

Congratulations! Someone has actually earned all the bonuses (s)he's going to get.

06 July 2009

Apple iPhone Retrospective

Device manufacturers and mobile phone operators have run their own Walled Garden” stores for a decade. They were satisfied, to have an effective and controlled way to stand apart of the tough competition. Nokia device was something else than Vodafone or Orange device, regardless of using the same hardware. The competition was fierce, all means were taken into use.

Hardware manufacturers (OEMs) tried everything: released dozens of color variations, different form factors, even allowed customizing sounds and wallpapers – as long as they were bought from operator's own store. They released feature-packed “killer devices” and ultra-low-cost devices for emerging markets. Something for everybody. There were even system firmware updates to fix defects – for free! It was all about serving the customers. Customers just weren't happy, but nobody could exactly tell what was the problem. There were millions of problems, each different for millions of people.

Apple knew nothing about mobile phone business or how to serve the difficult mobile phone customers. They were world leading experts in serving small niche markets, where User Experience was more important than price. Markets where usability, look and feel, user delight were key aspects. Maybe that's why Apple succeeded where OEMs failed: serving the customer. They came into mobile phone business from outside, with a view from outside. Apple offered something completely different.

First Apple iPhone was technically a mediocre device compared to smartphones from any traditional OEM. Not enough memory, too slow, camera worth joking, just a single akward hardware form factor, poor connectivity, running only a single application at a time – and worst of all – hooked up into iTunes desktop application. It just didn't offer everything for everyone, it was targeted to niche markets. Nothing to take seriously, OEMs might have thought.

There were customers even before iPhone release. Millions of users were registered in iTunes, familiar with buying music pieces online. They jumped happily to the new device as a better music player. Price was pretty high, but you got Cover Flow UI, animated 3D user interface, which was familiar from existing iPod music players and Apple desktop machines. It was something uber-cool in a mobile device. Very thin and stylish hardware design didn't hurt either.

Everything changed with Apple AppStore. People had a cool music player, which was suddenly able to run applications. People who were familiar with buying music online, would now buy software. Everything just clicked together: cool design, simple to use, millions of existing users, familiar market place, ease of purchase, reasonable terms for 3rd party developers, Apple marketing machine. Mobile world turned around.

iPhone OS (March 2009) and App Store Metrics (July 2009) are nothing but awesome:
  • Available in 80 countries around the globe
  • iPhone OS devices 30 millions sold
  • SDK downloads 800 000
  • Registered developers 50000
  • Available applications 55000
  • Active publishers 14000
  • Submissions per day 139
  • Total 1000 million downloads
What about old traditional OEMs, what are they doing? How about operators, don't they want a share? One billions times of “current average overall price” of 2.60 USD equals 2.6 billion USD business. And it's growing.

Nokia set-up their own market-place, called Ovi Store. Analytics and experts agree that it's great, but users are difficult again and complain about many things. O2 set up their own semi-public software testing area, called O2 Litmus. It looks good, but smells like another walled garden. Palm Pre has sold 300000 devices, which have downloaded one million WebOS applications - from a selection of few dozen candidates. Palm Pre SDK is still not public. China Mobile, with 480 million customers, is opening their own application store. China might have more users than anyone else, but it is also very big in software piracy. Why waste good money, when you can get software for free (I've heard said). Google's Android Market also looks like the Next Big Thing, but will that be compatible with the rumoured 20+ devices to be released this year. There are already rumour it won't be 100% compatible.

Apple has total control on the whole chain: hardware, operating system, SDK, marketplace, invoicing. Apple has total control of mobile device developers – and they love it. Apple has it all and users love it.

25 June 2009

Have Windows Mobile, Use Android

Do you have Samsung Omnia, pretty nice touch screen mobile phone running Windows Mobile 6.1? Want to upgrade? For Free? Without risk?

Group of experienced experts have managed to dual boot Samsung Omnia with Android OS, from a memory card! They are getting closer to real port, but the results are impressive already:
  • Boots up from SD memory card
  • Android OS kernel is loaded
  • Clock works on home screen
  • Touch screen support
True, you cannot make a phone call, use camera or any Android application - but it's a great start from a small group of freetime volunteers! Follow Andromnia for progress - and look for bargain Omnia devices (i900, i908, i910)!

[MobileCrunch via Patrick Soon via Android Community]

22 May 2009

Make Your Own Mobile Phone (Really)

Looking for a new mobile phone, can't find anything you like? How about a Real Dream Phone, with all the important features, none of the useless ones, the way you want it? You really want that? I mean really REALLY want?

FLOW DIY kit is a do-it-yourself mobile phone! You can choose GPS, GSM, GPRS, 3.5G, WiFi, Bluetooth, USB, Accelerometers, touch screen, extra LCD displays, battery size, normal or Qwerty keyboard, covers. You can even leave the phone away and just do a custom PDA! Size like 69mm x 116.7mm x 13.7mm doesn't sound bad at all.

Based on Gumstix platform, completely modular and customizable. Comes with open source hardware design and a community support. Great for those who actually can do things by themselves and want to have something very special.

Mix this with open source mobile phone platform, like Android (now) or Symbian OS (hopefully later), and you're ready, set and go with an amazing mix: custom hardware with OS compatible with applications written for more boring phones! Want one!

[Gizmo For You via Engadget via Androinica]

19 May 2009

Maemo Harmattan 2010

MobileCrunch has couple interesting articles about rumoured Maemo 6 Harmattan, even with possible early screenshot. Wouldn't be surprised, if that screenshot is actually Maemo 5.

Difficult to see what new they report when compared to Maemo 5 Fremantly, rumoured to be released Real Soon Now (TM) (my preview here). Fremantle already has:
  • Internet tablet, vertical or horizontal scrolling touch screen
  • Home screen widgets, with our without ads
  • Qt 4.5 support, with the native Hildon UI compatibility
To make things exciting Maemo 6 Harmattan could have oFono, open source telephony platform, to enable making telephone calls. It could also run on some near future low-power Intel chips. Timetables seem to be in sync.

Interesting to see what happens, when someone releases internet tablet running Symbian OS. Most likely that someone would not be Nokia.

08 May 2009

Nokia Developer Summit 2009 Offsite

Nokia Developer Summit 2009 was held at Monaco, 28-29 April. I wasn't able to join, but still wanted to know what's going on. With today's technology, it was actually both easy and a pleasure.

First news came realtime via twitter hashtag search #nds09. Several reporters, occasionally even in different sessions, offered good selection of facts, opinions and background info. Thanx to at least @mobilejam @smashpop @AAS @bryanrieger @gloom303 @rayval @inti @mobiliser @henriquemartin onsite, as well as several offsite commenters.

Next there's some more or less realtime blogs, most notably Nokia Conversations and the official event website. They do have an advantage, having access to restricted insider info, and did a splendid job. The official website is most likely the best ever after-event site I've seen. Take a look, if you're interested in getting into the feeling of almost being there!

Talking about blogs, have to mention the old reliable All About Symbian. They might not be the fastest, but provide thoughtful, insightful analysis worth following. Podcast AAS Insight #69 contains NDS summary starting at 21+ minutes. Also Qt-based Orbit UI supersedes S60 AVKON in Symbian^4 article is an excellent overview of the future of Symbian platform. Check the comments, too.

Another interesting blog this year was Forum Nokia Blogs, where FN Champions were requested to blog from the event. Personal touch was a nice addition, great idea!

I'm not a fan of real-time video, with all the background noise, people walking by and coughing and seeing too many talking heads almost in focus. Talking backs of the heads are even worse, can't even try to read from the lips! These videos by Nokia Conversations are something else: professionally edited, short and to the point, with excellent picture and sound quality.

Main news from my offsite view, mainly via twitter (my comments inside parenthesis):
  • It's not resolved yet how to get flash apps into Ovi Store (but I'm sure they will get in there)
  • Forum Nokia delivers resources to 4+ million registered developers, website receives more than 1.5 million unique visitors per month. (Personally I've always "wondered" about that 4 million registered users, but 1.5 million "unique visitors" is an impressive number.)
  • WRT is an abstraction layer. (Nokia keeps pushing WRT so hard, guess it will become a serious development platform)
  • Ovi Store accepts only certified apps: Symbian Signed or Java Verified. (Flash is a bit open, hopefully Flash solution could be reused with python apps.)
  • Finally a form of Map API will be available from Nokia (with restrictions and only for selected partners, but finally it's available)
  • Developer focused twitter feed from Symbian Foundation @symbiandevco (great to see they embrase latest tech)
  • QT Orbit announcement via Twitter, to replace AVKON. (Major major news. Truly surprised how little analysis there has been about this. Too big to understand or devs are just too skeptic)
  • Application suite re-factored and re-written to take advantage of Qt APIs, Orbit widgets, and Direct UI. (This means S60 will fallback one year vs competition. Can they use the option to their advantage?)
  • Maemo 5 Beta SDK was released around this time (there is a future for Maemo)
Wondering whether expos will become like big sports events: want to be there onsite, but will have no idea what's happening. Calling offsite friends to ask where to go, what to see.

07 May 2009

JOM PyS60: 12 months, 22 apps, 45000 pageviews

What can you do with PyS60, the python programming language for Nokia S60 mobile phones? Software, of course! Lots of software, quickly, experimenting and having fun.

Last autumn I had the pleasure to be selected as Forum Nokia Champion, mostly due my engagement with PyS60. This is a report of the last amazing 12 months. If anyone objects shameless self-promotion, please skip the rest. I'm just so happy with the results of using PyS60, that I wanted to share this story.

I've done Symbian C++ for years, survived and never liked it. There was an odd addiction, have to admit that. Getting deep inside Symbian development, focusing 110% for hours and being able to solve complex issues does feel very satisfying. However it never felt very productive. But C++ coding was years ago, maybe things are different now.

Tried Java ME, but run immediately into fragmentation issues. Each line of code seemed to require few more "just in case", no pleasure at all.

Late 2006 PyS60 seemed like a toy programming language. Nice idea, but just didn't have enough anything to be taken seriously. 2008 I tried again. Didn't have much time, didn't want to use too much energy, just a quick look. Surprisingly PyS60 had developed quite nicely and it was possible to write sensor enabled software. PyS60 wasn't only "just another programming language" on par with everything else. It additionally offered access to accelerometer data with just a few simple lines of code!

March 27, 2008, I created my own website for releasing mobile software written with PyS60. From Day One I have been following Google Analytics statistics (free). Can't help it. I cannot write any software and NOT release it. Likewise I cannot create a website and NOT follow what happens with it. No big plans, it's just a way I'm internally wired. Fortunately it turned out to be interesting.

During last (about) 12 months I wrote and released (about) 22 applications written with PyS60. My website has received (about) 45000 pageviews by (about) 16000 absolute unique visitors. They look at average 2.32 average pages using 1:35 minutes on site. Says Google Analytics, can't argue with them.

http://jouni.miettunen.googlepages.com/

Never thought PyS60 software would be able to achieve that! Additionally during last one (1) week, I got 2700 pageviews by 1200 visitors, which projects into 11000 views by 5000 visitors for on-going months. Not too bad, considering each and every user has to find, download and install PyS60 runtime before they can use any of those apps. Hope they do. Wonder what the numbers would be for standard Symbian C++ software, much bigger no doubt! But this is python.

What is the future of PyS60? Since it's absolutely beginner friendly while still powerful, one would hope there is some future.

PyS60 1.9.x project is going on and progressing nicely. There are some issues with releases, but it's acceptable for work in progress. Just happy that Nokia Python team has the courage and foresight to make public sprint releases. The much expected PyS60 2.0 will be great, I'm sure about that:

Based on python 2.5.4 core with most of the standard libraries, support for Sensor Framework, support for Touch UI, graphical application packager, support for Platform Service API, some support for development on linux and Mac etc.

Just one request: would you please try to keep same UID, not change it for each and every release unless absolutely necessary?

Does PyS60 have any commercial future? Currently it seems that Nokia Ovi Store accepts only Symbian C++, Java ME and some Flash content. No news about PyS60. Well, as long as PyS60 remains fun to use and more productive than alternatives, I'll remain a happy coder. Wouldn't mind getting serious with Nokia Ovi Store, but that's a business decision out of my reach.

Cheers,

--jouni nighttime and weekend coder

PS.

Want to know what those 16000 visitors came to see? Here you are:

PS. Initially released at Forum Nokia Blogs

04 May 2009

Symbian OS Fragmentation Has Started

There are two recent phone specific SDK releases: Nokia N97 SDK and Samsung i8910 HD SDK (aka Omnia HD). While it's good to see quick SDK releases and updates, this can be the start of Symbian OS fragmentation.

Nokia N97 SDK release note is reassuring, making it look like their SDK add-on is pretty backwards, forwards and device compatible. Wouldn't expect anything less, considering Nokia used to own S60 platform. However Samsung release note especially says:
NaviSensor provides an alternative to the S60 5.0 Sensor Framework API.
The very first non-Nokia S60 SDK extension is fragmenting the Symbian OS platform. Even thought Samsung i8910 is a delicious device, I think this is the beginning of a troublesome developer friendship (walking into fog).

30 April 2009

eBook reader Stanza, Rest In Peace

Amazon has bought Lexcycle, creator of free eBook reader application Stanza, the 5th most downloaded free application in iPhone App Store. They say "We are not planning any changes in the Stanza application or user experience as a result of the acquisition". Nicely said.

Amazon bought MobiPocket Reader, popular multi-platform ebook reader for Palm OS, Windows Mobile, Symbian OS, BlackBerry and Psion, around 2005. If All About Symbian report on MobiPocket status is any indication of future, we can say goodbuy to Stanza, too. No changes, they said.

Hopefully, if things go right in this world, Amazon is planning to release their Kindle eBook reader software for more than iPhone platform, too. Hopefully.

28 April 2009

Android Cupcake, Officially

After a long wait the latest mobile phone OS challenger Android is gathering up more speed: new version, more hardware, lots of rumours.

Android 1.5 SDK is released, containing what was reported already in Android 1.5 SDK preview. Might add that one SDK contains several OS versions, supports add-ons and allows running several emulators side by side. Great for developers!

This release contains SDK and Android Dev Phone (ADP1) images for developers, but it shouldn't take long till normal users can enjoy their Cupcake, too. T-Mobile Germany has already promised updates in May. Sure the others will follow soon!

Second Android phone, HTC Magic, has been released. According to Androinica, HTC Magic is already available in Spain (see Vodafone) and soon in Italy, Austria and Finland (Saunalahti). O2 Germany is planning to release Samsung’s first Android phone Samsung I7500 in May. Latest rumours also mention that Tatung is planning a set of Android phones? On the other hand nobody knows what Dell is doing: Android, Windows Mobile or Symbian S60.

22 April 2009

Google Me, Google You

People searches cover 10% to even 30% of all online searches. Sometimes it's recruiters doing background checks, conference encounters trying to recall who were you, but mostly it's the person herself.

When you search yourself, what do you find? What would you like to find? How do you feel, when people you're trying to impress find the same things? How would you react, when you meet your online presence in a job interview (see chapter 9)? That's right!

Google has a new service, which allows you to have more control over what people find when they are searching you. You can have your own Google Profile with a short bio, pictures etc. Most importantly you can provide links to sites, which you do want people to see. Your own pro website, no more embarrassing MySpace and Facebook party pics.

Do you have a google profile yet? Check it out with this link. More info on this page.

Just remember: you are online (since you're reading this) and you do have a history - it NEVER goes away. People will search you and they will find you. You can try to change your name and move to a foreign country, you can try to cover old stuff under a pile of new things. Nothing disappears. With Google Profile and it's integration on the first page of their search results, now you have a chance to look better.

20 April 2009

Oracle sees Sun, gets dazzled?

For weeks IBM was supposed to buy Sun, so newspapers told us. The deal went dead and - just four days after - it's suddenly Oracle. What does Oracle foresee?

Discussions between Big Blue and Sun were rumoured for a long time, nothing about Oracle. Even at last moments, Sun board made a public offer to continue the discussions. The price Oracle pays is about same as IBM's turned down offer - but why? Is Sun is a situation where they absolutely need the money, must merger or what?

The start is not the best. IBM sure looked like candidate Number 1, which would make Oracle only second best. Bad for morale and motivation. Furthermore Oracle is still dissolving BEA Systems (Jan 2008), Hyperion (Mar 2007) and PeopleSoft (Dec 2004, hostile takeover). There might be some turbulance in foreseen future!

Interesting to see what happens to Mobile Java and Java FX.

15 April 2009

Nokia 5800 is now 3+ Millions

Congratulations to Nokia, for shipping 3+ million Nokia 5800 devices (as reported by SymbianFeak, and later corrected)! Congratulations to operators for reasonable pricing! Congratulations to users for adopting such a wonderful device!

My personal experience with Nokia 5800 has been a bit slow. I've used Nokia devices for last 10+ years, pretty natural for Finns. The user experience has been smooth and steady, reliable. When you learn the "Nokia UI" in one device, you can use any device. Changes between devices and platforms has always been moderate.

Nokia 5800 is different. It's not their first touch device, I did try Nokia 7710 a while, as well as its ancestors Psion 3/5 devices. Have also iPod Touch, as a reference device. The difference is that 5800 is designed to be used by one hand. Took a while to realize that, but since then it's been a pleasure.

14 April 2009

Android 1.5 SDK preview

Lifehacker is reporting brand new Android 1.5 SDK pre-release, good short summary. Here's my additional comments:

First of all, nothing about Android Developer Phone 1 issue where developers are not allowed to download and install their own copy-protected applications. This was not important enough to fix - or the situation is much more complicated that it originally looked like. We'll hear more later, I'm positive about that!

Refinement of all core UI elements sounds good, but we need to see what it means. Very positive sign that it was first on the release note! "UI polish" and Google Talk status integration for Contacts, the most used mobile phone application ever. Faster Camera startup and (first) image capture. Assisted GPS.

On-screen keyboard, landscape and portrait. There are also predefined SDK emulator profiles for HVGA landscape and portrait screens. Looks like there's going to be both vertical touch screen devices, like iPhone and Nokia 5800, as well as horizontal, like Nokia Communicators.

Homescreen widgets, reminding about Nokia N97. Widgets everywhere and I still can't quite understand why. Even David Wood, the Catalyst & Futurist of Symbian Foundation, is doing widgets! Well, have to admit that WRT 1.1 has some potential.

Web browser update, based on webkit. Wonder how many lines of code Google Android, Apple Safari and Nokia browser really share. Left hand cooperates, right hand competes.

Multimedia APIs, speech recognition framework, redesigned sensor APIs, better OpenGL support, improved JUnit support and easier performance profiling. Good mix of consumer and developer features. Now waiting for G2 device.

06 April 2009

Fragmented Java - Finally!

Nokia has announced that it will version "Java Runtime for S60" separately from the underlying S60 platform starting with S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2. This will increase java fragmentation. It's about time!

Java fragmentation is a huge problem. Instead of "write once, run anywhere", you need to test separately on hundreds of devices. Sometimes you have to choose features on certain devices in certain operator network or just the lowest common denominators. Either way, this has given java a bad name. Android suddenly looks very attractive, even with just one device out.

Nokia decision means offering Java Runtime updates outside firmware upgrades. This does increase fragmentation between and inside platforms, even within one device. True. On the other hand it increases device lifetime. Fragmentation can be partially fixed by individual updates. If this can be automated, situation improves!

Instead of fighting a lost war, Nokia turns the situation upside down and makes the best of it. New cool features, not supported by your device? Just update Java Runtime! Brave move, wise move, good for customers, good for marketing. Wonder what Sun will say about it? Or maybe IBM?

05 April 2009

Can Business (Card) Be Beautiful?

The basic purpose of business card is to give information. Name, company, ways to contact. Ideally it would also be a reminder about location, time and event. Hopefully it's an advertisement, reminder of possibilities, promises, opportunities. Business card should have a story to tell.

Would it hurt, if it was also beautiful? Would it help, if your business card was fit for framing? Something people would save not only because of you and the shared moment, but because they would like to look at it? Because it would inspire them to be better beings, more creative, look outside the old box?

Here's some inspiration, "60+ Most Beautiful and Creative Business Cards Designs". Next time you update your cards, take a moment to think about it. May your next card be a Better Card!

03 April 2009

Symbian Foundation, It's alive!

2 April 2009 is a date to remember. Symbian Foundation is finally independent from the friendly - but jovial - foster father, the one and only Nokia. Now it's all official!

Congratulations!

...feeling nostalgic and recalling 10 years back. Someone came to tell that our team wasn't working for Psion any more, but for "Symbian". Nobody was sure what that word meant, fortunately the work remained same. The rest is history...

Happy next ten years, Symbian Foundation! You have a solid base where to continue from.

01 April 2009

Dell - Different kind of MVNO

Mobile and Netbooks are converging, but not only from mobile side. Nokia might be considering netbooks, but now it's also Dell who is considering going mobile.

First Dell attempt got delayed, due mobile handset design issues. The next plan is to drop handsets completely - no handsets, no design, no problem! Dell is planning to become a Japanese MVNO, offering network access for it's netbooks (with built-in HSPA cards).

Think about the benefits of MVNO without handsets: reuse netbook marketing material, avoid tough mobile handset markets, minimal dealing with operators, create a customer base for future handsets, stand ahead of other netbook manufacturers.

Operators are already offering netbooks with USB sticks, also Amazon Kindle has been doing something like this in USA. Dell becoming a MVNO is still an ingenious idea!

27 March 2009

How to Generate Money

Chris Andersson, of The Long Tail fame, points to an analysis about how web 2.0 businesses actually make money. The biggest revenue seems to be online advertizing. I would have though biggest source of income is Venture Capital investments.

The original analysis (by Box UK) is both interesting and useful. It shows what has been tried, what is being used, what are related possibilities. For start-ups it can help to (re)define what is their market and business model. Usually one model is not enough, so it's useful to see options where to target next growth sprint.

Analysis is based on data from Webware's "Top 100 web apps for 2008". This gives an enourmous amount of credibility to the analysis. You can see several well know companies, who are actually using these models: Amazon, Google, iPhone, Opera, eBay, !Yahoo, Skype, Twitter, Wikipedia, Facebook, bitTorrent, YouTube.

Some are more successful than others. Something to seriously think about.

Currency Conversion can be Fun!

Every now and then you see something amazing, especially within mobile software business. Applications, which make hardware do something it wasn't supposed to do. UIs, which do old things in new ways or new things in old ways. Designs which are oh so obvious - after you've seen them.

Convertbot (for iPhone) by Tapbots is a festival of design, party of usability, dripping sex appeal all over the place. Maybe putting form over function, but that form alone is something I'd be delighted to use regardless of what the function might be. This is an application I want to be seen using.

Make yourself a favour and check out their video. You will be glad you did. Not only the application is awe-inspiring, but also their marketing: the quiet guitar music, reassuring metallic sound effects, confident presenter voice - and the application itself. You really have to see how touch UI applications work, screenshots just can't deliver the experience.

Thanx to Gizmondo for their inspiring "ConvertBot is the Prettiest Unit Conversion iPhone App You're Likely To See" article.

26 March 2009

Mobile Games on Demand

Gazimoff's geekBlog has a good story about a potentially new, potentially revolutionary gaming system. After seven years of development, OnLive has announced Gaming as a Service. We could call it Cloud Gaming, since these times everything is Cloud Computing.

Lots of benefits in such system, same as in every SaaS system. Longer lifetime for "old" handsets (N93i), market for used devices, recycling phones, more data traffic for operators. Some additional drawbacks, like people who might want to own an actual physical copy of their favourite games.

I would like to see Mobile Gaming as a Service, as a Games on Demand. Great for end-users, easy setup and updating, available anytime and anywhere, instant community, automatic networking with people with similar thought, sharing of pictures, video and add-on material.

Could be built on top of widgets platforms already today. Apple Dashboard, Windows Mobile Widgets, Nokia Web Runtime Widgets, Opera Widgets, Yahoo! Widgets, NetFront Widgets, Plusmo Widgets, etc. Widgets are the new black.

23 March 2009

How Many Developers Does it Take?

There are 30 million iPhone OS devices. PC World Business Center story is titled surprisingly "17 million iPhones", but for developers that's 30 million devices. Half of them might have only WLAN network access, but they all run the same software.

More interesting is that Apple's iPhone developer program has "50000 members", who have released "25000" applications. That's about 2 registered developers per single iPhone application.

Some people have released several applications. Some reprecent companies, which contain several persons. Some might have released no applications at all. Still 2 developers per application is a mind blowing number. Dare we compare?

Nokia reports it has "more than 4 million registered developers" (Feb 2009). Obviously they haven't released 2 million applications, but if even mere 1% of those had released a single application, we have an inventory of 20000 titles. Hopefully the much expected (and soon over-hyped) Ovi Store will be able to gather as many as possible together.

During last 12 months I released 16 applications. Some good, most not, but at least I did my share. If x% of those registered developers had done the same, we would have... Err, there's something wrong with my logic. I think I'm comparing Apples and ...?

19 March 2009

Rumours: SonyEricsson -> Sony, Sun -> IBM

Recession is changing the world as we know it. Voluntary disruptions, such as Symbian Foundation and Android, will be joined by surprising operations forced by ruthless markets.

Motorola is fading, Palm is making desperate last moves, Facebook is trapped by Microsoft, Google tries to be everything for everybody, twitter explodes online communication.

Latest rumours are that Ericsson wants to sell Sony its share of SonyEricsson. Or that Sony wants to buy. Both companies have known financial problems, so it's difficult to guess in advance. We should know more this Friday 20 March, when Manager Magazin is released.

At the same time there are rumours that IBM wants to buy Sun. IBM is big on mobile service side, but recession is hitting hard on subcontractors. This move would allow them to take an active role in defining future of mobility. Interesting technology is still Java FX, based on SavaJe.

Surprisingly SonyEricsson and Sun are connected via Java FX. Just a coincident.

Two ways to fight for survival during downtime:
  1. Expand your service repertory. Sony might try to get back the leading positions in both camera and music player markets. Currently Nokia is the largest camera and digital music player manufacturer. Also remember what happened to SonyEricsson Playstation mobile phone!
  2. Create new innovative products. IBM already has office suite, but taking hold of Sun they could have more freedom. Java fragmentation is old news, Java MIDP3 process seems very slow. Flash and Qt might take over, Android is not using Java, iPhone is closed environment. Would IBM bet on java? Or just Sun's server business? Both?
Thing's will be different.

16 March 2009

Nokia MVNO in India Still Possible


Week ago Rethink Wireless speculated whether Nokia would become MVNO in India (which I commented here).

This week Indian operator statistics show how newcomers are struggling to gain any foothold. Over a year HFCL (Punjab) and Shyam (Rajasthan) managed to gather 300000+ users each. Since Rajasthan has 56,6 million and Punjab 24,3 million population, the market must be extremely tough.

Nokia's luxury brand Vertu MVNO should focus into wealthy areas, like Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi and Kolkata. Ultra high density urban areas with enough people, enough money, enough socializing, enough personal interest. Obviously.

Would Indian operators allow that? Nokia partnered in Japan with NTT Docomo for "Vertu Club" starting Q2 2009. NTT Docomo owns 26% of Tata Teleservices, which has almost 32 million subscribers. Tata has a joint venture with Virgin Mobile, which is positive sign.

Things look good for Vertu Club India. Vertu users have "enough" money and care more about value service than price. Furthermore Vertu MVNO is hosted by NSN in Singapore, having natural close ties to Nokia handset manufacturer. This is not only business, but also marketing. Nokia handsets, NSN hardware, Nokia services, NSN services. No need to worry about profit.

13 March 2009

Symbian Foundation with Open Plans


David Wood of Symbian Foundation has made an impressive demonstration of what "being open" means: he shows Symbian Foundation platform release plan, with comments!

I'm speechless. Literally. I've signed so many NDAs that even thinking about such is not allowed! To show them on public means getting fired, getting in jail, bankrupting your company, millions of euros fee, getting banned from industry for life. A moment of silence to catch my breath...

For the first time I'm a believer. I have always had faith in Symbian OS, but now I'm beginning to believe it might really be "open". The possibilities are... limitless!

Thank You!

Looks like we'll see first Symbian^2 device announcements this summer. Since it's based on S60 5.1, it should be "just" a better Touch UI device. Think something like Nokia N97 (based on S60 5.0), but better, faster and more.

First community effects will be seen in Symbian^3. Most likely no major features are introduced, but existing ones will start to turn into unexpected directions. Symbian^4 is something different. That is the moment of truth, showing whether Symbian Foundation has succeeded or not.

12 March 2009

Nokia 5030 - with Internal Radio Antenna


Both extremely fascinating and extremely silly "Nokia 5030" video, released by Nokia Conversations. Could be Nokia "techno marketing" department, great blog anyway.

Video storyboard:
  • 30 secs technology
  • 25 secs usability
  • 20 secs market research
  • Last minute ridiculous use case how The Lonely Hero goes on Deserted Sunny Beach, sends text message to His Friends, who immediately arrive and setup a Spontaneous Party - because the radio "sound quality is so great".
Got to love that stuff! Hats of to the lady, who had the guts to present the last minute!

Finally a mobile phone radio with internal antenna! I used to be active DXer (shortware listening), when I had more time. This is a feature I would like to see in smartphones.

10 March 2009

Android 1.1 for ADP1, Just the Way You Wanted

Android Developer Phone 1 (ADP1), firmware upgrade 1.1, does not allow installing copy protected applications. The situation is weird, since intended target group for ADP1 is developers.

You know developers, the fellows who write those copy protected applications. The fellows, who need to check that everything works for normal users. Is this a not-so-clever way to increase hardware sales?

One of the surprises at MWC 2009 was lack of Android devices, regardless of expectations and early announcements. But no, there are still loads of Android devices in labs, 12 devices to be released by the end of 2009, VC people in the loop revealed. Or was it 16? Maybe 20?

Google says "many developers are concerned" about possibility to pirate copy protected applications on ADP1. On the other hand there are developers disagreeing with this. The situation is similar to Symbian Signed start: platform people blamed operators, who blamed platform people, nobody took credit.

Everybody forgets the developers, in the best interests of the developers, of course. Apple iPhone marketing department must be having a party.

09 March 2009

One Shop to Rule Them All - or Maybe Not

What's going on in online mobile software business?

From myriad of small stand-alone one or two app websites, to operator controller Walled Gardens, to huge generic software stores (Handango), to manufacturer operated application stores (Apple AppStore, Android Market), to... what's next?

It's all about money. Developers, some of them, write software for money. Application stores were born, when some developers just couldn't figure out bookkeeping and tax systems. Some merged into megastores. Operators want their fare share, since they keep the system up and running. Manufacturers want to sell more hardware, maybe even get their own fare share of the software and services business.

Some developers are not happy about this. After so many fair shares taken in between, after so many forced restrictions and requirements, there is very little left for developers. There is more than just money: freedom, independence, self-expression. Latest software market revolutions are led by Cydia, to fight Apple's tight control, and potential "Android App Flea Market".

Nokia has been heavily criticized about being late in the online application store rush. Maybe they let others make mistakes first, learn from them, and then make things right. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

Let's see how Apple and Android deal with the new situation. Let's see how long Nokia waits.

Nokia Energy Profiler 1.2


One of my favourite tools has been updated, Nokia Energy Profiler 1.2.

New features are supporting S60 Touch UI, WLAN received signal strength and "3G cellular network T1 and T2 timers". Wonder what that last one could mean? Pleasure to study, no doubt!

I was thinking about Nokia Energy Profiler, when I created my Sensor Analyser (requires PyS60 1.4.x) to figure out how to use sensors in S60 devices. Now it's time to make an update, especially since PyS60 1.9.2 has Sensor Framework support. No Touch UI support yet, but it'll come.

Btw never could understand why Nokia didn't make & release any developer tools to encourage using sensors. Maybe it was to easy?

08 March 2009

Maemo 5 - Still using Hildon!


Maemo 5 Alpha SDK was released week ago, haven't seen too many comments about it. Nevertheless it is important news, so here's few thoughts:

How long does Nokia have affort to keep maemo project running, especially in these challenging economical times? Sites are closed, people fired and put on forced vacation, and something which to an outsider looks pretty marginal keeps happily running and making new releases?

Within 3+ years Maemo has been used in 4 devices: N770 (no link on Forum Nokia!), N800, N810 and N810 WiMAX - and there are rumours that latest one has been discontinued! Doesn't look like a big success story, so what could be going on at the background?

N770 was a big success. Huge! Nokia couldn't produce enough devices, market demand was enormous - especially in USA. Since decision to drop CDMA phones was done, Nokia market share in USA collapsed catastrophically. Something like N770 is priceless for marketing. Fate of N810 WiMAX is troubling.

Maemo is needed as an alternative. Big organizations cannot put all their bets behind one product. Just look what happened to Motorola after RAZR 3 got old. Nokia has S40 and S60. S90 was discontinued, same as S80. What will happen to Maemo?

Symbian Foundation platform could expand to internet tables, possibly replace Maemo. Can maemo expand to handheld devices? Btw Maemo already runs Qt 4.5, which is very interesting. Could Qt save Maemo (project/team)?

06 March 2009

S60 5th Edition SDK 1.0 Released


Don't know how I've missed this, but seems like Nokia S60 5th Edition SDK version 1.0 was released yesterday!

Release Note doesn't say what has changed since previous v0.9 release, unfortunately. Well, have to install anyway. Have to check also which Nokia blog RSS feed I'm missing, they have several of those. Too many and not too sure what is used for what.

Btw remember to backup your files before you uninstall v0.9. Yes, you have to do uninstall, for unclarified reason.

05 March 2009

Nokia to become MVNO in India?


One of my favourite source of rumours... err, I mean information, is Rethink Wireless by ARChart. Now they have a very delicious rumour about Nokia planning to become a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) in India.

Nokia might operate together with NTT Docomo, just like they do in Japan with Nokia Vertu luxury brand. Is this a second step on Nokia's long-term plan to expand, or even move away, from hardware manufacturer position? Service provider on top of dummy operator data pipes?

Wonder what mobile phone operators would think about that? Wonder why NTT Docomo agreed to this? Would they have common interests or common adversaries? Interesting times ahead!

04 March 2009

Does Innovation and number of Patents correlate?


McKinsey blog What Matters has an article "Building an innovation nation", which they summarized as a graph showing how innovation and US patents are directly related.

The article itself is well-thought, balanced and logical, but the graph gets all attention. One picture is worth ten thousand words.

Is number of patents really the most important evaluation criteria? Do you really measure world-wide innovation with number of patents in USA? Not in the world, but in USA? Only?

The article says USA is slipping in innovation, because many Asian people either return home or don't come at all. Japan and Europe are getting old. New innovations comes from emerging areas, which just might not register patents in USA. India and China we already know, look out for Africa.

Best of Nokia 5800 Software - how depressing


Steve Lichfield from All About Symbian has put together an interesting list of top-10 freeware applications for Nokia 5800, Nokia's famed touch screen device. The list contains good solid basic applications, but it's nothing to get excited about, on the contrary. Maybe that's why Steve added 10 more apps to the list.

Where are the innovative applications, which would use the device's unique features? Where are motion sensitive applications, using big full screen, vibrating user as feedback? Where are apps using nothing but touch UI, finally getting rid of click-click-clickety-click Options menus?

The main features of Nokia 5800 are, in my opinion, touch screen and large(r) screen. Tactile feedback and sensor framework are fascinating, as well as new UI and feature improvements on S60 5th edition. WLAN and A-GPS are becoming commodity features.

Btw one more candidate for next list, actually a Forum Nokia developer demo: "S60 5th Edition: Solitaire Game Example". Better use of Touch UI, but missing few things on Touch Experience. Demonstrates what can be done with Touch UI, but leaves lots of room to improve.

28 February 2009

Business cards should have a story


Spent last week in MWC Barcelona, meeting lots of people. Some I knew in advance (great seeing you again!), some were new acquaintances (pleasure meeting you!). That's about 25 persons on a long day, on the average. Finnish people are not too socializing, I'm afraid.

This week I went through all the business cards, no big surprises there. Wish I had met someone from Lego and got a Lego business card, like Chief Happiness Officer Alexander Kjerulf! Found via Lifehacker via Geekdad. Credit were credit due.

Kids would love that. On the other hand, they were extremely happy with 3 rubber ducks, too, courtesy of Rubberduck company (mobile-tv business). Am I business for them, will I recommend them - who knows. I only know that for the next year I will see their logo about daily.

What does Your business card tell about You, Your business, Your product, Your service? Does it catch the eye, does it open questions, is it a reference to be saved for later use? Is it something to talk about? What is the purpose of Your business card? What is its expected lifetime?

27 February 2009

Working at home: Work or Home?


I've met many people who say they want to work at home. The first silent question in my mind is: do you want to work or do you want to stay at home?

Those few, who actually have worked at home, have some common advices. Make it serious, either by ritual (walk around the house before and afterwards, setup your gear, change clothes) and/or create a special place dedicated for work. Yes, you can work in the corner of your bedroom, but then it has to be more than "just a corner".

Lifehacker tells about Mitch Haile, who is very serious. He's definitely working at home, check his FAQ! Contains much more than just a detailed description of his office, how did he built it and what's in there.

I've done both, stayed at home and worked at home. Some rituals, some special arrangements - and lots of peaceful night time without interruptions.

26 February 2009

Nokia Netbook


Yesterday evening Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Nokia CEO, was interviewed in Finnish YLE televion A-Plus show.

Nokia is considering subnotebook manufacturing, because in 5 years mobile phones and notebooks, as we know them now, would be merged. True, Nokia already has Communicators product line, as well as new subcommunicator devices such as N97 and E75, but in future both keyboard and screen would be bigger.

What is going to happen with Nokia Internet Tablets, running maemo? New release was expected in MWC 2009 Barcelona, but in vain. Will we see something new based on future Symbian Foundation release?

24 February 2009

iPhone AppStore statistics


Eye opening iPhone software statistics from Pinch Media with realistic sounding analysis: free vs paid, does advertizing pay off, counting eyeballs. Here's the slides.

It's always better to know what you're doing. The next best thing is to follow closely the reactions to your (random) actions. The worst thing is to just hope for the best. However on the average it's better to do something, than nothing at all. If you fail, then fail spectacularly.


Is there Social Networking outside USA?


One of the hot trends in MWC Barcelona 2009 was mobile/social networking. Lots of talk, but talk is cheap. Here's some statistics at Site Check - Web Site Advice, comparing January 2009 data from Compete and Quantcast.

It's sad to see how little life there is outside USA, not even worth measuring. Anyway it's always interesting to see statistics vs statistics. Wondering how Twitter is really doing?

Myriad Group = Esmertec + Purple Labs + Openwave + Sagem


New name to remember: Myriad Group. Google finds several, but not the right one yet. Would expect mobile veterans to find a more unique name. Btw great summary by RethinkWireless.

Esmertec, creator of JVM for all non-Nokia phones. Purple Labs, medium size name in mobile sw business for already a decade, growing steadily. Openwave, big name in (wap) browsing. Had a bright future, but wap just didn't succeed. Sagem, old mobile phone vendor still bravely struggling to stay in game.

Wonder what they will make together. Great potential, but can they focus.

23 February 2009

Missed opportunities


Last week I bought Nokia 5800, was surprised about the experience.

In the shop I looked all around the box, could not see anything about S60, Symbian OS or possibility to run/install 3rd party applications. Half jokingly I complained to shop personnel and was mildly shocked about response. They had no idea that 5800 runs Symbian OS or S60, even less that it's possible to install additional software.

This was a big store in capital of Nokialand (Espoo, Finland), the shop run by the second biggest Finnish mobile phone operator.

I'm losing money as 3rd party sw developer, Nokia is losing money as hardware vendor and mobile phone operator is losing money as operator.

What would be a better time to advertise and sell mobile phone software than the exact moment the customer is ready and willing to pay for a brand new phone?


12 February 2009

Handango Yardstick 2008 Analysis

Simon Judge made a nice short analysis of latest released Handango statistics. Here's my additional comments about the Handango Yardstick of 2008:

Sorry Simon, isn't Android share 0.1% and that 10% belongs to Smartphone Software (Windows Mobile Standard)? Then half of Handango sales is for Windows!
  • TOP-5 is utilities and personalization software.
  • 7% share of Symbian software sales contain both S60 and UIQ.
  • Number of new mobile content titles during 2009 is 10000 - but what platform were they made for?
  • Sales of 51% Windows, 11% Palm, 31% RIM suggests strong USA orientation.