This week’s. Nokisoft/MWC edition.
In case you’re not aware: this week is Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and absolutely everybody who aspires to any sort of consideration in the mobile market releases products, services, press releases, announcements, and whatnot. Even Apple does so nowadays, but the new subscription rules and the possible iPhone Nano have been covered in great abundance elsewhere, so I skip them. (An iPhone Nano would obviously be a game changer, but I’ll return to it later when the MWC smoke has driven away.)
- Pictures of the new Nokisoft devices. Lest we forget, UX-wise Phone 7 is a decent OS, and these phones look slick.
- In case you missed it: IE9 is coming to Windows Phone 7. This year. Not very surprising, but it’s good to have official confirmation.
It will be interesting to see if old Windows Phones get the new browser. I’m guessing they won’t.
Nokia’s talk of a (late) 2011 Windows Phone makes more sense now. They want it to ship with IE9.
- This doesn’t surprise me, but it’s good to have confirmation: Nokia will delay its Windows Phones until the “Mango” update has landed. ETA: October. Why? Because this is the update that contains IE9, among other things.
So Nokia will sell Symbians until then, plus possibly a MeeGo device (but just for fun, nothing serious).
- Nokia developed MeeGo together with Intel, and Intel announced that it won’t give up on MeeGo, even though Nokia apparently has. The problem is that Intel doesn’t amount to anything in the mobile market, has no history as a mobile device maker, and probably doesn’t have the right operator connections, either. So although it may continue to work on the OS, it won’t influence the mobile market — unless a device vendor picks it up. And some of the disappointed Windows Phone 7 makers may; I’m especially thinking of LG here, who had already announced ages ago it was interested.
- Qt developers are not happy with Nokia’s lack of love for the technology it pushed. The official Nokia Qt blog reviews the current state of Qt. It’s still important for Symbian (which isn’t going to disappear this year), and MeeGo (of which one device will be launched). Not a single word about Windows Phone 7, though. Seems Qt is not an option on the new OS.
- This article makes a shrewd point about MeeGo:
If Nokia keeps Qt around (and right now it says it will), Windows Phone 7 is just a stopgap solution while MeeGo is being groomed for future greatness. Interesting take.
I think the way to figure out which way Nokia is going to go can be seen on how they treat Qt. If they choose to keep it, Meego is going to be the future. If they choose to let it wither and die (or sell it off), Meego will become just a curiosity. Qt is the key for Meego developer adoption, and the only way it could become a feasible smartphone platform. In my opinion there's no point to develop Meego just for the tablet market; it would be really hard when you couldn't leverage the same development effort as on the phone side.
At any rate, Meego will lose a number of good people, simply because they are fierce open source advocates who will not work for a company which has sided itself with the Evil Empire. I'm hoping that this is not going to be a large number.
It’s also the first article in I don’t know how many that treats S40.
- Mike Rowehl’s interesting take on Nokisoft. Two parts merit full quotation:
What is the number one criticism leveled at Microsoft over and over again about its efforts in mobile? Lack of consumer adoption and scale. And that’s exactly what Nokia has. And what is the number one problem for Nokia despite having scale and consumer adoption? They can’t create and support a third party developer system. And wow, look at that, it’s one of the things everyone accepts that Microsoft does well. Everything else really hangs off those principles.
Which is why I’ll continue to monitor the app situation (native and web) with interest. If Nokia developers don’t cross over to Silverlight in significant numbers, the platform is doomed — according to the current rules.
So to all the other developers out there who are going to be hearing a ton of marketing down the line about the Microsoft/Nokia partnership and trying to make some sense of it, remember that this isn’t a two party deal. This is really about Microsoft, Nokia, and us. And in business deals like in poker: if you look around the table and can’t figure out who the sucker is, it’s you.
- Michael Mace discusses the Nokisoft alliance, and sees a phone market with five dominant operating systems. I agree with the number (for reasons that won’t make much sense to most of my readers), but I doubt the actual OSs. Mace thinks it’s going to be iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry, and webOS. Much as I love the last one, I doubt it’s going to make much of an impact, and this list of five leaves bada out of the picture, which may be a serious mistake. Samsung will eventually shift from Android to bada, although that probably won’t happen this year.
This article is worth reading in its entirety.
- Good point by Tomi: Nokia needed Google more than Google needed Nokia, but Microsoft needed Nokia more than Nokia needed Microsoft. Thus Nokia went with Microsoft.
He also thinks MeeGo was discontinued for strategic reasons, and not because the device originally slated for October, and then for January, wasn’t ready.
- And Tomi publishes his first forecast for Nokia in 2011. Bottom line: totally lousy. Smartphone market share will drop to about 18% for the entire year, which will certainly make them second after Apple, possibly third after RIM, and maybe even fourth after Samsung.
Existing Symbian clients will start to look for something else (likely Android), the E-series’ market share will be gobbled up by BlackBerry, and event the low-end S40 range isn’t safe from cheap, locally produced phones.
Interestingly, Tomi found out that a MeeGo-based laptop is for sale in Singapore right now. That means MeeGo wasn’t plagued by lagging development, but was phased out deliberately. (Of course the development problems could be in the hardware, but that’s supposed to be Nokia’s strong suit.)
- The Facebook phone is here. HTC creates one; basically a normal Android phone with HTC Sense and a special Facebook button. Two interesting points:
- The ChaCha has the BlackBerry form factor (qwerty keyboard fixed at bottom of wide phone) that I haven’t seen from HTC yet. But it makes sense for typing lots of text.
- HTC will sell these phones in Asia and Europe. Why not in North America? There would be a market for it.
And the official blog post mentions the other vendor: INQ, a UK-based vendor specialised in social network integration. However, INQ doesn’t sell phones in the US, so we still have a set of devices aimed at Europe and Asia. Will a US vendor be unveiled later? Or will INQ enter the US market? Or has somebody goofed up and is the HTC one supposed to be sold in the US after all?
Facebook denies the rumour it would release a Facebook-branded phone. Good thinking; it’d cost far too much money. Let HTC do the hard work.
- Facebook presents a new Facebook application on a SIM card, from where it will communicate to the servers via SMS, ensuring a 100% compatibility with all GSM phones. Now that’s a mobile strategy!
I only wonder who’ll sell and connect the SIM cards.
Obviously, everything you do will be logged by Facebook. Operators do the same, but I trust them more than I trust Facebook.
- RIM introduces BlackBerry operator billing for the Vodafone, T-Mobile, and Telefonica networks. It has Europe all wrapped up, in other words. Now what about the US?
- Network vendor Ericsson is working on an SMS-based financial system.
It would indeed. Come to think of it, I’m sure that Facebook is considering something similar with its SIM cards.
What would really help even further, I think, is if we could get the digital identities stored on the mobile phone. That would really push things along.
- Sony Ericsson unveils the PlayStation Phone: Xperia Play. Runs Android 2.3, if I recall correctly. Will compete with other phones/play consoles, such as the iPhone and Windows Phone 7.
So now Sony and Microsoft, two out of three traditional game console manufacturers, have gone mobile. What will Nintendo do?
- Vodafone launches the Webbox: basically a keyboard with Internet connection and a SIM card slot that you can connect to your TV. Sounds fun, but this has already been tried ten years ago, and it didn’t work then. Besides, Vodafone aims at developing markets, and I wonder if there are enough TVs there to make it worthwhile. Sure, middle-class and rich people will have one, but why would they consider Webbox instead of a normal Internet connection or a mobile phone?
Colour me doubtful.
- RIM buys an address-book start-up that sets priorities for your contact and searches for information about them on the social networks.
Shrewd move. This could be useful for business users, and it fits in with BlackBerry’s strong points.
There are considerable security issues that aren’t being addressed. I do not want an average website or app to access my SMS and send messages in my name. But probably that will be handled by consumers only being allowed to download trusted applications from an app store. Good enough for now, but an app-store-less solution will have to be found eventually.
Historically, initiatives of large groups of mobile players haven’t fared well due to political infighting. However, aligning WAC with W3C specifications might offer a way out of this problem. The infighting won’t disappear, but at least a neutral party can drive the specification process.
Could be wildly important, could be a dud. No way to tell right now.
- Telefonica announces a WAC strategy. Unfortunately no details are given, except for a bunch of countries.
The article says there’s a “multi-platform strategy” involved, which is also a good idea in principle. Write once, run anywhere. Unfortunately no details on OSs are given. If forced to guess I’d say Symbian and Android.
- Have a tip for next week?