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February 11, 2011 2:34 AM   Subscribe

Nokia and Microsoft Corp announce a strategic partnership which will see Windows Mobile becoming the system of choice on all Nokia smartphones. While not entirely unexpected, this move appears to smack of desperation. Is it a clever marriage of convenience, or a shotgun wedding doomed to failure? Comments on the Nokia Developer's Forum suggest the latter.
posted by Duug (183 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Desperation or shotgun wedding, either way I hope something good comes of it. MS's new platform is truly innovative, it breaks from the aging iOS, and Android (iOS with less polish, or iOS for nerds, depending on your perspective.) Its also a pleasure to develop for, compared to the whacky complexity of Android or the stone-age language of iOS.

But as a developer, I'm staying away for now, as MS seems to be showing all signs of squandering something great. I hope I'm wrong, but throwing Nokia into the mix is hardly a recipe for bringing MS into the modern world.
posted by tempythethird at 2:48 AM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


This seems like the last, best shot for Microsoft to have any significant part in where personal computing is going over the next decade or two. As a Seattle resident, I hope it works out for them.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:49 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nokia has just seeded the whole smartphone & tablet market to Android. Microsoft will never deliver a viable mobile platform. iOS, Blackberry, WebOS, and Windows Mobile are destined for niche player status.

I know many religious users of high end Nokia phones, but not one who'd ever use Windows Mobile. Nokia would've fared far better as a late entry into the Android market. All their current high end users will now migrate to Android, leaving them only their new Microsoft fans.

Maemo/MeeGo had some chance if Nokia had pulled their shit together. I've been very happy with my N900 thus far. And I'd buy an N9 if the default OS was MeeGo. I wouldn't expect Maemo/MeeGo will survive for long if they're not the primary platform however.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:58 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Microsoft will never deliver a viable mobile platform.

Windows Phone 7, horribly named as it is, is not Windows Mobile. Its missing many important things, and its young, but it has the seeds of greatness. Just look up any reviews. It looks amazing, performs great, is fairly intuitive, and is easy to code for. Now that doesn't mean that MS won't muck it up, they probably will, but regardless, a little credit where credit is due.
posted by tempythethird at 3:06 AM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Echoing Blazecock Pileon: this seems like the last, best shot for Nokia to have any significant part in where mobile communications is going over the next decade or two.

As Nokia's new CEO explained in his recent "burning platform" memo describing Nokia's situation:

“There is a pertinent story about a man who was working on an oil platform in the North Sea. He woke up one night from a loud explosion, which suddenly set his entire oil platform on fire. In mere moments, he was surrounded by flames. Through the smoke and heat, he barely made his way out of the chaos to the platform’s edge. When he looked down over the edge, all he could see were the dark, cold, foreboding Atlantic waters.

As the fire approached him, the man had mere seconds to react. He could stand on the platform, and inevitably be consumed by the burning flames. Or, he could plunge 30 meters in to the freezing waters. The man was standing upon a “burning platform,” and he needed to make a choice.

He decided to jump. It was unexpected. In ordinary circumstances, the man would never consider plunging into icy waters. But these were not ordinary times - his platform was on fire. The man survived the fall and the waters. After he was rescued, he noted that a “burning platform” caused a radical change in his behaviour.


In other words, Nokia would never consider working with Microsoft in ordinary times.

Nokia's new CEO appears to be an idiot. This is one of the most bizarre ways to introduce a new business partnership I have ever seen.

Partnering with Microsoft: better than burning to death.
posted by three blind mice at 3:09 AM on February 11, 2011 [37 favorites]


Is this something I need an App to understand?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:09 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This tells me that my next phone won't be a Nokia. I've been faithful all these years, but this news combined with the worst Nokia I've ever owned in 15 years, means that I'm looking at iOS or Android for the next phone.
Great shame, Nokia phones used to the the one to beat; now it looks like they are beaten. Cue slow death rattle.
posted by arcticseal at 3:22 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well hoping for the best. The more competition the better.
posted by Allan Gordon at 3:22 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


iOS, Blackberry, WebOS, and Windows Mobile are destined for niche player status.

If they can get around the legal issues, RIM is apparently planning to have its tablet run Android apps, so they seem to have pretty much given up running their own platform in the long term. That said, it's rarely noted that iOS apps run on more than just the iPhone. People have been moving from classic iPods to the touch variety, the iPad will more or less own the tablet space for the next couple years, and those Apple TV boxes that move lots of data for Netflix are probably going to run iOS games fairly soon. Developers make money with iOS, so that platform is unlikely to go niche anytime soon.

WebOS might have a chance at a small piece of the pie — if HP can get developers, and if cloud services take off. But Nokia is definitely betting the farm on a long shot. With Windows Mobile, Microsoft is starting out where Apple was three or four years ago. Nokia might suffer pretty badly, unless Microsoft catches up quickly. Google caught up quickly, so it can be done. But I suspect Nokia's phones will need to be dirt cheap to be a compelling buy, and there may be a year or more of growing pains.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:25 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


What is really interesting to me is the corporate restructuring into two parallel lines of focus. Imho, Nokia had been struggling since the iPhone with two conflicting issues - how to leverage and grow their not insignificant user base and brand equity in emerging markets (numbering in the billions but lower cost/margin) and how to address the challenge of the US market and high end smartphones. That struggle paralyzed them over the past couple of product release cycles I think and this splitting of energies is perhaps the real value of this strategy so that each group can focus comfortably on each of the two very disparate markets with very disparate needs.

Here's a snippet from Arctic Startups blog:

Update 8:25 GMT:
An interesting change regarding the organizational structure reveals that there will be two main device units; mobile phones and smart devices. Mobile phones will most likely pursue Nokia's core symbian strategy as its the unit responsible for taking the "next billion" online with mobile phones.

Smart devices unit will have under its wings the following sub-groups; symbian smartphones, MeeGo computers and Strategic Business Operations. The smart devices unit will also be responsible "for creating a winning Windows Phone portfolio".

This might seem a bit contradicting currently, and it is - we'll try and report on this in the coming week and reach out to Nokia for comments.

posted by infini at 3:32 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Microsoft has been a perpetual also-ran in the mobile-OS wars - they were never a frontrunner in the PDA wars, and they've been runner up in the gen 1 smartphone wars, utterly demolished by Symbian and Blackberry.

Now, they're up against Apple and HP, who have amazing software on closed ecosystem phones, Android who has "good enough" software on open hardware, and RIM, which has a megatitanic userbase MSFT couldn't so much as put a dent in with it's previous attempts.

It's not the hardware - HTC makes one hell of a Windows handset - it's the software itself. Windows Phone 7 gets good initial reviews in the press (coughpayolacough), but the small frustrations of day-to-day use add up, and word of mouth on the devices running it is not good. Microsoft really only "gets" enterprise desktop productivity software, and enterprise development platforms for desktop productivity software. The dev environments for Apple, webOS and Android are simple, easy and powerful - MSFT really can't compete, especially as they are also free.

Their original iPhone killer, kin, was such a titanic failure, it was axed after only a few months on the market. Its new iPhone killer is underwhelming, and being ignored by the top handset makers in favor of Android, which has long since built up a critical mass.

Nokia is toast if it's pinning its hopes on Microsoft. Just flat-out dead and buried. Maemo had a fighting chance, if they could get it into a sexy new handset before summer. Now they're so far behind, they're simply not going to catch up.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:34 AM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Does the current Windows phone software allow users to change the phone language? That bugged the shit out of me when I had a Windows phone, and made me resolve to never buy one again.
posted by cmonkey at 3:35 AM on February 11, 2011


Also, I think we should all be hoping that MS gets it right, without them the market will be dominated by Android and iOS for the foreseeable future, and in my book having only two viable platforms out there does not work out in the consumer's favor. MS may be no champion-of-the-consumer, but three is still better than two.

Does the current Windows phone software allow users to change the phone language?

Yup, it does.
posted by tempythethird at 3:45 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've never heard anyone speak well of Windows Mobile. Why would I trust Microsoft just because they changed the name and, supposedly, the software?

I might have given Palm another chance, maybe. I was an early adopter of Treo. But, it was the worse phone I ever tried to talk on. With HP in control now? I'll pass, thanks.

Blackberry is quite nice, actually. I love most the keyboard that comes out in that orientation. Desire-Z forces me into a landscape position which I find unpleasant. Otherwise, I'll stick to soft keyboards.

We're talking smart phones. Ultimately, it's about the apps, as far as I'm concerned. There are apps that improve my quality of life, and I won't do without. And that is all it takes to keep me with iOS, if that's the only platform for my apps. I get increasingly anxious to replace my current 3G! My practical needs (iphone) are at war with my geek tendencies (Android).

Sometimes, I think these lesser choices are only there so the big boys can claim they aren't monopolies.
posted by Goofyy at 3:46 AM on February 11, 2011


Ouch. I have always got Nokia phones because of their reliability but I'm not sure about this move to Windows Mobile. I guess my next phone will have to be an Android.
posted by Memo at 3:50 AM on February 11, 2011


Android could easily own the tablet space if Google gave up on Chrome OS. I would never purchase a Chrome OS tablet myself because it's far too web centric. I'd never buy an iOP tablet either given their closed ecosystem.

Maemo/MeeGo behaves slightly more like a real computer than Android, iOS, etc. but that's no obstacle for ordinary phone/sip/skype, SMS/IM, email, and browsing usage. Android and iOS creamed Maemo only once you start talking games and the development environment.

Nokia could've easily rectified at least the games issue by packaging limited Android app support into MeeGo. I'd imagine the development environment could've been improved too, assuming they'd hired people who wanted to build it.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:51 AM on February 11, 2011


>: All their current high end users will now migrate to Android,

Both of them.

The thing is that Stephen Elop's assessment of Nokia was spot on (but should have been kept to himself). Nokia's strength has never been in technology. This is a company that became successful making toilet paper, rubber boots, tyres, and hotel TVs. Their strengths are in supply chain management, distribution, and marketing. As my old boss at Ericsson once observed: "every year we design a new circuit card and put it into the same old plastics, every year Nokia puts the same old circuit card into new plastics."

Whilst Ericsson was going after sophisticated, high-end users, Noka was making cheap ass phones for 35 Euro and selling them on African continent and across the developing world. Great idea if you count success by number of units sold. The problem for Nokia is that this is not how score is kept. A decade of making the low-end a priority hasn't really put them in the right position to make money. (In the first year that Apple launched its iPhone, they made more profit on sales of 10m units than Nokia did on sales of 450m units.)

It's pretty much an act of desperation for both companies, but it plays well to the strengths of both.
posted by three blind mice at 3:54 AM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


So this guy leaves Microsoft (who have a shiny but unloved phone OS) to head up Nokia (who have a lot of phone and history but a really shitty OS) and then announces that he wants the two of them to get together.

Well aint that a shocker. Never saw that coming.

It might just work for Nokia is they can restrict WP7 to the top end stuff and then use the old symbian stuff on the cheaper phones. But, rught now, the majority of Nokia's market is in the low rent phones that really won't stand a chance with anything powerful.

This is probably dealt with in the article, but I've read three of these articles so far today and I'm going snow blind from it all...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 4:02 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was clear an announcement was coming out of Nokia, but I was kind of hoping they were going with Android rather than WP7, their E-series hardware has always been very nice.

WP7 is actually very good, but it copies all the things I despise about iOS (must get apps from the app store, must sync to a PC, can't customise the home page with widgets, the smart tiles thing is a pretty poor substitute, although better than iOS) but none of those things seem to worry the millions of iOS users, so it shouldn't hold anyone back.

And it really is very nice to dev for.
posted by markr at 4:02 AM on February 11, 2011


I just realized how bad astroturfers are at their job, and maybe it just can't be done better, but this:

I believe that the future is a friend and Nokia can become once again the first, in every meaning.
Let's begin this new adventure, I can't wait to start developing!


Followed by 100 times this:

So sad, Nokia decided to make suicide.

This is clearly the year of the lulz.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 4:05 AM on February 11, 2011


I've been following Nokia for years, and with this news and the appointment of Elop, I'm guessing that Microsoft will buy Nokia outright within a year to 18 months. Or there will be a 'strategic merger'.
posted by Duug at 4:08 AM on February 11, 2011


Nokia had to do something for their high-end smartphones. I got an N97 a couple of years ago on the basis of the hardware specs. I did not realise how frustrating the software experience would be. The native browser is garbage. The music player interface is slow and clunky. The phone came loaded with 32Gb of memory, yet every single Nokia app insists on being installed in the 128Mb C: partition, forcing you to pick and choose what you install while herds of wildebeest sweep majestically across the open plain of the empty E: partition. In the last 18 months, iPhone and Android apps for every possible niche have proliferated like a virus. Symbian apps, if they appear at all, show up late and are usually poorly adapted. I could go on.
I still have my N97, as I have managed to wrestle it into a configuration that works for me, but long before this latest announcement I had already decided that there was no way that I was going to buy another Symbian smartphone. Sentiment on the various user forums (which you are obliged to frequent if you want to find out the necessary workarounds to make Symbian usable) has been heading this way for some months, too. Nokia was definitely in the frying pan with Symbian, it just remains to be seen if they have jumped into the fire with MS.
posted by Jakey at 4:14 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh dear, the market is not impressed either.
posted by Duug at 4:19 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can certainly see what's in it for Microsoft, not so sure what's in it for Nokia, who are basically throwing a bunch of work down the drain and relegating themselves to the status of hardware manufacturer.
posted by Artw at 4:37 AM on February 11, 2011


not so sure what's in it for Nokia

maybe relevance?
posted by the noob at 4:51 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


With Nokia jumping 100% on the MS bandwagon I guess any further development in Qt by Nokia is over.
posted by PenDevil at 4:59 AM on February 11, 2011


Yet another example of the reverticalization of the computer industry?
posted by Slothrup at 5:00 AM on February 11, 2011


I just realized how bad astroturfers are at their job, and maybe it just can't be done better, but this:

I believe that the future is a friend and Nokia can become once again the first, in every meaning.
Let's begin this new adventure, I can't wait to start developing!

Followed by 100 times this:

So sad, Nokia decided to make suicide.

This is clearly the year of the rabbit .


ftfy
posted by infini at 5:02 AM on February 11, 2011


Nokia's strength has never been in technology.

This is an odd statement considering that Nokia's reputation, among phonemakers, is that they're the ones who make the best phone hardware and have been crippling themselves with outdated Symbian builds for longer than they should have.
posted by mightygodking at 5:08 AM on February 11, 2011


Nokia has been smelling of desperation for a long time. They bought out TrollTech a while back, and ever since subscriptions to Qt has been sliding (which mirrored the failing quality control in Qt), they open-sourced it in some vague hope they could claw something back. This seems just more of the same.
Partnering with Microsoft is like supping with the Devil. Five years from now, Nokia will look around and wonder what the hell happened and where everyone went.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:10 AM on February 11, 2011


tempythethird:

Aging iOS

Really? Four years into an OS that is regularly updated and improved and we're at the stage in evolution where we now consider such things "aging"?

Yikes.
posted by tgrundke at 5:12 AM on February 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


This is a shame. If they had just tried with Maemo, they could have had something really good. Maemo in the n810 three years ago was awesome, with actual, professional improvements it could have been better than the other tablet OSes because it was more 'desktopy.' It wasn't as flashly as iOS, but that's because it was more functional. It's ugly when you use it, but it was beautiful on the inside once you got to know it.
posted by fuq at 5:19 AM on February 11, 2011


I don't think astroturfing is difficult per se, its just often impossible in context. Management has a knack for deluding itself so thoroughly that it actually believes its own b.s, and then believable astroturf simply doesn't overlap with management's opinion about the product.

Is nokia really going to be happy with PR that says, "c'mon guys, this might not be so bad?"
posted by cotterpin at 5:21 AM on February 11, 2011


The turkeys must fly.

A smarter move by Nokia might've been to enter into alliance with Nintendo. (Nintendo Vintage Classics and DSWare games on the Ovi Store, anyone?)

But seriously.. Nintendo should really see the writing on the wall and team up with Apple or something. At this rate, "Casual gaming (read Wii) saved Nintendo, and casual gaming (read Angry Birds) killed it" will be its epitaph in twenty years.
posted by baejoseph at 5:24 AM on February 11, 2011


*sigh* I was really looking forward to an N9 with Meego to replace my now ancient E71. Ovi Maps has been awesome, and Nokia hardware is hard to beat. I guess I might see how WP7 is on Nokia hardware, but I'm not sure I can stomach the closed environment.

At this point it looks like my next phone will be WebOS or Android.
posted by kmz at 5:26 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anecdotal observation - I recently met two friends who had Windows 7 phones. Both raved about how good they were.
posted by DanCall at 5:27 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aging iOS

Point taken... but for some reason things in mobile-land seem to move twice as fast as other areas of tech. And by "aging," I'm talking more about the interaction-paradigm than about the technology of the OS itself. The paradigm for (good) smartphones in general was established with iPhone 1.0, with Android doing little but adding widgets, and this interaction paradigm is now spreading to tablets, seemingly by default.

The general consensus of OSX/Windows on how computers should work is fairly solid and has evolved over decades to what it currently is. In comparison, smartphones/touch-devices are very young and more flexible than computers, so its premature for a paradigm to become dominant. If WP7 tanks, maybe honeycomb can provide an alternative, but whether honeycomb is a plausible alternative is also unclear to me.
posted by tempythethird at 5:28 AM on February 11, 2011


Obligatory The One Ronnie link: My Blackberry Is Not Working!
posted by Artw at 5:36 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is confirmation that Nokia's CEO is a Microsoft stooge/plant.
posted by aerotive at 5:37 AM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Android could easily own the tablet space if Google gave up on Chrome OS. I would never purchase a Chrome OS tablet myself because it's far too web centric. I'd never buy an iOP tablet either given their closed ecosystem.

The Android 3.0 tablets that start coming out within the next two weeks definitely seem to have the best of all worlds going on, at least as far as what they run and how they run it.
posted by kafziel at 5:47 AM on February 11, 2011


tempythethird, your first comment has the gist of the matter: MS's new platform is truly innovative, it breaks from the aging iOS, and Android (iOS with less polish, or iOS for nerds, depending on your perspective.) Its also a pleasure to develop for, compared to the whacky complexity of Android or the stone-age language of iOS. But as a developer, I'm staying away for now, as MS seems to be showing all signs of squandering something great.

Getting away from the "aging iOS" derail, this is the problem: things may develop in internet time or smartphone time or whatever you're calling dog years this year, but people still remember things in plain old meatspace time, and MS squandered its opportunities for years. I've become the default smartphone/PDA guy at my work--not because I have any great technical expertise, but simply because I Heart the Bright Shinies--and have had to help otherwise very smart people struggle with Windows Mobile fka Pocket PC fka Windows CE (with one of the best shortened names ever, WinCE), working through some operation that was absurdly intuitive on the Palm OS. People that wanted to use WinCE because of Microsoft's ubiquity got their nuts slammed in the door again and again.

And so now they've gotten religion finally, and that's great, but they have to make the argument that it's necessary, something that they've never really managed to do; WinCE always seemed like something that MS did almost reluctantly, as if they just couldn't imagine that there was a platform that they wouldn't have an OS on, but had no real enthusiasm for the task. And people still remember that.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:49 AM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


If they can get around the legal issues, RIM is apparently planning to have its tablet run Android apps, so they seem to have pretty much given up running their own platform in the long term.

Yeah, when I heard that on the radio last night, I thought it sounded like the beginning of the end for RIM. They don't seem like the kind of company that will survive based on either sexy hardware or competitive pricing. A unique OS at least gives them some way to separate themselves from others in the market, and if they don't have that, they don't have anything, I think.
posted by FishBike at 5:54 AM on February 11, 2011


Yeah, when I heard that on the radio last night, I thought it sounded like the beginning of the end for RIM. They don't seem like the kind of company that will survive based on either sexy hardware or competitive pricing. A unique OS at least gives them some way to separate themselves from others in the market, and if they don't have that, they don't have anything, I think.

They must have just looked at history and decided to copy how well the plan of putting in a competitor compatibility library worked for IBM with OS2...
posted by jaduncan at 5:58 AM on February 11, 2011


iOS may have Mach kernel at its core, but it sure as hell ain't Unix.
posted by kmz at 5:59 AM on February 11, 2011


Wait, wait, wait, people might actually use Java to write something once and run it anywhere?
posted by Artw at 5:59 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Halloween Jack, I basically agree with everything you said. I have a friend at MS, and as he puts it, every once in a while they assemble (or poach) a talented team and give them free reign. Then hopefully whatever they produce isn't murdered/squandered/diluted to nothingness by the rest of the company. The xbox ecosystem was the result of one of those rare times that they got it right. With WP7 they started with a huge ad campaign and then... nothing. What they're missing is the sense of humanity (that Google somehow always manages) that would communicate "We're sorry about all that suck, we're starting from scratch, we understand now, and believe us we care." They communicated this to developers, but stupidly, not to users, at least AFAIK.

Also...
got their nuts slammed in the door again and again
Did you have to go for quite such a... painful... metaphor? I winced just reading it.
posted by tempythethird at 6:00 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did you have to go for quite such a... painful... metaphor? I winced just reading it.

It's better than being flaccid in the acid. cribbed from Weeds
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:12 AM on February 11, 2011


Fuck, I was hoping they'd finally try to get one of their Linux operating systems right. The world needs a totally open platform to make others look closed in comparison.
posted by fake at 6:12 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


QNX is supposed to be able to run Dalvik, at least according to rumour. BGR is usually reliable when it comes to RIM news. He frequently breaks their new products first.

I can see "Android, but better" as a RIM strategy. It finesses their app problem. The high security enterprise stuff that RIM is so good at can be the QNX-only part. Could work.
posted by bonehead at 6:14 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm kinda hoping they pull it off. I'm an iPhone user but I'm a little jealous of all the widgets and notifications and whatnot everyone has. Plus as a windows developer I can crank out apps all day for windows 7 for phones or whatever it is they are calling it today.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:16 AM on February 11, 2011


I'm probably an idiot but because Microsoft insists on calling everything, no matter how unrelated, "Windows Something" I've completely lost track of what mobile device operating systems from them are supposed to be good, and which ones are crap. What I do know is that a huge number of friends and coworkers have iPhones, a still respectable number have Android phones or Blackberries, and I know one guy with a Palm Pre, but I don't know anybody, AT ALL, with any sort of Windows phone. I suspect that situation isn't going to change very much.

As somebody who remembers what the home computer industry was like before Microsoft became all dominant, I think it's really refreshing. Monocultures are just so damn boring, it's nice to see an important and growing market that they can't seem to control no matter how much of their infinite money they spend.

As for Nokia, I guess at least they're trying something.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:16 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck, I was hoping they'd finally try to get one of their Linux operating systems right. The world needs a totally open platform to make others look closed in comparison.

Well, Meego is still allegedly coming to tablets. I can't think that anyone will actually develop for it now though, even I have to think it will be out as soon as MS has a competing project.
posted by jaduncan at 6:16 AM on February 11, 2011


I'm probably an idiot but because Microsoft insists on calling everything, no matter how unrelated, "Windows Something" I've completely lost track of what mobile device operating systems from them are supposed to be good, and which ones are crap.

As long as there isn't a "Vista" in there you are probably good.

They do seriously have a bot of a naming problem though, and a tendency to shuffle things that is infuriating - is it Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, or Windows Live Messenger? Is it Hotmail, Windows Live Mail or Hotmail again?
posted by Artw at 6:20 AM on February 11, 2011


As long as there isn't a "Vista" in there you are probably good.

...Windows CE is good now?
posted by jaduncan at 6:21 AM on February 11, 2011


Try defining .NET!

Also, did you know that they insist on everyone pronouncing "Azure" as "Asia"?
posted by tempythethird at 6:22 AM on February 11, 2011


Fuck, I was hoping they'd finally try to get one of their Linux operating systems right. The world needs a totally open platform to make others look closed in comparison.

There will probably always be a healthy market for managed platforms. Not everyone loves having to manage everything themselves.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:22 AM on February 11, 2011


Well, of generally available choices.
posted by Artw at 6:22 AM on February 11, 2011


I've never heard anyone speak well of Windows Mobile. Why would I trust Microsoft just because they changed the name and, supposedly, the software?

Jesus, the Hate is strong with this one. You never heard anyone speak well of some dead and never-loved Apple product either, and it's about as closely related as the two MS products in question are. "Supposedly [changed] the software"? It's two totally different operating systems. I'm not an MS fan and I won't be buying a Windows 7 phone because my iPhone has completely put me off closed devices, but I've heard very good things about the interface (it looks kinda blah to me in screenshots and videos, but I haven't seen it in person) and if there's one thing Microsoft does better than anyone, it's build tooling for developers. Speaking of which . . .

doomed to failure? Comments on the Nokia Developer's Forum suggest [so]

Ah yes, because developers, as a group, are always excited for change and to scrap the things they feel comfortable in. And they're fantastic canaries-in-a-coal-mine when it comes to determining how successful a product will be in the market. If it were up to the average developer, one who has time to be posting on an Internet forum (unlike me, who's clearly too busy to do so), we'd all still be writing stuff in machine language and mobile phones would run on 2' tape reels.
posted by yerfatma at 6:24 AM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Try defining .NET!

It's pretty much settled down to being anything that's compiled down to anything that compiles down to CLR code and runs with the .net framework, but yeah, they were slapping that shit on anything for a while.

Azure is the cloud, man!
posted by Artw at 6:25 AM on February 11, 2011


Gruber said it best:
http://daringfireball.net/2011/02/the_next_six_months
posted by judson at 6:33 AM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, they were both pretty desperate. But Nokia, despite being way behind in the smartphone OS department actually makes really nice phones. I'm guessing microsoft paid them a fortune.
posted by delmoi at 6:34 AM on February 11, 2011


Yeah it might be wise to take the word "windows" out of the name. Its a strong brand name but I'm not sure its wise to say to consumers "hey, you know that thing on your computer that always gave you problems, that you always had to get your nerdy nephew to fix? Well it's back! .... In phone form"

The name LINQ is confusing too. Some people say Lin-que some say link.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:38 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hope it works out for them.

I hope it works out for consumers.
posted by furtive at 6:44 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, neither WP7 nor any modern smartphone in general, ever produces windows of any kind. So whereas a smarter company would use a misleading name to give the impression that their product is more awesome than it is, MS uses a misleading name to give the impression that it sucks more than it actually does.

And its "link," as far as I'm concerned.
posted by tempythethird at 6:45 AM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've always rooted for Maemo/MeeGo for both technical and moral reasons : Maemo's multiple desktops with widgets interface actually beats out iOS and Android. Maemo integrates similar communications activities via plugins, i.e. GSM, Skype and SIP calls all use the phone application, and all IMs are sent form the SMS application. And the operating system was vastly more open than even Android.

We're still hearing that Nokia plans on shiping a MeeGo based phone, presumably resembling the N9, but we've also heard the MeeGo guy left Nokia's board, who knows. I'd imagine some third parties will still ship devices with MeeGo too, given Intel's involvement, but I wouldn't guess about hardware quality yet. And we'll see plucky fully open source spin offs of Maemo/MeeGo floating around too.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:45 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Welll... there's the horrid pop up window iOS uses for alerts...
posted by Artw at 6:46 AM on February 11, 2011


Has anybody tried games on WP7? I have to admit I'm somewhat tempted by the thought of XBox Live on high quality Nokia hardware.
posted by kmz at 6:47 AM on February 11, 2011


Nokia has just seeded the whole smartphone & tablet market to Android. Microsoft will never deliver a viable mobile platform. iOS, Blackberry, WebOS, and Windows Mobile are destined for niche player status.

I know many religious users of high end Nokia phones, but not one who'd ever use Windows Mobile. Nokia would've fared far better as a late entry into the Android market. All their current high end users will now migrate to Android, leaving them only their new Microsoft fans.
Nokia probably isn't worried about the high-end gadget coinsurer, although there are a lot of Microsoft fanboys out there in the IT world who really do like their stuff. And Microsoft's brand is still really popular in India as well.

Nokia just knows that they don't have a OS that can keep up with Android/iOS and this gives them something passable. Their real target is the rest of the world where the Nokia brand carries a lot of weight. The other thing is Gaming: You can carry your gamer profile with you as you from Xbox to Windows Phone.
Echoing Blazecock Pileon: this seems like the last, best shot for Nokia to have any significant part in where mobile communications is going over the next decade or two.
Yeah, that's really overdramatic. Nokia, just like anyone else, can just slap android on any hardware they come up with. I think people want to belive that everything is a pivotal moment, but it's not. Nokia sells phones by the hundreds of millions, and that's not going to stop soon.

Interesting about blackberries being able to run Android apps. There's no reason why you couldn't do it, since the entire stack is open source.
posted by delmoi at 6:49 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just to, eehmmm, rain on the parade about Alien Dalvik or Dalvik on QNX or whatnot - This was a viable strategy for most Android 2.1 apps. However, since then, usage of the Android NDK has ballooned. And with the introduction of RenderScript in Gingerbread (C99 code compiled JIT to GPU/CPU assembly using the NaCL tech), the platform is going to get much harder to emulate.

I could imagine doing a decent Dalvik emulation layer, although with the same subtle bugs that afflicted all the, err JVM write once, run anywhere attempts. But, throw in 5-10% native code for all of the most desirable apps, and suddenly it's going to be very hit or miss.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 7:17 AM on February 11, 2011


From Microsoft's site:

"Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac is a new software application that enables you to synchronize your favorite music*, videos*, photos* and podcasts* from iTunes and iPhoto.This software is not part of the Zune experience. In order to enjoy the Zune experience on Mac, you will need to install a Windows OS (XP or higher). Zune delivers music and video entertainment across Windows Phone 7, Xbox Live and Windows PC’s. *DRM Protected content will not be able to be synchronized with Windows Phone 7."

This is the problem, as far as I am concerned. Microsoft doesn't give two shits about any platform other than Windows. If you don't use Windows, they will make it as difficult as possible for you to sync your phone with your computer. Note that a Mac user with a Win7 phone can do it, with beta software, but no protected content will sync (probably Apple's fault there, even though they have now dumped DRM the protection scheme isn't licensed for non-Apple products I believe?). No syncing of calendar or contact info mentioned. And if you want the "full experience" you need to install Windows on your Mac.

Apple makes sure anyone can use iOS devices. Yes, you have to install iTunes on Windows to do it. But christ they aren't asking you to install an entire non-free operating system just to get your phone to do what it ought to do, out of the box.

I haven't played with any Nokia phones in a while, used to love them but moved to iOS shortly after I dumped Windows for good. My memories of them were that the phones were not bad, but that syncing my stuff with my PC was like jumping through flaming hoops of razor wire while juggling hand grenades. From my idle googling it looks like MS has FINALLY realized that sync should be supported without insisting we also install Outlook (as if it were free) but I haven't tried it so who knows. But this crappy refusal to make a software package to perform the same functionality on other OS platforms, well, they are voluntarily giving up on selling any of their products to non-Windows users.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:18 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Microsoft will never deliver a viable mobile platform. iOS, Blackberry, WebOS, and Windows Mobile are destined for niche player status.

Never deliver a viable mobile platform? Nearly every single GPS device on the market in the last 7 years runs on Windows CE.

And the the definition of success is popularity? I guess Ferrari and BMW are failures, because they don't sell as many cars as Toyota. Get a grip.

And I'm guessing you've never actually used the new Windows Phone 7 phones, have you? For the vast majority of the population that needs a smartphone for work and doesn't give a shit about Angry Birds, Windows Phone 7 is better than iphone or blackberry (and certainly android). why? Because MS Office comes with the phone. So any email with excel files, powerpoint slides, word docs, etc. can be opened and manipulated immediately and without butchering the formatting. No weird third party apps, no clumsy format translations. Out of the box it just works immediately.

And the phone has all the other crap that smartphones have, GPS, accelerometers, etc. What it doesn't have is endless home screens with 145 icons whose logos are indistinguishable and that are in no discernible order. (downloaded apps on WP7 are presented in a list with teh name next to the icon in (gasp) alphabetical order.

I've seen Android phones with home screens that look like novice computer users' desktops from the Windows 95 era.

And as an aside, games on Windows Phone 7 look impressive, including stupid angry birds. Now to be fair, while I was checking out WP7 app store I didn't see 57,000 different Kama Sutra apps, so if that's your thing, you'll be disappointed.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:18 AM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


I made it a point to unfollow any blog / twitter feed that mentioned this as a catastrophe. Winmobile is a kludge, yes, but at least any joe can develop for it using visual studio without paying protection money to apple's developer program.
posted by 3mendo at 7:21 AM on February 11, 2011


For the vast majority of the population that needs a smartphone for work and doesn't give a shit about Angry Birds, Windows Phone 7 is better than iphone or blackberry (and certainly android).

BUT WHAT ABOUT CUT THE ROPE?!

Winmobile is a kludge, yes, but at least any joe can develop for it using visual studio without paying protection money to apple's developer program.

Isn't it only $99 a year or something? That seems trivial.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:28 AM on February 11, 2011


Yes, you have to install iTunes on Windows to do it. But christ they aren't asking you to install an entire non-free operating system just to get your phone to do what it ought to do, out of the box.

Installing iTunes is close to just as bad.

Apple makes sure anyone can use iOS devices.

Linux users to?
posted by juiceCake at 7:32 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


three blind mice: "
Partnering with Microsoft: better than burning to death.
"

Except, Nokia isn't the guy diving for cover. They're the worker running from side to side of the rig looking for the most comfortable place to die on. A better metaphor is that of a sinking vessel. They just lashed their sinking Maemo platform* to Intel's sinking Moblin platform last year, and now Nokia's jumping on the next failed ship. It was fairly obvious this would happen, but there was always the hope that Elon would do something smarter than give his former boss a lot of business. Guess he kept those stock options?

* Supposedly, the business plan didn't anticipate the n900 being a large commercial success. I don't know what kind of plan can't handle making money, and maybe that's the core problem.
posted by pwnguin at 7:33 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


juiceCake: "Linux users to?"

Apple, in its majestic equality, allows the rich as well as the poor to buy OSX developer workstations.
posted by pwnguin at 7:35 AM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


You don't have to install iTunes to use an iPhone.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:35 AM on February 11, 2011


Funny how everything in the technology universe, no matter what it is, always ends up being about iTunes.
posted by aramaic at 7:37 AM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


I love how in a FPP that is ostensibly about Nokia and Microsoft, the Android and Microsoft fanboys pour in to rage against Apple. Insecure, much?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:49 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anecdotal observation - I recently met two friends who had Windows 7 phones. Both raved about how good they were.

Did you check their back yards for pods?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:53 AM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Rage?
posted by juiceCake at 7:53 AM on February 11, 2011


I love how in a FPP that is ostensibly about Nokia and Microsoft, the Android and Microsoft fanboys pour in to rage against Apple. Insecure, much?

Apple just pisses everyone else in the mobile world off equally. It's like when Professor X and Magneto stop fighting because there's somewhat even more douchier around.
posted by Jairus at 7:54 AM on February 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


I don't think astroturfing is difficult per se

I was an astroturfer for the movie "Mission to Mars" back in 2000 and I did find it kind of difficult. I would go into various Yahoo chat rooms (scifi, movies, what-have-you) and try to get people talking about the movie. People rarely were willing to engage in dialogue with me because my enthusiasm wasn't genuine and it's impossible to really disguise that. I wish I had those old emails where I got hired and got instructions on how to go about it but I've switched email accounts a bunch of times since then.
posted by Jagz-Mario at 7:56 AM on February 11, 2011


> Winmobile is a kludge, yes, but at least any joe can develop for it using visual studio without paying protection money to apple's developer program.

> Isn't it only $99 a year or something? That seems trivial.

It's also $99/year to submit an app to the App Hub.

It appears that just like iOS, you can test on the simulator with the free (as in beer) download tools (Visual Studio :: XCode), but to test on a device you have to pay.
posted by morganw at 7:58 AM on February 11, 2011


I love how in a FPP that is ostensibly about Nokia and Microsoft, the Android and Microsoft fanboys pour in to rage against Apple. Insecure, much?


it's fascinating how emotionally invested people are in the machinations of large corporations in their attempts to wring more money out of people. cargo cult much?
posted by ennui.bz at 8:00 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nokia's new CEO appears to be an idiot. This is one of the most bizarre ways to introduce a new business partnership I have ever seen.

Partnering with Microsoft: better than burning to death.


I think the burning platform metaphor might be more of a metaphor for the entire "dumbphone" concept that has been driving their profits since forever. Nokia has always made cheap low margin phones and have made their money by selling them everywhere and keeping their costs lower than their competitors. That's why they have been #1 in market share for a long time and yet are still only around 7% of the share in the US where smartphones are selling like crazy. They realize that once carriers start giving away smartphones to anyone who will sign up for a contract, the global market is going to be between low-end smartphones and high-end smartphones like it is already shaping up to be in the US and anyone selling anything else is going to be screwed. They are most likely hoping that Microsoft will help them transition into selling a lot of low-end smartphones globally, unless they are planning on something more radical like switching to focus on high margin products over high volume ones.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:03 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


it's fascinating how emotionally invested people are in the machinations of large corporations in their attempts to wring more money out of people. cargo cult much?

I know, I don't get the Google love either.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:15 AM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


but to test on a device you have to pay.

You're going to get that kind of bullshit, or something closely related but perhaps better disguised, on any platform that's controlled by a single entity or corporation. The ownership of a platform is just too tempting for any profit-driven entity not to try to squeeze revenue out of.

The alternative, however, is arguably worse -- with a truly open platform, or even almost-open, like Android, you give assholes like the cell carriers the opportunity to piss in the collective swimming pool by breaking customizing things in order to "differentiate" themselves.

I'm not sure how we get away from this dichotomy. On one hand, the closed platforms, which suck because they are closed; on the other hand, the open platform(s), which suck because they're open and therefore abused.

(Well, I do have one possible solution, which is to prohibit the cell carriers from doing any sort of mobile phone development or sales, similar to the enforced split between car manufacturers and dealers. Don't let those bastards do a damn thing but push bits. But with the complete regulatory capture achieved by the cell providers, I realize I'm dreaming there.)

While I'm now an Android guy -- although up until very recently I used a Nokia S60 phone and liked it (but finally got tired of there not being any apps) -- I can understand why some people like the iPhone. It does have a certain polish to it, to the entire ecosystem, that Android doesn't have, and a big part of that is because there's only one OS and one series of phones. If you buy an iPhone, you know exactly what you're getting and you know it's going to be exactly as good (and as limited) as everyone else's iPhone bought that year. With an Android handset, if you are not careful, it's entirely possible that you'll get some crippled piece of shit that you'll never be able to do stuff like tethering on, while all your friends are able to do it on theirs. This "differentiation," which has principally been done by the cell carriers in some misguided attempt to build brand loyalty, is really corrosive, but Google doesn't seem able to or interested in stopping it, really.

I was holding out hope for a Nokia/Google alliance, because I think some very cool stuff could have come out of a partnership there. Nokia could have put together some nice stuff for Google, and maybe the result would have put pressure on carriers and their handmaiden manufacturers (looking at you, Motorola) to stop foisting crap on people who don't know any better when they're standing in their local cellco store. HTC as Google's de facto hard ware manufacturer is fine, but Nokia...that would have been something special. *sigh*

What it looks like we're going to get is another iOS, and that is if Microsoft and Nokia are very, very lucky and are accepted by the market -- which I am not particularly inclined to believe will happen.

I think Elops' "burning platform" comment was one of the better, more honest things I've heard from a major corporation's C-level in a long time. But I think the analogy that is going to turn out to be apropos is that Nokia avoided being burned to death, but is now going to die slowly in the cold water, waiting for a lifeboat that is never going to show up.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:23 AM on February 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'd say suicide pact rather than shotgun wedding.
Nokia's better option would have been to go Android, but maybe they didn't want to arrive at that party so late.

It's had for the industry to compete with Apple and Android right now. Both platforms are iterating hard and growing share insanely fast as people toss out their dumbphones. Once all the dumbphones are gone, the real battle begins.
posted by w0mbat at 8:31 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


is now going to die slowly in the cold water, waiting for a lifeboat that is never going to show up.

Not so slowly. The sharks (Chinese competitors at the low end) will eat them before hypothermia sets in. It will be merciful.
posted by three blind mice at 8:34 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't see Anything on msdn saying I have to pay to test on physical harware. It tells me to used "Windows Phone Application Deployment Tool" to deploy a XAP file to a phone. Can you guys point me to where you are getting this information?
posted by Ad hominem at 8:36 AM on February 11, 2011


esr, who I realize is not popular around these parts (and was, admittedly, openly hoping-predicting a Nokia/Android announcement), has an interesting theory:
So not only does the new plan bless Nokia’s internal confusion by breaking the company in half, one of the daughter units (“Mobile Phones”) has two incompatible missions, one of which (the smartphone end) is at cross-purposes with the other daughter unit (“Smart Devices”). Another indicator of the those cross-purposes that both units have missions involving Symbian. So, which unit is going to own the Symbian codebase? Are they going to fork it? [...]

[T]he only level on which this dog’s breakfast of trying to do everything at once makes any sense is if Elop wants to preserve that possibility [of a fifth platform, presumably Android]. Could we be looking at a clever scheme to collect transfer payments from Microsoft with one hand (“Smart Devices”) while the other hand makes the real running with low-cost Android smartphones? I don’t know – but one thing to keep an eye on will be relative staffing levels. If most of the talent and the bodies go to Mobile Phones, might be the actual goal is for Microsoft to be taken for a subsidy-sucking ride by Smart Devices, buying time and capital for the other business unit.
It sounds like a multidimensional chess argument to me -- isn't it simpler just to assume that Elop is a Trojan horse, who snuck into Nokia under the pretenses of being a savior, and is now opening it up to being pillaged by Microsoft? But it's kind of a fun thought, if only because I like the idea of Microsoft being strung along and taken for a grand ride, with the eventual result being Nokia/Android on inexpensive hardware.

But that's why I'm suspicious; I think esr is letting his hopes get in the way of the obvious conclusion, which is that Nokia and Microsoft are both flailing around in the darkness and happened to run into each other. That doesn't mean that they're that much better off.

But staffing levels would be a good indicator, once the initial exodus of talent (and, hopefully, hiring) that is almost certain to result from the announcement takes place.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:42 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]



"Sometimes that shark looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about a shark is he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn't even seem to be livin'... 'til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'. The ocean turns red, and despite all your poundin' and your hollerin' those sharks come in and... they rip you to pieces.

You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don't know how many sharks there were, maybe a thousand. I do know how many men, they averaged six an hour. Thursday mornin', Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boson's mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. He bobbed up, down in the water, he was like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he'd been bitten in half below the waist.

At noon on the fifth day, a Lockheed Ventura swung in low and he spotted us, a young pilot, lot younger than Mr. three blind mice here, anyway he spotted us and a few hours later a big ol' fat PBY come down and started to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened. Waitin' for my turn. I'll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred phone companies went into the water. 316 come out, the sharks took the rest."

posted by entropicamericana at 8:42 AM on February 11, 2011


Once all the dumbphones are gone, the real battle begins.

Dumbphones? So a phone that doesn't do what a smartphone does is not called a dumbphone? A phone that phones and text is, in my book, a phone that costs next to nothing and does exactly what I want it to do.
posted by juiceCake at 9:07 AM on February 11, 2011


Apparently 1000 Nokia workers just walked out in protest [translated] this afternoon in Finland. This could get interesting.
posted by Duug at 9:10 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


...in typical Finnish style, they apparently used their flexi-time allowance to protest.
posted by Duug at 9:11 AM on February 11, 2011


Burhanistan: serious question. How do you use an iPhone without having to install iTunes?
posted by Duug at 9:13 AM on February 11, 2011


.
posted by mhoye at 9:14 AM on February 11, 2011


Burhanistan: serious question. How do you use an iPhone without having to install iTunes?

You can activate the phone at the Apple store. You can install Rhapsody or Napster for music. You can use an Iomega Superhero to backup contacts and photos to an SD card or just sync contacts to any Exchange or Exchange-a-like (i.e. Gmail).
posted by Talez at 9:19 AM on February 11, 2011


I really, really wanted Symbian 3 to succeed. I've been using Symbian since it was EPOC on my Psion Revo, but Nokia just allowed the thing to languish too damned long. I still use and still like my E71, and I was looking at the C06, but meh. WP7 however? Heck no at all.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:22 AM on February 11, 2011


A comment a above about Microsoft only caring about Windows desktop users reminded me of my own sour experience. I bought a modern Zune assuming that, like every other music device on the planet, I would be able to use it on a Mac. My incorrect reasoning being that, as an also-ran, surely they'd work as well or better on desktops as iPods and a bazillion Sansas.

Nope. It's locked down as hard as an iPhone (harder, since hackers didn't care enough to root it). And id have to run Parallels just to copy MP3s over.

Now, I'm also their smartphone market. And why wouldi want the same experience again?
posted by zippy at 9:30 AM on February 11, 2011


"every year Nokia puts the same old circuit card into new plastics"

Vertu is a Nokia spin off, and a very good friend of mine worked on the development. We were having a good laugh at the price the thing was going to have, and he pointed out that it still had no more features than a thirty dollar phone. That was some time ago, they may have upgraded the feature set, but I doubt it.

I think this partnership won't go so well for Nokia. Microsoft will just bloat it's way through the experience as it always does.
posted by Xoebe at 9:47 AM on February 11, 2011


A phone that phones and text is, in my book, a phone that costs next to nothing and does exactly what I want it to do.

Well texting was high end at one point, and the hardware on the cheapest phones today is more advanced than the most expensive ones from not that long ago. New features like cameras, playing video, accessing the Internet, etc. have always gone from being a selling point on high end phones to being an expected feature on every cheap phone. Phones that literally only do texting and voice calls are not made anymore, they all have the usual feature set because it's not a lot cheaper overall to make and sell a phone that does less. There will still be a lot of people who don't care or want a Facebook app or any of the other smartphone features, but soon it's not going to make sense to sell a phone that isn't a smartphone even if those people are the main target demographic.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:53 AM on February 11, 2011


Elop worked for Microsoft for the last two years before going to Nokia. I wonder if this wasn't part of the negotiation process leading up to his hire.
posted by weston at 9:53 AM on February 11, 2011


For smartphones to kill feature phones, someone is going to have to figure out how to sell them for 25 dollars/euro each. Is MS making a play with Nokia for the lower end, value part of smartphone market, a market that currently doesn't exist? Is Samsung or HTC or Asus going to beat them to it with some kind of Android? Dollars could be bigger than the current high end smartphone market even if margins are low.
posted by bonehead at 9:55 AM on February 11, 2011


The take on the rest of the Internet is that Nokia is 100% out of the software biz. The development process is so screwed up over there that they don't even want to maintain a fork of Android so the 1000 people who walked out are likely to end up on the steet anyway.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:59 AM on February 11, 2011


I hope it works out for them.

I hope it works out for consumers.


Me too, but, man, right now, as a consumer who's been dithering and procrastinating for months over which smartphone to finally get off his ass and buy, it's just got even harder to decide...
posted by normy at 10:10 AM on February 11, 2011


For smartphones to kill feature phones, someone is going to have to figure out how to sell them for 25 dollars/euro each.

The theory I have heard getting bandied around is that the economics of system-on-a-chip (SOC) will make this possible quite soon. We have seen it happen with x86; what used to require a motherboard with a bunch of discrete components can now be done with big hunk of silicon and a few outboard bits (oscillators, storage, I/O stuff). This is why you can buy a Network Attached Storage box for under $50 that will do stuff that only a few years ago required a dedicated server, or at least a repurposed PC.

Once you get everything into one chip and start churning it out in volume, it's a race to the bottom in terms of price per unit. So a sub-$100 smartphone line in the near term, and maybe sub-$50 or sub-$25 in the next few years aren't really that outrageous.

The issue that some analysts have brought up is that, if this happens, Microsoft's business model will be shot -- they depend on licensing fees from manufacturers, and those fees are only palatable when they're a small overall cost of the device's price. Basically they will have the same problem with phones that they're now having with PCs; the license starts to feel a lot more expensive and onerous to OEMs as the device BOM cost goes down.

It's going to be very interesting to see how it plays out over the next few years. The neat part is that mobile technology seems to be moving so fast, we won't really have that long to wait.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:10 AM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hardware costs are still a big issue though, right? Screens and batteries are still a huge part of unit costs, yes?

It seem to me that things like the Veer are where form factor of the low-end of the market will be in the short term. Nokia has the hardware know-how in this area, but I do wonder if they can execute fast enough to be relevant.
posted by bonehead at 10:28 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The take on the rest of the Internet is that Nokia is 100% out of the software biz.

Did anybody at Nokia pay attention to the status of players in the PC world who just make boxes?

I don't know. I've been kindof realizing in my gut over the last two weeks that Nokia is probably going to suffer for a while and then fade completely. This is mostly a guess based on my internal responses to phone shopping. I have bought and used Nokia phones almost exclusively for the last 10 years. I've taken detours into Sanyo and Motorola land for months at a time but have kept coming back. And I've been scouring eBay for a used e70 or even a 6822 (favorite form factor of mine plus all essential capabilities for me) to use with no-contract T-mobile reseller Simple Mobile's very competitive unlimited plans

And I've found them. But I've never clicked the buy button. Part of it is that these old devices are
still going for $150 and $50 respectively and it just feels like too much. But the other part is the geek's voice inside me asking if I really want to invest any more in devices built around a platform that was kindof obtuse to begin with and is clearly outclassed by its competitors.

Yeah, Maemo/Meego is nice. If I'd had an extra $300-500 lying around anytime in the last year, I probably would have made the N900 my next phone choice and as a bonus, get to wail and gnash my teeth today about abandoned good platforms.

Nokia is doomed. I think they'll continue to do great in emerging markets for a while, but cheap smartphones will find their way there within years, and they won't be running anything Microsoft wrote.
posted by weston at 10:29 AM on February 11, 2011


.
posted by finite at 10:37 AM on February 11, 2011


Wow. Talk about changing my mobile computing plans. Nokia can FOAD as far as I'm concerned. I have neither heard nor seen one good thing about WP7. Symbian, while being rather old and tired, was at least at its heart a lightweight and useful OS. MeeGo was shaping up to be rather nice, too.

It's too bad Android is only marginally better than iOS. I guess I'm going WebOS, barring some commitment to keep Meego alive. Sad. Hopefully I can find an unlocked GSM phone running it not sold by at&t so I can keep my old data plan.

burnmp3s wrote: "Nokia has always made cheap low margin phones and have made their money by selling them everywhere and keeping their costs lower than their competitors."

No. Nokia was the original manufacturer of extremely high end smartphones. They still have the best camera in a smartphone, bar none. Symbian was actually turning into something reasonably modern, but with the fucking iOS fanboys and Android spooners having their delusions of grandeur, it was impossible for Nokia to get traction. The N97 being an utter junker didn't help anything, either. Neither did the fucking MHz race. Symbian doesn't need a 1GHz CPU sucking down my battery from 100% to dead in 2.5 seconds to perform well, but people see 434 or 600 MHz and assume it's dog slow without ever even using it. (my 5800 runs @ 434 and is snappy, thanks)

They also sell a fuckton of feature phones that have fuck all to do with Symbian and a vast number of low-end and midrange smartphones running Symbian.

Anyway, I'll be happy about buying some Samsung or LG piece of junk Android the day they make something as solid as an E71, which can be run over with a goddamned car and keep working. (it ain't happening, folks, and yes, I really have seen an E71 functioning after being literally run over by a car)

If Nokia had chosen to go with Android, they would have had a strong chance at my future business, because strong hardware could make up for the relatively weak software. I don't like Android much at all, but I can tolerate it. At least it can have widgets, which are something I am 100% absofuckinglutely not going to do without, given that I've had them for over half a decade now. As it stands, Nokia can do what I said in my third sentence, barring some future commitment to MeeGo. I am not going back to a closed platform.
posted by wierdo at 10:43 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and more rage: Are there seriously no webOS side-sliders? Fuck me.
posted by wierdo at 10:46 AM on February 11, 2011


A mailing list i am on for Access to IT for people with sight problems is concerned as this will probably mean the end of the program Talks. The iphone with voiceover is not the perfect device that sighted people think it is for visually impaired people. Android is lacking although there are a lot of bits available and blackberry just fails. A phone with buttons and good screen reader software is essential for a lot of people. Windows 7 is not very accessible . A group of people just lost an avenue to a useful tool.
posted by stuartmm at 10:49 AM on February 11, 2011


Wierdo - that's the real sadness of it. Nokia actually made really solid handsets, their cameras were/are outstanding and not one of the Far Eastern products can hold a candle to Nokia reliability and build quality. Ah well, end of an era.
posted by Duug at 10:52 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, down almost 16% today. Investors are not amused.
posted by wierdo at 11:07 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did anybody at Nokia pay attention to the status of players in the PC world who just make boxes?

*pant*

*pant*

OK guys, I'm here. Apple sucks!

Wait, what?

Oh. Wrong thread.

So maybe all y'all have heard of this little company that used to be called Silicon Graphics. SGI for short. I may eat lunch in one of the buildings they built today. Too bad it's owned by someone else now.

Once upon a time SGI ruled high-end workstations. Then they fell behind the curve in terms of price-performance. (The parallels are not perfect here, but you see where I'm going I'm sure). Their OS, Irix, was awesome, but no one wanted to port their apps to it. And nobody buy hardware if there aren't any apps that run on it. So the SGI CEO got the boot and they brought in a guy from Microsoft. And SGI decided that Windows NT was going to save them. And today a different company has a bunch of lovely purple building that they bought off craigslist when SGI needed to get some money for a sandwich.

So, funny enough, Nokia had some challenges and broung in a new CEO from Microsoft who is saying that they're going to bet the farm on using Microsoft's operating system...

Fool me one, shame on me. Fool me twice... won't get fooled again!

But seriously, I wonder what this means for existing WP7 partners. What are the odds of seeing another WP7 phone from LG or Samsung? This is basically going to drive every other handset manufacturer in the world to Android.
posted by GuyZero at 11:12 AM on February 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


As long as there isn't a "Vista" in there you are probably good.

...Windows CE is good now?


Any Windows release ending with a vowel sucks. Other ones may or may not be good (7, XP, etc).

I could imagine doing a decent Dalvik emulation layer,

Unless I'm missing something, Dalvik is an open source VM and set of libraries. Why would you need to "emulate" it?

Did anybody at Nokia pay attention to the status of players in the PC world who just make boxes?

This is pretty much my thought. Nokia are going down the road DEC went in the 90s; it's all very familiar to me watching this, right down to the corporate leadership who seem to be more interested in Microsoft's well-being that the company that pays their wages.

The people this will be worst for are Finns: there have been suggestions that much of the company will simply be relocated to the US wholesale in what sounds like plans for an ethnic purge, and the cuts to R&D - mass sackings, in other words - will surely be a huge blow to Finland.
posted by rodgerd at 11:29 AM on February 11, 2011


I'm going to extend my earlier speculation about Elop into the mildly paranoid realm. Not only do I think it's likely an MS/Nokia partnership was some part of his hiring negotiations, I'm going to go so far as to speculate that he actually still more or less works for Microsoft. Not in the sense that he's drawing checks or is vested (though I'm suspicious enough if I knew how I'd actually look into it), but in that his tenure was always going to be about an MS/Nokia partnership and his agenda the promotion of Windows Phone, as they say, "by other means."

Nokia was already moving towards a viable mobile platform and market. They weren't moving fast enough and Android and iOS have clearly been eating their lunch, but there's no reason they couldn't have used the burning platform memo as a way of launching a highly publicized effort to kick things into high gear, and meanwhile retained control of their own destiny.

They're now mothballing rather than marshaling what software assets they have for a platform that didn't even do as well in the marketplace as Palm's WebOS.

Something is rotten here. I know the old saw about malice vs stupidity, but I have a hard time believing anybody is actually dumb enough to really believe this is a better choice for Nokia.
posted by weston at 11:30 AM on February 11, 2011


Boy, NOK down 16% in one day. Sure smells like Elop is a trojan horse whose real job is to run Nokia into the ground so MS can easily buy it for a song.
posted by mullingitover at 11:33 AM on February 11, 2011


Any Windows release ending with a vowel sucks.

You know... that actually works. Except maybe in the case of 95/98.

Now, is this Windows Phone or Windows Phone Seven?
posted by Artw at 11:35 AM on February 11, 2011


I'm holding my comments until I see exactly what this means they're going to do.

This past week me and my wife decided to upgrade to smartphones. I picked up a Nokia E73 at first because I've never owned another brand of phone (all other dumb phones seeming to have absolutely shit operating systems), but ended up trading it in the next day for a T-Mobile G2 with Android. Words cannot describe how much better my experience has been with the Android device. I'm left wondering if I should have gone the extra mile to try out the N900, but I couldn't fathom that browsing with a stylus could be better than multi-touch.
posted by symbollocks at 11:35 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sweet! You can run Android apps under N900 using Myriad Alien Dalvik.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:36 AM on February 11, 2011


mullingitover: I didn't want to say it (that seemed beyond my parameters of *mildly* paranoid speculation), but yeah, I had that exact thought.
posted by weston at 11:36 AM on February 11, 2011


(all other dumb phones seeming to have absolutely shit operating systems

Not to mention the absolute horror that is the "feature phone".
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on February 11, 2011


Jakey: The phone came loaded with 32Gb of memory, yet every single Nokia app insists on being installed in the 128Mb C: partition, forcing you to pick and choose what you install while herds of wildebeest sweep majestically across the open plain of the empty E: partition.

Just to clarify, the phone has C: and E: partitions? If so, I think that almost neatly summarizes all of Nokia's UX design problems in one statement. Holy crap.
posted by hijinx at 11:44 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


mullingitover: I didn't want to say it (that seemed beyond my parameters of *mildly* paranoid speculation), but yeah, I had that exact thought.

Agreed. Sure seems like once Nokia sheds some people Microsoft will snatch them up.

Best quotes I've seen: "great, the openness of Microsoft and the innovation of Nokia" and "Two turkeys do not make an eagle"
posted by Ad hominem at 11:47 AM on February 11, 2011


Not to mention the absolute horror that is the "feature phone".

You know, my last feature phone can still do some stuff better than any smart phone I've seen, and much of that stuff is pretty basic functionality. Smart phones are great if you want a computer, but are often weak on all sorts of surprising basic telephone "stuff".
posted by rodgerd at 11:49 AM on February 11, 2011


Nokia are going down the road DEC went in the 90s; it's all very familiar to me watching this, right down to the corporate leadership who seem to be more interested in Microsoft's well-being that the company that pays their wages.

Oh yeah, DEC. And Amdahl.

And it's sort of telling that MSFT's biggest partner, HP, who for many years made the vanguard Pocket PC devices, the iPaq line, is running away from MSFT as fast as it can.
posted by GuyZero at 11:50 AM on February 11, 2011


"Two turkeys do not make an eagle"

TechCrunch ran an entire article dissecting this one quote. It's epic.
posted by GuyZero at 11:52 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Any Windows release ending with a vowel sucks.

"You know... that actually works. Except maybe in the case of 95/98."


I think it still holds if you spell out the numbers. Windows Ninety-Five is generally considered worse than Windows Ninety-Eight. What's more, Windows Two Thousand wasn't half bad, nor is Windows Seven.

Whether Windows 3.11 supports the hypothesis or not probably depends on whether you view it as a considerable improvement over DOS or a crappy rip off of the Mac OS.
posted by jedicus at 12:19 PM on February 11, 2011


That breaks for Windows Millenium, but works for "Windows Me", I guess.
That was a serious horrorshow to support in the lab.
posted by bonehead at 12:28 PM on February 11, 2011


Whether Windows 3.11 supports the hypothesis or not probably depends on whether you view it as a considerable improvement over DOS or a crappy rip off of the Mac OS.

I prefer to view it as a crappy rip off of amigaOS
posted by Ad hominem at 12:28 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


DEC, Amdahl and SGI - remember, they went to hell in a handbasket when they moved their focus from hi-po MIPS chips and custom GFX silicon running IRIX (which had a very nice UI, well, for a Unix box), to a bog-standard Windows-on-Itanium setup with a fancy graphics card tacked on after.

MIPS development stalled, Itanium never really came through on its promise, and WindowsNT was a non-starter on anything but x86.

Same deal with DEC - instead of pushing down costs or ramping up performance, they had to play catchup when their WinTel strategy collapsed on them, and this just after the tech crash at the beginning of the century when there wasn't any money to play catchup. It killed the Unix workstation market dead (Linux didn't help, but Linux was OS of choice on the DEC Alpha, and that didn't keep the reaper away) and crippled the large server market. Only IBM puts any real resources into its non-x86 platforms - and they can charge a premium for it as a result.

Rumor is that Oracle is trying to push what's left of Sun in the same direction as IBM, but they're too busy burning bridges to find the money to do it.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:41 PM on February 11, 2011


Wierdo - that's the real sadness of it. Nokia actually made really solid handsets, their cameras were/are outstanding and not one of the Far Eastern products can hold a candle to Nokia reliability and build quality. Ah well, end of an era.

And also what rodgerd said about the real blow is to Finland - nobody is happy about this.

One hopeful outcome would be that the unit which ties up with MS goes down the drain and the unit which focuses on the emerging markets and the Meego as an experimental platform for future development explorations, prospers and survives.

I see the pattern that's the obvious one - i used to sell those damn IRIS workstations door to door twenty years ago and once tested at DEC for VAX - but I am also seeing a different pattern if one were to look at it. This reminds me of the family splits that take place among the big name family business conglomerates in India - witness the very public fights of the Ambani brothers who split up their father's holdings as their inheritance. And you won't witness the classier more established families but these kind of splits have taken place among the Birlas, Srirams etc

What usually drives it is business ideology and management style - so in one way if all the supporters of Plan A go into one unit and all the supporters of Plan B go into another, then lets see which Plan makes it instead of all the energies being invested in a tug of war which had paralyzed the company.

The other thing though is a real problem. The product development process which is engraved in stone having been refined over years and years per the former head of global design who said that many had tried to change it or suggest it be changed to be more modern (in a classroom lecture) but they didn't understand that these things had evolved into the holy grail process and couldn't simply be changed overnight or on a whim of an external consultant and certainly not without eons of consensus building across the world. Even change would have to follow the ponderous yet detailed to perfection NPD process.

Fear of fucking with a successful goose that was laying golden eggs and that had become the flagship for the tiny nation, putting it on the world map is what has led to Microsoft. That's Plan A. You know, you can't go wrong with choosing IBM or some such middle management CYA mantra.

Who knows, it just might work. Developers around the world in the remotest Indian villages are being trained to become Microsoft certified what have yous. Apps could be locally developed for local needs changing the look and feel of the marketplace. Then again, stop me right now before I recall with horror the conversations I have had with the emerging market crowd in Redmond.

*Pours self stiff laphroig. Seeks replacement for mobiles, bop, world. Destroys blog. End of an era, indeed. Fare thee well, Nokia, you changed the "Rest of the world".*
posted by infini at 12:42 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


wierdo: "Wow, down almost 16% today. Investors are not amused."

Buy on the rumor, sell on the news. I'd say the market figured this announcement out about two days after Elop was hired. Certainly by the last week. I was kinda hoping it was some plan to keep Maemo/Meego alive, or the purchase of Canonical, but it was a long shot. While NOK is down today, it's still up 10+ percent vs Sept 1st.

Maemo was a nice platform. A bit sluggish compared to the newer phones with double the CPU, but overall is nice enough that I haven't sold my N900 and bought a G2. When I look back at why Maemo wasn't an iphone killer, two things come to mind:
- First, you need carrier subsidies to move product in the US. When your phone is $650 USD, it's destined to niche. I assume it either wasn't in the turgid 5 year plan to aggressively market the first gen phone, or the carriers weren't on board with a smartphone OS designed without a cellular data plan as a requirement.
- Secondly, Nokia has no viable revenue model. Apple has iTunes, Google has search & ads, Nokia has... Ovi? The Nintendo suggestion uptread is something I thought about before, but the language barrier is problematic and the two are roughly the same size company, meaning everything would have to be negotiated, rather than just price.

Theoretically, Nokia own patents to everything that makes cellphones work, but that doesn't make investing in an OS the profitable approach. It's possible, I suppose, that Elop is cutting the company expenses down to where he can sell the company and it's patent portolio to Microsoft, whose lawyers can expertly harass Apple's iPhone and give a shot at jamming Win phone 7 into carrier channels. But cutting jobs to make that happen seems like such a dick move that I would anticipate Finnish legislature getting (more) involved.
posted by pwnguin at 1:05 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


No. Nokia was the original manufacturer of extremely high end smartphones. They still have the best camera in a smartphone, bar none. Symbian was actually turning into something reasonably modern, but with the fucking iOS fanboys and Android spooners having their delusions of grandeur, it was impossible for Nokia to get traction.

Nokia had 5 god damned years to get traction on Symbian from the first release of Series 60 to version 1.0 of iOS.

Did they fix their shitty UX, their shitty 2D graphics renderer, their shitty UI responsiveness, their shitty Wi-Fi setup process, their shitty email setup process? No. Instead they leveraged the same crap hardware year after year in a different case and concentrated on carrier services and easier ways for the carriers to nickel and dime their customers.

Nokia had one thing to do when the iPhone showed its face: Make the OS as smooth, as responsive and as fast as iOS. Two years later and they seem to be able to do it in marketing renders but when you see what actually comes out you realise you've just been bullshoted. I was crapping my pants when I saw the Nokia N97 promos, gobsmacked that they managed to turn around Symbian so god damn quickly. Thankfully they were just joking RITE GUYZ WHATS SOME MARKETING UX CHROME BETWEEN FRIENDS LOL.

Apple came in and saw a market dominated by, well, crap. User interfaces and 2D graphics straight out of 1993. CPU driven UIs? Apple has been using hardware compositing for 5 years while Core Animation was already matured from the desktop product. They already knew they could speed this shit up and run stuff butter smooth on very basic hardware (your 5800 is 434MHz? The original iPhone was 412MHz) by running stuff that's made for a GPU on a mobile GPU. Nokia? "What's a GPU?"

I feel no sympathy for Nokia and their god forsaken heap of shit they call an operating system.
posted by Talez at 1:06 PM on February 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


There will probably always be a healthy market for managed platforms. Not everyone loves having to manage everything themselves.

I never said that there wasn't or wouldn't be a market for "managed platforms". I also never said that I love "managing" everything myself.

I said, simply, that the world needs a completely open option both to maintain the perception of what openness actually is --- and to enable people who want to take things further (and I don't mean "managing") to take things further without restriction.
posted by fake at 1:12 PM on February 11, 2011


I never said that there wasn't or wouldn't be a market for "managed platforms". I also never said that I love "managing" everything myself.

To clarify, I was responding to your terms, "open" and "closed" which automatically paint one as positive, the other as negative. My comment was simply to note that that isn't the only way to look at it and that many people, don't mind having the experience being managed.

Apologies if it was unclear that I wasn't referring to you directly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:26 PM on February 11, 2011


Windows Ninety-Five is generally considered worse than Windows Ninety-Eight.

It;s more of an incremental improvement thing though really... ME is where it drops off a cliff.
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on February 11, 2011


Windows 3.11 for Workgroups ends in a consonant. REFUTED!
posted by zippy at 1:57 PM on February 11, 2011


W95 wasn't actually that horrible as a client machine, though the UI shell was pretty primitive. I retired my last one two years ago. It certainly wasn't as easy to install or maintain as W98, but as long as you didn't poke it too hard, it worked fine. The same could not be said of Windows Me, in my experience.
posted by bonehead at 1:59 PM on February 11, 2011


I have to wonder how much better this announcement would have played if it had happened a year ago, and if the whole Kin debacle had never taken place. Instead of Nokia seeming desperate to peddle a commodity Win7 phone and MSFT partnering with a bunch of lesser-known companies for the WP7 launch, they'd have presumably premium-class hardware to launch their admittedly innovative OS on. Instead, the whole thing kind of comes off as too little, too late.
posted by arto at 2:18 PM on February 11, 2011


DEC, Amdahl and SGI - remember, they went to hell in a handbasket when they moved their focus from hi-po MIPS chips and custom GFX silicon running IRIX (which had a very nice UI, well, for a Unix box), to a bog-standard Windows-on-Itanium setup with a fancy graphics card tacked on after.

I see it differently. When we were using IRIX workstations and PowerAnimator, Smoke, Maya 1, etc., back in the day, they went to hell in a handbasket because they moved their focus far too late in the game. It was because they continued to focus on the high end they went belly up because the "low end" caught up to and surpassed them. As for IRIX, well, these things are relative of course but I thought it was god awful.

We could get Windows NT boxes to run Maya for buckets less money and they performed far better (the reason why Maya was written for Windows in the first place). We threw SGI out because they were outrageously expensive and didn't deliver anymore. When they announced their NT initiative we all thought it was far too late. We could get Intergraph boxes running Windows at the time or just build our own. The SGI NT box looked kind of interesting (the 540 was it?) and came with a nice monitor at the time but it too was too late and overpriced for what it actually did in contrast to what Intergraph was offering at the time. If I remember correctly Houdini was also being sold for Windows at the time as well as Softimage (though that is not a surprise since MS owned it at the time). It was basically getting ridiculous to pay for SGI hardware, MIPS or Intel, when you didn't have to.

I'm not so sure it's too late for Nokia but SGI and DEC didn't tank because they moved to NT, they tanked because NT and the hardware to run it was a combination they couldn't beat. Is this "battle" if you can call it that, over software or hardware or both?
posted by juiceCake at 2:33 PM on February 11, 2011


Whether adopting a Microsoft OS is a cause or an effect, the simple fact is that adopting a MSFT OS late in the game is highly correlated with completely dying soon after.

The only successful MS OEMs have been the ones who adopted it from day one, like HP, Dell, HTC, Acer, etc.

And now HP & HTC are moving away from WinCE for mobile devices and Acer, Asus & other low-end PC manufacturers are beginning to consider alternate operating systems for mobile PCs.
posted by GuyZero at 2:42 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I shifted over to Windows 7 from 2008 when I got a new development machine, fully expecting to have to reinstall with 2008 – but after using the thing for a while I’m really not seeing a reason why*, and the thing is just nice. I’ve even come to terms with the OS-X like taskbar, which in conjunction with the preview actually works very well. So 7 definitely earns it’s consonant.

* Well, apparently I don’t have the same options for running virtual machines. Meh.
posted by Artw at 2:45 PM on February 11, 2011


The colors! They burn!
posted by Artw at 3:14 PM on February 11, 2011


HAW HAW HAW
posted by nj_subgenius at 3:33 PM on February 11, 2011


This is the first time that "IRIX" and "awesome" have been used together.

And anyhow, you should all be doing your graphics on Symbolics Lisp Machines. (Obligatory Stanley and Stella video.)
posted by zippy at 4:10 PM on February 11, 2011


c'mon, IRIX was awesome. That 3D file browser they used in Jurassic Park? Classic!
posted by GuyZero at 4:15 PM on February 11, 2011


"This is a coup, folks."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:33 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Former Microsoft exec Chris Weber has just been named President of Nokia Inc. (US). This is a coup, folks.

QFE.

The partnership doesn't make sense any other way.
posted by weston at 5:53 PM on February 11, 2011


Former Microsoft exec Chris Weber has just been named President of Nokia Inc. (US). This is a coup, folks.

QFE.


Wow! Holy cow. Brazen indeed.

Also, the more I think about it the more examples I remember: in 2007 Sun started selling Windows servers to try to recapture some of the low end of the market.

Partnering with Microsoft late in the game is the last gasp of a dying company, every time.
posted by GuyZero at 5:57 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, what does QFE stand for? This?

Quick Fix Engineering, a software development acronym. This is the Microsoft and Intel term for a hotfix

So Microsoft just did a field patch of Nokia instead of buying them outright?
posted by GuyZero at 5:59 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Quoted For Emphasis, I believe.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:21 PM on February 11, 2011


I can't believe that 155 comments in noboby has mentioned the open letter from Ballmer and Elop, which ends hilariously:
There are other mobile ecosystems. We will disrupt them.

There will be challenges. We will overcome them.

Success requires speed. We will be swift.
And it has this great dinky video with Elop talking about this change as a dinky GarageBand loop plays.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:49 PM on February 11, 2011


DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS *sweats profusely*

oops, wrong video
posted by entropicamericana at 7:04 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was because they continued to focus on the high end they went belly up because the "low end" caught up to and surpassed them.

The Alpha was beating Intel over the head right up until Compaq axed it at Microsoft's request.

As for IRIX, well, these things are relative of course but I thought it was god awful.

Compared to NT 3.5? No. But devs hated developing for it, which was an issue.

SGI missed the boat in two respects - first, they didn't invest in next-generation silicon the way IBM did. Second, they didn't climb on board Linux and ride that pony to the top. (This was also DEC's downfall - their 3rd party Alpha cloners supported Linux, and made money hand over fist. DEC decided to back NT and VMS, and to a much lesser extent, Digital Unix. They were bought by a commodity PC maker who had no clue, either.)

A processor that could eat x86 for lunch, combined with an OS that admins love to administrate and devs love to develop for, with the whipped cream and cherry of SGI's custom GFX silicon? Oh, yeah, they'd still be kicking.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:07 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon wrote: ""This is a coup, folks.""

He gets one thing wrong: Staying the course was appropriate, as the necessary actions had already been taken and were in progress. Someone decided that rather than wait for the completion of the plan, a new plan should be implemented and the old one abandoned midstream.

The problem with this is that it will mean Nokia goes even longer without a truly compelling device. They've got lots of pretty darn good ones, but nothing that makes people salivate, other than the camera in the N8. As usual, the problem is software, but that's one that was very close to being remedied. (Maemo 5 just needed polish and was getting it in Harmattan, and Symbian^3 was 90% of where it needed to be)

It just seems odd to not give it a few months and release the new round of devices and see how that goes given that they're so close to being ready.
posted by wierdo at 9:06 PM on February 11, 2011


And it has this great dinky video with Elop talking about this change as a dinky GarageBand loop plays.

It's Microsoft's house band, The (Song)Smiths.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:13 AM on February 12, 2011


In memoriam: Microsoft’s previous strategic mobile partners.

Note the last one in particular.
posted by weston at 1:11 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


When I look back at why Maemo wasn't an iphone killer, two things come to mind:

Neither of your reasons seem remotely as important to me as:

1/ Continually insisting throughout the N770/800/810 cycles that no-one wanted a phone-tablet hybrid. Had the 770 or even the 800 come with a GSM capability, history might be quite different.

2/ Terrible calendar functionality in the Maemo series of apps. The N800 was grossly inadequate as a PDA compared to a Palm.

3/ Routinely fucking over the people who bought or developed on the devices by abandoning them or being unable to make a coherant direction for the software infrastructure. Abandoning GTK, Hildon, and the struggling ecosystem of the N900 within, what, a year of release of the device... madness.

4/ After years of development through the N-series, Maemo was still an unfriendly pig to use and get apps for compared to... well, any other modern smartphone platform.

Windows 3.11 for Workgroups ends in a consonant. REFUTED!

WFW was a huge improvement, for those of us who had to deal with 3.1 professionally or even personally. Suddenly you had a standard network stack that came with the computer instead of cobbling together an bunch of expensive and inconsistant add-ons that may or may not work with a given application.

This is the first time that "IRIX" and "awesome" have been used together.

If you wanted a Unix *workstation* for *end users* that was usable by the overwhelming majority of people in the universe who *don't* think that Motif, CDE, or OpenWindows are anything other than the products of committees of the damned shitting UI like an elephant with amoebic dysentry, then, yes, Irix was awesome.
posted by rodgerd at 1:25 AM on February 12, 2011


And it has this great dinky video with Elop talking about this change as a dinky GarageBand loop plays.
Wow, you can see their eyes following the teleprompters. Also I've heard that track before, it seems like it's a common stock music file.
posted by delmoi at 6:58 AM on February 12, 2011


Oh, and Balmer seems to mispronouce Nokia. He calls it "NAWkia"
posted by delmoi at 6:59 AM on February 12, 2011


Ladies, Gents, we have another 'softie as the President of Nokia US; microsoft just bought nokia for $0b
posted by xcasex at 8:43 AM on February 12, 2011


oh nvm
posted by xcasex at 8:44 AM on February 12, 2011


rodgerd wrote: "3/ Routinely fucking over the people who bought or developed on the devices by abandoning them or being unable to make a coherant direction for the software infrastructure. Abandoning GTK, Hildon, and the struggling ecosystem of the N900 within, what, a year of release of the device... madness."

Yeah, that's not what happened. Maemo 6 (aka Harmattan aka MeeGo for Nokia) was/is(?) still slated to have GTK and Hildon support. Moreoever, it was highly likely the community will still provide Hildon and GTK builds for any future devices..there are, after all, some people who actually like that shit. That said, I'm glad they decided to can it in the future. Qt is far better.

Also, the previous NITs were not really designed to be PDAs. They were designed to be Internet Tablets. Still would have been nice to have better calendaring/contacts and a built-in cell phone. They had what I think was one of the better stylus UIs that happened to be mostly usable with a finger. Good size, too, although a larger screen would have been nice. (but 16:9 LCDs weren't really being made yet)
posted by wierdo at 9:19 AM on February 12, 2011


Intel Disappointed, still supports Meego.

Though I guess the question is what that support means without a mobile phone manufacturer planning to feature it.
posted by weston at 1:41 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


MeeGo is also made for tablets and netbooks. I would buy a decently spec'd MeeGo tablet today, if one were available and it had the UI Intel was showing off last year.
posted by wierdo at 3:40 PM on February 12, 2011


Nokia's statement on Qt says they'll still release a MeeGo device, but rumors claim they've slashed development to three outside contractors.

Another project called Aava Mobile plans on producing cores designed for MeeGo and Android, perhaps both simultaneously via Myriad Alien Dalvik.

Maemo's biggest advantage over Andoird was always the integration of gsm, sip, and skype calling under one application, as well as integration of sms and all instant messengers. Android, iPhone, etc. aren't anywhere near providing that functionality. So we might see other players jump on, especially given Intel's continued support.

In fact, a independent start up might produce a better MeeGo phone than Nokia if they're willing to integrate Zfone, off-the-record messaging, gpg encrypted email, and printer support, which are all easier to do under MeeGo than Android.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:52 AM on February 13, 2011


jeffburdges: "integrate Zfone, off-the-record messaging, gpg encrypted email, and printer support, which are all easier to do under MeeGo than Android."

Can we add in CalDAV support too? That'd be super great as I use Davical personally and Zimbra at work. I'm willing to trade printer support for that ;)
posted by pwnguin at 9:19 AM on February 13, 2011


Okay, get this:

Microsoft Shareholders

I know, it says institutional ownership. Scroll down to where it says "Top 10 Other Holders."

So, a revision of my earlier statement:

I'm going to extend my earlier speculation about Elop into the mildly paranoid realm. Not only do I think it's likely an MS/Nokia partnership was some part of his hiring negotiations, I'm going to go so far as to speculate that he actually still more or less works for Microsoft. Not in the sense that he's drawing checks or is vested (though I'm suspicious enough if I knew how I'd actually look into it)

I think the big question is what Microsoft did to convince Nokia's Owners this was in their interest.
posted by weston at 10:44 AM on February 13, 2011


Well, he's apparently reading this thread then :p

Nokia: Elop Buying Shares ASAP
published today 05:16 PM, updated today 07:21 PM
posted by infini at 10:50 AM on February 13, 2011


Oh, wow. He didn't have any options at all negotiated as part his package at Nokia? He's buying now? I mean, now's a good time to buy compared to a month ago if you really think the stock will be up when the new WP/Nokia devices hit the street (and even I think that's a possibility). But it's still a worse time than his hiring date.

And who at his level buys? He really didn't negotiate any equity when he got hired? The people hiring him didn't want to give him some skin in the game? Seriously?

Look at Elop's recent employment history, there's a very clear picture over the last five years of someone who's made most of his money by making calculations about equity. Somehow this was just neglected here?

Of course he's going to say he's buying. He knows what this looks like. But the fact that he hasn't already locked things sure reinforces the idea that he already has a different plan for buttering his bread that has little to do with Nokia's future success.
posted by weston at 11:21 AM on February 13, 2011


In fact, a independent start up might produce a better MeeGo phone than Nokia if they're willing to integrate Zfone, off-the-record messaging, gpg encrypted email, and printer support, which are all easier to do under MeeGo than Android.

I've actually been thinking the past day or two about whether or not system-on-a-chip will produce an opportunity for an independent start up to not only do something along the lines you're describing but maybe even "Dell" the handset industry.
posted by weston at 11:48 AM on February 13, 2011


I've actually been thinking the past day or two about whether or not system-on-a-chip will produce an opportunity for an independent start up to not only do something along the lines you're describing but maybe even "Dell" the handset industry.

You mean "Nokia" it? That's the local name for a cellphone in India, particularly the lower down the income demographic you go. I know a factory maintenance man who started a sideline repairing phones at night after the birth of a second daughter (long cultural story :) who tells me that the easiest to repair are Nokia models as many of the spare parts can be cannibalized from truly unrepairable older models- the engineering is such that many of these parts are interchangeable.

There's a whole culture of informal customization, repair, refurbish and restore across emerging markets that is simply waiting to be tapped. Perhaps your independent start up could simply ship quality assured branded parts for the local corner shop to assemble into whatever configuration and features a customer wanted? Tata Motors uses this method to cut costs for their Nano car - they ship it in knocked down condition to locations where its assembled on demand. Saves shipping costs and uses less space in crowded Indian cities.
posted by infini at 12:10 PM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nearly every single GPS device on the market in the last 7 years runs on Windows CE.

If that's true, why was MS suing TomTom?
posted by robertc at 5:39 PM on February 14, 2011


Supposedly grouping the 3rd and 4th place finisher into a 3-legged race will make them run faster.
posted by dgran at 7:26 AM on February 15, 2011


robertc: "If that's true, why was MS suing TomTom?"

It's not. Garmin wrote GarOS ages ago and has been experimenting with everything. Android, OpenEmbedded Linux, WinCE, etc. TomTom is basically Linux. The absence of any apparent strategy in their consumer electronics division I chalk up to them using it as a training ground; fresh graduates do their time in CE before moving into the money making but high stakes aeronautics division.
posted by pwnguin at 7:35 AM on February 15, 2011




This I can believe. Otoh, they must be given kudos for consistency with each upgrade, that you knew how to use the more advanced model, at the very least to send sms and make a call. the Motorolas are completely counterintuitive, the Sony Ericssons change their entire OS menu structure every couple of upgrades and the Samsung's are built for 17 year old Korean girls to play with.

If nothing else, here's hoping that MS can help standardize the operating system and allow the mobile platform to truly mature in its own right.
posted by infini at 12:36 PM on March 10, 2011


I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:45 PM on March 10, 2011


After reading the link ArtW posted:

Instead of redesigning the entire UX, Nokia acquired expensive professional-grade video cameras to determine the animation speed, and having confirmed that yes, it was 60fps, tried to recreate the transitions.


*groans*
*hides face in hands*
*suspects which research group in academia that was*
*groans again*
posted by infini at 12:45 PM on March 10, 2011


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