More insights from Eldar: Windows Mobile is dead, new Linux mobile OS from Samsung

Ok, now that almost every site writing about mobile tech and gadgets has checked in with their own take about yesterday’s Mobile Review’s preview of Nokia N900 handset, I have a question for you.

Did any of you guys and girls actually read the original article? Or did you just quickly scrolled through all that useless text to the bottom, hunting for specs and pics to write about?

Thought so. And I understand. We all here are in the news business, under a deadline and pressure to put a story out for our readers as soon as possible. OK.

But now, when you did that, drop everything you are doing right now, and go read the original Mobile Review story about N900. All of it. All 2700 words of it.  There’s a lot more then another new gadget to discuss here.


Because all the stuff about Nokia N900 in there is the least interesting and important part of that article. As he has proven more then once, Eldar has the connections and access that any overpaid industry analyst, not to mention reporter or blogger, will kill for. Somehow, he gets privy to the strategic and product plans of mobile vendors, and overall direction of the industry months or even years before any outsider ever hears of them. And he outs a lot of this info in the N900 preview.

Here are some key highlights.

The background about the place of Symbian OS and S60 in the future plans of Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. We’ve written about it here quite a few times, so I wont go into more details this time. But it should put all those stupid rumors about Nokia ditching Symbian to rest once and for all.

Windows Mobile is dead. Long live Mobile Windows

Yes, you read this right. According to Eldar:

(Microsoft) has made a quiet decision to finish tweaking Windows Mobile 7, and then migrate to the “mature OS”. That is to abandon the development of a new mobile OS version, keep Windows CE, and use the next version (7.5 or 8 ) of the main Windows OS which comes out in 2012, for mobile devices too. At this moment further development of Windows Mobile family is if not stopped, then frozen.

Sounds pretty interesting, and I wonder what this decision will mean to Microsoft’s overall position in mobile. On the one hand it sounds like Microsoft might be giving up on Windows Mobile. But on the other hand it also indicates that Microsoft still plans to offer an OS that works on smartphones/mobile devices. Lot’s of questions here.

So, it’s 2012, and we don’t have Windows Mobile anymore. But we have some sort of scaled down version of Windows 8, that works on smartphones and other mobile devices. Something like OS X/iPhone OS or even more closely related? Less? Is it important, that the new OS working on mobile devices is not called Windows mobile, but is called Windows instead? Why? Would there be a common development environment for mobile and desktop apps? Clearly app compatibility break is coming, but that is probably true for a transition between Windows Mobile 6.x and Windows Mobile 7 too. What would be so different about transition between Windows Mobile 7 and Mobile Windows 8? Will Windows CE be part of Windows 8? Lots of stuff  to think about.

New Linux based smartphone OS from Samsung

So far Samsung has been pretty platform agnostic, merrily churning out phones for any open mobile OS available, with unifying TouchWiz interface on top. But now it seems that Samsung has started working on their own Linux based mobile OS. According to Mobile Review:

(Samsung is) now working on a vertical Linux-based solution of their own, using their proprietary TouchWiz interface to tie up various platforms and prepare themselves for the upcoming Linux-powered devices… Samsung might be a little late (with their mobile Linux OS effort), but through various marketing tricks is covering it up. For now Samsung is spreading it’s widgets to phones and netbooks, but it is too early to call it fully vertically integrated solution.

Ok. Pretty clear statement. Samsung missed the boat 2006-2007 when Nokia, Apple and Google started working on the next generation mobile OSes, with close integration integration between devices, their software and cloud services.  But now it has seen the light and is furiously trying to catch up. TouchWiz UI is the basis and starting point, but we will see a Samsung’s own full fledged  Linux  based mobile OS in the next year or two.

Interesting, and again raises tons of interesting questions.

Samsung is, or soon will be a major player on Symbian, Android and Windows Mobile. When Samsung gets their own open mobile OS, what will happen to other mobile platforms that it is using? One thing seems clear, if they stay, third party platforms will be relegated to mid-tier mass market devices, while the flagships will have Samsung open OS. But which platforms Samsung will  keep?  All, none or some of them? And what does that mean to the success of each particular platform? Symbian, with Nokia  firmly behind it, is probably OK. What about Windows Mobile, it’s in dire straights already, can they survive without Samsung? What about Android. So far it has only one major handset vendor –Motorola – firmly behind. All others are experimenting and hedging their bets through multiple platforms. How Android position will be impacted if Samsung decides to drop it? Will the partial interest of Sony Ericsson,  LG, second tier and third tier players be enough?

Again, lots of stuff to think through and wonder…

Some other interesting tidbits from “Nokia N900 preview”:

  • Apple managed to adapt BSD for their Apple iPhone, plus it’s also utilized in their multimedia players and will debut in an internet tablet some time in 2011. (not sure how much of this is inside knowledge)
  • at Google they are working on their Android OS step-by-step in order to flood the market with a wide selection of phones during the second stage of their strategy (which will take place in 2010) and start offering Google-branded laptops during the third stage (2012-2013).And even though first MID Android-based devices are already available, this market will start blossoming only in 2011, along with the advent of first laptops.
  • all key (S60) SDKs have to be able to work with Maemo in the future, to let the developers migrate to new platform and to attract new developers too. In fact Apple developers will get the possibility to  quickly translate their programs to both Nokia platforms. (I think we are talking about QT development framework here)
  • Samsung OmniaHD i8910 is the last Samsung flagship on Symbian. All future devices have been moved to mid-tier mass market device level.
  • LG doesn’t grasp industry trends at all, and only just now are starting to understand the general shape of future market

Well, that’s about it. As I said, ton’s of new, important stuff in that “preview”. Be sure to read it yourself, since I only covered small part of it. Then think about it, prepare your keyboards, and start the conversation about the future of mobile industry going.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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  • kamic

    I'd really like to have a microsoft os instead of apple, they really gotta step up their game

  • Arnoud,

    What's new there. I wrote about this Windows – Windows Mobile thing back in february (…) and about a Samsung Linux smartphone a little while ago:… You saw the newest Symbian-device by Samsung too? It looks like the S8000 Jet (…)

    However there are some interesting developments going on, pointing in which direction the mobile industry is moving. I think Android is at this moment only the beginning of what we can expect from devices in the next five years. iPhone won't be a trendsetter, but un class aparte: manufacturers will look less and less to iPhone for inspiration in terms of interface and hardware.

    Just my 2 cents..

  • Staska

    Yep, the hints about most of the above have been dropped by companies here and there. MR only provides a better context tying them up.

    Regarding new M8000 Symbian phone, I knew that it existed as part of Cubic family (Samsung Jet, Omnia II). But, according to Eldar it has been cancelled. We'll see soon if that's true

  • Cesar


    “Windows Mobile is dead. Long live Mobile Windows”. Hey, Intel Moorestown will drop somewhere in early 2010; with a x86 chip on cellphones, it's a no-brainer punching a telephony module on Windows and launching a Mobile Windows. No industry tiers required to say this, only brains, especially for those that remember all the Windows CE/Mobile story :-P

    And Mobile Windows is that's why LG is betting the farm on Windows (what Eldar calls “doesn't grasp industry trends”) – we already know that LG will use Moorestown: . I see a Microsoft-Intel-LG cellphone still in 2010.

    Apple Internet Tablet in 2011? Apple iPad is THE buzz on US tech coverage. The only “inside” there is Eldar's claim that iPad will be 1 year late.

    For Samsung Linux? I couldn't resist remembering Motorola's EZX and MOTOMAGX – Linux-based closed platforms from a major player that flopped. Unless, obviosly, the Koreans are planning to buy Palm or ACCESS.

  • Staska

    Intel Moorestown? LG? C'mon…

    If every big vaporware announcement in mobile industry had any basis in reality, Wintel should have already ruled this market by now. Unfortunately, nothing gets anywhere beyond PR. For years.

    So now it's Moorsetown that will do the trick? With x86 architecture, that suddenly, somehow will make ARM based chips obsolete for mobile? And convince cellphone vendors to suddenly drop TI OMAP, Qualcomm and other chipsets that they have already product roadmapped until at least 2012, to switch to an unproven startup, even if it is an 800lb gorrilla in some other market? I'll believe it when I see it.

    Yep, I've heard that LG is in bed with MSFT. Something about hundreds programmers flown by MSFT to work in Seoul. And that official announcement about 20 WinMo phones that LG will ship soon. Sounds impressive.

    Unfortunately I have some past LG record with smartphones to look into. LG Symbian handsets? They are shameful. LG WinMo, they are only just embarrassing. LG Incite, KS20? Wow!

    So if you combine three uber losers in the market, no matter how successful they are elsewhere, do you get a winner?

  • Google fan

    I totally agree.

    Once the google's android hit the mail market with lot of applications, windows mobile will be dead.

    And the best thing is Google android is open source.

  • MadScientist

    Samsung's been quietly evaluating Linux as a smartphone OS for a while now- a lot longer than most people think. (I interviewed with the handset software group back a while back in Richardson, TX…ended up taking a six figure principal engineer's job elsewhere, but they were interviewing me for the purpose of helping with a Linux based version of their handset software then…some 6 years ago.)

  • MadScientist

    Moorestown's good…for an X86 design. But it's not good enough.

    A close to apples-to-apples comparison is in order:

    The OMAP3 is _roughly_ clock-for-clock comparable in performance to the Celeron in the original eeePC. The later on eeePC's up the speed by about half again and increase the battery life by about a factor of 2 with the Atom based designs for comparison. While the Atom is going to be slightly faster clock-for-clock, it's power consumption is still way too high.

    The original eeePC manages roughly 3-3.5 hourse on a 49 watt-hour battery.
    The equivalent OMAP3 design manages roughly 10 hours on a 13.5 watt-hour battery.

    Both devices running Linux, both devices managing the same task at the same rate.

    Moorestown doesn't fare much better. It's power consumption for performance is still entirely too high- and this is against this year's crop of Cortex-A8 designs. Cortex-A9 devices are expected to show up Q1-Q2 of next year- and the story's about 2-4 times faster with nearly the same power consumption as the A8 cores.

  • itjob123

    he only “inside” there is Eldar's claim that iPad will be 1 year late.

  • itjob123

    he only “inside” there is Eldar's claim that iPad will be 1 year late.