Is Android unstoppable?

Canalys have published their quarterly report on the mobile market yesterday, this time focusing on the second quarter of this year. Statistics from other research companies such as IDG and Gartner, and even those from phone makers themselves can and probably will be different from these. That’s just how it always is. The following quick analysis is based solely on the numbers from Canalys, please keep that in mind. Also do understand that these numbers reflect global market shares.

What the numbers say

Chart via BBC

Android’s market share grew by an amazing 886% in the second quarter of 2010 compared to the second quarter of 2009. And as exciting as that sounds, it was pretty much to be expected. Back in Q2 2009 Android had 2.8% of the smartphone market. You can only go up from such a measly number, basically.

This time last year, Android was on just over a million of the handsets sold. And almost all of those sales were made up by the HTC Dream/G1. Android 1.5 was released during that second quarter of 2009, but by the end of June only two devices were running the new OS version, the Samsung i7500 Galaxy and the HTC Magic. Arguably, neither Android 1.0 nor Android 1.5 were anything close to final, stable versions of the OS despite their numbering. It was only with 1.6 that came out in September last year, when the OS started to look good enough for mass adoption, and that’s when many new devices started to show up, and Android’s growth rate started surging.

Today, Android is only 0.9% away from RIM’s BlackBerry OS, and if the current trends continue, will overtake it in Q3. Which is not a small achievement by any standard. RIM’s OS was holding that second position since Windows Mobile started to go down a long, long time ago (in mobile device years, anyway).

We’ve clearly not seen the peak of the Android platform yet. How much it can still grow from this point on is anybody’s guess, but it has absolutely grown up this year. My guess is that it won’t peak in 2010. In a slightly negative scenario for Google, that may happen in Q1-Q2 of 2011, if and only if the next big release (3.0 Gingerbread) won’t bring anything more to the table than incremental updates here and there. The rumors seem to suggest the contrary, and if 3.0 will indeed feature some kind of UI/UX redesign (let’s not forget, Goolge now has the man who designed webOS working for them) alongside the small updates that have kept happening with earlier releases, then it might be a full year or more before Android’s growth starts slowing down.

An interesting fact is that aside from Android, every other smartphone OS has lost market share in Q2 2010 compared to Q2 2009.

Every. Single. One.

What this means for….

Symbian

Symbian has been losing a bit here, a percentage point there for years, so that’s no surprise. Nokia have delayed Symbian development by about a year with their “strategic” move of buying Symbian Ltd. and open-sourcing the OS under the newfound Symbian Foundation umbrella. A move they thought would bring in good PR and lower their development costs (if other companies started heavily contributing code to Symbian).

None of those things happened.

And the first Symbian^3 device is expected in September. Of 2010. When the high-end of Nokia’s lineup should have already been running Symbian^4, the ‘big’ upcoming release, that features a completely redesigned UI. We should have been seeing Symbian^3 only on midrange smartphones right about now, instead those still get Symbian^1 (the nicer name for S60 5th Edition). Which is an OS version that launched with the Nokia 5800, almost two years ago, in November of 2008.

As I said before, a full year wasted. So when you see the N8, please don’t compare it to today’s smartphones from the competition. No, instead imagine it was released a year ago. Because it should have been.

For the next year, I don’t see any big improvements in Symbian’s situation. Market share will probably continue to drop little by little. We need to have Symbian^4 devices (note the plural) on the market and Symbian^1 devices not on the market anymore before we can talk of a possible reversal of that trend.

RIM/BlackBerry OS

BlackBerry OS has clearly peaked at this point, and if RIM don’t release something really revolutionary (perhaps today), I don’t know what will happen to their consumer market share in the future. They do have a rather strong hold in the enterprise space, so there’s no immediate danger of them disappearing completely from the smartphone space by any chance.

However, it’s clear that they haven’t been able to capture the consumer market in a big way, save for some teen/tween texting/BBM addicted niches. They just haven’t (yet?) managed to become desirable for the mainstream in a similar fashion to the iPhone.

iOS

iOS market share has peaked. It’s actually started to go down just a little, and whether or not that’s the start of a trend we’ll see. But more market share growth seems improbable at this point. The only possible exception here would be if there will be a CDMA iPhone soon. And I think Apple really, really need one to maintain the public perception that they are the company to compete with in this field.

Without a CDMA iPhone (for Verizon and/or Sprint in the US), the next iPhone will definitely need to be a lot more than an incremental hardware update.

Windows Mobile

If you’re amazed that WinMo still has some market share left, don’t be. See, in the real world things aren’t ‘killed’ just like that, over night. It takes time. Months, even years.

Microsoft’s corporate clients are surely making up most of the remaining market share here. I think very few consumers would consider a WinMo smartphone for personal use these days.

Windows Phone 7 and Bada

These are the two upcoming smartphone OSes to watch. They have the potential to change the market dramatically, but could also turn into gigantic failures.

They are both, in my view, aimed primarily at those people who want to buy their first smartphone. Users that previously had featurephones. And for that demographic, both perform adequately, with WP7 having the edge for its integrated nature. However, judging by the looks of Microsoft’s minimum hardware requirements for WP7, the average price of the smartphones it will power will not be low by any stretch of the imagination.

Which is where Bada comes in. If Samsung will continue to push it, and push it hard, those who own a Corby now may switch to a Bada device by December. And I think that was the plan all along. The high-end is made up of iOS and Android in just about everyone’s mind right now, trying to compete there takes time. Just look at how long it took Android to outsell iOS in smartphones. That literally just happened. But in the mid to low price ranges, where Nokia reigns supreme right now, there’s a market to be had. If Samsung move quickly.

MeeGo

Oh yes, the amazing super-high-end OS from Nokia and Intel. It’s just too early, way too early to tell. Only one device is planned for this year, and even that may be available in very limited quantities in the beginning. And if the hardware is nothing groundbreaking, I really don’t understand what MeeGo’s USP would be. Plus, it’s a new OS, so there will be a shortage of apps initially and all that. Nokia and/or Intel really need to throw money at developers (like Samsung and Microsoft are doing for Bada and WP7) to make sure it doesn’t ship with a store populated by 14 apps or something like that.

Of course, Nokia keep saying that Qt will enable apps to be written once and run on both Symbian and Meego, but I’ll have to see that to believe it. And be that as it may, current Symbian apps, almost all of which are not written in Qt, will still need to be rewritten to be able to take advantage of these synergies between Nokia’s two smartphone OSes.

MeeGo does have a lot of potential beyond mobile phones. The embedded space may be what will make or break it, but that’s all going to start happening next year.

Conclusion

At this point, Android’s growth is obvious to everyone watching the mobile space. And there’s nothing to indicate that it will stop anytime soon. With more and more device releases in the following months, it probably won’t.

I do think that Android will jump to second place and not go back below it for the foreseeable future. Overtaking Symbian is a matter of many manufacturers launching many well-priced (against Nokia) low-end and midrange Android-powered devices. When that happens, if the competing Symbian devices don’t all run at least Symbian^3, Android does have a solid chance to become number one.

Because that crown is gained not by having the most desirable handsets (though that certainly helps, indirectly), but by having the lowest average selling price. That’s how Symbian is doing it right now and that’s what makes a truly mainstream OS.

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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  • Epeszko

    If we use Q2 shipments from 1970, we get an infinite percentage of growth. Go Windows Mobile:)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CPU3M5F4PU6TIABESOHTVEFCJA Sir Vorlauf

    Android isn't unstoppable- nothing is. All we can say is that Android is beating, and will continue to beat, the pants off of the inferior Apple.

    Remember, the vast majority of iPhone sales are to existing iPhone customers. (Apple fanatics can never admit when they're wrong).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CPU3M5F4PU6TIABESOHTVEFCJA Sir Vorlauf

    Android isn't unstoppable- nothing is. All we can say is that Android is beating, and will continue to beat, the pants off of the inferior Apple.

    Remember, the vast majority of iPhone sales are to existing iPhone customers. (Apple fanatics can never admit when they're wrong).

  • Random Poster

    We are not “wrong”. That is so unbelievably childish of you to say. We simply enjoy the iPhone and prefer it. That simple. It's called “personal preference.”

    By the way… how much of your personal information has been sent to a random Chinese website today?

  • hidu28

    Right now Android is unstoppable, just read thi: http://bit.ly/dC5coA

  • guest

    Symbian market share should start to drop much more quickly since low end Android devices have just recently hit the market. Huwei, etc, have just recently started releasing cheap models and HTC is expanding its low end models like the Wildfire into Europe/Asia. Moreover, you have the previous generation of models from the likes of HTC, Mot, Samsung, LG, Sony, etc becoming much cheaper and starting to fill the mid-range.

    I expect Symbian's Q3 number to be under 40% and Q4 to be close to 35%.

  • Marcus Christopher McFann

    Staska isn't the only one I have to give the real info to. Seems there are others confused on what is happening here.

    What you're seeing is that a few year run is not enough to become entrenched in this business. Apple was “unstoppable” and sure to surpass Symbian just a couple years ago. Then here comes Android. There is always the “new kid on the block” effect behind any heavily financed OS initiative. But once that newness ends, share begins to settle.

    While Android's momentum is far from over, please remember that the other competitor's will also emerge with the “new” factor. Microsoft will have its honeymoon with WP7, and Symbian/MeeGo as well, over the next few years. This may or not cause Android to falter or settle, but its not as if Android is competiting against a stationary market.

    Symbian has lost share over the last few years, but for an obvious reason, if you really study the data. Nokia abandoned the high end, which is a small part of the total market, in 2007. Instead of the expensive foray of building and developing high end processor platforms for Symbian, they bought Trolltech for Qt, and refashioned their Linux efforts for their high end future. Qt would tie Symbian and Maemo/MeeGo, and there was no way any competitor could threaten them and remain technically on level with them while they did it. Their moves had nothing to do with PR and developer support. Remember, at the time, they had the most apps in their ecosystem, and were the leading OS by a country mile.

    Symbian^4 is NOT meant for the high end. There may be a device or two on nicely specced hardware, but most devices over $425 will run MeeGo. THAT was the point of their moves. To create a new class of OS and device, and maintain compatibility with Symbian, their now LOW to MIDrange platform, while also sharing UI elements across both using the Qt UI toolkit so there is little to visually differentiate the two OSes.

    YOU feel a year was wasted, but they still have the lead, and have since smartphones existed. Remember, they got so much done with S^1 that S^2 was skipped, since most of those features were embedded to fix S^1 on the N97. They are still poised to take a larger lead for a longer term than any other OS. Remember, Android, iOS, and WP7 began with NO customer loyalty, no developers, no ecosystem, no apps, and no market share. Symbian has all of those.

    The N8 is the latest in software architecture. TODAY, not last year. No one else is close technologically. But you seem to only know about UI/UX, which is a small part of an OS, and easily transformed using designers and artists. Remember, Nokia does more R&D on UI than any other company. To use your analogy, the iPhone should've come out in the 90's, since it lacked 3G, an SDK/ecosystem, multitasking, Flash, GPS, etc.

    Now that that task has been completed (Qt was officially made an embedded part of the Symbian OS last month, and in Maemo/MeeGo a few months ago, as they'd planned), Nokia has refocused back on the high end, with devices coming this Q42010. They have lost share over the last few years, but GAINED over the last 4 quarters, maintaining their lead with only one high end model, the N900 (which is far from a mass market model). How do you think they'll do with TWO “new” OSes come Q4?

    Why would Nokia lose share little by little next year? The trend has been that they are GROWING share the past 4 quarters, and their efforts with Qt and the UI toolkit have been well received. Can you explain what will happen next year that didn't happen this past 4 quarters? There is still a demand for low priced smartphones in the fastest growing markets were Nokia is king, and MeeGo's momentum will help its app ecosystem. You make no sense with your analysis, and need to look further into the data. I think you say “we” because you're stating your personal sentiment for Symbian. I'm willing to bet that you are wrong, and will find yourself recanting this hypothesis of yours.

    YOY numbers mean little. You look at quarter to quarter first. That tells more. Some quarters are bigger for certain models and makes. And for the last 4 quarters, Symbian has taken a bigger part of the pie. RIM will do the same when its new OS appears, though maybe not as sustained without better developer toolkit support. WP7 will also make noise for awhile, though only in the high end.

    As for MeeGo, its USP is its unmatched extensibility. I'm not talking the pocket apps we're used to on smartphones, but highly complex software programs. Remember, this is the same Linux on your PC with a new UI. The underpinnings will allow developers to create and innovate in a familiar and simple ecosystem supporting tools they are familiar with.

    Look at the VOIP/social network/messaging integration allowed on the N900. This was done by community developers using common tools and components built into the OS. You won't see Google Voice implemented into iOS, or instant messaging protocols added by community members. There aren't the tools or platform access to enable such integration. This allows your “app” to be more powerful and run inside the OS, not atop the OS. You probably don't own an N900 or use Linux for the desktop regularly as a power user, but I have for the past 2 years, and believe me, it will blow your mind. Photoshop, class apps on a pocketable device will be here soon, because of MeeGo. All this before we even get to the netbooks and other devices supporting the platform. MeeGo is all about power and reach.

    I've explained the fallacy of Qt and “lack of apps” to Staska, but neither of you seem willing to study what you write about. There are apps ready now, but the targets for delivery haven't been available officially. Betas don't count to real developers. But you will see that Qt was already a big ecosystem, and just got bigger with mobile. If Symbian will have apps, so will MeeGo. You can't see it until devices begin shipping with Qt in large scale. So far, only the N900 officially supports Qt via the OS. Next is the N8 and C7. Let the devices come first, then you'll have somewhere to run the apps. Its not like Apple and Google have run off with substantial leads and no competitors…

    BTW, a CDMA iPhone will NOT raise their share significantly. CDMA is a sliver of the global market, and even if they became a big slice of CDMA, they are a luxury brand. Luxury brands never go above 25% by design. When they do, they cease to be luxury brands, and are cheapened. Apple wants profit margins, not share. If they did, they'd have a QWERTY model, a budget model, and be working to make iOS more efficient, not just adding more powerful hardware. Its a specific strategy they're following.

  • Marcus Christopher McFann

    Staska isn't the only one I have to give the real info to. Seems there are others confused on what is happening here.

    What you're seeing is that a few year run is not enough to become entrenched in this business. Apple was “unstoppable” and sure to surpass Symbian just a couple years ago. Then here comes Android. There is always the “new kid on the block” effect behind any heavily financed OS initiative. But once that newness ends, share begins to settle.

    While Android's momentum is far from over, please remember that the other competitor's will also emerge with the “new” factor. Microsoft will have its honeymoon with WP7, and Symbian/MeeGo as well, over the next few years. This may or not cause Android to falter or settle, but its not as if Android is competiting against a stationary market.

    Symbian has lost share over the last few years, but for an obvious reason, if you really study the data. Nokia abandoned the high end, which is a small part of the total market, in 2007. Instead of the expensive foray of building and developing high end processor platforms for Symbian, they bought Trolltech for Qt, and refashioned their Linux efforts for their high end future. Qt would tie Symbian and Maemo/MeeGo, and there was no way any competitor could threaten them and remain technically on level with them while they did it. Their moves had nothing to do with PR and developer support. Remember, at the time, they had the most apps in their ecosystem, and were the leading OS by a country mile.

    Symbian^4 is NOT meant for the high end. There may be a device or two on nicely specced hardware, but most devices over $425 will run MeeGo. THAT was the point of their moves. To create a new class of OS and device, and maintain compatibility with Symbian, their now LOW to MIDrange platform, while also sharing UI elements across both using the Qt UI toolkit so there is little to visually differentiate the two OSes.

    YOU feel a year was wasted, but they still have the lead, and have since smartphones existed. Remember, they got so much done with S^1 that S^2 was skipped, since most of those features were embedded to fix S^1 on the N97. They are still poised to take a larger lead for a longer term than any other OS. Remember, Android, iOS, and WP7 began with NO customer loyalty, no developers, no ecosystem, no apps, and no market share. Symbian has all of those.

    The N8 is the latest in software architecture. TODAY, not last year. No one else is close technologically. But you seem to only know about UI/UX, which is a small part of an OS, and easily transformed using designers and artists. Remember, Nokia does more R&D on UI than any other company. To use your analogy, the iPhone should've come out in the 90's, since it lacked 3G, an SDK/ecosystem, multitasking, Flash, GPS, etc.

    Now that that task has been completed (Qt was officially made an embedded part of the Symbian OS last month, and in Maemo/MeeGo a few months ago, as they'd planned), Nokia has refocused back on the high end, with devices coming this Q42010. They have lost share over the last few years, but GAINED over the last 4 quarters, maintaining their lead with only one high end model, the N900 (which is far from a mass market model). How do you think they'll do with TWO “new” OSes come Q4?

    Why would Nokia lose share little by little next year? The trend has been that they are GROWING share the past 4 quarters, and their efforts with Qt and the UI toolkit have been well received. Can you explain what will happen next year that didn't happen this past 4 quarters? There is still a demand for low priced smartphones in the fastest growing markets were Nokia is king, and MeeGo's momentum will help its app ecosystem. You make no sense with your analysis, and need to look further into the data. I think you say “we” because you're stating your personal sentiment for Symbian. I'm willing to bet that you are wrong, and will find yourself recanting this hypothesis of yours.

    YOY numbers mean little. You look at quarter to quarter first. That tells more. Some quarters are bigger for certain models and makes. And for the last 4 quarters, Symbian has taken a bigger part of the pie. RIM will do the same when its new OS appears, though maybe not as sustained without better developer toolkit support. WP7 will also make noise for awhile, though only in the high end.

    As for MeeGo, its USP is its unmatched extensibility. I'm not talking the pocket apps we're used to on smartphones, but highly complex software programs. Remember, this is the same Linux on your PC with a new UI. The underpinnings will allow developers to create and innovate in a familiar and simple ecosystem supporting tools they are familiar with.

    Look at the VOIP/social network/messaging integration allowed on the N900. This was done by community developers using common tools and components built into the OS. You won't see Google Voice implemented into iOS, or instant messaging protocols added by community members. There aren't the tools or platform access to enable such integration. This allows your “app” to be more powerful and run inside the OS, not atop the OS. You probably don't own an N900 or use Linux for the desktop regularly as a power user, but I have for the past 2 years, and believe me, it will blow your mind. Photoshop, class apps on a pocketable device will be here soon, because of MeeGo. All this before we even get to the netbooks and other devices supporting the platform. MeeGo is all about power and reach.

    I've explained the fallacy of Qt and “lack of apps” to Staska, but neither of you seem willing to study what you write about. There are apps ready now, but the targets for delivery haven't been available officially. Betas don't count to real developers. But you will see that Qt was already a big ecosystem, and just got bigger with mobile. If Symbian will have apps, so will MeeGo. You can't see it until devices begin shipping with Qt in large scale. So far, only the N900 officially supports Qt via the OS. Next is the N8 and C7. Let the devices come first, then you'll have somewhere to run the apps. Its not like Apple and Google have run off with substantial leads and no competitors…

    BTW, a CDMA iPhone will NOT raise their share significantly. CDMA is a sliver of the global market, and even if they became a big slice of CDMA, they are a luxury brand. Luxury brands never go above 25% by design. When they do, they cease to be luxury brands, and are cheapened. Apple wants profit margins, not share. If they did, they'd have a QWERTY model, a budget model, and be working to make iOS more efficient, not just adding more powerful hardware. Its a specific strategy they're following.

  • Marcus Christopher McFann

    See what I mean?? Guest, despite the way Unwired View may paint it, Nokia/Symbian market share can't possibly drop more quickly, because as of the last four quarters, they haven't dropped at all, but have GROWN!

    Nokia's sales figures in the low end totally dominate. Look at the average selling price of Android devices vs Symbian. Android is winning in the high end, and a few devices from small manufacturers won't make a significant dent in Nokia's manufacturing on the low end.

    You may be confusing Symbian with iOS, but I just think you don't know your information like you let on. Check the facts:

    Apple…..Q3 17%…Q4 16%…Q1 16%…Q2 14%
    Nokia…..Q3 38%…Q4 39%…Q1 40%…Q2 41%

    Nokia is not only taking share from Apple and RIM, they will begin poaching some of the Android mid to high end this Q42010 to Q12011. Just do the math and leave emotion and buzz out of it.

  • Ilbeemer

    ” think very few consumers would consider a WinMo smartphone for personal use these days.” Are you serious? How many HTC HD2's sold this year?

  • Roznik

    Thank You ! This is the most informed analysis of Nokia's current situation and strategy so far seen in any English speaking web page ! An absolute Gem, Marcus Christopher !

    EVERYBODY ESPECIALLY THE ANALYSTS SHOULD COPY AND STUDY THIS COMMENT !

  • guest

    Where do you get this data from?

  • guest

    What will happen next year that didn't happen over the last four quarters is that Android will hit the mid and low end market. And, Android is expanding into continental Europe and Asia, Nokia's strongest areas.

    Almost every day now there's a cheap HTC, Motorola or Huwei phone announced for India or some other Asian country. Granted these phones will still be more expensive than Nokia's $50 “smartphones”, but the gap is narrowing quickly.

    Also look at Amazon's top 25 selling smartphones. In the UK, the top 25 has 1 Nokia phone and 7 Android phones. In Germany, the top 25 has 2 Nokia phones and 4 Android phones. This was not the case 3 months ago.

  • Allied guy

    Long time ago, they said HITLER is unstoppable!

  • Symbian guy

    Stop the evil empire of Google before it takes over the world!

    We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
    we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
    we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
    we shall fight on the beaches,
    we shall fight on the landing grounds,
    we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
    we shall fight in the hills;
    we shall never surrender!

  • Johnson 1234

    I totally agree with you on many (almost all!) points. I am, however, a bit concerned about Mediatek. As you probably know, they just (a couple of weeks ago) announced that they will start selling Android phones. Mediatek is number 1 in the dirt-cheap no-label market and will probably use Android to target Nokia's low-end smart phones in the developing world.

    How do you see Mediatek's role in the game?

  • http://www.staska.net Staska

    Vlad will probably get back to you with the particulars of your comment
    later, but educating me about QT and it's technical/implementation is one
    thing, arguing business sense and prospects – quite another. Especially when
    done through a rose tinted glasses of Nokia spin :)

    First, let's get the facts straight. And what's with mixing of Nokia and
    Symbian as if they are the same thing? Vlad's post mostly talked about OS
    marketshares, not vendors – and they are different things.

    But since you are talking mostly about Nokia in your comment, let's talk
    about Nokia. The figures you quoted in your second comment:

    Apple…..Q3 17%…Q4 16%…Q1 16%…Q2 14%
    Nokia…..Q3 38%…Q4 39%…Q1 40%…Q2 41%

    they are Tomi Ahonen's interpretation of smartphone marketshares. Which is
    pretty good, but are only his interpretation.

    In his post Vlad stated explicitly that he's talking about Canalys numbers.
    And, according to them, Nokia lost marketshare in smartphhones. According to
    Nokia themselves – Nokia's smartphone marketshare remained flat – at 41% in
    Q2 2009, Q1 2010 and Q2 2010 (These figures come directly from Nokia Q2 2010
    press release, you can read it up there).

    So, looking at Nokia's own marketshare assessment, their share of the
    smartphone market remained flat at best. And this was achieved at the
    expense of an average device selling price, which Nokia was forced to reduce
    because they had no better way to compete in the marketplace.

    You also make it sound that Nokia abandoned high end market by choice, and
    was not forced out of it through it's own blunders, missed product cycles
    and nimble competitors. As if they keep moving downstream in market in
    smartphones also by choice and nob because of the lack of compelling more
    expensive products. You make it sound that all things that happened to
    Nokia since 2007, were a part of well thought out and executed
    strategy. Which goes something like this:

    We (Nokia) saw which way things were going in 2007, and decided – OK, let's
    forget about the most profitable high-end market segment for a while and
    start focusing on bringing smartphone to the masses. Component prices for
    our devices are going down, and no other smartphone maker will be able to
    match our BOM for Symbian smartphones anyway. So, late in 2008, we'll patch
    a slapdash touch layer/interface over our Symbian S60.3 OS and will begin
    shipping moderately priced touchscreen smartphones like 5800XM. We know that
    our S60.5 touch UI is crap, but none of our competitors (Samsung with
    Touchwiz, LG with their own touch and later S-class, etc;) can do better at
    that price. And they are selling dumbphones with touch, while we are doing
    smartphones. Yes, it's a far cry from iPhone, but the iPhone is uber
    expensive high end handset, and we are leaving that market category alone.
    Instead, for the next 18-20 months we will be churning out ever cheaper
    iterations of 5800XM, to keep us relevant in smartphones.

    In the meantime, we already have that 5 step program of making Maemo a
    consumer ready OS, it's on track for 2010, so we don't have anything to
    worry about. Let's also buy Symbian and make it open source. This way we
    will become even more open then that mobile upstart Google, and undercut
    them at the very start. And by the end of 2010/2011 we will finally be able
    to rewrite Symbian OS to make it better suited for touch. Oh, and let's add
    QT to tie Meego and all disparate versions of Symbian devices that we had to
    launch, into one single beautiful thing. We'll let the other boys play at
    that money making high end for a couple of years. But, when all the things
    we've been working on are finally ready, in 201-2011, we will be back with a
    vengeance and blow all the competition to smithereens, and will be more
    dominant in mobile when we were in 2007.

    A brilliant strategy, and, as the end of the projected timetable nears, I
    can see that all the pieces are starting to fall into place. Meego,
    Symbian^3, Symbian^4, QT, etc;… You just wait a few more months and you'll
    see a comeback story like you've never seen before.

    But then I take away my Nokia rose tinted glasses, and instead of
    beautifully crafted and executed company strategy, I see an arrogant
    blundering giant who has lost his way, constantly spinning, changing his
    story, trying persuade himself and those around him that everything is as
    it should be, that the way out of the woods is just around the corner.

    – I see 2007, when things started changing, how Nokia spent the whole
    year coasting on the wings of their last great device – N95. Building it's
    iterations and clones like N82, N95 8GB, N96 (great devices, except for N96,
    btw.), and dismissing as a fad/ignoring movement and demand for touch for
    the whole year.

    – I remember 2008 and Nokia finally realizing that there is something in
    that touch thing. But thinking that's it's no big deal, all we need, is to
    slap a touch UI layer and touchscreen on that N95 platform based S60
    communicator/slider we had in the works, spice it up with some witdgets and
    stuff, and we'll blow the iPhone competition away. And the debacle of N97
    that decision led to.

    – I remember the Symbian Ltd. in it's glorious 70% marketshare days. With
    Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG and Nokia pushing their own development
    visions via S60 and UIQ. Which delivered Screenplay and Freeway technologies
    – the backbone on which Symbian^3 is built, way back in 2008. And now I see
    and empty shell of Symbian foundation which has more or less become an
    outsourced Nokia marketing/PR/Industry liaison department, with 90% of
    development work done by Nokia itself, and development milestones behind
    the schedule by months. Abandoned by every other partner/vendor in favor of
    Android. Well, except for Japanese, of course.

    – I remember Nokia World 2009 and Nokia's rallying cry “We are on
    offensive” and how that offensive ended up a year later.

    – I look at all the billions, resources and time invested in various OVI
    services and the return on that investment.

    Yes, some pieces seem to be falling into place. And we may start seeing a
    slow turnaround in Nokia's fortunes. But when I see the advances competition
    has made, and look back at Nokia flops, empty promises and fizzled
    offensives during past few years, I first want to see at least some evidence
    that things are working out the way Nokia said they will.

    Thank's for explaining things about QT and stuff before, they were helpful.
    But we are getting back to where we started my previous post – you can
    repeat a thousand times what a great and visionary thing QT is,
    how infinitely extensible Meego is and how PC level apps are just around the
    corner, or how Symbian will blow Android out of the water in a few quarters.
    Maybe it'll happen, maybe not.

    But I want to see some actual results that things are starting to turn
    around for Nokia. In actual sales numbers. In new models that
    are enthusiastically received by the market/customers and heavily promoted
    by operators. In unit shipment volumes. In new QT apps in an appstore. Etc;
    Not Nokia initiated accolades based on products that haven't shipped yet.

  • Marcus Christopher McFann

    Staska, Staska… easy now. THIS is why I love Unwired View! That was beatifully written, expertly delivered, and drilling to my bones. I shall humble myself, and respect your honest opinion and sentiment.

    Whether or not we agree, I TOTALLY see your point, and that everyone in society has full right to feel about Nokia the way they do. I, too, felt abandoned as a customer, because I, too, felt the sting of slow development, stagnant, even downgraded hardware. I watched the understudies display fancy interface tricks over half backed bread, with cereal where the meat was supposed to be.

    I wanted one of these fancy devices myself, until I researched. I studied, not the facades, but the BONES of these platforms. You can put lipstick on a pig, Staska… a BOAR, even. But, its just a pig. Too nascent to perform, with limited ways to even dance with the harwdare. Just a set menu, no buffet, not even refills on your drink. It had the training wheels on tight, so it was near impossible to…MAKE A MISTAKE.

    Now you may find it brilliant that iOS and Android have done this type of thing. Or RIM, even worse, squanders its email prowess by resting on ITS laurels. But without the training wheels taken off, by making it near impossible to MAKE A MISTAKE, and you stifle innovation and competion.

    Alexander Graham Bell made numerous mistakes while creating the technology, the foundation upon which hoists the entire industry your site is dedicated to. The very technology you so loyally cover that also causes your readers to be able to receive your knowledge.

    Telecommunications technology was developed by people willing to test the limits and just TRY to create something new. And those people today are software developers and users. Now an OS is a virtual innovation/creation station for these talented group of developers and software engineers and designers.

    We don't need to recreate custom styles, methods, and tools that these innovators must learn in order to innovate. NEW ways is fine, but the talent pool of creative innovators in this industry is massive, and to exclude these talents from these platforms is costly, disrespectful, and downright foolish!

    Why disallow code from the talented Flash and AIR community? And what's wrong with Python developers? C++, Qt, GTK, Clutter, the list goes on and on. Nokia has figured it out, along with Intel, and created a common structure of components in the Linux Stack and Kernel. Most developers are familiar with this type of structure and the tools necessary to exploit the hardware and components available to the OS.

    So the developer population rises massively as far as the amount of developers with the skills to create, develope, maybe run across a mistake or two along the way to INNOVATION. It swells the available talent pool, provides a UI translation toolkit to the interface layer for customization, and allows an entry point from the celllar WHILE MAINTAINING OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE all the way to uberpowerful monster machines on almost any hardware imaginable.

    Now this would be a fantasy, had we not just seen tablet, phone, branded phone, netbook, and in vehicle infotainment UIs that all look tailored for their purpose. These types of things just can not be pulled off without years of intense research and development. I watched first hand how short gains can be made, but the intellectual property and research always win in the end. Nokia's been studying this stuff for years. Everyone knows they've spent the most on R&D over the last decade. You can't erase all that knowledge.

    Nokia specialized in user patterns. They created the first one handed supercomputer in the N95, still the standard upon which todays' devices are based. Aside from the touch element, the usability and capabilty is unmatched for anything today for one hand. Touch was done in a deliberate manner, and combined on TWO OSes to allow a similar experience regardless.

    The innovation will be in design of UI, now, not so much the internals anymore. That development has already been done by separate groups for years. Nokia is just joining THIER EFFORT, and providing the finances to allow greater innovations in the future. They open source these ideas, and share them with the public, and allow them to serve their purpose, and spend more effort on the experience.

    People don't always trust smart people, or people willing to risk things, and give everyone an opportunity to experience the connections people make today through their devices, with as little sacrifice in the ability, regardless of price. You can buy a cheap one, an expensive one, a fast one, a pretty one, a secure one, one with great imaging, one with great sound, one with a big screen, or maybe a combination of the aforementioned.

    Whichever one you get, it'll pretty much do what its supposed to, and use code from several types of software design disciplines. And every here and there, one of them fixes a mistake, and we have a Gravity, Firefox, or some other INNOVATION that will possibly change the way we connect with each other.

    Isn't that the point? Google just a few years in, and JUST got to working on its native development ecosystem, leaving the bounds of Java/Dalvik. But that's just C++. The OS is a world of multilingual artists and innovators. This closed club won't last long without enough ways to innovate. They are getting there, but have a way to go. Apple doesn't care. They cater to the silver spoons, and you dress a certain way to dabble in Beverly Hills. None of that inferior Python stuff. The rest are becoming developer resting homes, a sea of inbred singletons, with one song playing on their phonograph, and a sanctioned dance called the Limbo.

    But we like different music, food, and ways to speak, to dance, to design and innovate. And THIS is the important thing. Give these different designers/innovators a place to work. A place they can try things, experiment, and correct mistakess, and deliver masterpieces in various hues and textures. If you don't? History says they overcome you. Ask Apple. They've sung that song before. Its their favorite. The rest race to diversify their dance skills, their song list, their reportoir…

    Tesla, Michael Jackson, Fred Astair, Usher, Sammy Davis Junior, Miles Davis, Leonardo DiVinci, Alexander Graham Bell, George Washington Carver, none of these men went by without making a mistake. NONE of them thought within the box. They all had their own ways of working, and choice of media to deliver and test it. So should developers.

    So let's see whether I and Nokia are right. I believe so, but as they say, the proofs in the pudding. And some of it has been rather bland. But I know the ability and infrastructure is there, along with the experience. Its all about execution. You say no, or you aren't sure. I say I'm all in. Guess this is the part where we throw in more chips and raise the bet? ;P

    Its a joy discussing these points with you. And maybe it is true, I trust the engineering aspect over the artistic aspect. But I also am an artist myself, and recognize in art, we make mistakes along the way, but we plan to make it easier to avoid those mistakes far into the future. I've seen enough to know Nokia totally gets it, and deliberately reorganized and restructured their tools, for simplicity, complexity, diversity, compatibility, and reach. The experience part they can fix. They have all the data, and even learned from their peers. We'll just have to see who is right, huh?

  • Marcus Christopher McFann

    not many, relatively

  • Marcus Christopher McFann

    I say Android still doesn't perform well on low power systems as well yet. At the bottom level, performance will matter alot, and I just don't see how they can do it with the UI graphics handling on the main processor. You can charge cheap for a device, but it still has to work well.