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Myth 9: iPhone Unable to Penetrate Europe Due to Symbian Dominance

Symbian
Daniel Eran Dilger
Continuing upon the previous eight iPhone myths, this one insists that Apple will be wholly unable to find a market for the iPhone platform in Europe because of the strength of Nokia’s Symbian platform, which currently leads smartphones in worldwide market share. That’s wrong, here’s why.

iPhone Myths
Five More iPhone Myths
Myth 6: iPhone Developers will Flock to Android
Myth 7: iPhone Buyers will Flock to Android
Myth 8: iPhone will lose out to Steve Ballmer’s Windows Mobile 7 in 2010
Myth 9: iPhone Unable to Penetrate Europe Due to Symbian Dominance9 iPhone Unable to Penetrate Europe Due to Symbian Dominance

If Windows Mobile can’t rival the iPhone, what about Symbian, the dominant platform leader among smartphones outside the US? The main problem is that Symbian itself is failing miserably. Sony Ericsson was so embarrassed by the state of Symbian that it turned to Windows Mobile to help it crank out an answer to the iPhone.

Over a year and a half later, Sony Ericsson is still working on getting its Windows Mobile XPERIA X1 phone running to market, but despite its problems, it hasn’t voiced any excitement about returning to Symbian in order to churn out an iPhone rival.

Microsoft’s Zune, Vista, and Windows Mobile 7 Strategy vs the iPhone
Will Nokia Rescue Microsoft’s Zune? Haha No.

Nokia’s Schizophrenic Software Strategy.

What about Nokia, which has historically served as the main legs of the Symbian platform? Unlike Apple’s iPhone and its iPod touch sibling which both run the same operating system and software, Nokia was forced to develop Maemo, an unrelated Linux distribution based on Debian, in order to deliver the company’s Internet Tablet. Symbian wasn’t up to the task. Conversely, Maemo isn’t up to the task of handling the mobile-centric features of a smartphone.

Nokia also purchased Trolltech for its Qt development platform, which it plans to release for the Maemo-running Internet Tablet by the end of this year. At some point, Nokia could deliver a Qt layer for its Symbian S60 devices, allowing developers to build software that could run on either a Symbian or Linux foundation. It hasn’t delivered this yet, and hasn’t even pulled off Qt on Maemo, leaving this strategy to appear more like a way to ditch Symbian than to breathe new life into it.

In contrast, Apple already has a smartphone and a handheld media browser product that use the same operating system, run the same software, and unlike Nokia’s Internet Tablets, actually sell on the market.

Mac OS X vs Linux: Third Party Software and Security
ARM, x86 Chip Makers Fight to Ride Mobile Growth
Readers Write About Symbian, OS X and the iPhone

The Symbian Phoenix.

Symbian itself has witnessed its average software licensing royalties plummet from over $5 per unit a year ago down to $4.30 and then $3.40 in just the last reported quarter of sales ending in June. Symbian’s software sales prospects are so dim that Nokia is acting to buy out Symbian partners Sony Ericsson and NTT DoCoMo with the intent to resurrect Symbian as a free, open source software foundation.

That will keep Symbian alive so that Nokia and its former partners can have a software platform, even if the platform isn’t strong enough to support itself as a commercial venture. In other words, demand for Symbian is so poor it requires a massive bailout from a dependent benefactor because the acute failure of the platform would be worse than a prolonged hemorrhaging money pit.

Nokia’s new Symbian Foundation will not only have the ‘who knew this would be so difficult’ task of opening closed software, but is also charged with merging Nokia’s own S60 suite of libraries and applications with those of UIQ (taken over by Sony Ericsson last year, then split with Motorola, and currently spun off as an independent company) and NTT DoCoMo’s MOAP. These three software platforms run on top of the Symbian kernel. Nokia hopes to combine these all into a cohesive platform running on top of Symbian and ship it for free next year.

If this all seems about as likely to happen as creating a single unified desktop Linux platform, remember that Apple essentially combined the efforts of the three BSDs to rebuild its OS foundation in Mac OS X. The difference, of course, being that Apple spent hundreds of millions to develop the effort internally without political interference between the squabbling efforts of several dozen partners, took half a decade to pull the project off, and then used it internally rather than giving it away. But who knows, maybe the Symbian Foundation has discovered a shortcut.

Symbian reports slow growth in front of iPhone 3G launch

This All Happened Before.

Nokia’s Symbian plan is the same strategy that saved Netscape from certain death under AOL. Netscape code was reborn under the Mozilla Foundation as Firefox. That move did not enable Firefox to subsequently take the world by storm however; the reality is that Firefox is still clinging to life support half a decade later.

The Mozilla Foundation has skated along profit-free at the mercy of Google, which has dumped regular piles of cash (something like $50 million annually) on the project to keep it afloat as a viable alternative to Internet Explorer. In Google’s view, the Firefox browser is to Internet Explorer what Android is to Windows Mobile.

That comparison doesn’t reference the third option of WebKit and Safari. Even Google has begun using WebKit as the foundation rendering engine for its Chrome browser. Does that suggest that Google might support the success of the iPhone over its own Android if that strategy turned out to better suit Google’s purposes, in the same way that WebKit serves Google’s interests even more than its original strategy of bailing money upon Firefox?

An interesting question, but we don’t have to speculate about whether WebKit already serves Google’s needs, as it quite obviously already does in both Chrome and in the ‘mobile Chrome Lite’ browser distributed as part of Android. As Google contributes toward WebKit and expands its market share and installed base, the iPhone will benefit directly, along with the browser in Android, Chrome, and Safari on Windows and the Mac desktop.

The Web Browser Renaissance: Firefox and Safari
The Future of the Web: Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer
Google planning new Chrome browser based on WebKit

Symbian Monkeying.

Symbian fits into this browser puzzle through Nokia’s early support for WebKit. Having recognized that contributions to WebKit will benefit Apple’s iPhone, Nokia is now making noises about working with Mozilla to develop a mobile version of Firefox. But if Google as the primary contributor to Mozilla passed over Firefox to choose WebKit as its mobile browser in Android as well as the basis for its desktop Chrome browser, what sense is there for Nokia to cut off its own nose to spite its face as a warning to Apple?

Clearly, Nokia’s strategies have more to do with reactionary hysterics than a concerted long term plan. As Nokia dances between Symbian and Linux in competing efforts to develop multiple kernels in parallel while experimenting with different development tools and platforms (including the acquisition of Trolltech’s Qt for Linux, and possibly for use on Symbian as well), and as it also invests in and then rejects open source developments such as WebKit, it’s beginning to look a lot like the rudderless Apple of the early 90s, strung between the Mach 3.0 microkernel of Taligent and the NuKernel of Copland and the semi-random development strategy de jour: OpenDoc, mkLinux, MAE, and a handful of other ideas that all went nowhere.

The Secrets of Pink, Taligent and Copland
Vaporware: Why Apple Doesn’t Blog

Symbian Vacuum.

It’s not too bold of a prediction to think that the iPhone as a product will easily be able to etch its way into the European and Japanese markets where Symbian currently holds a dominant share. As Nokia juggles its strategies and Symbian converts from a struggling but profitable enterprise into a Mozilla Foundation money pit that inhales Nokia’s profits, a powerful vacuum will develop that Windows Mobile 7 won’t be ready to fill.

That will leave Android as the best positioned replacement for phone hardware makers hoping to rebuild upon the ruins of Symbian. It will also leave fertile grounds for planting BlackBerrys and Apples. Symbian has already dried up in the US as a mobile platform, leaving RIM and Apple to grab top slots as vendors of the best selling smartphone platforms.

The comparison of Symbian with Mozilla is particularly interesting in that while everyone was getting excited about the advancements made by Firefox earlier in this decade, Mozilla’s bloated code base was being silently surpassed by KDE’s more efficient and standards-based KHTML. In the few years since Apple forked the KHTML project to create WebKit and applied the browser engine to serve as its mobile web strategy, WebKit has inhaled market share faster than Firefox, and now has more commercial support and a wider market applications, particularly among mobile devices, than Mozilla.

Closed vs Open vs Free.

Compared to Microsoft’s proprietary Pocket Internet Explorer and the WinCE core OS of Windows Mobile, Apple’s WebKit and the iPhone’s Unix-based operating system both highlight that open source offers powerful leverage in commercial products, thanks to shared contributions and community code vetting.

Compared to Firefox and Symbian, Apple’s approach also seems to bear out that commercial applications of BSD/Apache/MIT-style open source projects are also more effective and successful than ideologically free open source projects erected by subsidized foundations to prop up software that has failed commercially.

That places Apple as a confounding irritation for both advocates of wholly proprietary software from Microsoft and for those earnestly hoping that “free as in GPL software” such as Linux on the desktop will prevail in the near future despite its miserable failure as a desktop contender since the late 90s. Symbian, like Mozilla, is merely converting from the frying pan of proprietary to fire of free, a strategy that has had limited success historically.

BSD & GPL: Different Sources for Different Horses

Betting Against the iPod.

The world seems to be collectively wagering against a success of the iPhone that would follow in the same pattern as the iPod, a wildly successful integrated platform that Apple never licensed to other hardware makers, yet grew into a franchise that has retained the gold medal among MP3 players with a 75 to 80% share of the market and a higher than average selling price, all while remaining more innovative than its contemporary hardware makers.

The notion that Apple could pull off the same trick with the iPhone seems to be regarded as lunacy, despite the fact that the only other smartphone platform that has been doing really well lately has been RIM’s Blackberry, which is just as closed, restricted, integrated, and unlicensed to rivals as the iPhone.

Will RIM be able to hold the iPhone in check? Myth ten will take a look.

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32 comments

1 lantinian { 10.07.08 at 3:48 am }

Dan, you have found a great way to prove something the ordinary people will not understand. I agree with you that iPhone will win over people with Nokoa cellphones. I see it first hand in my country where the iPhone is not officially sold but allready has a very solid comunity and fans. I have seen the effect of showing it to other people who have Nokias and the one thing that dominated as a positive responce is now natural and east it was to use it. My father was able to put his glasses away when using his new iPhone as hi put away his Nokia.
The second thing that came asna responce was a total disbelief for the things it could do. People were just blown away by programs like Koi Pond and Air Hockey.
I can say that in Bulgaria where there are about 4 million people with cellphones with average income of $500 a months, over 10,000 allready have iPhone’s and it is not even sold there.

2 Joel { 10.07.08 at 4:49 am }

This must be a real myth since this isn’t one I’ve actually heard in Europe. The main problem with the iPhone is that it was high-priced and a hassle to get unlocked. (Until the EU manages to break down the tarifs, using a UK data-connection in (say) Spain can be quite pricey).

“If this all seems about as likely to happen as creating a single unified desktop Linux platform…”

Must be another myth since I haven’t heard about this. Yep, there’s distributions that aim to usable on the desktop and even the laptop, but I don’t see that this a unified goal. There are, however, many individual projects (ie KDE, Gnome) that have this as their aim.

Personally, I see Symbian morphing into something Linux like with Qt under-pinnings. with Nokia’s tablet being an interesting foray into this…

(Btw, you’ve missed out Mozilla attempts to slim down onto mobile platforms… And any browser is handy for Google…)

3 Rich { 10.07.08 at 4:52 am }

“The main problem is that Symbian itself is failing miserably.”

If Symbian selling 80 million units a year is failing, I’d hate to be any of the other players in the market.

Daniel, you’re an excellent commentator when it comes to Apple and it’s traditional markets. You provide an incite that very few other people can. However, when you talk about Nokia, Symbian or some other topics it’s clear that you don’t have that same insight. Some of your arguments are based on very poor foundations. Is it ignorance? Is it wilful deceit? I don’t know but some of the basic factual errors I’ve seen you make that have been shocking.

["You provide an incite that very few other people can" ... so is that an insult or kudos or a misspelling? Also, if you can point out the shocking basic factual errors, I'll let you know if they are ignorance or willful deceit, but I don't want to get ahead of yourself.]

I don’t think anyone believes that the iPhone won’t be a success in Europe. Apple’s existing products already do very well here and there’s already an appetite for high-end multimedia smartphones.

4 lowededwookie { 10.07.08 at 5:13 am }

Rich, I don’t see Dan’s writings about Nokia and Symbian as wrong at all. With every bit of market share taken away from Nokia in the smartphone market it’s more market share taken away from Symbian.

To say that 80 million phones sold by Nokia isn’t a failure is somewhat short sighted when the iPhone has only been out for a year. As more people move away from Nokia who has already lost a large market share in one year of the iPhone being out in the US it’s hard to see that Symbian is any real success.

I hate Nokia and I hate Symbian because the interface is gastly and I don’t know too many people who actually like the Symbian interface. Now that there is real choice and one so blatantly public as opposed to Linux mobile devices outside of the “geek” market less and less people will succumb to the atrocity that is Nokia.

5 LuisDias { 10.07.08 at 5:24 am }

@Rich,

If Symbian selling 80 million units a year is failing, I’d hate to be any of the other players in the market.

I think Dan’s notion of failure is about trends. Think not where the puck is but where it will be. Yes, they are selling 80 million, but how much will they sell next year? If less than that, and taking into consideration that iPhone will probably sell 20m+ next year, then yes, Symbian can be said to be a total failure.

6 LuisDias { 10.07.08 at 5:27 am }

@lowededwookie

Easy on Nokia, will you? They don’t sell atrocities. I like their phones a lot. Yes, the OS is nowhere near the iPhone, but then again they are mobile companies, without the expertise of Apple in OS software… If they could somehow get a decent OS, and Android could be just that, then I’d say that their phones aren’t the shitty mess that many apple fans would like them to be.

7 Jon T { 10.07.08 at 5:43 am }

“If Symbian selling 80 million units a year is failing, I’d hate to be any of the other players in the market.”

Said another way, many of those are not really smart phones at all, but used simply for calls and SMS only. How many Nokia smartphone users wanting email and the internet would still choose Nokia after a demo of the iPhone. Maybe a half. And that is the point, what Nokia has achieved is history, Dan is looking forward too.

8 greendave { 10.07.08 at 7:29 am }

Part 1

Dan, not often I disagree with you but this is not an OS war. You need to understand how the mobile phone market differs from the PC market before drawing your conclusions.

Although there are technically literate users who understand that their phone even has an OS – the vast majority (and in my experience we are talking 95%) are interested in what it looks like, how easily they can use it and, finally, what it can do.

Manufacturers (excl Apple & BBerry) will be faced with 3 OS options: Symbian, Windows7 Mobile and Android. Consumers will be faced with a zillion options inc: appearance, size, touchscreen, physical keyboard, carrier, contract terms, useable internet experience, social networking, games …………..

9 greendave { 10.07.08 at 7:30 am }

Part 2

Like the iPhone or not, it has completely changed the mobile phone landscape. For 10 years the European carriers have been trying to leverage returns on their investment in buying the licenses and providing the infrastructure for the 3G networks. They have tried Value Added information services, mobile portals to get people to use WAP, video call incentives, mobile TV channels. All have failed to get the users to sign up to the costly data intensive services. Roughly 70% of revenues in Europe still come from text messages! Nor could BlackBerry make any inroad to the consumer market as their service represented poor value for money.

The iPhone, quite simply, changed everything. Consumers changed provider and signed-up to long contracts on high monthly tariffs which previously would have been considered astronomical in terms of pricing. Ironically, it was the use of a 2G, not 3G, data service that finally had the consumers shelling out their cash.

So, the carriers were motivated, they wanted a phone on their network that would get consumers to sign up to these high priced monthly data contracts. But, they don’t manufacture phones – they, in turn, are the customers of the manufacturers. The manufacturers, who don’t profit from the high-value data contracts, had no incentive to respond to the iPhone with anything other than cheap imitations – the crop of “iPhone Killers” that were announced and subsequently exploded in a puff of their own marketing hype.

10 greendave { 10.07.08 at 7:30 am }

Part 3

T-mobile, rapidly loosing quality customers to other networks selling iPhones both in Europe and the US, decided to take the matter into their own hands by teaming up with Google and HTC. I laughed when I heard the complaints last week that the G1 phone is tied to a T-mobile contract – of course it is, T-mobile are in this for revenue! Open software, app stores, touchscreen, whatever – the networks are interested in customers signing up to high value monthly data contracts and they need compelling handsets exclusive to their network to get them. If the handset is not exclusive to them, they have to compete on price and consequently reduce margins!

Where does this economic view of the phone market lead us? I can only assume the carriers other than T-Mobile are waiting for the manufacturers to build a compelling phone and then hoping to fight a bidding war to get exclusive access to it on their network.

Nokia have announced another weak iPhone copy – judging by the appalling marketing videos they released – and are coupling it with another attempt to sell highly DRM protected music ($200 subscription in UK). BlackBerry and Apple can’t believe their luck – the disarray continues with no manufacturer rising to the challenge. Windows7 Mobile may not be dead in the water if this continues, the most compelling attributes in the future may well be seamless integration between mobile, desktop, media-centre and cloud. Only Apple and MS are well placed to provide such an all encompassing sollution – the G1 may sync with the cloud but doesn’t even sync with a desktop.

In conclusion, it is about providing a compelling device, not about the OS. Until carriers (the beneficiaries) provide a suitable incentive to manufacturers to produce that compelling device, the competition for the iPhone killer and for the dominant OS will remain wide open.

11 LuisDias { 10.07.08 at 8:19 am }

greendave, excellent points.

I may disagree though that this isn’t a battle of OSes. That people don’t buy OSes but services was always the truth. People don’t care what exactly is it that they are buying, as long as it works great and is useful. You can say that in mobile space, there isn’t any great barrier for any OS because unlike in the 90s desktop, services are quite interoperable and work “like magic” with each other, independently of their OS, by pure definition of what is a mobile handset. That is, the connection between people is inherently guaranteed by it being a mobile handset, and the only barriers are the different operators, not OS. And it’s not a technological barrier, but one of price.

Now, the OS is important because it defines what the mobile handset can or cannot do. OS X in the iPhone is by far the best one in my opinion because the foundation is so good. One can clearly see that by using such a sophisticated foundation, the iPhone can easily make the transition from the “baby software” inside most phones to real desktop class programs. The easiness comes from the fact that iPhones are in the same class of computers of the late 90s. They know what are the best choices from an OS perspective that the iPhone must pursue.

Does MS have the same expertise? Granted, they have much experience, but I clearly doubt their hability to make a good judgement on things. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the bloated MS mobile 15 with anti-virus and anti-spyware software choking its performance. Instead, iPhone developers already know what to do to prevent problems in the long run.

12 Tardis { 10.07.08 at 8:47 am }

I am a Symbian User

Back to basics: the “Myths” that Dan counters are real-or-imagined arguments trotted out by typically US-based bloggers such as those under the ZDNet rock. As “Myths” they are by definition untrue.

It is certainly true that some bloggers writing about alternatives to the iPhone, especially those predicting its failure, point to the ubiquity of Symbian and its available software.

The fact is that my Symbian phone, as manufactured by Motorola and supplied by Symbian partner NTTDoCoMo, cannot download and install those apps. This is probably because NTTDoCoMo chose to disable that feature, just as they disabled the GPS capability.

NTTDoCoMo does supply a Motorola RAZR utility disk that is supposedly able to transfer apps to the phone. This utility is Japanese-only and Windows-only, but unfortunately, even with a Japanese version of Windows XP it shows up as a DOS-based file transfer utility that renders Japanese text as “mojibake”, i.e. unreadable.

It is also supposed to be a “Music Phone”, even though you need a special adaptor to use headphones. NTTDoCoMo requires the use of Apple’s iTunes, and instructs you to use iTunes to convert music files manually from song.m4a format to song.3gp and then drag and drop them to the USB-enabled phone’s micro-SD card. Trying to play the files on the phone returns the error message “File has unidentifiable information. Delete?”.

So, I have given up on expecting NTTDoCoMo to deliver on the promises it made when they sold me the phone. I have given up on using Symbian.

If I get an iPhone, do I expect Apple and Softbank to deliver a workable phone, downloadable applications and music I can listen to? Yes. Am I wrong?

13 CCS { 10.07.08 at 9:43 am }

I haven’t been following cell phones much lately. I hadn’t realized Symbian-based phones were doing so poorly. But from my experience, yeah, all iPhones and Blackberries.

I’m behind the times. I’m still using the integrated SeaMonkey Suite. (Formerly Mozilla/Netscape).

14 LuisDias { 10.07.08 at 10:05 am }

Well, I have a Symbian phone, but it doesn’t work as poorly as Tardis’ example. I have several programs installed on it, but most of them free, like google maps (long before the iPhone, bokay?) gmail, access to my bank account, etc. There’s no DOS like thing. It’s java and it’s nicely integrated. Still, it’s baby software.

15 elllroy { 10.07.08 at 11:41 am }

dan, very interesting article, as always but when you mention ipod marketshare you have to mention which markets you are referring to. 73% maybe right for the us market but certainly not in europe or the rest of the world where it is closer to 40% (still an mazing number i would argue) and second i would advice to separate your political and philosophical entries to another blog. as much as i mostly agree with your opinions it will make readers biased towards your articles about technology if they don’t agree with your political standpoints.

16 Shunnabunich { 10.07.08 at 11:44 am }

“…the iPod, a wildly successful integrated platform that Apple never licensed to other hardware makers…”

Wait, doesn’t HP count?

[HP resold and distributed iPods Apple manufactured; Apple never licensed an iPod reference design to HP to build ]

17 greendave { 10.07.08 at 12:30 pm }

LuisDias – agreed, OS X on iPhone almost limitless potential.

“……Does MS have the same expertise? Granted, they have much experience, but I clearly doubt their hability to make a good judgement on things. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the bloated MS mobile 15 with anti-virus and anti-spyware software choking its performance…….”

Don’t get me wrong about MS – I just think they are well placed in terms of their existing desktop/mobile/exchange/cloud products. I honestly doubt they have the leadership to capitalise on their situation. Balmer just seems to be loosing the plot, making untrue claims about MS products (and others) and seeming to think that things will happen simply because he stated they will.

18 beanie { 10.07.08 at 2:14 pm }

Daniel referring to Mozilla Foundation:
“Google, which has dumped regular piles of cash (something like $50 million annually) on the project to keep it afloat as a viable alternative to Internet Explorer.”

Google pays Mozilla to make Google the default search engine in FireFox and also pays for the searches typed into the search box.

You will notice that when you type something into the search box it appends “&client=firefox-a” to the search. Apple probably has a similar agreement with Google. Safari append “client=safari” to Google searches. I wonder if Microsoft has an agreement with Google for IE searches.

I think Nokia launched their first touchscreen phone last week.

On the development side, I think Android, Symbian and BlackBerry all use Eclipse IDE. So mobile developers can program for three platforms using one IDE.

19 lmasanti { 10.07.08 at 2:28 pm }

I do not follow carefully the cell software platforms but…
Don’t Trolltech have a Qtopia platform?

[Yes Qtopia was a brand name for Qt, which is essentially a platform alternative to Apple's Cocoa or Microsoft's WIN32 or .NET. Nokia wants to use Qt to create a dev platform so one could target both Symbian S60 smartphones and its embedded "Nokia OS" S40 platform for simpler phones, and potentially its Linux Maemo Internet Tablets. ]

20 daGUY { 10.07.08 at 5:28 pm }

“HP resold and distributed iPods Apple manufactured; Apple never licensed an iPod reference design to HP to build”

That was one of the stranger things that Apple has done in recent memory. It was the same thing as the regular iPod, only it came in that weird blueish color and had an HP logo stamped on the back in place of the Apple logo.

I was surprised Apple would do something like that. For example, imagine if they made a dark grey iMac with a Dell logo on it, or a blue iPhone with the IBM logo, or something similar. Seems completely out of character for them.

21 SaudiMac { 10.07.08 at 6:03 pm }

That’s interesting, but Apple needs to sell more phones… offer more options… our market is a Nokia dominated market (over %80 easily). And no news of any Apple deals/plans for a local release. So Nokia got the upper hand here …

Khaled.

22 _iCeb0x_ { 10.07.08 at 7:35 pm }

@beanie
“I think Nokia launched their first touchscreen phone last week.”

This is one of the most famous myths about the iPhone!

Please, people… The iPhone is not a simple “touchscreen phone”. Try to drag or pinch any other phone on the market and tell me what happens.

Multitouch is the key to iPhone’s interface and it’s often an overlooked feature. Maybe Apple should create more gestures so people gets it.

The accelerometers are kind of fun for gaming but, IMHO, that “shake to shuffle” stuff is so stupid.

23 _iCeb0x_ { 10.07.08 at 7:41 pm }

@Rich
“If Symbian selling 80 million units a year is failing, I’d hate to be any of the other players in the market.”

Symbian does not sell phones. They develop and sell an operating system. Dan meant that Symbian is failing because it’s not even as successful and Windows Mobile in the smartphone operating systems market.

Nokia sells cell phones and they are doing pretty well, leading the worldwide cell phone market.

Symbian is failing, not Nokia.

And note that Dan hasn’t said that Nokia was failing…

24 _iCeb0x_ { 10.07.08 at 7:48 pm }

Just to make things clear, let me rephrase comment #22: “try to drag or pinch an interface element on any other phone touchscreen on the market and tell me what happens.”

And, on comment #23, about Nokia being “not even as successful as Windows Mobile”, it’s my remark, not Dan’s opinion. I say that because it seems Microsoft has more partners with WinMobile than Symbian has with their OS, not because of shipped units.

25 coldspell { 10.08.08 at 2:03 am }

As _iCeb0x_ points out, Nokia sells phones, not operating systems. Nokia is platform agnostic, almost to a fault. They have to support redundant development teams (and third-party developers) for S40, S60, UIQ, and Maemo.

How long until we see an Android phone from Nokia? I bet they’re already working on it. Android would give Nokia an open platform with modern development tools, plenty of hype, and someone else picks up the development costs (Google). Android could be everything that Nokia had hoped Symbian would be.

26 John Muir { 10.08.08 at 7:38 am }

@SaudiMac

Don’t worry, they’re getting to you. Jordan and Egypt were both on Steve’s map back at the iPhone 2.0 launch: which is really something, given that even Canada didn’t get iPhone 1.0!

As someone from Britain, I can vouch that once Apple get started in a country, they really keep going. It wasn’t so long ago when we had our first Apple Store. They’re in half of our cities now, more constantly coming. The original iPhone was a hard sell here as 3G is mature and expected by customers. The new model is selling very nicely.

Nokia have a global head start. Watching Apple catch up will be lots of fun!

27 SaudiMac { 10.08.08 at 8:20 am }

@John Muir
It’s interesting because Jordan and Egypt are still not listed in the iTunes App Store country list while Saudi Arabia is and we don’t have an iPhone deal until now..
Qatar is the 3rd country in the initial list (which is NOT part of Europe .. http://www.saudimac.com/2008/07/09/dear-steve-qatar-is-not-in-europe-its-in-asia/ ).
The main problem is that non of our carriers is a “global” company like O2/Orange/etc. The closest thing to that is Zain (www.zain.com) which covers over 20 countries in the middle east and central Africa! I guess they are the closest to get the deal…

Khaled.

28 beanie { 10.08.08 at 2:25 pm }

I found out Nokia released a touchscreen phone back in year 2004-2005 with model Nokia 7710. So the new touchscreen phone released by Nokia this month is not their first. I suppose it did not catch on back then.

29 lowededwookie { 10.08.08 at 6:53 pm }

@LuisDias

There is no way I’m going to go easy on Nokia. Everything about their phones suck.

I used to sell these along with Motorola and every one of their phones were of poor build quality. At the time their phones were top heavy so every Nokia that came in for repairs had smashed screens because the phone when dropped would ALWAYS drop in such a way the screen would hit first. Of one model we had 30 of 32 sold come in with the same problem.

Meanwhile a Motorola sold at the same time came in for a new battery because it had just been dropped onto concrete from a 4 story height and the clip broke which was the only design flaw of the Motorolas at the time.

My current work phone is a Nokia and even at full volume I can hardly hear it let alone the interface flaws.

Nokia simply don’t make good phones. Thank god for my iPhone.

30 Silencio { 10.09.08 at 3:32 pm }

@daGUY: it was only a prototype HP iPod that had that weird bluish color. I think I saw Carly Fiorina holding one onstage at a presentation and that was the last of it. The iPods that HP did end up selling at Radio Shack or whatever looked like regular old iPods IIRC, they just had an HP logo on the back in addition to the Apple logo.

Speaking of touchscreens from vendors who traditionally don’t do them: how about a little something on the Blackberry Storm? It seems to have the usual iPhone haters all in a lather at the moment, and it does apparently have multitouch.

31 Why Apple’s Tim Cook Did Not Threaten Palm Pre — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 01.23.09 at 3:15 pm }

[...] Mobile Play DOS to Apple’s iPhone? Myth 10: RIM’s BlackBerry Will Contain iPhone Expansion Myth 9: iPhone Unable to Penetrate Europe Due to Symbian Dominance Will Google’s Android Play DOS to Apple’s iPhone? Myth 6: iPhone Developers will Flock to [...]

32 The big 3.0: How iPhone will shift peripheral devices — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 03.20.09 at 12:35 am }

[...] Windows Mobile Play DOS to Apple’s iPhone? Will Google’s Android Play DOS to Apple’s iPhone? Myth 9: iPhone Unable to Penetrate Europe Due to Symbian Dominance The Sorry State of Mobile Platforms. Microsoft know this. It also knows it can’t release a [...]

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