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Can Linux Dominate Smartphone OS? 125

Posted by Hemos
from the could-be-possibly dept.
Jeryl Kesh writes "Does Motorola's roaring success with its Linux-based 'Ming' phones in China indicate that the open-source platform is now a serious contender against Symbian and Windows Mobile in the handheld device software platform arena? The world No. 2 mobile phone maker, which debuted the Ming smartphone in March this year in China, shipped more than one million Linux-based units in China alone last quarter, according to research firm Canalys. However with Nokia refusing to adopt Linux, Symbian remains by far the top mobile device OS, according to Canalys, with a 67 percent share, well ahead of second-place Windows Mobile, with 15 percent of the market. Eirik Chambe-Eng, the co-founder of one of the most popular mobile Linux platforms, Norway-based TrollTech, has also reportedly predicted a 'revolution' in the use of open-source software on phones and handheld devices. His contention was that Linux gives handset manufacturers and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) 'complete control,' and in turn keeps Microsoft and Symbian at bay."
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Can Linux Dominate Smartphone OS?

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  • Thats all good so long as this translates to customer savings.... does it?

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
    • In the US, at least, the cost of mobile phones is massively subsidized by cellular providers offering phones for far below value in exchange for a contract for some length of cellular service. Therefore, the actual price of mobile phones here is all but irrelevant and there's no market pressure to reduce prices.
    • Why would it? Most enterprising business will use the chance to cut licensing costs to boast the bottom line and increase profit margins. Eco101
      • Those of us who've gone beyond introductory level can see alternatives. One being that they could pass on the savings (partially or fully) by lowering prices, enabling them to poach customers from competitors, thereby increasing overall profits.

        Or do you think Henry Ford sold the model T for the same price as a Rolls Royce?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      They're not interested if it saves you money, they're interested if it saves them money.

      They weigh up all the costs of the various parts, the cost of integration of theose parts and the cost of testing them...

      Linux is an OS, yes...but you need a lot more than an OS to make an integrated suite of apps that work seamlessly on a phone. I'd estimate that linux would probably make up less than 30% of the size of the rom in a phone, which may not be such a saving in costs.

      Phones also have to be delivered within a
      • This is why Trolltech is providing a turnkey solution like Qtopia. Faster time to market, because all of the testing has been done for you, plus support channels and if necessary a full PSO section to provide custom development. *shrugs* Just like microsoft, or symbian, so half of your points are moot.
  • Nokia has yet to announce plans to develop mobile devices based on Linux, although it has introduced "selected open-source elements" such as JavaScript, to its S60 phone.

    JavaScript? Woot-Woot, I'm excited. Aren't you? Blah.
  • I would say yes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GmAz (916505)
    I would have to say yes. Being open source, any manfacturer could use it on their phone. And considering that phones aren't really OS dependant...why wouldn't they go to linux. I don't buy my phone based on what software is on it, I want a phone that is loud, easy to use and has long battery life.
    • Re:I would say yes (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fireboy1919 (257783) <[rustyp] [at] [freeshell.org]> on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:27AM (#15817034) Homepage Journal
      Any manufacturer can use it, but there would be more smart people able to hack it. Phone manufacturers probably find this a good thing, but phone companies probably don't. They'd rather have devices that are only capable of doing what they commissioned them to do.

      T-mobile is a prime example of this, and probably the worst. There are some well known vulnerabilities in their network which apparently allow (or perhaps used to if they've fixed this) dishonest users to access the internet no matter what service they're supposed to get if they've hacked their phones. They're depending on the phones themselves for authentication because they know that not many people are going to be hacking their phones right now.

      Linux would make that *a lot* easier to do, wouldn't it?
  • I hope so. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:10AM (#15816919)
    I need to buy a more modern phone, my old motorola is limping along on three legs now but I refuse to buy a phone that is based on MS or Symbian. I do NOT trust either of them, at all.
    I DO trust Linux.
    • Well, my Treo 600 is Palm based and works great. I too would like a Linux based phone but Palm OS will have to do until (if?) Treo comes out with a Linux based platform. I thought the new Motorola phones are scheduled to be Linux based.

      On a related note I did recently purchase a Linux based PMP- the Cowan A2. If only it had a phone and PDA features it would be perfect. Yes it's big but the battery lasts FOREVER and I find the tiny RAZR and below phones just too small to conveniently use. I like a big screen
    • Re:I hope so. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by c.gerritsen (960884)

      I refuse to buy a phone that is based on MS or Symbian. I do NOT trust either of them, at all. I DO trust Linux.

      What makes you trust a phone with Linux more than one with Windows or Symbian?

      Are you planning on reloading the software on your phone? If you get, say, a T-Mobile phone running Linux, T-Mobile could have made whatever modifications they wanted to to the operating system.

      I don't see why you should trust it more when it is easier for the wireless company to do whatever they want with your phon

  • by DDLKermit007 (911046) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:12AM (#15816930)
    Last I checked Windows Mobile almost doesn't exist in comparison to the installed base of Balckberry and Palm OS Treos (yes I know theres a WM version of Treo, but everyone know it's crap). I smell fud.
    • by porkThreeWays (895269) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:03AM (#15817299)
      I've dealt with a lot of the new 200-500 mhz generation of embedded devices coming out. Smart phones, game systems, PDA's, control systems, etc, etc. Both programming for and using. By far, the worst I've dealt with has been Windows mobile. It's a joke. My work pocket PC "smartphone" freezes up 3-4 times a month (completely unacceptable for that sort of thing). My personal cell phone with a specialized OS has never frozen in 2 years. I've never even loaded 3rd party apps on my smartphone. Windows mobile's interface is horrible and inconsistant. Nothing is ever kept in a logical place. Basically, it feels to me like they took a full version of windows and stripped it. On the other hand, when I use embedded devices with a true specialized OS it feels like it was built from the ground up correctly.

      I won't get into the Blackberry, Symbian, Linux debate. They each have their merits. However, all three are leaps and bounds ahead of Windows Mobile. It's the biggest piece of garbage embedded OS I've ever seen.
      • I wish I only had to reboot my ppc-6700 3 or 4 times a month. I'm looking at more like 6-8. The other day it hung, and I didn't know it. But it was completely locked up-- no calls or emails or anything for around an hour. Then I noticed, rebooted and it was o.k. for a couple more days.
         
        Then of course there is the whole - going into flight mode all by itself issue, which doesn't require a reset, but leaves you without connectivity to anything outside.
        • I have to reboot my phone every morning to get the Outlook email transfer to automate. While I wish I didn't have to do this it's just become the equivalent of turning it on.
        • Thats your simcard causing that. I support too many clients that have had that problem. Get it replaced. $16 and your on your mery way. Always happens with the clients that have had thier sim cards the longest and/or insert them into other devices allot. Just do yourself a favor though and trash the WM and keep the SIM. The world will be a better place because of it.
      • By far, the worst I've dealt with has been Windows mobile. It's a joke. My work pocket PC "smartphone" freezes up 3-4 times a month (completely unacceptable for that sort of thing).

        You call it bad ? My Symbian OS Nokia 6600 rebooting itself twice a day sometimes, but no less then twice a week. At lest with Win Mobile you can reflash OS yourself for most of the models (no such luck for Symbian), and don't have to deal with Developer Cerificates and Symbian Signing process if you are programming using som

      • and developing for WinCE is a nightmare. i struggle for 2nd month in raw to port WinCE 5.0 for existing PXA255 board. It is close to impossible to remove Ethernet support (KITL ? insists on using Ethernet), no binary code download over serial port in case there is only one serial port available, etc. etc.

        Number of problems is infinite. Build system (MS PlatformBuilder) looks outstanding, but unfortunately has plenty of bugs and build process can take 20 minutes (am not kidding) on the top of the line PC a

  • Is there anything that won't run Linux? PCs, Linksys Routers, PDAs, and now cheesy supervillains [wikipedia.org]. What next?
  • Smart? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Why do thay call phones which need time to boot(!) and which need virus killer to function properly "smart"?

    Thank god I still have one of those "stupid" 5110's from Nokia.
    • Because you are able to do a lot more with them, like write and view documents, go to webpages, load up a map. They are smarter than your ordinary phone. With these extra functions , also comes problems (just like everything in life) like more bugs and viruses (sometimes, not so with j2me)

      If you are happy with you phone, excellent! There is no reason for you to upgrade (unless they suddenly discontinue letting your phone access the network, which happened here in the UK a couple of months ago).
    • If I can find a phone that'll detect the presence of a wireless network and establish a SIP connection to my asterisk server when I'm in the range of ones, I could make VOIP calls while in range of a wifi network and save my cellular minutes. That's also allow me to use the same handset when I'm at home and when I'm out and about. Once I've found the right phone, I'm going to see if I can switch my cell number to a random unlisted number which only I know and route all calls through my asterisk server at ho
  • by DrXym (126579) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:17AM (#15816952)
    I don't know about anyone else, but I really, really do not care what OS my phone uses, just as long as it works as advertised. It should be navigable, have good sound quality, good battery life, have shortcuts, good predictive texting and other features. In other words it should just work.

    If there is some kind of Linux at the bottom of it - great, but running Linux is not much of a selling point if the UI is junk. I have an ADSL modem & wireless router which uses Linux. Fortunately it's an excellent bit of kit because I would curse it everyday no matter what OS was underneath if it wasn't.

    • Linux can be hacked.
      For example my SonyEricsson T610 has links to their WAP site nearly everywhere in the menus and that drives me mad - because I'm always one click away from spending money on a WAP site I don't want.
      If I could hack my phone I'd remove this crap immediately.
      • Linux (the kernel) is just one part of the puzzle. There is nothing to say that Motorola or whoever has to open up their user interface or anything else that sits on top of it. I'd be surprised if they had in fact.
    • Things I want to do on my phone include:
      • instant messaging, chat, IRC
      • mail (including secure mail)
      • VoIP
      • ssh
      • calendaring
      • todo lists
      • mind mapping, note taking

      Closed platforms make it hard to do these things, often try to tie me to their own proprietary desktop offerings, and try to hold my data hostage.
      • VoIP is usually filtered out by the mobile phone providers, as it would severely lower their revenue if everybody used VoIP over GSM or 3G. So no chance for that.
        • VoIP is usually filtered out by the mobile phone providers, as it would severely lower their revenue if everybody used VoIP over GSM or 3G. So no chance for that.

          Filtering is what mobile providers are doing right now. Open platforms are the antidote to that. And, in the end, it's also good for mobile providers. In any case, given that several providers offer unlimited nationwide calling already, I doubt VoIP is a significant long term concern to providers.
    • If there is some kind of Linux at the bottom of it - great, but running Linux is not much of a selling point if the UI is junk.

      Bingo. For a phone the primary factor is usability. If the phone doesn't do what you want, when you want, in a way your grandma could figure out, it often ends up being a really expensive paperweight.

      The way I see it a linux phone will succeed when it has two things: a consistent and easy to use UI that works just fine out of the box (no tweaking necessary), and strong affordable th
  • Any other markets you want to know if Linux will soon dominate? I'd be glad to offer my opinion, which is about as good as your own opinion.
  • Finally I know what to call those irritating loops of so-called music.
    • Minging Tone... is that some flash gordon ring tone or something? Haven't heard that before.
      • The meeting had dragged on for over two hours. Everybody was getting cross-eyed as the CFO continued to ramble on about currency fluctuations and their effects on the Windsor plant. Suddenly, Bill from Accounting felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach as he felt his mobile vibrate, because he had forgotten to mute the ringtone. It was already too late...

        "Shipments crossing the Ambassador Bridge by truck -- " Flash! Aahhhh! Saviour of the universe! [Brian May guitar riff]

  • by LKM (227954) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:23AM (#15817004) Homepage

    Having used almost all currently available cell phone OSes (Palm OS on a Treo, Symbian on a P800, Mobile Windows on friends' phones and some weird choices like Ogo), I can say with some authority that they all suck. Well, "suck" may be a bit strong a word, but each of them has both huge shortcomings and lots of small areas where they simply don't pay enough attention to details.

    What smart phones really need is for Apple to fix them. This probably won't happen, so the next best thing is a Linux based OS which allows us programmers to fix what the big companies don't seem to be capable of fixing.

    • What smart phones really need is for Apple to fix them.

      Every time I use my symbian phone to make a call, check my email, or play some genesis games I always think, wow this would be so much better if I made an iCall, checked my iMail, and played some iGenesis! And if they could raise the free RAM needed from 10MB to 80MB, it'd be just like an apple desktop.

      Meh, the world will pass on the iPhone.
      • What if the phone was more newton like? You jumped to OS X and iTunes.. they don't even use OS X on the iPod and those work great. I think somebody's been playing with a "Jump to conclusions" board.

        I don't even like linux that much and I'd rather have a phone run linux. An ipod/phone might be interesting though. (not the cingular crap)
        • What if the phone was more newton like? You jumped to OS X and iTunes.. they don't even use OS X on the iPod and those work great. I think somebody's been playing with a "Jump to conclusions" board.

          I don't even like linux that much and I'd rather have a phone run linux. An ipod/phone might be interesting though. (not the cingular crap)
          Apple dropped the Newton. And I owned a Newton (MP 130). I loved my Newton. And it's dead. Gone. It was a bitch to network when it was alive and viable. It'd take
          • Where's the good email client? Where's the web browser (Newt's Cape isn't going to cut it, as good as it is)? And for god's sake, where's the J2ME runtime?

            And where is your point?

            The Newton is dead. Obviously, Apple would not use the Newton OS for a modern appliance.

        • What if the phone was more newton like?

          Eat up, Martha! [wikipedia.org] In all seriousness, though, I loved the Newton, and was sad to see it go. I use Windows Mobile on my phone today, and am perfectly happy with it, although I think it may be a little daunting to some. Being able to program it using Visual Studio more than makes up for that, though.

      • Every time I use my symbian phone to make a call, check my email, or play some genesis games I always think, wow this would be so much better if I made an iCall, checked my iMail, and played some iGenesis! And if they could raise the free RAM needed from 10MB to 80MB, it'd be just like an apple desktop.

        What you're describing is what Microsoft does: Port Windows to anything that contains electricity on some way, shape or form. Apple works differently: Look at the iPod. Look at the Newton. They define how

    • If Access/PalmSource get people to build devices based on their upcoming Linux based OS you may have your next best thing. A Linux based device, with gstreamer and a palmos api to build applications against. A full suite of Palm apps on launch and most likely a rapid development of ports of Free apps after release. But then again it might be rubbish/locked down or unused by any manufacturers.
  • Nokia Adopted Linux (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lbmouse (473316)
    "However with Nokia refusing to adopt Linux..."

    ?? I smell FUD. They may not have gotten around to using Linux in their cell phones (yet), but as a company Nokia has definitely adopted [slashdot.org] and supports [nokia.com] Linux.
    • by szo (7842)
      Point me please then to the PcSuite linux binary! Didn't think so.
      • Please enlighten as to what PcSuite is and why is it a defining point in Nokia's support for Linux.
        • http://www.nokia.com/pcsuite [nokia.com]

          It's a software that lets you do things to your mobile phone. By not providing it or equivalent for linux (or any other platform than windows) or at least the neccessery information to access your data in your phone, Nokia stupidly gives the finger to it's paying customers.
  • Meamo anyone? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by enjo13 (444114) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:28AM (#15817043) Homepage
    Nokia certainly hasn't 'refused' to adopt linux. They are, after all, responsible for a huge initiative in mobile computing with maemo (http://www.maemo.org). They have a linux device (the 770) in the market today. It may not be a phone, but it shows a commitment on Nokia's part to pursuing Linux.

    Nokia has also been quite involved with OpenSource, particularly with their KHTML based browser that ships on S60 phones.

    The point being, Nokia actually seems like a prime candidate for a Linux device. I would be SHOCKED if they didn't have one in the works right now. I would certainly expect them to have one in the market before the end of 2007. Every indicator points in that direction.
    • The 770 is a stunning Linux device, hell i'm using it to compose this response. Add in the recent release 2 of the internet tablet OS (available now from http://maemo.org/ [maemo.org]) and it is very hard to justify the 'Nokia doesn't do Linux' statement. This software release even does VOIP with google talk.

      Yes, Nokia does Linux and is a hell of a lot more open with the platform in comparison to its competitors.
    • Unfortunately, Nokia has a huge stake in Symbian. This means that they will make a decision on what OS to use, not merely on its merits, but on what is best for them in this situation.

      Ironically enough, this is probably one of the reasons Motorola is using Linux, because if they went with Symbian, they would be aiding the enemy.
    • It would surprise me if they hadn't at least measured Linux up for mobile phone use but in view of the fact that Symbian is owned by Nokia along with Ericsson, Panasonic and Siemens IIRC Nokia is probably not in a hurry to adopt it as standard for all their phones. Linux is the top choicle for smaller companies who either cannot afford to license Windows Mobile or Symbian or more likely because Linux gives them more control and thus enables them to get a foothold on the market with good hardware integration
      • Linux is the top choicle for smaller companies
        Such as?

        who either cannot afford to license Windows Mobile or Symbian
        A Symbian license is how much? IIRC It used to be 5 bucks for a PDA, 10 for a smartphone. And a smartphone sells for what? Even if it's doubled since then, if you consider it as a percentage it's not a dealbreaker.
      • Nokia are pouring a hell of a lot of money into Linux. They have a large Linux team in house and have funded many external contractors like Openhand and Fluendo who deal with open source handheld and media technologies respectively. They are putting their money where their mouth has not gone yet, but that still says a lot.
  • by gillbates (106458) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:34AM (#15817087) Homepage Journal

    My company markets reference designs for handheld devices (typically cell phones, media players, etc..) to OEMs. Our customer demand for Linux has increased dramatically in the past year. We've doubled the size of our group, and we still can't hire engineers with Linux experience fast enough.

    Yes, we do WinCE development too. But, the WinCE group not only has at least twice as many engineers, they are also behind the Linux group in terms of features. When it comes to rapid development, there's simply nothing better than Linux, because most of the work has already been done. This allows us to concentrate on adding features that differentiate us from the competition, rather than on merely getting something working.

    But WinCE also places substantial roadblocks to rapid development. A routine build of WinCE takes 20 minutes; a clean build takes more than an hour. By comparison, our average Linux build time is about 30 seconds, with a clean build taking about 15 or 20 minutes. But it gets worse for WinCE:

    1. The FAT32 filesystem is a major liability for embedded devices. Because of the fact that the disk head must seek back and forth from the filesystem table to the actual data, the effective data bitrate decreases with time. This means that WinCE has a maximum practical encoding time of about 1 hour; after that, the filesystem driver just can't keep up. We don't have this problem when using ext3 under Linux.
    2. WinCE doesn't have a native terminal; you have to recompile and reload the whole OS and application image in order to test a change of even a single line of code. Worse, you can't interactively debug the board because you have no way to send something to standard input.
    3. The WinCE API is relatively new compared with that of Linux/UNIX. Our customers do not need to buy expensive documentation packages from Microsoft in order to work with our embedded Linux solutions; their engineers already know the Linux API, and can begin work immediately. When one considers the fact that the average consumer electronics device has a saleable lifetime of 3 to 6 months, development lag time becomes a critical factor.

    Quite frankly, I'm glad to see the demand for Linux growing. However, I'm also putting in quite a bit of overtime because of it, so it is sort of a mixed blessing.

    • The FAT32 filesystem is a major liability for embedded devices. Because of the fact that the disk head must seek back and forth from the filesystem table to the actual data, the effective data bitrate decreases with time. This means that WinCE has a maximum practical encoding time of about 1 hour; after that, the filesystem driver just can't keep up. We don't have this problem when using ext3 under Linux.

      I think you've been drastically misinformed here. Head seeking between the drive's metadata and the d

    • check my comment here [slashdot.org]
  • This is the first step for linux getting the major foothold it needs in the market, when people find out the interface they're using is linux, they might not consider linux to be the hard to use peice of shit they thought it was. I know a lot of people who think that all distros of linux are CLI only, which is rather worrying until I re-educate with the back of my hand.
  • I think sometimes Linux fans start to worry more about what's under the covers and less about the actual UI experience.

    I haven't used WinCE derived stuff much, but Palm had a lead for years in the department.

    I just wish there was some kind of toolkit for letting me roll my own UI (I had some very definate ideas about what an optimal TODO UI would look like for me [kisrael.com])-- and without resorting to Java. It's funny, for a language that was originally meant to make life cooler for mobile devices, it provides some of
  • Have we seen Linux-based cellphones being offered from cellphone companies operating in the USA? I don't read about such phones from Sprint/Nextel, Verizon, Cingular, T Mobile, Metro PCS, and so on....
  • two points (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nostriluu (138310) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:54AM (#15817231) Homepage
    First, I wish all the people who don't want a "smart" phone would just be quiet. We know. Go buy a basic phone. It's not like there aren't any. All smartphone postings should include this disclaimer.

    Second, I'm wondering really how open the linux is that's installed on these phones. If proprietary interfaces and device drivers are used, it might as well be running symbian|windows|whatever. Could you develop an app for these phones as easily as you could for gnome/kde/etc, and release it 100% open source for use by others?

  • by gagravarr (148765) * on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:00AM (#15817281) Homepage

    Currently, there's loads of open source programs available for the symbian phones, especially series 60. With your choice of C++, Python or Java, it's easy to get started with writing code. Lots of apps drives consumer demand.

    More recently, Nokia stopped supporting Linux for developing applications (previously there was decent support for Java, and help with C++). This makes it much much harder to develop S60 apps on Linux, so a load of potential developers won't bother.

    The big issue now is symbian signed. With S60 version 3 onward, they've seriously locked down the platform. If your code isn't signed, it won't run on most devices, and even where it will, it won't be allowed to do interesting things (write to filesystem, talk to network etc). If you want to get your code signed, you have to have an expensive verisign certificate, and pay a bunch of cash to have your app reviewed.

    In one fell swoop, almost all open source programs have stopped working on S60 version 3, and won't work again. All the developers are really pissed, and no-one's willing to talk about it from symbian (try emailing them about it, and they just mutter about python). All of a sudden, your new S60 phone is half useless, as you can't get any decent apps for it.

    Not the brightest move ever.....

    • Actually Symbian are committed to Open Source as a way of getting more people to develop on their platform (and hence get more phones into the mid-range market).

      For details about how to get freeware apps signed (for nothing) have a look here [symbiansigned.com].
      • For details about how to get freeware apps signed (for nothing) have a look here.
        Hmm, I couldn't find that when I was looking just a few weeks ago. They also didn't tell me anything about it when I emailed to ask them what's up with opensource and signing. Muppets!
      • For details about how to get freeware apps signed (for nothing) have a look here.
        Even for freeware you still need developer certificates from Verisign, which is more then 200 USD/year, or you will be able only develop with emulator (which is not very useful).
        • Not true either. You can get developer certificates from Symbian directly, and they allow signing of application packages for installation on actual hardware. It's as easy as registering, downloading the certificate request tool, filling in some certificate details and you're good to go. As an alternative, you can use self signing.
    • The big issue now is symbian signed. With S60 version 3 onward, they've seriously locked down the platform. If your code isn't signed, it won't run on most devices, and even where it will, it won't be allowed to do interesting things (write to filesystem, talk to network etc). If you want to get your code signed, you have to have an expensive verisign certificate, and pay a bunch of cash to have your app reviewed.

      I was able to install Putty for Symbian OS [sourceforge.net] and other self signed software on my Nokia E series
      • I think you must be on a friendly network. I believe quite a few networks won't let you turn off that restriction, and more can be expected to do so in the future.
        • I think you must be on a friendly network. I believe quite a few networks won't let you turn off that restriction, and more can be expected to do so in the future.

          Does this only apply if you download an unsigned app directly to the phone over an unfriendly network or do all unsigned apps in general refuse to install on a Symbian OS V.3. phone hooked up unfriendly network? What I did was I downloaded the app to a PC and then uploaded the *.sisx file to the phone via bluetooth and installed it manually by cli
    • They were probably pressured by mobile operators to restrict their platform, being death scared of VoIP and IM on 3G networks which have a potential to become massive if everyone with a symbian phone suddenly gets right application (possibly with ability to use encrypted tunneling via custom server and similar stuff).

      Teh evil system should be cracked. It's the future, and they can't stop it.
    • Many free apps that stopped working on Series 60 3.0 stopped working because the APIs they use have been changed; Symbian 9.1 (upon which S60 3.0 is based) was used as the opportunity to remove a lot of deprecated functionality, and fix many design problems. Doing all the compatibility breaks at once hopefully saves breaking things a few at a time over all the subsequent releases (the Windows approach, no? *grin*).

      There is some reasonable provision for freeware and OSS software under Platform Security, as o
    • ... and even where it will, it won't be allowed to do interesting things (write to filesystem, talk to network etc). If you want to get your code signed, you have to have an expensive verisign certificate, and pay a bunch of cash to have your app reviewed.

      FUD. You can use self-signing [s60.com] and still make use of most features - file system access and opening network connections included.

  • is contention was that Linux gives handset manufacturers and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) "complete control"

    I would imagine that it also empowers the users, as many of the licenses would require the cellphone providers to supply their code if they've used GPL components. Consequently, the phone-service providers probably wouldn't be very happy with this as it makes it easier to bypass their $2/ringtone and assorted other lockdowns and crippling of the phones they provide. Speaking of which, wh
    • Not really. You can use a binary closed source driver and not have to supply the source for it. If you're picking up a component of your system from another company, you might not even have the source for it yourself.

      You can also build your initial program loading firmware to refuse to run a kernel that's not signed with your company's crypto key. Then even if you provide all source to the device, no one else will be able to build a kernel image that will run on the device.

      These measures might be circum

  • I googled but couldn't find any detailed information about the OS on the Ming/A1200. It looks like a gorgeous device. Does anyone know:

    - How awful the handwriting recognition is?
    - If it is possible to load my own code on it?
    - If the Bluetooth is locked down or if it has DUN support?
    - If the browser is any good?
    - If it multitasks (lets me switch apps without losing my place in any of them, like a Blackberry and unlike Palm)?

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can point me at in-for-mation :)
    Justin
  • From Trolltech sees a billion Linux phones [theregister.co.uk]:

    The most talked-about phone at 3GSM in February was Sony Ericsson's W950, which is a single chip smartphone with a midrange price. With one chip running the baseband radio and the applications processor, manufacturers can create some BoM savings, and take high end features to a mass market. But it needs a real-time OS, capable of handling the signalling stacks, something Symbian has but Microsoft doesn't, and probably won't for another couple of years. Does Linux?

  • Both Linux and Nokia S60 are from Finland! Quite a feat for a country with less population than New York..
  • Symbian is good! (Score:2, Informative)

    by giriz (966704)
    I have been using a Symbian phone for the past 3 years. It's been a great phone with all the free/commercial applications available on-line. I could install either symbian based apps or java apps (which is always slow). I owned a Moto Razr and didn't like the firmware one bit. It sucked! I just threw the razr away and kept using my old symbian phone. This is why I'm afraid what Moto is going to do with Linux. Symbian gives true multitasking with a taskbar so that i can switch between applications. Does you
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's more important that it be a stable applications platform. If Linux has 90% market share, but constituted of 10 incompatible versions, then really you have 10 differen OS's and it wouldn't be fair to count market share in that way. What makes Windows Mobile and Symbian really interesting is that I can write an app and be pretty sure it will run out the box on devices I never tested with.
  • from the article and tagline of this thread:
    "Symbian remains by far the top mobile device OS, according to Canalys, with a 67 percent share, well ahead of second-place Windows Mobile, with 15 percent of the market."

    Why the switch from comparing smartphone OS's to the state of "mobile devices"?

    There is enough in the article to make it look like valid research but this is a blatant flaw IMO. Most of the article is about smartphones except where it goes and switches to comparing marketshare of mobile devices.
  • My work phone is a Cingular 8125 which runs Windows Mobile 5.

    Service: 4/10
    Hardware: 9/10
    Software: 2/10


    In terms of hardware, the phone is great, but when it comes to software, I have a hard time imagining anyone doing worse. It takes a ridiculous number of 'keypresses' (it's a touch screen) to simply add someone to my address book. Even worse, however, is that the phone **crashes**. My cell phone actually will simply up and reboot, or the system will hang until I power it down. I for one cannot
  • My argument here applies to all embedded software devices (cell phones, microwave ovens, TV sets, routers, etc.) and not just to cell phones but the parent article here refers to cell phones so I'll use that as the example. My comments here would still appliy to any non-computing device (a specific purpose device which is usually not programmable by the user to perform computing tasks; an iPod is a classic example) that has embedded software. Also, where I refer to Linux I mean any "Open-Source"/"Software
  • I hate the Symbian company. They are the model of proprietory software. If you try to get documentation from them for APIs you want to use for YOUR OWN personal phone, they will refuse even if you offer $20,000. The number is real..we were trying to access low level real-time communication APIs and they were unknown..my university made a 20000 offer and was refused. They even asked us why we wanted the APIs for. Later they replied saying $30,000 would be better. This time we refused.

    Having said this, they a
    • I am an "interested party" but I still think I can clarify this somewhat.

      Symbian has a big API which is understandable given that it covers multimedia, UIs and a lot of different types of networking. The documentation for almost all of that is freely available as are the SDKs.

      One has to pay to get a copy of the source code, however, and access to the more volatile APIs that aren't evenly supported by all devices or that might pose some degree of security risk. This tends to include some of the telephony s
      • First, thanks for the reply.

        Now about this issue, we didn't want your source code. We believe in your good work, but we wanted simple access to your "volatile" functionality that would be used in a non-commercial and purely educational manner. We were not looking for a license.

        The idea that your guys were bargaining with us just to USE your software capabilities was frankly very weird. You're supposed to be pleased that we are doing amazing things with your OS. We were developing a SIP stack (and applicatio
        • Hi,

          OK, the opinions here are my own personal ones and in no way represent any other person or entity. It's also not guaranteed to be accurate.

          I have seen the issue from both sides and I basically agree that getting in the way of developers is very bad. I think that the issue will become much less important thanks to the "firming up" of some APIs and the fact that manufacturers support them better.

          The certificate stuff is pretty much an answer for the security argument against releasing APIs. It will stop
  • G'Day,

    Linux itself has a number of issues which have been outlined in various other comments. Lack of proper real-time support, speed on ARM, reliability and security. While these probably limit how useful Linux can be, there is a solution being developed. Two companies in particular are building it: Jaluna [jaluna.com] and ERTOS at NICTA [nicta.com.au]. That solution is para-virtualising linux on top of a fast, real-time, and secure operating system. Performance, I hear you say? The ERTOS solution is so fast that in some cases it out
  • As cool as it sounds, Linux on Motorola Smartphones essentially is NOT an open platform.

    Motorola doesn't encourage or support native application development. They tell you to use Java. Some parts of the phones are completely undocumented (e.g. the GPS part of the A780). Access from Java is possible but not native access (OK, hackers built an Java proxy as a workaround, but the point is that it is not officially supported). You don't get access to built-in phonebook, etc. pp.

    It took months before someone ma

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