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Summary:

Last week, Lee Williams, executive director at Symbian, stopped by our office to brief me on a new version of the operating system that is going to be released soon. He talked about SEE09, their developer conference in London next week. We discussed a whole bunch […]

Last week, Lee Williams, executive director at Symbian, stopped by our office to brief me on a new version of the operating system that is going to be released soon. He talked about SEE09, their developer conference in London next week. We discussed a whole bunch of things, some of it on video. Toward the end of the video chat, Williams shared his unfiltered views of Google’s Android, including the unease it is causing with handset makers and carriers. I plan on spending the weekend writing a post about Symbian, but in the interim, watch Williams speak his mind about Android. “Android is building a perfect storm of fragmentation,” he said. “I don’t view Apple as evil, just greedy. Google…come on.” Watch the video below the fold.

Right after our Mobilize 09 conference, it became clear that 2010 was going to be the year of Android, thanks to a growing number of Android-powered handsets from makers such as Motorola and Samsung. Some analysts are forecasting that by 2012 it will be the second most popular smartphone OS, behind Symbian, the operating system that powers most of Nokia’s high-end phones. According to Gartner, Android’s share will be at 18 percent of all smartphones sold globally in 2012, or about 94 million users out of 525 million.

(Related GigaOM Pro reports: “With Verizon, Google’s Android Flexes Its Muscles” and “Google’s Mobile Strategy”)

  1. Sounds like they are scared by the competition which Android brings to the market. Given that Nokia and Symbian are great products and platforms respectively. Google brings a level of synergy which neither Nokia nor Symbian in my opinion ever thought of.

    Android is going to be huge there is no doubt!

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  2. Om what you did not reveal in you post is that Nokia already owns 48 percent of Symbian and according to http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9975873-7.html had a offer on the table to bu them outright.

    Perhaps this guy Lee Williams from Symbian saw a big cash exit vaporize for real with Android in the game big and now only credible challenger to Apple iPhone ;)

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    1. Steve

      It is a well known fact and we have been following the Symbian story for a while. Nokia bought Symbian and then open sourced it, and as a result is not under complete/total control of Nokia. But I take your point!

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      1. Thx Om – I knew you had complete viz on this storyline ;)

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  3. Sameer Baroova Friday, October 23, 2009

    Mobile OS/platform penetration serves different purposes for each of their promoters. Success of Android will increase Google’s dominance over mobile web search and related revenues, which is what they are primarily after since they do not make money licensing the OS unlike Microsoft does with Windows Mobile. They also stand to make money out of the Android Market, of course. Microsoft would have similar aspirations with their OS hence the wider the penetration the better. Nokia/Symbian should only compare themselves to Apple’s iPhone platform. They make money out of selling the hardware as Apple does and not from the OS itself, and then they would ideally want to capitalize on the OS/platform in every way they can, preferrably in the very way Apple does or even better. Learning from Apple’s initiative, we know that even if iPhones do not have a big market share, they are driving the most web searches and their App store model have a high consumption ratio. Here’s AdMob’s latest report on buying behaviour of Iphone users http://blog.mobileweb.be/2009/08/31/half-of-iphone-users-download-premium-apps-every-month/ Since Nokia have control over both hardware and OS they should try to create products which would engage users even more and make it easier for them to make spending choices to leverage or personalize the products. Since they intend to make people buy newer models of phones, they should create engaging services which would compell users to remain loyal when they decide to change products as well. Symbian might have good penetration but it does not provide a compelling interface for the device nor a convenient way to get content. It is changing with S60 5th edition and later and with the Ovi store and I hope they continue to keep on improving it because only these versions of Symbian will account for success in what they are aiming for (data revenues, content sale revenues, customer retention in hardware sales, etc)

    @Steve Ardire Nokia owns 100% of Symbian Ltd but open sourced the OS under Symbian Foundation http://www.nokia.com/press/press-releases/showpressrelease?newsid=1274570

    -Sameer Baroova @essarbea

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    1. Oh please people, for the last time. NOKIA DOES NOT OWN SYMBIAN!! Really, just a tiny bit of attention paid goes a long way. Symbian is a not-for-profit *foundation* (think the Mozilla Foundation) which is controlled by a board of directors, of which no company may have more than one member.

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  4. Let’s face it, Lee and Symbian are between a rock and a hard place. Apple has so totally set the bar in terms of user experience, and has also set the bar in terms of proprietary integrated-ness that Android both looks open (in relative terms) and brings the necessary firepower and focus to be a viable alternative to iPhone.

    Lee is right, though, that there are only two likely scenarios that play out if Android succeeds. One, the handset guys and carriers get further hollowed out (and especially the handset guys since they have no path to recurring revenue).

    Or, two the carriers and handset guys avoid marginalization by becoming proprietary themselves, which of course fragments the ecosystem.

    It’s a Faustian bargain where the alternatives suck worse.

    p.s., As to your question of whether the handset guys get this, the truth is that handset folks are hardware-centric first, second and third, and as such, only grok how the software game REALLY works in the abstract. Case in point, look how mightily RIM has struggled to innovate on software/services/tools front, despite an integrated hardware/software/service orientation.

    Mark

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  5. I thought he might cry when he was talking about Android!
    This interview just confirms my impression that Symbian is on the way out. It will be a slow road, but he’s advocating helping the operators to retain control of the customer. It’s complete nonsense.
    Symbian seems to be targetting the low end of the market and trying to consolidate in that space, but it will be a shrinking market, especially once it becomes easier to put the other operating systems on cheaper devices.
    Which system will have the most apps, the most utility to the user? I doubt it will ever be Symbian, therefore what unique selling point do they have? They allow the user to be tightly coupled to the operator? they prevent other organisations getting access to your behaviours to offer you relevant products? It’s not a story many would sign up for…

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  6. Steve Ballmer throwing chairs, and now this public meltdown by a Nokia executive, are *exactly* the kind of reaction I want to see as a consumer. The tide is ( finally ) turning in our favor.

    Those who prosper on making us miserable call it “fragmentation”, but consumers call it “highly competitive free market.”

    Evolve or die Mr. Williams ( Verizon seems to be doing so, Re: Droid and their new found Net Neutrality support )

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    1. Agreed! It took Symbian a decade to get that the product needed to evolve at a less than glacial pace. It’s almost sad.

      Thankfully, we now have multiple mobile OSes — Android, iPhone; WebOS — allowing us to develop products in the mobile space outside of the control of the software vendors, hardware designers, and telecoms. That is called innovation!

      Welcome to 2009 Symbian. Nokia, better get that Maemo stuff working on a broader set of products, including the netbook. This should have happened when EPOC was purchased from Psion, not a decade later!

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  7. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it” — Upton Sinclair

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  8. Lee is not a Nokia executive. Read the article.

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  9. Thumbs up for Lee. Great stuff.

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  10. It was good to see you Om.

    As Brendan rightly points out, I am not a Nokia executive. My group does benefit from the contributions that Nokia and many others in the mobile industry are making to our efforts. However, our experiences and opinions are our own.

    We are focused on evolving the platform as rapidly as possible. More than that, we work day over day to execute a business model and align with and guide companies so that consumers get more empowerment, and the better mobile products that they deserve.

    Check us out, we do more than carry opinions, we have a wicked roadmap and we listen ;-)

    // Lee

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  11. Dang. That video doesn’t work on iPhone.

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    1. Hardeep Singh Sunday, October 25, 2009

      Call Steve Jobs and ask for a full web browser.

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      1. iPhone has a full standards compliant browser. Last time I checked Flash wasn’t part of the HTML spec.

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      2. Web standards don’t matter, usability does. (ask Micrsoft)

        In today’s world flash is more important.

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  12. Wow, that is truly crazy! You don’t often get a company to freak out on competition, and it is never pretty when it does happen.

    I look forward to the day when that thing in my pocket is as powerful as a decent laptop. Five years is my guess. Can Symbian take us there? I don’t believe so. Can Android? Perhaps, but not if they make the mistake of taking an OS like EPOC and sitting on it for a number of years. PArt of me can’t even believe that Nokia ignored us. I personally wrote asking about any opportunities to look at NetBooks long, long ago. Hell, I also wrote Steve to say that Apple should have a phone OS based on OS X. Is that brilliance? No. I simply looked at the evolution of this tech as so many people were doing.

    So here we are, with three or four major os efforts, two based on web technologies — Chrome and WebOS. The other two, Android and iPhone, are so web integrated that the difference is negligible. What does that tell Symbian about the ecosystem? If it doesn’t say get a browser integrated OS out the door in 6 -12 months, management should be discharged immediately. Buy Opera. Integrate it from top to bottom in the handset market, and move forward. Nokia should alternately get Maemo running top to bottom.

    Tis competition, and I for one am glad to have it.

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    1. “I look forward to the day when that thing in my pocket is as powerful as a decent laptop. Five years is my guess. Can Symbian take us there? I don’t believe so.”

      What’s your rationale for this statement? Are you just using the dumb logic of Symbian is 11 years old, Android is 2 years old and therefore must be more advanced? Too many folks worked too hard for people like you to make unqualified statements about Symbians supposed ‘technical deficiencies’. If you can honestly explain why you think this than fair enough, but I doubt you can.

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      1. I thought they could take us there when EPOC was turned into Symbian. The idea that the Psion NetBooks could become more widespread was really something I wanted to see. Now we are trending very close to the power necessary to actually have mobile computing become a reality. The question is who is going to win this race? There are several OSes already at the point where they can create excellent tools in this scenario. Can Symbian be there in a year or two at most? Why is Maemo on Nokia’s flagship device?

        I am simply offering an opinion. There is nothing better than competition, and having the device manufacturers and telecoms tell us what we should buy was the worst situation possible. Having Apple tell us what kinds of apps we can make is a close second! I wish Symbian would pull out of this, and I have great respect for the technology, but some new thinking needs to be injected. Android is starting to look incredibly slick. Apple is well Apple. Having mobile web enabled phones in Africa would be nothing short of astounding.

        And, I am perfectly happy to share my thoughts. The “dumb logic” is not that Symbian is 11 year old technology, but that Symbian has not even grown to the point where EPOC had been. Past is all too often prologue. So, why don’t you tell me why you believe that Symbian is a future OS in mobile computing?

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      2. Don’t you think your statement that “Symbian has not even grown to the point where EPOC had been” is a bit odd, considering that it is directly derived from it? I think Symbian is going to be the future OS in mobile computing because I have a good understanding of it and I know there is nothing fundamental about it that could prevent it from being competitive. Please take a look at what the Symbian Foundation is doing and if you don’t agree that this is ‘new thinking’ as you put it then get back to me.

        The N900 may be Nokia’s flagship ‘device’ but it’s very different from a phone, it’s more of a ‘multimedia computer’ as it were. Symbian is going to be the OS for devices which are phones primarily and this is not a bad thing nor does it mean that it’s only going to feature in low-end devices. Nokia are giving Maemo a shot at the big time by putting a cellular radio in it thus making it a ‘phone’, but we’ll see how it does. It’s less of a sure thing than drooling geeks make it out to be. In fact the guys over at All About Symbian predict that it may ship in the sub 1 million mark, whereas the much derided N97 managed almost 2 million already.

        I would say look closely at the announcements coming out of SEE tomorrow (www.see2009.org) to get an idea of how the current gripes with Symbian will be tackled. I’d love to tell you lots of stuff but you might get clearer info out of there.

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      3. My point is that Psion had EPOC running on NetBooks and Symbian has found a way to be limited to smaller devices. I find it odd that the N900 — whether it is an experiment or otherwise — is running Maemo. I will pick one up when it is available…

        Hey, I look forward to hearing about what Symbian has to offer. But, between the iPhone and Android the air is being sucked out of developer resources. I am simply amused with the current efforts to lure people back. Personally, I was more into the UIQ flavors, but Symbian had a clear shot, and now they have to struggle in the pack.

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      4. Brendan : quote “The N900 may be Nokia’s flagship ‘device’ but it’s very different from a phone, it’s more of a ‘multimedia computer’ as it were. Symbian is going to be the OS for devices which are phones primarily and this is not a bad thing….”

        Don’t you think you are missing the point of where the industry is going?? I don’t see many people avoiding the fully featured handsets and choosing the basic ‘phone’ nowadays unless they can’t afford the iPhone or other smartphone model.
        The future is not for devices which are ‘phones primarily’, which is precisely why Symbian will ultimately fail. As I said before, it will take a while, but it is not ever going to increase market share…

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  13. As a consumer.
    I had a Symbian phone and the attitude of if you want a bug fixed just buy a new Handset just didn’t sit to well with me. I never have seen the design by committee work. Their track record just doesn’t work in their favor, good luck to them.
    As for Android it reminds me of the early MS-DOS, lots of HW providers had their own version. Didn’t work to well for Developers. Standardized HW fixed that. Or look at Java, and the early promises.
    Now if any these Phone platforms doesn’t come up with the “killer” application, what’s the next best thing.
    Integration.
    There’s HW to OS to Application integration. Apple is very good at that. But there is also Application to Application integration, where Apple is basically a no show. What’s Google doing to foster that and differentiate itself from Apple?

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    1. Yeah, Apple’s been totally ignoring the interoperability between apps in iPhone OS 3.x

      Hopefully this problem will be fix along side third party multi-tasking and notification system next year.

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  14. The key implication of the fragmentation he’s describing will be on the Android app store. The fact that its open source and that each operator will customize it for their network and for different phone models means that it will be very difficult and expensive for developers to write apps that will run on all platforms. The required QA across 18 handsets and several different operator networks will be an absolute nightmare. BlackBerry has the same problem – you also have to QA on every device, and even write a different app for Storm – as we learned when we were developing Line2, which lets you add a second number to your phone. In comparison, other than a frustrating approval process, developing for iPhone was a piece of cake because you only have to QA on one device. It is this fundamental difference that is leading to the explosion of iPhone apps. BlackBerry and Android will never match that unless they can solve the multi-device QA testing problem.

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    1. Specific to the fragmentation topic, here is a post that I wrote for GigaOM called:

      Android vs. iPhone: Why Openness May Not Be Best
      http://bit.ly/4lfbF

      Excerpt: While device makers can do pretty much “anything” with an open platform, in order to deliver a superior user experience, Google will either have to take on the burden of supporting “anything” or set limits on what will work on any particular instantiation of the platform. Of course, setting limits makes Android less open, reducing leverage across the entire ecosystem.

      Check it out if interested.

      Mark

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  15. More than four years ago, I paid $400 to buy an unlocked Nokia E70 because I wanted a smartphone with lifestyle features. Symbian based Nokia seemed to be the only choice. The basic phone and camera worked. Bluetooth did not work well with many devices. Using WIFI and VOIP rendered the phone useless with a few hours needing a restart. In the 18 months I owned it, there were NO UPDATES to fix any of these issues. Apps were a poor experience as well with many of them making the OS unstable.

    They considered every phone that shipped out with Symbian as money already made and did not care about engaging with those customers providing updates, fixes, and tips that will help them make the best use of their investment.

    Symbian was first to the market, but blew it.

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  16. Great interview, Om. I simply *loved* your candid comment about “handset makers never really had [the customers]. Phone carriers do”.. =) Well timed and properly pointed out.

    The hate against Android is not because the fragmentation of the OS market itself but because Google figured out services better/sooner than all other non-iPhone platform-makers. And of course this will create a dramatic change on the entire value chain, one where carriers AND OEMs are losing control – a control that they actually never truly had – of the consumer.

    [Of course locking consumers in 'loyalty" schemes through legal contracts and hefty fees or disabling Bluetooth so you don't download content without paying crazy fees to the carrier does not count as 'legitimate control'..]

    Naturally Google is defending its own interests with Android and of course cookie-ing users is an expected part of their revenue-generating model, and kudos for them for doing it better/faster. It’s ironic, because all other OEMs just spent years preaching that “Services would be the next big thing”, without delivering any meaningful product, and now they’re all playing catch-up with Google & Apple.

    It’s just funny that no one talks about the Developer side of this equation. As Peter pointed out above, this fragmentation is a big nightmare for developers, and something that neither Google nor OEMs figured out a way of solving it so elegantly like Apple. Symbian model for developers is just awful (so no surprise why OviStore has just Hannah Montana wallpapers) and Android is just slightly better. So far the iPhone model continues to be the benchmark to beat both in terms of experience for the end-user on the AppStore as well as development stack for the developer.

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    1. Google is exercising a control, and those questions are a critical part of the discussion. But, as you note, having vendors who have already violated this trust doesn’t allow them the luxury of questioning the premise of these services. Many current choices have been made in favor of Google. Future choices may not be in their favor. Having the choice matters.

      In terms of development, it is rather difficult to beat Apple at the moment. My opinion is that this situation offers a lot of opportunity to Flash. It also gives us a solid rationale to extend mobile web capabilities. I led a discussion this last week in Chicago where questions of development efforts across platforms very much resolved down to web models as a solution. We do however desperately need offline capabilities.

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    2. “handset makers never really had [the customers]. Phone carriers do”.

      Here in India, networks are dumb pipes that deliver voice and data calls. People buy whatever cellphone they like, slip in their sim card and networks stay happy with whatever little customers throw at them. Actually, they keep coming up with newer cheaper plans so they could replace the sim card that resides inside your cellphone with their own, you can get a Lifetime prepaid connection from Vodafone or Airtel for Rs. 100 easily.

      The situation is the extreme opposite of what you have in America, handset makers have customers and networks just provide a service.

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  17. “[Of course locking consumers in 'loyalty" schemes through legal contracts and hefty fees or disabling Bluetooth so you don't download content without paying crazy fees to the carrier does not count as 'legitimate control'..]”

    Sorry, why should I listen to the opinion of someone who thinks that Bluetooth allows you to download content? Exactly which carrier/manufacturer did this and when, I’d be really interested to know?

    As for Apple having an ‘elegant’ solution to fragmentation, don’t be ridiculous. Their ‘solution’ is having 1 device and 1 piece of software. FFS you can’t even develop apps unless you have a Mac. This has it’s benefits (the user experience is good), but it’s a brute force solution completely. And as Lee pointed out, it smacks of G-R-E-E-D.

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    1. Funny how Apple is GREED while Nokia basically changes some keyboard layout, randomly give or take a bit feature, and increase the model number then lo and behold! A new flag ship device!!!

      Nokia’s been playing this game for tooooo long. In 2008 I was beginning to think Nokia bought 10 billion of QVGA screen and slow as hell 200Mhz something ARM-9 back in 2003 and determined to sell every last of them.

      Apple makes money off iPhone sales, 612 per unit and the margins are high. If money is Apple after with the App Store, well it kinda failed by Apple standard.

      Lee don’t get it, so do you.

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    2. Bluetooth does allow you to download content.

      Verizon was aware of this and opted to disable Bluetooth file transfer in many of their phones. Ergo customers couldn’t transfer files from their computers to their phones, generating a profit stream for as background images, ringtones, and their ilk could only be sourced from VZW’s store (or other on-phone vendors).

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  18. Nice interview.

    Looks like the key for all participants is to create post-purchase revenues beyond calling/data charges and SMS. Ads (especially moving toward location-aware CPA), app sales, incremental subscriptions (video, audio), etc., are all on the table.

    Apple has apps down cold. Google’s shooting for ads. Symbian is behind, so they’re declaring themselves conflict free, the pure choice for all players. But most players (device mfrs., carriers, users) all probably want a few extra buck in their pockets instead of purity (or Gmail wouldn’t work so well).

    By the way, if Williams were worried about consumers, wouldn’t he have asked Google to them opt out of the cookies, instead of asking Google to join Symbian?

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  19. @Brendan

    Funny how Apple is GREED while Nokia basically changes some keyboard layout, randomly give or take a bit feature, and increase the model number then lo and behold! A new flag ship device!!!

    Nokia’s been playing this game for tooooo long. In 2008 I was beginning to think Nokia bought 10 billion of QVGA screen and slow as hell 200Mhz something ARM-9 back in 2003 and determined to sell every last of them.

    Apple makes money off iPhone sales, 612 per unit and the margins are high. If money is Apple after with the App Store, well it kinda failed by Apple standard.

    Lee don’t get it, so do you.

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  20. “I don’t view Apple as evil, just greedy.”

    Translation: We sat on our hands for years, not doing much in the way of innovation and Apple comes along and creates a better product that everyone wants and they won’t let us have it.
    But we will show them, yeah, we will…you wait and see how great it’s going to be….yeah.

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  21. Did I say anywhere that Nokia aren’t greedy? No, Nokia are a very greedy company. Don’t piss around with me and pretend that somehow Apple or Google are our friends though. I’m not defending Nokia at all. They are the reason why so many people somehow think Symbian is somehow culpable for their cack-handed UI ‘design’ and is a ‘primitive OS’ that has evolved at a ‘glacial’ pace. Nothing could be further from the truth. You and your type are the ones that DON’T GET IT. You think that UI bells and whistles have some kind of relevance towards the technical capabilities of an OS.

    If Apple aren’t greedy, why did they withhold basic features such as MMS and video recording from the iPhone until the 3GS update? I’ll tell you why, so they could trick idiots into thinking this was something that they had magically come up with. Have you seen their ads, they’re patronising to the point of disbelief.

    Trust me, Symbian is a great OS and now it is in the right hands you will see it come out of the shell that Nokia have kept it in for all these years and really prove it’s worth. As Lee said, anyone interested in a TRUE open OS should look at Symbian.

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    1. As can be seen in the market, just about everybody including Apple is developing on “open” OSes. Linux and BSD are the definitive open source platforms. Why would we develop on Symbian? It will be open source in 2010 though (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbian_OS).

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      1. That’s a very pesimistic view of the current licencing model for Symbian (I’m not surprised for a second). Symbian may as well be open source for what it’s worth because the membership fee is only $1500 and you can’t say that it could in any way make a difference to someone who can actually afford to release devices. If you’re talking about from a developers point of view then $1500 might be a turn off for an individual or a small organisation, but as you said yourself it will be fully open source by 2010 (and you should know that this is the ‘official’ date for *all* the code being under EPL. Work is continuing in haste and a good chunk of the code is EPLed already).

        Linux and BSD may be the ‘definitive’ open-source platforms, but the only OS’s based on them in the mobile market are heavily doctored and couldn’t really be called ‘Linux’ or ‘BSD’. If you’re trying to make an argument that Android and iPhone OS are more open than Symbian you must be joking…

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    2. Why did they leave out MMS? Perhaps it was because the were pushing MobileMe at the time? SMS is there because the telcos wanted it – it’s a MASSIVE revenue stream. I get the impression that Apple wanted the device to use email exclusively. And why not? MMS is rubbish – a gprs technology that is used by greed TELCOS to fleece customers. Just because others do it, doesn’t mean it’s any good! I’m also struggling to recall when Apple claimed that they had invented MMS.

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    3. “If Apple aren’t greedy, why did they withhold basic features such as MMS and video recording from the iPhone until the 3GS update? I’ll tell you why, so they could trick idiots into thinking this was something that they had magically come up with.”

      Oh, for goodness’ sakes that’s just crazy conspiracy theory nonsense. Even my crappy old (Nokia) phone has MMS. How could people *not* know it was around? (Not that it’s worth having, anyway.) Some stuff the iPhone initially lacked almost certainly on account of the carrier; some quite evidently because they hadn’t got around to it yet. But as for Apple’s not implementing stuff they could have, just so that they could deceive “idiots” [sc. users] … well, that’s just tinfoil hat stuff.

      FWIW, I’m not down on Symbian or Nokia or Lee. I liked Lee and thought him amusing. I also thought he had a pretty shrewd take on Google.

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      1. His take on Google is totally appropriate. They are serious questions. But, this all smacks of the music industry trying to argue away music sharing and new distribution methods.

        I wish Symbain well, Really!

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      2. And cut and paste (as mentioned by Lee himself at SEE today)! You sound like a friend of Symbian (or at least someone who acknowledges that Symbian are going to make progress and this is a good thing) so I’ll go easy, but do you not think that there’s at least a temptation on Apple’s part to implement features less quickly in order to have a big trick for their next release? I think you massively overestimate consumers intelligence. Anyone using a smartphone for the past 5 years or so would know that it’s their right to have video recording and copy and paste.

        I think people should really stop bashing Symbian and look forward to a world where there are 3 great mobile OS’s fiercely competing with each other. I know it’s a shame that it took Nokia this long to get their act together but this is the nature of competition. When your marketshare is sustained without doing a lot then why would you, as a PLC, waste time and money doing more than you need to? The real blame should be placed on RIM and Palm, because apart from the US market (which anyone who lives there needs to realise is like a parallel world in mobile) they were not challenging Nokia.

        The respected market research organisation Gartner recently projected a 35% market share for Symbian in 2012, along with 18% for Android and some 15% for Apple (my figures aren’t right probably, but they’re close). This sounds about right for me. As good as the iPhone may be, not everyone can afford one. Apple as a company do not want to go the direction of mass producing products to the same scale as Nokia or anyone else. They want margins, just look at their profits! Therefore a 15% marketshare is what they want and that’s where they’ll be. Android is just starting and will take some time to build up steam. 18% is a big result in just 4 years. Symbian is the incumbent and if anyone is going to lose market share it will be them. But why is 35% something to be ashamed of! And these figures give me confidence for Symbian because by 2012 Symbian will have changed a lot (for the better) and will be showing it’s true colours as the most advanced mobile OS.

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  22. Brendan….why do you refer to both Nokia and Apple in the plural with the “aren’t” bit…is that a Chicago dialect or something?

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    1. You mean I should say ‘if Apple isn’t greedy’ rather than ‘Apple aren’t greedy’? Well for me a company is a group of people, therefore plural. Maybe it’s not gramatically correct (just checked, you’re right, a corporation is singular) Hardly a riposte to my point though :)

      (FYI, I’m Irish by way of New Jersey if that sheds any light)

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  23. Now it’s pretty sure that symbian is going down.
    Loosing their professionalism can only mean they really feel the pressure.

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  24. [...] последнее время перерыва. [Via MobileTechWorld; Спасибо, Fido] Читайте – Ли Уильямс интервью с GigaOM _r = 1 "> Читайте – [...]

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  25. [...] Read – Lee Williams interview with GigaOM Read – New York Times: ‘Big Cellphone Makers Shifting to Android System’ Read – PCWorld: ‘Android, Symbian Will Own Smartphones in 2012′ [...]

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  26. [...] Williams, diretor executivo da Symbian, deu sua cara a tapa: em uma entrevista realizada no final da semana passada por Om Malik, do GigaOM, ele expressou todos os seus [...]

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  27. This guy is claims to know soo much!……being the CEO of a suffering mobile OS company im sure we can give him credit that maybe after symbian goes bankrupt then we can start seeing ideas being broadcasted from inside the insane asylum

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  28. The motto is “Don’t be evil” and not ” We are not evil”. They are different.

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  29. [...] Read – Lee Williams interview with GigaOM Read – New York Times: ‘Big Cellphone Makers Shifting to Android System’ Read – PCWorld: ‘Android, Symbian Will Own Smartphones in 2012′ [...]

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  30. I took two phones home with me over the weekend, one a Nokia N97 mini running the latest and greatest version of Symbian S60, the other being an HTC G1 which I had recently upgraded to Android 1.6.

    The Nokia frustrated me at every turn. A trip to the Ovi store resulted in a certificate error followed by a signup screen I could not get around. Kept getting popups asking which APN I wanted to use. Tried to update the firmware, but could not because some connections were open (which ones? how do I fix this?) and evidently Symbian doesn’t know how to close connections or something. The touch screen was somewhere between sad and comic and the overall experience was shockingly bad, particularly when considered in the light of the same company and same OS is on the remarkably cool E71.

    In contrast, Android 1.6 was surprisingly good. The Android Shop was seamless to use and didn’t require painful account creation. I found a free Exchange client that worked well. In fact, I discovered that Android seems to be able to parse email for addresses and when an address in the text of email is clicked it takes you to Google maps centered on the address in question. I also found that GPS stuff gets geotagged in pictures you take if you want. Then later, when looking at the pictures you can get the Google Maps location from the .jpg from within the viewer and that more often than not it was able to translate GPS coordinates into an accurate street address.

    While far from perfect and to be frank a little slow on the crap hardware of the G1, Android made it possible to do cool things.

    In contrast the N97 mini, while fabulously built (I like the hardware even better than the N97), had a really crap user experience which was like putting on mittens, getting drunk and running trying to run some sort of weird alpha release.

    I have said it before, but I have great hopes and fond sentiment for Nokia and Symbian but the bar has been raised and those who no longer can jump high enough risk WinMo-like irrelevancy.

    Calling Google evil is a nice parlour trick, good for PR, but I would worry more about building good phones OSs and less about childish pictures of unicorns and the evil of others.

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  31. [...] Read – Lee Williams interview with GigaOM Read – New York Times: ‘Big Cellphone Makers Shifting to Android System’ Read – PCWorld: ‘Android, Symbian Will Own Smartphones in 2012′ [...]

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  32. [...] Read – Lee Williams interview with GigaOM Read – New York Times: ‘Big Cellphone Makers Shifting to Android System’ Read – PCWorld: ‘Android, Symbian Will Own Smartphones in 2012′ [...]

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  33. [...] of the more interesting tidbits to hit the Web in the last few days was this video posted to GigaOm featuring Symbian’s executive director, Lee Williams, who made some very pointed comments [...]

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  34. [...] the messenger And yet, when this Symbian executive pointed out that Google’s Android is not just another adware experiment but actually an attempt by Google [...]

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  35. [...] Executive Director Lee Williams publicly deemed Google’s approach to spreading Android the “perfect storm of fragmentation,” yesterday the Foundation launched the beta of its developer program for what looks to be a pretty [...]

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  36. [...] Executive Director Lee Williams publicly deemed Google’s approach to spreading Android the “perfect storm of fragmentation,” yesterday the Foundation launched the beta of its developer program for what looks to be a pretty [...]

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  37. [...] video and post of Lee Williams talking about Google and their smartphone strategy is being spun as some kind of attack on Android, but he’s [...]

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  38. [...] Read – Lee Williams interview with GigaOM Read – New York Times: ‘Big Cellphone Makers Shifting to Android System’ Read – PCWorld: ‘Android, Symbian Will Own Smartphones in 2012′ [...]

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  39. [...] but it is what Lee Williams, Symbian’s executive director chose to do on October 23, in this interview with Om Malik of GigaOM. You know you’re in rough water when your interviewer interjects [...]

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  40. [...] has been dismissive of Google Android, as well as smaller upstarts like the LiMo Foundation, arguing that the latter is [...]

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  41. [...] has been dismissive of Google Android, as well as smaller upstarts like the LiMo Foundation, arguing that the latter is [...]

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  42. The Nokia frustrated me at every turn. A trip to the Ovi store resulted in a certificate error followed by a signup screen I could not get around. Kept getting popups asking which APN I wanted to use. Tried to update the firmware, but could not because some connections were open (which ones? how do I fix this?) and evidently Symbian doesn’t know how to close connections or something. The touch screen was somewhere between sad and comic and the overall experience was shockingly bad, particularly when considered in the light of the same company and same OS is on the remarkably cool E71.

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  43. [...] Android devices will be able to upgrade to 2.0, and today, we begin to see a bit more of that dreaded Android fragmentation as both versions got updates to their SDK [...]

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  44. [...] The world has changed, Rubin argued. Up until now, the software inside the phone and the web were two different entities living in two different worlds. What Android represents is the ethos of the web brought to the cell phone world. “As a company we iterate a lot and now you have a cell-phone platform that you can quickly iterate upon,” said Rubin. “When were you able to do that on Symbian?” Ouch! (Related: Symbian Executive Rips Into Google’s Android.) [...]

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  45. Symbian-directors, be aware: Symbian will die if you won’t flow with the market ! If the market needs a feature, let them develop and implement it… there are umpteen absolutely brilliant hardware and software technologies on the market that could not make it because of the greediness of their owners, and I can fill an A4 page with them. Don’t suicide Symbian !

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  46. [...] The Symbian Foundation today announced in an email that Lee Williams has stepped down from his executive director role “for personal reasons” and will be replaced immediately by Tim Holbrow, the foundation’s CFO. Williams may have his own reasons for leaving, but there are a number of other business reasons that could explain such an action. But before we get into those, it might be worth reviewing this brief GigaOM video interview with Williams from a year or so ago. [...]

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