Nokia attacks iPhone or somebody else ?

One of the major memes of the Blogosphere of the moment is the backlash against Apple for making the iPhone and closed platform tied to specific network operators, and for then breaking the hacks with a firmware update that had allowed a very small group of users to add new applications to their now “simfree” iPhones.

Nokia it appears have jumped at the opportunity with the adverts above appearing around New York, making the point that their N-Series phones represent an open platform.

Now don’t get be wrong I think Apple have made a huge mistake with the iPhone, in that they had the opportunity to break the current operator dominated market, to be frank I’m not that bothered about the ability to add new applications, I think I have added one or two to my N95 but don’t really use them very much.

For me the real villains remain the network operator who lock down the ability of all makers phones on their networks, remember the fuss about vodafone dropping the VOIP application from the N95 ? In the US the situation is even worse with the level of control demanded on CDMA phones by the operators reaching extreme levels.

This is not just about adding applications, to upgrade my “open” Nokia N95 to the point that the GPS actually worked, I had to first replace the firmware with a Generic English one as Nokia would not update a vodafone branded phone, in doing so I have not doubt voided its warranty.

So maybe the target for Nokia’s poster campaign is wider than the iPhone, perhaps the operators are also in the firing line. You get the sense that Nokia has run out of patience with operators messing about with their phones and increasingly see their own Nokia branded online services delivered independently of the network operators as the way forward.

Get your music, games, and Location Based Services from Nokia for your Nokia mobile device, Vodafone, t-mobile, o2 and orange just move the bits around the network and add no other value themselves. (Those 3G licenses are a real bind no !!)

I think this is quite a smart strategy although I’m not sure symbian the preferred OS for nokia mobiles is the right way forward, however, the demands for a truly “open” mobile internet increase every day – although remember the calls are coming from a very small geek community ( that’s you dear reader) most people don’t even change their phones wallpaper !

Written and submitted from the BA Lounge, Milan Linate Airprt, Italy, using the BTOpenzone 802.11 network.

6 comments

  1. Chris Brind

    Hi Ed,

    I know what you’re saying about Symbian, but don’t forget that it is possible to run Java applications on a Symbian OS, further more, you can run an OSGi framework and it is possible to run Eclipse RCP applications in that environment as well. So my feeling is it’s open enough if you’re able to work with Java and of course the good thing about Java is that in theory you can “write once run anywhere”.

    I have deliberately avoided looking at the iPhone because I suspected they would be locking it down in all kind of ways. I presume this means you can’t install Java apps on it?

    Cheers,
    Chris

  2. Ed

    Hey Chris,

    Yes I think you are right from the point of view of a development platform symbian phones give you a lot of options, I was more thinking of the UI both S60 and UIQ are no match for the iPhone in terms of ease of use.

    Only Apple can install stuff on a iPhone.. and I guess if it was opened to 3rd parties it would be based on Xcode and Objective-C ? At the moment all you can do is develop web apps – not bad, but you always have to start from safari.

    No Java 🙁

    ed

  3. Duncan Garratt

    I think the success of the iphone will be down to it being a fashion accessory rather than anything else. As a tool for looking cool when sipping your coffee and people watching its great! But as fashion items come and go, remember the filofax, the iphone will go the same way. As a phone with open architecture it’s a dead duck and the iphone has already lost its quack with the serious phone user, but what the hell they are all to busy to sit in café’s and people watch all day long. Having said that the fashion phone market is a big market and selling to people’s vanity will always be a big money spinner.

  4. Duncan Garratt

    There may also be a good commercial reason why Apple have made their iphone a closed architecture and that is that it does allows Apple to link up with mobile network providers and provide exclusive applications that are premium content based and sold as chargeable services. By restricting the hardware and the premium content, it is a way for the mobile network vendors to maintain their profit differentials by offering network exclusive hardware deals and bundled premium content services.

    In this respect the superior GUI of the iphone and the fashion statement it makes sold with exclusive premium content applications could prove to be an extremely clever marketing strategy and one that other phone manufactures rightly should be concerned about. The big losers in all of this could be the consumer as exclusive mobile packages are bundle together into a single deal. The bottom line is are consumer bills going to fall for mobile services in the future? Not if the Network providers have their way!

  5. Daniel

    If anyone remembers the Orwellian ad campaign that Apple launched years back — showcasing a stream of people with no identity, alluding the ‘conformity’ of standardization across IBM and Windows business platforms in that time… They’ll realize the irony in the steps Apple has taken in standardizing their own platform over the years.

    This entire ‘openness’ arguement with Apple actually started when they disabled the ability to re-skin the OS after Classic. Somehow, though, the Apple user-base went along with it and sucked it up with willing, conformist pride.

    I hate to pull such a punch, because I still like Apple — even though I use PC equipment, with Windows… Though, that may change in a few years if Vista’s direction remains where it’s at — and their current tactic for lack of supporting DX10 on existing stable XP platforms.

  6. Pingback: Relations › Dashboard widgets coming to mobile phones (or: Apple willingly giving up their head start to Nokia)

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