back to article That Firefox OS mobe: The sorta phone left behind after a mugging

Mobile World Congress - the mobile networks' annual shindig - was getting unwieldy when 10,000 attendees and exhibitors hobbled between yachts in Cannes harbour, so it was moved to Barcelona. Last year, 70,000 attended MWC in the Spanish city, so it was moved to a new venue with twice the floor space and moving walkways between …

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Meh

Graph with *3* lines on it

One for Windows Phone 8- it's not 'success'...

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Coat

Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

"because the network operators fear Google so much, they’re backing every conceivable alternative, except the one that can succeed, which is Windows Phone."

'jaw dropped at that one. 'Gave up reading and came straight here.

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JDX
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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

WP has something new to offer was I think the point - a massive company backing it. Whereas all the other new platforms are just rip-off of Android. Android does things just fine already...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

A massive company that changes it's mobile strategy more often than I change my underpants, leaving all existing users in the lurch.

It happened with WindowsCE, It happened with Kin, It happened with Windows Phone, with Windows Phone 7.whatvever and it will happen with Windows Phone 8 too.

One minute it's .NET Compact Framework, the next week it;s silverlight, god only knows what it is this week, but for sure any Windows Phone you will end up cursing the day you ever bought it...

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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

> WP has something new to offer was I think the point - a massive company backing it.

In what way is it new ? MS has been offering phones for a dozen years or more and watched its market share fall from >40% to <3%.

Apple is bigger than Microsoft.

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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

WP - " a massive company backing it" with more 'form' for shafting it's collaborators than almost any other.

Microsofts size + Microsofts past behaviour + Microsofts total lack of monopoly leverage = Microsoft fail. It's too late for the industry to stop Google dictating terms to them, it's the perfect time to hobble Microsoft and they'd be idiots not to do that. Even if I agreed WP is good, good for business or desirable, having Microsoft in your market never is.

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Windows

Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

"because the network operators fear Google so much, they’re backing every conceivable alternative, except the one that can succeed, which is Windows Phone."

'jaw dropped at that one. 'Gave up reading and came straight here.

Ditto.

Has anyone else noticed how Orlowski and TheVogon formerly known as RICHTO (TVFKR) are never seen at the same time? Hmmm...

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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

> jaw dropped at that one.

Indeed. WinMoPho is just an unsuccessful iPhone. MS would do exactly the same as Apple, given the chance and market expertise.

The Telco's need a USP. If I were the telco's I'd try to license apps on user's behalf (or purchase via phone bill) in return for no spyware or advertising. Free and (since no advertising) faster apps, slightly more expensive calls. It might be a big hit with business where the company pays for calls, but the users get apps for free and it would reduce the data load on the network as adverts are no longer pulled from all over the internet.

I don't know if it would work, but its worth investigating.

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FAIL

Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

WP does offer problems though. It's bloated so demands powerful hardware to run it.

Has somebody told you that if you keep FUDing this it'll magically become true?

It uses about half the resources that Android demands.

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Holmes

Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

"Microsofts past behaviour"

... is probably why the network operators are backing every alternative to Android but Microsoft. On one hand, they've seen others get bitten by the "big bad Microsoft", and now they're scared of the "new big bad Google" who - as has been reported on El Reg recently - believe that their right to flog stuff and make money outweighs the public's right to privacy.

Unfortunately, only Microsoft has the financial muscle to provide an alternative to Google. Unless the operators can put aside their infighting and work together to create a new breed of smartphone to compete. Personally, I'd rather see a blend of the two, with multiple smartphone operating systems - choice is always good.

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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

Has somebody told you that if you keep FUDing this it'll magically become true?

Just let him continue - it's quite amusing to watch him gradually becoming the thing he hates without even reaslising it.

It uses about half the resources that Android demands.

Evidence? Without that, I'm afraid you're just Eadoning, sorry to say...

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Anonymous Coward

You will end up cursing the day you ever bought it

Never really understood this mentality. Perhaps I'm missing something in my phone use ... perhaps it's not there for browsing the web, doing emails, sms, watching vids, mp3 player, games, organising one's life, satnav and a very limited number of useful apps ...

Sure I understand that some people are mentally very rigid and lack intellectual flexibility to the point that they find it hard to learn anything new quickly ... so having a familiar UI is important to some.

I also understand that for some people it's important to have the same or 'better' than all their friends as this helps them to define their personality and place in the world.

But I really don't understand what people are going on about when they suggest that any of these phones are 'better' than each other. The reality is that they all do the most important tasks required of a smartphone. Furthermore no one has to keep the same phone for more than a couple of years so if the phone you buy does it's job it's quite irrelevant what the company behind it does in the interim ... no one is forcing you to buy them again.

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Boffin

Re: Graph with *3* lines on it@ P.Lee

"It might be a big hit with business where the company pays for calls, but the users get apps for free and it would reduce the data load on the network as adverts are no longer pulled from all over the internet."

Many big corporates (like my 90,000 employee company) specifically ban users from downloading apps or media on work devices, including phones. And the last thing the network guys want is to replace the minimal load of a handful of adverts for permitted apps with the vast load of the entire company downloading dancing dog videos or playing networked games. So I don't see your mixed private/work example cutting much ice with corporate phone buyers, all aiming for the cheapest, nastiest crap they can find. In my company's case they standardised on nice cheap Wildfire S handsets, rolled them all out, and promptly had to replace them all with Orange San Diego's because the Wildfire S is too small for most people's hands, and too slow and clunky in operation (which could have been foreseen, but for the fact that somebody in IT procurement was suffering from the red mist, and could only see the euro signs).

I think your offer makes good sense for retail customers, and is a good way of building a value added offer (unlike MNO's current offers of crapply customised Android makeovers that add no value but simply delay the roll out of updates). But that requires Toadafone and their mates to think like a customer, and there's precious little evidence that they can.

What AO misses here is not that Firefox needs to be attractive or desirable, nor does it even need to sell - it's an option for the future. A hugely important option, because if Google do change the rules, then there is a working alternative. You can always pay to add some polish later if the need arises, but for a handful of shekels they (and the handset makers) know that they aren't beholden to MS or Google alone. It certainly needs to work at the basic level, because that's not something you can build quickly, and if it doesn't work you can't even sell it and promise future upgrades. Whereas a lumpen but effective OS can be rolled out, and then you throw money at the UI.

I doubt that this will become a major player in the phone OS world (although note how Frefox became a major player in the browser market on the back of the poor quality of its major competitor). But for the MNO's and the phone makers, it just needs to persist, ideally to keep Google in line, and failing that to be an exit door from Android. Like an ejector seat in a military aircraft, you really want it to be there, but you don't want to have to use it.

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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

It'll run on a single core ARM11 well enough to use smoothly?

Funny, because I'm sure WP8 minimum specs are dual core plus all sorts of other rather not-budget restrictions.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

Agreed. You really should change your underwear a tad more often than MS does its mobile strategy though.

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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

Evidence? Without that, I'm afraid you're just Eadoning, sorry to say...

No problem.

The Galaxy S3 is regarded as the "smoothest" experience on Android around. The Lumia 620 is the cheapest WP8 phone around and reviews rate it as equally smooth. It doesn't have the Galaxy's screen but we're not comparing video here since that's not a core requirement.

The Galaxy uses a Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9. The 620 uses a Dual-core 1 GHz Krait.

The Galaxy has 1 GB RAM. The 620 has 512MB of RAM.

Those are under half the requirements in order to make the OS as fluid and usable, given the slower chip.

You can get WP phones with higher specs, of course but we're talking about OS requirements for a fluid user experience.

I hope that's absolved me of Eadoning.

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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

So WP8 will run fluidly on a single core ARM11 then?

Because Android seems to manage that just fine these days, unless you're still on Eclair, Donut or Cupcake.

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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

Short answer - yes. And way earlier than ARM-11.

We know this because it's been hacked onto the immortal HTC HD2, the Phone That Will Not Die.

http://www.xda-developers.com/android/and-it-keeps-going-and-going-hd2-receives-wp8-port/

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Paris Hilton

Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

"WP does offer problems though. It's bloated so demands powerful hardware to run it"

Yeah, that's why it's peers are running quad core whilst WP8 devices are still dual and before that WP7 ran fine on single core when everyone was having a chuckle at how behind in the blossoming spec war they were....

Reality distortion field still fully operational I see, keep it up, I do like a chuckle ;0)

Paris because she believes they're after you too and probably clicking the downvote right now.....

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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

> Yeah, that's why it's peers are running quad core

Actually "it's peers" run well on everything from single core and up.

> whilst WP8 devices are still dual and before that WP7 ran fine on single core

WP7 was based on the old CE and was incapable of supporting more than one core. In order to appear to be responsive it discarded any idea of real multi-tasking. apps put into background were tombstoned and then had to restart if brought back. There was a sort-of multi-tasking that was more like MS_DOS's TSRs from the 1980s.

WP8 _requires_ dual core (no more, no less) because one has to always be available to the UI, there seems to be a lack of ability to pre-empt, so just as in Windows 3.x, a user process can use all of one core and could prevent the UI from running if it was single on a core. Many converted WP7 apps won't run correctly on WP8 because the tombstoning is different.

"It's peers" can run on single to quad, or possibly more, because the underlying OS supports adequate mechanisms to ensure that running multiple tasks shares out the CPU cores to give adequate processing to all.

Quad cores are not necessarily about performance, they are about power usage. The OS (ie of "it's peers") can shut down unused cores completely and then put the remaining one into sleep mode. This can reduce the standby power usage to much less than if it was single or dual core.

When WP7 could only use single core they ignorantly 'chuckled' at dual core, now that WP8 can only use dual core they ignorantly 'chuckle' at quad core.

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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

> It [WP8] uses about half the resources that Android demands.

Given that Android can run adequately on single core 400MHz ARM and WP8 won't run at all on that (because it _requires_ dual core) then your statement is complete nonsense.

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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

Not for any sane definition of "adequately".

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Stop

Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

WP8 _requires_ dual core (no more, no less)

Untrue. According to MS (who should know), the OS Is capable of supporting as many cores as desktop NT. Which is 256, or at least it was as of Server 2K8.

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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

"Not for any sane definition of "adequately".

I had a 600mhz ARM11-powered ZTE Racer that performed quite adequately as a smartphone. It had maps, it had youtube, it was responsive, and the phone quality was good. Angry Birds ran jerkily, it had a resistive screen and 320x240 resolution, but at the time it was about 10% of the price of the iPhone and a good deal cheaper than the high end droids.

You don't buy a Netbook to play Crysis then complain that it's inadequate.

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Re: Graph with *3* lines on it

>> WP8 _requires_ dual core (no more, no less)

> Untrue. According to MS (who should know), the OS Is capable of supporting as many cores as desktop NT. Which is 256, or at least it was as of Server 2K8.

The current implementations of WP8 are for certain specific SoCs. These are all dual core. It is possible that they could implement it for a SoC that is quad core or more, but that would make the 'chuckler' look even sillier.

Windows versions varied in the number of cores they supported. In this regard Sever editions are not the same as desktop editions. If we look at actual Windows NT (later followed by 2000, XP, Vista, 7 and 8) we find that 'desktop' supports 2 while server supports 4 or 8.

"""It was Windows NT and then Windows 2000 that introduced us to the benefits of being able to share the processing load between multiple CPUs: Windows 2000 Professional supported one or two processor chips, while the more expensive Server version supported up to four, and the Advanced Server up to eight. """

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Linux

Nice of you to make the effort Andrew...

So, we should all just buy an iDevice then?

Thanks.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Nice of you to make the effort Andrew...

@Andrew - "you can’t get everything you want in any format you want for a decent price, and it doesn’t play seamlessly. All the things Apple does within its own walled garden"

Joking about the "format" thing and the "price" thing, right? 'Cause that's freaking hilarious. I need a new cup of coffee and a new keyboard.

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Given Microsoft's track record...

...why would any of the mobile corps, etc. want to hitch their hardware wagons to WindowsPhone? Experience, or failing that history, says there's a good chance they'll be shafted as MS sets out to call the tune. I'm not saying MS is the devil incarnate, or that WP is crap, but perhaps it's understandable that plenty of people who want to make money try to make sure that is little as possible gets creamed off their profit margins, often wafer thin at the best of times, to feed the shareholders of an OS vendor who is beyond their control and used to believing that it's in charge.

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IT Angle

A somewhat harsh editorial...

...especially when it comes to Firefox OS. I have a Lumia 820 and like it as much as the next man, as long as it isn't Eadon. Yet even I recognise that a new OS entering the market can only be a good thing. Is it going to cause Google and Apple to quake in their boots? I doubt it. Will it inspire Windows Phone 8 and BB OS 10 to fight tooth and nail for the third spot, thus improving their own OSes and setting a benchmark for newcomers to aim for? I hope so.

Even the mighty Android and iOS had issues when they were first launched and had extremely small markets for their first year or so.

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jai
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Re: A somewhat harsh editorial...

I think the point was that, given that both iOS and Android have made progress and improvements since they were launched, it's strange to see FirefoxOS come out with so much progress and improvements yet to be made. Surely they've looked at a recent example from the competition and so should have made an effort to compete.

At least, that's how I read it.

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Re: A somewhat harsh editorial...

there is one thing about WP8 - the devices are cheap. If you want a work phone that connects seamlessly to an internal cloud and exchange environment then they are cheap to run and cheap to set up. Battery lasts reasonable time between charging too.

Dont get me wrong, I wouldnt swap my galaxy S2 for one for -personal- use but im trialling a couple here at work for the SMT and they seem to do the job for the right price.

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Re: A somewhat harsh editorial...

"Even the mighty Android and iOS had issues when they were first launched and had extremely small markets for their first year or so."

It's also worth noting that iphone's 2nd place really is very recent - the history of smartphones has really been Symbian, then Android, with iphone mostly in 3rd, 4th or 5th place. It pipped into 2nd with Symbian being dropped, and BB's loss in share, but it's really more than Android has come to dominate, now at near 80% share. (Indeed, the gap between iphone and Android is far greater than iphone and whoever's in 3rd place.)

And whilst Android grew rapidly after its first year, it took iphone around 3 or 4 years to get anywhere near comparable to other platforms.

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JDX
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even I recognise that a new OS entering the market can only be a good thing

Why? If we have only one dominant player or even 2, then more competition can be good. If we already have 4 (iOS, Android, WP, BB) then we have competition and differentiation already. A slew of similar competing nix-based OS does not seem to do anything but fragment the ecosystem, especially the nix part of it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: even I recognise that a new OS entering the market can only be a good thing

If we already have 4 (iOS, Android, WP, BB) then we have competition and differentiation already

@JDX: You're a Windows Phone fanboi, we get it, and we also understand why you should be worried about new competition entering the market and ending once and for all what chance your favourite platform has of achieving 5% market share.

More operating systems entering the market place is a good thing, particularly when they can interoperate using HTML5 (Firefox OS, Ubuntu, Sailfish, BB10, maybe Tizen) and Qt (Ubuntu, Sailfish, BB10, Android, iOS, maybe Tizen).

More choice, more diversity, yet essentially one shared ecosystem - what's not to like?

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Thumb Up

Re: A somewhat harsh editorial...

"Even the mighty Android and iOS had issues when they were first launched and had extremely small markets for their first year or so."

Been saying this for ages, normally as a challenge to the anti-choice biggots to find numbers to back up their claims - not that they ever have, accurate Microsoft stats seem to be rare as rocking-horse shit, but I figured that if these zealots actually had a point to make rather than just decrying Microsoft at every opportunity, they'd find some.

I guess they'd be happy to live in a world where this sort of behaviour is perfectly fine and above board.

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Re: even I recognise that a new OS entering the market can only be a good thing

Actually, I really like your point about interoperability. with HTML5 and Qt. I really hate and resent the whole lock-in with Apple and Microsoft (and Android), whether it might be on the phone or the desktop.

I don't know why more platforms aren't built with Qt. I use a package for writing embedded code which is called Crossworks. It's written using Qt and it's available not only for Linux, Windows and OS X, but also Open Solaris (and yes, I bought it to run on Linux, we *do* buy software, us Linux users!). It [Qt] makes fast, good looking truly cross-platform applications, every night Rowley do an automated build for each platform. It bemuses me that [third party] companies that make applications limit themselves to one OS. I really don't care about which platform has biggest market share; if people want to get locked-in with MS or Apple, that's their lookout, but it doesn't make sense for the third party app writers (and frankly, it doesn't really make sense for the users).

"More choice, more diversity, yet essentially one shared ecosystem - what's not to like?" Spot on!

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Re: A somewhat harsh editorial...

Being an old person who uses his phone for phoning, text, email and maps, and little else, I have to say I love my Lumia 920 and it's got a great camera. As you say, it integrates well into the world of Exchange, and that's just what I want. Battery life's pretty good, too.

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JDX
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Re: even I recognise that a new OS entering the market can only be a good thing

>>@JDX: You're a Windows Phone fanboi, we get it

Come back when you can make an argument rather than just insult people for upvotes. If a fanboi is someone who thinks WP is roughly on a par with Android and iOS then sure I'm a fanboi.

HTML5 is not the answer. It lacks many essential features and requires developing in a horrific toolset. That's WHY everyone writes apps for multiple platforms in the first place, not for fun. Maybe in 5 years your point will be valid.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: even I recognise that a new OS entering the market can only be a good thing

Maybe in 5 years your point will be valid.

The point is valid now, the fact you don't think it is shows how badly you have your head stuck up Ballmers ass. The entire Firefox UI is written in just HTML+CSS, which just goes to show it can be done. Today.

For the new platforms other than Firefox OS, if you want to go beyond HTML5, then you also have Qt, which works on every platform (though not Windows Phone, but that's Microsofts loss).

There's a world of choice out there that you seem to be closing your mind to. Developers are not stupid, they'll choose the platforms that make sense and if that means using tools that allow them to target the incumbents (iOS/Android) and also the new players for very little additional effort then they will do so.

Keep drinking the Microsoft koolaid and rocking the Windows Phone pal, it sounds like you'll be one of the last.

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Forking Android

Why assume that operators won't mess up an Android fork, just like they mess up everything else?

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Re: Forking Android

That bit of the article made me laugh out loud. I'd love to see what depths of depravity for example Orange could come up with, judging by the state of their Android launchers, if they could control the entire platform...

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Re: Forking Android

Maybe, but it's a lot harder to mess up something when the hard work of getting its underpinnings stable has already been done than it is to mess up something when starting from scratch.

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Why would the operators back MS?

WP has its own updates pushed out from MS's mothership and it's own MS-controlled app store where MS gets the cash and MS-centric services... it's a copy and paste of the iPhone.

But yes, they should have funnelled money between them into the GSMA and come up with an Android fork with n different operator-flavoured versions of a home screen, icons, operator app store, mobile manufacturer app store (got to bribe them somehow), media store, account management app, push e-mail, cloud storage, Joyn, twatbook app, etc... Can't be that difficult, most of it's done already for Android and Intel would love the chance to throw money at it too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why would the operators back MS?

Windows Update appeared in 1995. SUS appeared in 2005. iphone in 2007.

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Updates are pushed out from phone makers, not Microsoft.

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FAIL

Re: Why would the operators back MS?

"But yes, they should have funnelled money between them into the GSMA and come up with an Android fork with n different operator-flavoured versions of a home screen, icons, operator app store, mobile manufacturer app store (got to bribe them somehow), media store, account management app, push e-mail, cloud storage, Joyn, twatbook app, etc... Can't be that difficult, most of it's done already for Android and Intel would love the chance to throw money at it too."

Why would anyone in the market for a nice phone want this? The phones would need to be either much cheaper than existing Android phones, or better.

Given that Android is given away to manufacturers and the major expense is the hardware, the phones are unlikely to be cheaper. The phones are extremely unlikely to be better: there is no possibility that the network operators will come up with a better maps app than Google, and a multitude of shitty app stores will be correctly perceived by consumers to be inferior to one good app store.

I could see this plan might snare a few customers at the low end of the market, but at the higher end, forget it.

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Re: Why would the operators back MS?

Nobody at the higher end buys one of those mobiles rebadged for an operator, but there are plenty of people at the lower end who don't care and something like this would be fine for them. Intel wants to subsidise Atom mobiles. The operators can get revenue from the app store, customer data, and advertising instead of Google. They might have a problem with maps, but Nokia's just announced they're willing to licence theirs out.

An Android-compatible platform which gives some power back to the operators wouldn't really take long to develop and would certainly be a better strategy than flailing about year after year. People who want the real Android deal but fancy any operator-specific apps (you never know, there might be some...) could easily download them if they feel like it.

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Re: Why would the operators back MS?

Android isn't given away to manufacturers. There is a license fee.

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Re: Why would the operators back MS?

There's a licence fee for Google Apps but not for Android

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