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back to article Nokia tries to lure Android porters with free Nokia X mobes

Nokia has started encouraging Android developers to support its Nokia X platform. The phones, primarily aimed at developing markets, run a highly customised version of Android and to ensure compatibility Nokia has wound up its developer outreach programme. Next week Monday – 24 March – Nokia will be around the corner from …

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If you're not required to sell your soul to Google (or anyone else for that matter) they might be worth a look. Haven't seen them mentioned on any of the coming soon pages of various carriers though.

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Anonymous Coward

These things are crappy. If they were giving out WP Lumias the queue would be around the block...

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Anonymous Coward

You make it sound as though Lumias and Windows phones are so desirable, everyone covets one

Talk to the woeful sales figures and abysmal market share for Windows phones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You make it sound as though Lumias and Windows phones are so desirable, everyone covets one

A quick Bing shows well over 100% YoY growth for Windows Phone , over 10% of sales in the EU big 5, and sales are ahead of Blackberry everywhere, and ahead of the iPhone in about 20 countries - sounds pretty good to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Hopefully Microsoft will back it because it undermines Google Play....

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It shouldn't need to persuade devs

If Nokia had been part of the standard ecosystem, including (shock horror) including the Google apps it would have picked up support for free. Virtually every app in the store would work on their device. They could have still personalised the experience, even putting their own launcher on top. Even putting their own apps and app store on the device. But they didn't.

But if they want to give away phones in a desperate attempt to pick up devs, then I'll certainly sign up. It won't do them any good though. Blackberry did the same thing, giving away Playbook tablets and SDKs to rebundle android apps. It turns out that supporting multiple android-a-likes with different app stores is more bother than its worth.

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JDX
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Re: It shouldn't need to persuade devs

That's a bit like saying everyone should use the same version of Linux. They want their own OS, but using Android saves 90% of the work.

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How much porting effort?

Different flavours of Linux are so similar that binaries from one often work on another. Alien can convert between Debian an Red hat package format. This bribery to port suggests porting to Nokidroid is not a purely mechanical process, so I do not see that this is anything like saying everyone should use the same version of Linux.

If Nokia had released something that could run standard Android apps, but could also run Nokidroid then they would have some hope of getting a toe in the market. Developers will only consider Nokidroid if there is an installed base big enough to pay for the porting effort and if there is some advantage to using this new API compared to standard Android.

Samsung have Tizen devices that can run Tizen and Android apps. I can see Tizen getting somewhere if Samsung ever decide to run with it. All I see from Nokia is another Kin.

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Re: How much porting effort?

> This bribery to port suggests porting to Nokidroid is not a purely mechanical process

Bribery, Right. A couple of beers is bribery, is it? My god man, you can be bought for cheap. How many beers did you get from Google?

Speaking of Google - the Play APIs now pretty much infest Android and they are closed source and wholly proprietary. They also cost money to implement and if the manufacturer agrees to pay this money then a) Google Maps, GMail et al must become default apps on the handset and b) no handsets which do not implement the Play APIs may be produced on that site.

Nokia, having HERE maps and stuff and not wanting to bin them just to make money for Google, are not implementing the Play APIs. This is (in my opinion) the biggest reason why they never made Android phones before; it takes time to integrate alternatives well.

So this event is presumably teaching devs how to use the Nokia APIs instead of the Play APIs.

I guess any dev who attends is a heretic though, right? A heretic who must be burned for not following the One True Google Way?

And then you'll tell me about lock-in....

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Re: It shouldn't need to persuade devs

"That's a bit like saying everyone should use the same version of Linux. They want their own OS, but using Android saves 90% of the work."

Not at all. I'm simply observing the reality here - porting apps to different app stores is a massive pain in the arse. Every store wants different resolution screenshots and banner art. Every store has a laundry list of things an app must or must not do. Every store has a different payments approval process which can take days sometimes.

And a franken-droid platform that lacks google services is even more effort. That means creating, maintaining and testing two branches and basically doubling the release effort. This other app store would have to be amazing to justify the effort.

As I said, if Nokia start handing out a phone I might sign up and go through the effort of uploading. Once. It's hard to see how I could even know my app worked without a physical device to test it on. Emulators are no good for games or multitouch apps.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm not sure about that...

"Better than [free] food and beer is free [Nokia] phones"

Really !!!!!!

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Unhappy

Awww...

...I though I was going to read about little green robots which would carry my bags at the railway station.

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Futile Attempts

Microsoft is grasping at straws in order to foist the feudalistic Windows Phone proprietary operating system on unknowing and helpless users. They are targeting "developing markets" (maybe they should go door-to-door) which means a lot of poor people who are uneducated about what user subjugating software is, and how it keeps the people divided and helpless. It's also obvious they need Android to garner any interest, which creates another bifurcated schizophrenic horror of an OS. Sound familiar?

Let's cut through the red tape, and say the thing that really matters: Now that there's an opportunity for people to break free of the Microsoft ecosystem, and the alternative is better than the complete crap that Microsoft attempts to impose on people, users are running like crazy people escaping out of a mental hospital. Microsoft had their heyday throughout the 90's, and that time is over. History does repeat itself, but this time it's not going to be Microsoft at the forefront. Anybody who invests in Microsoft or who is a developer that relies on income from software designed for Microsoft platforms should be very concerned, as the whole devices and services strategy doesn't seem to be working very well.

Another reason why Android is the way to go is because it's an open platform, i.e., you can install the open source CyanogenMod on your device. Windows Phone attempts to lock down and lock in users, and also contains a back door just like Windows 8.x in the app store. With CyanogenMod the user doesn't have to install Google Play, and apps can be sideloaded.

This movie really reminds me of Bing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Futile Attempts

Microsoft must be grasping the rights straws then - WP is the fastest growing mobile OS globally - and has ~12% consumer and ~17% enterprise market share of sales in the UK at the moment.

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I'd give their platform a try, if it wasn't for Microsoft's take-over.

Even if they don't kill it, I'm tired of developing with MS tools now.

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Anonymous Coward

MS long term plan

Since all MS efforts to take over the Mobile space have been total failures here is their new plan to attack Google.

Step 1 - Introduce an Android platform but use MS locked in instead of Google

Step2 - Sell/bribe/threaten enough developers to port their apps to build up an application base

Step3 - Go to the major Google partners and say "you know that per phone $$ you pay us - we have a deal for you if switch to our infrastructure"

some point in the future when Google is no longer a major player

Step 4 - MS announces that the future is MS Phone and they are no longer supporting the Android environment and tough, you no longer have a choice, start making Window phones.

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Re: MS long term plan

> Step 1 - Introduce an Android platform but use MS locked in instead of Google

Because MS lock-in is sooooooo much worse than Google lock-in.

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How hard to port?

Nokia claims that 70% of programs will run without any changes.

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Re: How hard to port?

Yes, the 70% of programs which don't make use of Google services. Which would include location, maps, leaderboards / achievements, piracy / DRM checks and cloud storage. The problem is a lot of apps DO use those things.

And will authors go to the huge effort of stripping out or replacing that code with Nokia-a-like versions just for a miniscule user base? Maybe some big apps will but many others won't.

And even if they don't use the backend, the author still has to go to the not inconsiderable effort of testing the app on Nokia's device, uploading it to their store and doing so in perpetuity. Again for a miniscule user base.

The same strategy failed for Archos, it failed for RIM, it failed for Nook and it will fail for Nokia. Even Amazon which has the clout to sustain a large rival app store and I wouldn't call that a blazing success either.

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Re: How hard to port?

The four games I've got out on Android so far all pass the online checker test that Nokia offer with no changes - and that's with Admob.

Guess I'll find out for certain when I can actually get a handset to test on. But end of the day, it's another potential market, so why not?

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Re: How hard to port?

The Admob SDK doesn't use Google services so there's your answer. As for another potential market, yes it is but it has to be balanced against the administration, testing and support associated with multiple stores.

For example if I upload an app to Amazon's store, then all the banner art is a different size and fields are different which is a pain. Then I can't use any Google services. Then Amazon wants to push their own services on me and punishes me with lower prominence if I don't (so called Developer Select). Then the submission process is different and very slow. Then Amazon puts onerous restrictions on the price I can set for my app while allowing them to discount it any way they please.

So supporting this one other store requires at least 2 or 3 hours at a shot, and if I want my app to qualify for developer select it means far more overhead to maintain 2 branches, and merge and test them for each release.

I'm sure Nokia's store won't be substantially different - a bunch of things done differently that act as a time sink. So that's why if Nokia give me a phone I might make the effort but I'm sure as hell not going to otherwise, or until the device sells in quantity to make me change my mind.

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Old man waves fist at clouds, film at 11

Am I the only person to feel a stab of sadness that the 'London Android Group' is just something to do with a rather crummy operating system running on mobile phones?

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