* Posts by Mark .

1859 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Nokia: free phones for developers

Mark .

Re: It has started even sooner than I thought

It's always a risk announcing new technology. But other companies seem to manage it without having their current sales collapse (consider Apple - move to OS X, x86, not to mention the constant pre-announcements of the Ipad 2, or the next Iphone).

"with a guaranteed dead OS which is guaranteed to have a no upgrade path."

Funny, my OS still works. How many phone owners actually upgrade their OS? Hardly any, I would have thought. (If you mean a phone upgrade, then the upgrade will be the WP7 phones. Most people don't care about the underlying technology - just as today's Apple x86 PCs are upgrades from PPC Macs, and as OS X was an upgrades from Mac OS, even though the technology was completely different.)

And if you're suggesting that giving things away for free is a sign of low sales - I've lost track of the number of times I've seen some advert giving away a free Iphone or Ipad...

Mark .

Re: Sounding more like Microsoft by the day

Hardly. Giving developer hardware is a not uncommon practice for companies, and makes damn good sense.

And let's face it - if it was Apple doing this, people would be praising Apple for wonderful developer support, whilst moaning that Nokia "doesn't get it" and will lose out by not supporting developers.


Microsoft bans open source license trio from WinPhone

Mark .

Nokia Ovi

I forget how things work with Windows Phone - have they gone the Apple route of requiring you to release from their app store, or is it like Nokia, Android etc, where you can release anywhere?

Admittedly it's still a problem, as in practice if you're not on the "official" store, you'll have a hard time getting people to use the app.

I forget what the Nokia/MS announcement would mean for the Ovi Store? Will Nokia be phasing that out completely? Or do they still plan to offer than on top of Windows Phone? If the latter, we can still hope they have better conditions.


What sealed Nokia's fate?

Mark .

Correcting a few myths

"IMHO, the point at which it all went irretrievably to the dogs was the point twelve months ago where they effectively killed Maemo and the N900 successor to tit around with Intel on MeeGo which produced exactly nothing. You can't spend a year doing nothing in this business."

Eh? Nokia have produced plenty of smartphones in the meantime. Not running Maemo or MeeGo, no, but so? It is a shame they never produced a successor to the N900, but it is false to say that Nokia haven't been doing anything.

"Now nobody is going to invest in Qt development - so Symbian is finished."

Was PPC finishing the moment Apple announced x86? Or when they went from classic Mac OS to OS X? Was XP abandoned when Vista was announced?

Let's drop this myth. History shows us that development not only postdates the announcement of new technology, but even continues after the release, due to the installed userbase.

"What kind of an idiot kills off his existing platform while he's still a year away from having a successor?"

So every other company that announces new technology in advance are "idiots"? And I guess Apple must be prize idiots then, by this logic, as we're always getting news about Ipad 2 and Iphone 5, or whatever the next one might be.

Mark .
Thumb Down

Nokia's fate? Eh?

"Nokia and Symbian was the last of the European software business, it's gone overnight. That's depressing,"

Nokia != Symbian. Yes, Symbian is gone, and yes it's perhaps sad that as far as OSs is gone, there's no longer anything from Europe.

But Nokia are still around. The fact that they change a technology they use is no different to when Apple or Microsoft or anyone who else do this.

"For me, the most remarkable part of Nokia's decline"

Okay, I stopped reading there. Nokia are still the number one phone and smartphone company. (Even with Android making number one in one quarter, that's split across several companies - Nokia are still number one.)

There has also been no decline - their sales have rocketed. Yes, market share has fallen, but this is playing games with statistics - the market has massively increased, and more companies have entered the market. Would you rather be 60% in a tiny market, or 30% in a massive market?

If company A sells 1 million gadgets, company B sells 1000 gadgets. Then the next year, company A sells 10 million gadgets, company B sells 100000 gadgets, company C sells 100000 gadgets.

Company's A market share has fallen from 99.9% to 98%.

The next year, company A sells 20 million gadgets, companies B and C sell 1 million each. Company's A market share has fallen to 91%. A shocking decline! Yet, company A is not only number one, it is increasing it's sales - with sales increasing higher than B and C.

I'm sure that Apple's market share in tablets will decline, but will we hear doom and gloom about Apple? No, people will realise there it's inevitable as the market grows, and more competitors enter the market.


Acer taps out yet more tablets

Mark .

Tablets vs Netbooks

"Surely running Windows, with an HDD and a detachable keyboard it's a bit of a stretch to put it in the same category as 'tablets'?"

I don't see why tablets and netbooks are counted as separate categories in the first place. We're going to see tablets with keyboards, and netbook/laptops with touchscreens already exist. You can run Android on netbooks, and we're going to see Windows on tablets.

We don't separate phones into categories depending on whether they have a touchscreen or not, after all.


iPhone 5 rumors: bigger, smaller, cloudy, keyboard-equipped

Mark .

Apple vaporware? Brick phones?

Iphone 5? Ipad 2? Let's have actual news on actual products. I might as well make the revolutionary claim that there'll be an Ipad 3 after the Ipad 2, and that it'll be slightly better too; and there'll be a new version of Android, and Nokia will release some new models of smartphones too.

I do agree with the article that even if we took the rumours as fact, it's nothing special. Just Yet Another phone.

It's also unclear to me why bigger phones means better - some people like the smaller sizes. Indeed, once upon a time, being bigger was seen as *worse*, and people would refer to older larger phones as a "brick".

"No tube trip is complete without seeing somebody listening to music or playing a game on an iPhone." - are you sure these aren't Ipod Touches? I thought I was seeing a lot of Iphones too, and wondered if they'd become more popular, then I realised they were Ipods.

Michael C: I don't know anyone who uses a Mac for complex tasks like AV editing. They use it for the same things that most other PC users do.


Intel demos MeeGo 'tablet user experience'

Mark .

Re: After looking at the video...

"Everyone now-a-days thinks that their devices are going to change the way we interact with the world and revolutionise computing."

To be fair, that's exactly what people claimed about the Ipad too.

Me, I prefer sitting on the sofa with a netbook. Give me a real keyboard anytime, a real OS, and I much prefer the way it sits nicely on my lap, without me having to hold it (or look directly down on it, getting a sore neck). Touchscreens on netbooks will become common soon enough I bet anyway, making the distinction irrelevant.

"Came with a stylus"

Why is that bad? It was optional, surely? I prefer a stylus for the extra precision and avoiding wiping muck on the screen, though fingers can be used for brief periods too.


Microsoft polishes Windows Phone 7

Mark .

Re: Symbian is great

I agree with Davidoff - I love my Symbian phone. Having said that, if Nokia also see Windows Phone as a better platform for future development, then that's fine too.

I can't help noticing there being two sides: people who love Nokia (and Symbian), hating the move to WP; and people who hate Nokia (and MS), and using this as an opportunity to moan about them yet again.

Heaven forbid we wait and see how it turns out. It's just an OS.

Shakje: You can make your claims all you want - but the fact of the matter is that more people are "sold" on Nokia smartphones, than from any other company. Sure, not everyone prefers Symbian, but Davidoff's point is that there is still plenty of good about it. And if you're saying that no one cares about the OS - well that's even more reason why this move to WP shouldn't be a problem, as Nokia will still sell the hardware, and be the market leader.

"Good old Microsoft, wowing audiences with up and coming technology that you can already buy elsewhere."

Well, it worked okay for the Iphone...


Grief and disbelief greet Elop's Nokia revolution

Mark .

Nokia disappearing?

"Nokia get a chance to not disappear off the map by ditching some OS that no bugger wanted to use."

I enjoy using it, it still sells as much as all Android sellers put together, and twice as much as the Iphone. There seemed to be no evidence of Nokia disappearing off the map - especially not as they're the number one phone company.

Don't get me wrong, I do agree with the rest of your post - the alliance could do very well. (And yes, whilst I think that Symbian is fine, I think it is odd that the Nokia haters hear simultaneously whine about Symbian, but also think this is a bad move. If Symbian really is bad, then surely this is a good move? It also means that all the people buying Nokia smartphones don't care about the OS - so when the switch happens, we may well see Windows Phone rocket up to 30% market share, completely demolishing Apple.)

Mark .

good article

Thanks for an insightful article. A shame to see the Nokia-haters out in force in the comments. (If they don't use Nokia, why care about the announcement?)

I'm not saying this seems a good move - but that's precisely because they're currently doing so well in the number one position, with Symbian, and it seems there's a risk to lose. But having said that, there's no reason why a company should stick with one technology - I guess they feel that Windows Phone is better for the future.

No one complained when Apple ditched Mac OS for Nextstep, rebranded as OS X, after all. (Not to mention that Apple also did a deal with Microsoft - did that turn out bad for Apple?)

It does occur to me that even if the move is a disaster for Nokia, their market share is so great that they might still be selling more than Apple. Which means - Windows Phone will be outselling Apple. After all the years of people poking fun at Windows Mobile, I will find that very hiliarious.

"Symbian will be around for a long time, but as a S40 version."

I see what you're trying to say, but I wish that they would ditch S40, and use Symbian for the low end - I think they'd wipe the floor providing a low end smartphone against the other "feature phones". But it seems Symbian will be phased out, whilst S40 is kept :(

"I get thumbs down for analysing Nokia's strategy."

Yes, it's sad - whilst petty moans about Nokia get modded up. Unfortunately there's a vocal minority on geek/tech forums that love to hate Nokia. This can't be representative though, since Nokia outsell everyone else. (They ship ten times as many phones as Apple, but who gets all the hype?)

Indeed, the fact that the moaners are out in force at this deal makes me think that maybe it'll be a good move.

I agree with you that the bloggers and geeks have no clue about the mobile market. You get people thinking that Apple are the number one company, or the first to make a smartphone; or that Nokia are a minor company, or don't make smartphones. Or they base their knowledge of market sales based on what they and their friends have.

Just take a look at this comment posted:

"Frankly Nokia been an irrelevant phone company for a while."

Yeah right, irrelevant as the number one company. But as you say - what he really means is "I don't like them, therefore they're irrelevant." Well by that logic, I don't use Apple, so they're irrelevant.


"Am I the only one to fail how being one of the manufacturers for the untested and so far unpopular Windows Phone 7 along with HTC and Samsung puts them in a better position than being one of the manufacturers for the best-selling and popular Android along with HTC and Samsung?"

Because Nokia sell far more phones than HTC and Samsung.

"Am I the only one that would love to buy Android on Nokia?"

That would be nice. I'd also like to keep buying Symbian on Nokia. In fact, I'd like to buy Symbian on HTC or Motorola. I'm sure plenty would like to buy Android on Iphone ... or WP on Nokia. You don't get everything, though.

"Judging by the comments here and elsewhere Nokia have just leaped right over MS, Google and Apple to become the most evil mobile company in the world, which is quite an achievement in itself."

Not really - the whiners have always hated Nokia. God knows why.

"It appears that Nokia's total R&D spend is about 3 times that of Apple."

Good - and it shows in the quality of its products. The article is biased on several counts: Nokia have S40, Symbian and MeeGo to Apple's IOS; Nokia are also developing Qt which can be used for desktop platforms; IOS isn't just a phone OS, but was developed for the Ipod, so they don't have to spend as much specifically for the phone side of things.


It's official: Nokia bets on Microsoft for smartphones

Mark .

"Losers alliance"?

There's plenty to be concerned about the news - but POV comments like this are nonsense. Nokia are the number one phone company - even if Android did make number one in one single quarter, Nokia are still the largest selling company, and Symbian is still doing very well as a platform.

Now possibily I misinterpret, and it's the opinion that this announcement will lead them to doom. Possibly. Although I suspect that Microsoft have plenty to gain. Nokia ship more phones than anyone else, and I doubt most people give a damn about the OS.

I feel sad that Nokia are supporting Microsoft, rather than open source Symbian and Meego (the latter also being based on Linux). OTOH, why isn't there this level of criticism against the far more closed and walled-garden Apple (who also made a deal with Microsoft once, let's not forget)?

As for the comments - it's been a long trend that people have whinged about Nokia in the comments of geek articles, whilst Nokia have continued to go from strength to strength, as the number one company, with increasing sales. I have concern about this announcement - but the fact that so many people here seem to dislike it suggests to me that actually they may do very well, if the past is anything to go by ;)

I'm also amused at the irony that for years, the Nokia-haters have been saying that Nokia should ditch Symbian. And when they say they will, that's bad too! You can't have it both ways - people like me are sad because we liked what Nokia are doing. But if you didn't, why do you care about them changing direction?

GregC: I think that sums up my feelings too. Despite people loving to bash Nokia, I love my Nokia 5800. And choice in the phone market - Android, Symbian, Maemo/Meego - was a good thing. All of them open source too. Android is okay - but I still feel that having to move to that as my only choice, as a least-worse, is a rather depressing idea. Who knows, maybe they'll do something good with Windows Phone; but I'd rather Nokia were supporting open source operating systems, and Qt.

"too many handsets, too little development of Symbian"

Too many handsets? Why is that a problem? And if you are worried about Symbian development, all the more reason it's good to go elsewhere, right?

"Should have been android "

That would've been bad too. I like Symbian - and moreover, the choice is good. It has things I like that Android doesn't (offline mapping, non-crap battery life, Qt development). Now, if they could have added the best of Symbian to Android, that would be good too I guess. If you think Symbian is so bad, why the concern at losing it?

I agree they should consider HTC etc as the competitors (the media miss this point too, preferring to compare phones on OS rather than manufacturers). But "coalition of losers" is just nonsense.

Jim Coleman: I agree that choice is good. But I think that's also a reason to be sad by this: we already have WP7 phones if we want them; but losing Symbian will be less choice.


Starbucks' iPhone barcode app easily scammed by screengrab

Mark .

Taking the phone

For all the comments about how they might as well steal the phone - that's also a far more significant crime, for which the person will be calling the police straight away, and you've got the evidence on you if you get caught. If there's any CCTV there too, you may be found.

But it's going to take a lot longer before they notice a mistake on their account, if they notice it at all - plus they'll first of all likely blame Starbucks thinking they did it by mistake, and will have no way of knowing that someone else did this.


HP reveals inaugural Palm webOS tablet

Mark .

Why the concern about "apps"?

If apps are important, then why don't people make that argument in favour of Windows too, which surely has more than any other platform? Why even consider a tablet, when a netbook running a full desktop OS like Windows or Linux will give you vast amounts of software?

The argument I instead hear is "most people just want to browse the Internet or email, so this other OS on a tablet is fine for that". I presume that WebOS has a browser, so what's the problem here?

Most IOS apps seems to just be wrappers for websites anyway, or basic things like fart/purity ring apps. We're not talking Photoshop and Office here.

"Apple will have had an 18 month start by the time this gets to market "

I don't think that's a problem - I suspect the market will continue to grow significantly. Apple were hardly the first ones out with a tablet, after all. They're just taking advantage of a market that's much bigger than a few years ago when you had Nokia and Archos tablets. And it will grow bigger still.


Apple under threat from ... Windows tablets

Mark .

"People made me buy Windows, honest"

"Yeah right. What other choice do I have as an O/S when I buy a Netbook?"

Linux, which was available on plenty of netbooks to begin with.

By your logic, "what other choice do I have when I buy a tablet?"

The point is, Windows is doing well, and people buy Windows netbooks. If this was really only through lack of choice, netbook sales should have plummetted when people could buy the wonderful IOS based tablet. But no, plenty of people happily still buy netbooks (myself being one of them - I actively preferred Windows to Linux, or any OS that was designed for phones).

Mark .


Ipad are only first if you separate Netbooks from Tablets - we don't separate phones based on whether they have touchscreens or physical keyboards, so why netbooks from tablets? (I know the answer - because it makes Apple look number one...) In future, I suspect we'll see "tablets" with physical keyboards, and more "netbooks" with touchscreens.

I don't see why Windows being a threat is strange. Yes they are hopeless on phones, but that's not the issue here. On netbooks meanwhile, Windows is dominating.


iPhone owners get walked through confessional

Mark .


Nice how one can get free advertising for a paid-for app... (This is more a gripe at places like the BBC, than the Register - the BBC are supposed to not have advertising, but they'll happily give you free nationwide advertising for your commercial Iphone app - also see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8152338.stm . How is that news? Next time I write an app for my Nokia, I'll be sending details to the BBC...)


BBC iPlayer iPad app out this week

Mark .

The Joke

"The joke, of course, is that iPlayer works well on the iPad even without an app."

Well I'm glad that someone gets it. I am confused how every other website seems to advertise an "iPhone app" just for viewing the website. I have a killer app on my Nokia 5800, that allows me to view _any_ website...

It makes me suspicious of claims that IOS has a better browser - if it is so good, why the need for specific apps? Windows (for netbooks) and Symbian, Android (for phones) are far more popular, but no one is writing special website-wrapper apps for them.

The BigYin, spencer: Other phones like Symbian and Android can just use the already available Flash based program. The Iphone only needs a special application because it can't handle that.

To be fair to the BBC, you can get applications for more popular platforms like Windows too. At least, correct me if I'm wrong - I hope this new Ipad app doesn't offer any functionality not available for other platforms?

ThomH: "If you add the iPod Touch and iPad to the iPhone, versus all Android phones + tablets then iOS remains ahead."

If you're including mp3 players and tablets, let's add netbooks to that count, and see how Windows outsells them both.

Stuart Halliday: "Now that Android devices are out-selling IOS"

Sadly, choice of platform for apps has never had anything to do with market share. Symbian has been number one for years, RIM at number two (number one in the US), yet they get ignored. They and Android have outsold Iphones for years, yet the Iphone seems to be treated by companies as the only platform for apps. Java phones dominate everything, but companies would rather target a 3% share of the market.

Now that Android is number one, look forward to even fewer apps ;)

DominicT: "Why can't your marvelous and 'open' platform just use the Web version of iPlayer?"

It can. Now the real question is, why can't the Ipad do that?

The rest of your argument isn't relevant - the issue isn't what they show, it's about access. Remember the uproar when they made Iplayer Windows only? But at least Windows was the number one platform, and had 90+% market share. The Ipad isn't anywhere near either of those.


Android's on top – will Nokia and RIM let it in?

Mark .

Oh, so now market share matters? But Nokia are still number one

Nokia are still the number one company - since Android share is split across many companies. We've had years of doom and gloom and FUD from the media, but Nokia remain number one.

And who cares about being number two platform share? Did anyone moan about Android only being number two? Does anyone moan that Iphone is number three or number four? No! For years when Symbian was number one, it was virtually ignored by the media. I've got to laugh that the minute Android is number one, in only one quarter, suddenly market share is important!

Claims that they should switch to another OS are ludicrous - they could, but there's also no need to. Should Apple Macs switch to using Windows, because Windows has much more market share than OS X? Indeed, should the Iphone switch to using Android or Symbian? Did anyone suggest Google should adopt Symbian, in all the years that Android had lower market share? I also wonder why people care - if you want an Android phone, why care what Nokia sells? I might as well demand that HTC release a version of the Desire that runs Symbian, which I would still rather have than Android (better battery life, decent offline mapping, better API).

Nokia may have lost market share, but their actual sales have exploded. Would you rather be 60% in a tiny market, or 30% in a massive market, with much greater share?

Nokia sell more phones a quarter, than Apple have ever sold - yet all we hear is Nokia either being ignored, or moaned about in the press, whilst Apple are hyped constantly.

I agree with Andus McCoatover's comment above - most people don't care about the OS. It's amusing to see a bunch of geeks arguing about Android vs Apple, when Nokia are still the number one phone company.

Ubuntu Is a Better Slide Rule: "Crap API" Eh? The main Symbian API is Qt/C++, which is one of the best APIs around. J2ME is there for their low end phones, and J2ME is the same thing you get for all phones in that price range. (And whilst Java might not be great, it has the advantage of being cross-platform across all phones. And Android uses Java anyway.)

"it would only be fair for Nokia to go belly-up; considering the fact that their only passion is a Passion For Money."

Yet people are also here saying Apple are better based on them making more money.

ThomH: I have no trouble doing basic things on my Nokia 5800, including the browser. Now, tell me how you do basic things like copy/paste or multitask on an Iphone?

bojennett: "Apple redefined what a Smartphone is, (chocolate bar form factor, touch screen),"

Both of these were around years before Apple. The definition of "smartphone" has never been well defined.


Mac App Store: Developer godsend or Evil Empire?

Mark .

"With Mac App Store this would be much easier."

Would it?

I mean, I share your frustrations, but even on Windows app stores (they do exist - download.com etc), even though they do tag things like "freeware", you still can't be sure that doesn't mean "the download is free, but it still misses crucial features, or stops working after 30 days", because the app store missed the restrictions.

The better solution I find is to look for open source software - you know that free means free there.

Mark .

Apple have more software than Windows!

I've lost count of the number of times in the media, it's been claimed that the Iphone has more apps than Android, Symbian etc, merely by app store counts (which is especially biased towards Apple, as on the Iphone, you can only distribute via the Apple app store; also on Symbian, it was arounds years before Nokia started their app store).

By that logic, there's more Mac software than Windows software, because the official Apple app store has apps, and there's no official Windows app store, right?

Whilst there are some advantages of a single official app store, I'm not sure it's all that great for the developer. There are all sorts of hoops to jump through (cost, signing contracts - it was much better when I could just upload to Aminet...) but if you don't join in, you lose out because customers get to thinking that that's the only place to get software.


ISPs and Vaizey set to bump heads over default porn filter

Mark .

It's opt-out, not opt-in!

They are arguing for *opt-out*.

Please let's not confuse the terminology - the pro-censorship lobby are twisting the words so that they refer to it as "opt in" when actually they mean filtered by default. Their reasoning being, you "opt in" to porn. This argument is wrong on a technical level (it implies that sites being filtered is the default unless you unfilter them), and on a semantic level (the "thing" we're referring to is not pr0n, but the filtering system, and that system is definitely opt out).

In the earlier Commons "debate" (I use the term loosely), MP Claire Perry was proposing that anything unsuitable for under *14* year olds should be filtered by default. Now I doubt we'll get something that mad, but it does show what they're pushing for, and how this isn't just about pr0n.

Last time I looked, children can't get non-mobile Internet access without parental permission - they're getting it because they're parents allow them to go online with their connection. So we already have the default situation being that children can't access it (and for mobiles, it's already filtered by default anyway).

A problem with opt-out system is also, what about sites that are wrongly filtered? This could be businesses losing customers, or other sites - how do they get all of their potential viewers to switch the filter off?

The comment about being beamed "unasked" for shows little understanding of basic Internet workings. Material is only downloaded if people request it. How about we have the Safermedia website censored by default, so we don't have to have it "beamed unasked" into our homes? See how they like it.


Hack spies 'iPad 2' at mag launch

Mark .

And wait - then after that, there'll be an iPad 3?

Another vaporware rumour article. How about news on products, rather than endlessly speculating that there might be an iPad 2 after the iPad 1. (Guess what - maybe there'll be an iPad 3. And maybe Windows 8 and Windows 9. And Samsung and Asus will release some more netbooks, that will be better than what's available now!)

Lee: "However you look at it the iPad is the yardstick against which all other slabs will be measured."

That's the very thing people are complaining about. It's a circular argument - "there's hype about the iSlate, because there's hype about the iSlate".

"your spiffy soon-to-be-released droid slab may stack up favourably against the current model of iPad"

A current tablet or netbook stacks up fine now. Future vaporware rumoured products will outdo the current Ipad, and will stack up fine against a future vaporware rumoured Ipad.

"Only those in category (1) aren't at least slightly interested in iPad 2 information."

You could make your 4-category argument about any kind of product. Does that mean we should have endless "Rumours of next product after the current one" for all of them?


Google man: 'Honeycomb' only for fondleslabs (so far)

Mark .

Is this ChromeOS?

I don't think fragmentation applies - there are good arguments for having different OSs optimised for phones and tablet/netbook sized devices. You don't want a desktop OS on your phone, nor do you want a tablet to just be a brick-sized phone like the iPad.

People don't complain that Windows on x86 is different to Windows on phones. People don't complain that there's fragmentation between OS X and iOS. Nokia also maintain a distinction between Symbian and Maemo/Meego (not to mention S40 for low end phones).

Google had always planned to have both Chrome and Android, so the idea of two OSs shouldn't be a surprise - though I wonder if this new announcement is what was originally planned to be Chrome?


Murdoch & Co unveil iPad news rag The Daily

Mark .

Killer app

I have discovered a Killer App on my Nokia 5800 phone - it works just like those iPhone and iPad apps you see for websites, but it lets you view all websites. Better yet, it works even if the website hasn't released an app specifically for people to view the website! Revolutionary!

I also found that my tablet-with-keyboard (aka netbook) comes with a similar app.

Seriously though - this is going back to the bad old days of "Best viewed in 800x600 on Internet Explorer". But it's _worse_ than that, as that was only a recommendation, but Apple and Murdoch would prefer a world where you only receive content through specifically written apps, and only on their hardware. The whole point of the web was to make information available through an open standard, and let people choose their own clients, available on any platform.

And if an app has something that the website doesn't, why can't I get it for you know, Windows - let alone Android and Symbian?

I guess the walled gardens of Apple and Murdoch are a perfect match for each other. But I sure hope that this isn't the way things go. I want to read information on the Internet on a platform I choose. I don't want a situation where despite most people using Windows/Symbian/Android, content producers decide to force us with "Only viewed on an iPad in 800x600".


Google's Chrome browser market share hits 10% mark

Mark .

flawed stats

Remember that these stats are often flawed - the same stats would claim the Iphone to be the most popular mobile platform, despite the fact that we know it isn't anywhere near that.

It penalises browsers that do more to cache results, as well as those that have to present themselves as another browser, in order not to be fed bogus data.

I too am confused why market share matters for users - and the point is, there isn't even consistency here. If Firefox fans say it's better than Opera because of greater market share, then by the same logic, we should all be using IE(!)

I'm glad to see more alternatives in browsers now gaining ground. Though I get annoyed when Firefox fans spend so much time evangelising against Opera users. Surely more non-IE competition is good? I was using a non-IE browser long before Firefox existed, and long before it became trendy to not use IE, so it's frustrating to hear this envangelism from a Johnny-come-lately.


Home Office crime maps go to street-level detail

Mark .

Level of demand

The level of demand is obviously going to be massively more than what it would usually receive later on.

So are people actually suggesting they should spend resources on systems that can cope with a massive demand, for the couple of days when it first launches, even though it'll be unnecessary later on? And people are also complaining about wasting money?

(If this was a company, people would be spinning it as a good thing - "Look how popular demand for the product is!")


Netgear CEO says 'closed' Apple is doomed

Mark .

Microsoft are worth billions too

There appear to be several ad-hominems in the comments. Just because Apple have a lot of money, doesn't mean criticism isn't relevant.

By that logic, no one should ever be able to criticise Microsoft!

Regarding the article - don't forget Symbian, also an open platform (both open source, and not a locked down walled garden). It's good that the top two platforms, covering over 60% market share, are open, whilst the Apple model of mobile computing appears to not be succeeding. Of course yes, Apple will still make plenty of money selling expensive products to a niche, that's what they always do, but I'm glad that the future of mobile computing looks open.

And the fact that a closed model makes lots of money for Apple is precisely the reason why users should be wary of it.

As for people always saying Apple are doomed; the same thing now happens with Nokia. We've had years of scaremongering about how they're doomed, based on misunderstood statistics, but the reality is they continue to remain the number one mobile company, continuing to grow each year.


Official: Android rules OK

Mark .

By manufacturer

To add to my earlier post, here's the figures looking at things by manufacturer: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Motorola-HTC-RIM-Missing-from-Smartphone-Top-5-IDC-445624/

(This also includes "feature" phones rather than just "smart" phones, but I'd argue that makes it more accurate, since the definitions are rather arbitrary. Why is it fair to compare Apple's entire phone sales, to only some of Nokia's, just based on how they market their phones?)

Nokia are indeed the market leader. Apple make the top 5 - but note how Nokia absolutely dwarf them, shipping a staggering ten times as many phones.

Mark .

Nokia still number one

Presumably Nokia are still the number one seller (both in the arbitrarily defined "smartphone" category, and the more objective category of phones). It was inevitable that Android would likely become number one, as it's been picked up by most other companies - it's Nokia versus everyone else.

~30% for the largest company is still very respectable (after all, Apple's OS X stands as an alternative OS at less than 10% share, and no one complains about that).

And as the article notes, Nokia haven't actually lost sales, the number of sales of Symbian phones still increases.

The other news is, once again, Symbian still outsells Apple - so can we quit the endless coverage of Apple, whilst Nokia get ignored except when it's "bad" news? If being number three or number four is good for Apple, why isn't being number two good? Similarly for Android, whose uses were happy to use it for years when it wasn't anywhere near number one.


Memo to Microsoft, RIM, Nokia: Quit copying Apple!

Mark .

Statistics fail - Nokia's sales are increasing

Not this FUD again - whilst Nokia's market share has fallen, their actual sales have increased. In some recent quarters, their sales figures have increased twice as fast as Apple's! So how can their share be falling?

Simple statistics - it's due to the market increasing in size (mainly because phones running Android are now counted as "smartphones", where as before they weren't). Imagine if company A sells 1000 units one year, whilst company B sells 10 units. Next year, company A sells 1100 units, and B sells 30 units.

Company A's market share has dropped from 99% to 97%. Their growth is "only" 10%, whilst B's is a whopping 200%. But no one would suggest that company A is doing badly, or that B is going to overtake them. Company A is still number one, and increased their sales by 100, compared to B's 20.

Consider, similarly Apple's App Store market share has fallen, since the introduction of Android and Nokia stores etc. But do we hear that statistic? No, all we then hear about is the absolute figures, because again it portrays Apple as looking best. If Nokia's and Apple's situation were reversed in the phone market, we'd be hearing nothing but praise for Apple for being number one.

The point is that it is a matter of basic statistics that if more companies enter a market, than it is highly likely that the number one company's share will fall, even if their sales increase. Nokia can't outdo basic mathematics.

The other fallacy is that this only looks at the ill-defined category of "smartphone". Why is the original Iphone a smartphone, and not most feature phones? When you actually look at the market of phones that allow Internet and apps, Nokia dwarfs Apple. They sell more phones every quarter than Apple have ever sold, by a significant margin. The changing nature of "smartphone" causes another problem for the stats - it's not that the market is increasing in size and Nokia are missing out; rather, phones from Motorola etc that used to be not counted as smartphones, are now included in the stats. So even without any change in the success of Nokia or anyone else, their share of "smartphones" will appear to fall.

Copying Apple? Nokia were producing tablets (and phones) long before Apple; as others point out, we might as well claim that Apple are copying Nokia.

I'm also confused by "It stinks to be number two in a market. Or worse, number three." Er, it's Nokia who are number one, and Apple who are at best number three.

And since when did that stink? I've lost track of the number of articles praising article because they are now "number three" in some market!

"The not-Apple market has already crowned Android king of the iOS alternatives. Why fight it?"

Er no. You mean the self-appointed media hype has crowned it. When it comes to actual sales of phones, more people are choosing Nokia, and finding the Android vs iOS squabbling rather irrelevant.

Ian Michael Gumby: "But if you do some trend analysis, people are upgrading to smart phones. Its in this market that Nokia lags."

No, even in the ill-defined "smartphone" category, Nokia still rule. But as I say above, "smartphone" is an arbitrary marketing tag. People aren't upgrading to smartphone, it's just their old Motorola phone running BREW wasn't counted as a smartphone (even though it may have been high end, expensive, with keyboard, running Internet and apps), where as their new Motorola Android phone is. In the stats, it shows up as a "loss" in share from Nokia to Android, when actually, nothing's changed apart from Motorola changing their OS.

"Symbian doesn't cut it"

Works fine for me, and has things I like over Android (good battery life, mapping software that works offline, excellent development environment with Qt/C++).

Goat Jam: "I'm also sure he is also aware that when Nokia & MS were the leaders in the smartphone market it was a moribund niche market populated by a few geeks and a handful of executards."

Nokia are still the leaders. And it's only among "geeks" than Android and Iphones seem to be loved. In the real world, Nokia are selling more.


UK tech retailers are rubbish

Mark .

Re: Actually ...

"I have one elderly relative that really really struggles with a PC and another one who is delighted with a macbook. I know the one is considerably more than the other, but the extra is worth the time I don't spend trying to sort out endless problems."

My parents have no problem with their first PC.

Had they have spent three times the price to get an Apple PC ("Macs" are just another brand of PCs these days, after all), they'd be confused at why it's different to other computers they use. And annoyed that programs they download don't work. And find it harder to get advice from people.

The only times they've called me for problems would have still applied to an Apple PC (e.g., Internet issues, or Firefox).

"For no single identifiable reason the macbook is much easier to use and much less problematic."

Funny how claims that it's easier can be made, but the people making these claims can never identify a single reason.

Here's an actual reason for the counter-argument: when I tried using OS X, I had no idea what the red/green/blue buttons do on windows. On Windows, you get a text tooltip when you move the mouse near it. Not so on OS X - you're left guessing. That's not easy to use.

Anecdotes are not evidence - your anecdote may be true, but so are mine.

Mark .


"This revelation comes not from usual source of the bleeding obvious WikiLeaks"

Possibly I'm missing an in-joke here, but the various leaks from Wikileaks are not at all obvious, and in fact involve things like videos and documents, not facts, so the concept of being "obvious" or not doesn't even apply.

As for the article - I hate how buying a laptop or netbook from PC World results in someone hassling me about anti-virus. The first time, I get someone trying to sell me Norton, and he refused to believe when I said there were free anti-virus programs available. The second time, it was as if he wouldn't let me buy the product until I told him the name of the free anti-virus I was going to use(!) I suppose one could argue it's a good thing to make sure users are going to put anti-virus on - but if they were that worried, why not supply one of the free programs as standard?


UK proximity payments by phone this summer

Mark .

Re: Err...

"NFC tacks you no more or less than using any bank card, magstripe, chip and pin or internet. Why do you think it would?"

Well sure, if one simply views this as yet another payment system, it's reasonable.

But we should be wary of the attempts to move to a cashless society - the point with schemes like these is that they are more often touted as being cash replacements, unlike credit/debit cards.

It's not just the concern of tracking or marketing, but also the problem that means of payment are now controlled by private companies - even worse if they are unregulated like Paypal. Issues like your credit being withheld, them randomly deciding to refuse transactions, or intentionally blocking them (as with Wikileaks donations).


Coder Android love (nearly) matches iPhone lust

Mark .

And Symbian, the number one platform?

There's no mention of Symbian here, despite it being the number one platform.

Note that this isn't a survey of developers, it's only a survey of those using one particular third party toolkit. And if that toolkit doesn't support the number one platform, it's even more flawed a survey.

Symbian (and Maemo/Meego) uses Qt. I've found it a very nice development platform; allows porting apps to and from desktops without a single change in code, and is one of the best application toolkits I've come across. A shame I can't use Qt on any of the other phones.

Symbian also supports Java, so you've still got more choice than with Android.

@CheesyTheClown: "if I had to do it all over again, I'd write almost entirely different code for each platform, dump Symbian and cut the features of Android down to a minimum."

Why would you dump the number one platform? If you had bad experiences with Symbian C++, note that that's old news. Developing with Qt is great, and uses standard C++.

"Symbian is a waste of time"

If you say so.


iPad propels Apple into top-three PC vendor placement

Mark .

If we include smartphones...

Nokia might be number 1.

For 2009, they sold 68 million, giving an average of 17 million a quarter, easily reaching number 2 on the PC figures, and only just short of HP's number 1. But 2010 sales could well be higher. ( http://noknok.tv/2010/12/06/nokia-n8-helps-nokia-to-dwarf-apple-iphone-4-sales/ )

And why stop at smartphones? Feature phones can run apps, access the Internet - the "smartphone" classification is entirely arbitrary, and usually refers to high end hardware features like GPS that you won't on a PC anyway. Feature phones are locked down, but so are the Iphone and Ipad. So yes, let's include those too.

Nokia's 2009 figures now show a whopping 108 million units per quarter. That's more Iphones and Ipads that have ever been sold.

But no, we couldn't possibly have an article showing Nokia in a good light - let's just pick the stats that make Apple look good, and ignore Nokia as always...

Mark .
Thumb Down

Where's the articles for number 1 and number 2?

Why is it we get an article everytime that Apple get to be number 3 (I'm sure there was a similar article some time ago on some other statistic where they were number 3)? But we don't get articles about the companies being number 1, and number 2 (which is surely more notable). Nor do we get news articles when any other company gets number 3. The same occurs in the mobile market - articles because the Iphone now gets to number 3.

Is number 3 special? Would you report on the Olympics, telling us who made number 3 position in the headlines?

As for definitions, don't Apple insist that Macs aren't PCs, let alone the Ipad? (I have no problem including the Ipad as a PC; the bigger problem is when the Ipad is counted as a mobile platform, but netbooks are ignored, artificially inflating Apple's share significantly.)


Single complaint sparks police raid and total ban on rental movie

Mark .

Re: Freetards beware

"So this is definately not a movie to pirate as you are likely to get an uncut version that will get you in a lot of trouble."

Indeed (also note that any clips from the film - even the legal cut version - may still be illegal to possess under new laws on "extreme" images, which exempt BBFC films, but not clips from those films).

But I do wonder: the argument against piracy is that it causes losses for the producer. The argument against these films is that producing them is bad. So surely, by both of these arguments, people who pirate such films are doing good, by harming producers. But no - instead we get the argument that it "fuels demand".


Scotland bans smut. What smut? Won't say

Mark .

mad law

"This law is, I presume, to protect against pornography created where one or more participants are being forced into it,"

Well, you might think so - but sadly no. Despite some scaremongering about snuff films and an alleged trade of non-consensual porn (for which no evidence exists), the politicians supporting this law were well aware that it would criminalise images of staged and consensual acts.

Their justifications were that either people possessing the images would become violent criminals, or simply that the images are "disgusting" and therefore it's okay to lock people up.

"Nope, see if you actually read the law, you'd see that what you have written here is simply untrue. A legitimate defense is if you directly participated in the act, and it was in fact, consensual. See section 51c."

But it's still illegal for even the person taking the video to possess it. It's illegal if you're a threesome, and you share the images private with the third person in your menage a trois.

"Of course removing the speed limit signs is not an exact analogy. The analogy would be the police not declaring just how far you have to be over a speed limit before they will prosecute."

But you can still play safe by obeying the speed limit, and that still doesn't unreasonably infringe on people's driving ability. What is the analogy with this law?

I mean yes, you could never possess any sexual images, or go near any website that might have them... which come to think of it, is exactly what supporters of this law want.


Smartphone makers to embrace multi-core chips

Mark .

Re: Doesn't the OS use the cores?

Cameron Colley: Depends what you mean by "use". Yes, obviously it can use multiple cores, but you only get full benefit in some circumstances. Take a look at Task Manager - how often is your CPU power stuck at 50%? If you had a single core cpu twice as fast, rather than two cores, you'd get 100%.

"my own PC never struggles doing more than one thing at once but my netbook, using hte same OS, is noticeably slower when "basckground processing" is going on."

Your PC - even just one single core - is likely far more powerful than your netbook, so that's not a fair comparison.

Operating systems can happily run multiple threads/applications on a single core. Now yes, there is a practical benefit of multiple cores, in that you can have an application hogging the CPU, but you've still got another core free. But there's no reason why the OS couldn't manage single core systems in the same way, by limiting threads to only 50% CPU. And if your response to that is to say it'd be stupid to limit available CPU power to 50% - yes, that's the point I'm making about why multiple cores isn't better than the increasing CPU speeds we've had for decades as standard.

Anonymous Coward: "Ready for when phones can print and then also do something else at the same time?"

You don't need multiple cores just to do more than one thing at once!

My Amiga was happily multitasking in 1985 on a single core 7MHz CPU. My Symbian phone happily multitasks today with one core - as do all smartphones (unless you have a crappy IPhone, of course - but then, you won't get multitasking on that even if it did have multiple cores).

Mark .

Dual core doesn't mean good!

It's a fallacy that multicores are better. Well, obviously twice as many cores is better than nothing, but the point is that CPUs have always got faster with time, and having a CPU twice as fast is still better than two cores of equal speed. There's a fallacy, even among some geeks who should know better, than switching to multicores is some new breakthrough that's better than the improvements in speeds we've had for years before (including in phones).

Increasing the number of cores is a strategy that CPU makers have had to resort to, when they are unable to increase the speed of an individual cores. It passes the buck to software developers to try to convert that to real extra performance - and as anyone who's seen their quad core machine rarely go above 25% will know, we're a long way from being able to do that effectively.

Are even 15% of netbooks selling with dual cores? (There is a dual core Atom now, but only some higher end netbooks ship with it.)

Hans 1: If you're talking about old versions of Android versus IOS, it's funny to watch that argument as if no other platforms existed. Most people out there are running Symbian - older versions of IOS lacked basic features like multitasking and copy/paste, and shouldn't even be counted as a smartphone OS (unless you define it so broadly to include all feature phones too).


Gates, Woz, and the last 2,000 years of computing

Mark .

Re: Better

Giles Jones: "The Commodore 64 had a better hardware design, a dedicated tape deck and disc drive (official ones, not after market). "

Note that you could get Spectrums with built in tape drive, and disk drive (as you note, there were several Spectrum models, so it's unfair to just compare to one).

J. R. Hartley: "The Amiga, which if not destroyed by management, we would all be using today."

In a way, we are. Modern computers, with their GUIs, multitasking, dedicated chips for graphics and sound, feel closer to my old Amigas than they do to 286 DOS PCs, or the "classic" Macs.

The hardware is different and a derivative of x86, but then the hardware of modern "Macs" has nothing in common with the original, and the same would likely be true for the Amiga if Commodore hadn't gone bust. If Apple can put a sticker on a modern PC and call it a "Mac", you might as well do the same with an Amiga sticker...

Aggellos: "The amiga , atari st and all it's counter parts amstrad, commadore and even the early apple where all killed by piracy not bad management"

Because there's not an piracy on PCs (or Apple)? You don't think that Commodore going bust had a slight impediment on the sales of Amigas?


Acer backpedals from 'phasing out netbooks' claim

Mark .

Netbooks are better

I still prefer netbooks:

* I get a physical keyboard.

* I can run a real OS (Windows 7 or Linux) not one designed for phones.

* It has a much better design - I can let it sit on a table or my lap, without holding it, and the screen is angled perfectly. Unlike a tablet that you have to awkwardly hold with both hands, or strain your neck looking down on it.

* Compatibility with x86 is also handy.

* It's cheaper.

I'm not bothered about a touchscreen when you have a keyboard and multitouchpad - but there are touchscreen netbooks out there, and these may become more common in future anyway.

A tablet is better if you need a computer whilst you're walking around. But most of us don't, and a phone is much more portable for that task. I suspect that tablets will become more popular only when they become cheap enough that having one as well as a phone and netbook becomes affordable for most people. Alternatively, I suspect that what will actually be more useful is colour e-readers, especially with the development of "electronic paper" that's thin and rolls up like paper.

Having said that, I fear the manufacturers pushing tablets more, or the media hyping them more, leading to less support for netbooks. I hate how it's so hard to find a phone with a keyboard these days.

It's also worth noting how netbooks are held to a different standard - they're deemed as being "slow", because Atom is poor compared to desktop CPUs, yet it's not clear that tablets do any better; they're considered rubbish for gaming, because they can't run the latest PC games, yet a tablet is considered amazing if someone ports a ten year old game like Quake 3 to it. Microsoft were ridiculed when they considered a limit of 3 applications, yet Apple are praised when they make a tablet that can't even multitask at all...

I don't see why tablets and netbooks are counted separately - we don't divide phones by whether they have a keyboard or not. Alternatively, why shouldn't touchscreen phones not be counted as tablets - I would argue that in that sense, tablets are already mainstream, sell more than netbooks, and the market leader is Nokia. It's only the overgrown-sized Ipad that isn't as popular.


Heathrow Express treats iPhones as tickets

Mark .

Re: News because it's an app?

I agree - and curiously, even the Register article notes that this is nothing new, being available on all other phones already. Was there an article for that? Apple phones only need a special version because it can't even support Java.

Nice to see Heathrow Express catering for the majority first - it's depressing that so many companies seem keen to cater only for a few per cent of Apple users, ignoring the majority of phone users (e.g., Symbian, Java phones).


Playboy on iPad will be 'uncensored', says Hefner

Mark .

Why an app?

I'm curious about this trend for apps-for-websites. If the Ipad is supposed to be so good for Internet access, why can't it use a web browser like everyone else?

And if there's features not available on the website, where's the app for Windows (and perhaps Linux) netbooks etc, which sell vastly more than the Ipad?

"Get this app for your iPad" is the new "Best viewed in 800x600 on Internet Explorer" - although at least for the latter, that browser and resolution was once the most common platform, unlike the situation today. What happened to open standards? The whole point of the web is it shouldn't matter what platform or hardware you use.


Raised res iPad 2 to sport four-core chip?

Mark .

Re: Yeah, right

Since Apple once managed to double the Iphone resolution over a period of 3 years, from when it started off as a very low resolution, clearly Apple are now going to double the resolution with every release as the Ipad.

In fact, The Register should write a vaporware article on the "IpAD 10", claiming it's going to have a resolution of 524288 x 393216. Still won't beat the AmigaSlate though - but long term, Apple will be the winner. After enough generations, they'll announce the "Universe Display", which will have more pixels than atoms in the universe.

(And last time I looked, a fad is something that manages to sell something, but as a result of all the free advertising it gets from the media; and this doesn't mean it's going to be the market leader in mobile platforms - that trophy goes to Nokia for phones, and Windows for netbook/tablet sized devices.)

Mark .

Re: Idle speculation

I agree. Why does Apple get lots of rumour articles when it's just vaporware, when actual releases of more popular mobile platforms don't get any article (e.g., every netbook release, or Nokia and Android phones).

"If you want to remotely control a desktop computer then it is very handy."

Not really, remote desktop is capable of scaling with different resolutions. There's no point keeping a very high resolution on a small display that you can't see anything on. (Does the Ipad actually support remote desktop?)

It's just numbers bragging. Consider how for years, the Iphones had a very low resolution compared to other phones, and no one seemed to cared about this, but as soon as the Iphone 4s had a higher resolution, suddenly it was a marketing point.

But anyhow, this Istale or whatever it's going to be called is all just vaporware at the moment. I might as well claim the existence of an AmigaSlate, with 8 core processor and 640000x512000 resolution and 16 billion colours, and then justify the hype by referring to all other tablets as "so called 'AmigaSlate Killers'"...


BBC Trust says no to kit-specific iPlayer apps

Mark .

open formats

The idea of using open formats, rather than writing something specific for devices, seems fine.

But as others have noted, I'm concerned that this isn't what they do. There's the argument of whether things like "Flash" is open, I guess. But also the problem that they are spending resources on writing things for say, the minority of Iphone users - whilst at the same time, locking out non-Apple devices that try to use them!

I don't know why Iphones can use the standards like everyone else. But if the BBC does spend extra resources just for Apple, why isn't this then made available for all?


Mythical 'iPad 2' caught on camera

Mark .
Thumb Down

Islate vaporware over again

The only thing worse than all the hype, is the months of rumour and vaporware news we get in the months preceding any possible announcement.

Apple are the only company where the media think "An announcement that there'll be an announcement" counts as news!

The myth is that coverage of Apple is because of their products - but the fact is that the immense coverage appears *before* products are announced, let alone released (and then, the free advertising they get surely gives them a huge advantage over any other products).


Android passes iPhone in mobile ad race

Mark .

Why are Ipad/Ipod included, and not other non-phone devices like netbooks?

Another bias towards Apple is that the Ipad is included in the list - but if that's counted as "mobile", where are the netbooks? Given that netbooks vastly a lot more than tablets, there should be a significant entry for Windows here, surely?

It's very misleading to try to prop up the Iphone's count by including the Ipad - not to mention the Ipod, which isn't a phone either, whilst not including other non-phone mobile devices.

I'd also like to know who decides what counts as a "feature phone" OS, and what's a "smart phone" OS. Can anyone give me a non-arbitrary definition of "smart phone" that includes the original Iphone (which couldn't even multitask and lacked lots of features common in feature phones, like 3G, video, copy/paste), but not most feature phones?

And as someone points out above, this is for the US only. Worldwide, Symbian has consistently dominated as the market leader.

"Keep in mind that these aren't pure market-share numbers"

But even for the US, what about RIM? I believe they have only very recently fallen in sales, but for years were consistently number 1. Yet they're only 16% here! So either everyone's thrown away their old phones in a few months (highly unlikely), or these stats are useless in determining the installed userbase market share.



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