Home » Posts tagged 'Windows 7 [Phone / Embedded / Handheld]'

Tag Archives: Windows 7 [Phone / Embedded / Handheld]

Nokia Lumia (Windows Phone 7) value proposition

Follow up:
Nokia World 2011 videos on YouTube NokiaConversations channel [Oct 26 — Nov 20, 2011]
ST-Ericsson NovaThor SoCs for future Windows Phones from Nokia [Nov 3, 2011]
Designing smarter phones–Marko Ahtisaari (Nokia) and Albert Shum (Microsoft) [Nov 23, 2011]

Updates:
3 Minutes with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop [YouTube, Oct 27, 2011]

Why a sequencing of launches? US operators have nothing to do with that. N9 is for learning a lot. Not answered yet: elements of UX and Qt environment in the future. Nothing clear for “the other ecosystem” [presumably the Android] what is the standard UX. Nokia sees the Windows 8 opportunity, commonality with Windows smartphone for itself as well. Microsoft bet on HTML5 is also important for the forming of the ecosystem. One is clear it is more than just the phones … it is also search, advertising, unified communications (like Skype), business productivity, gaming, music  … that’s the experience people are looking for.

[About N9 and Qt:] Elements of N9. The things that really define that product you will see continue on. The reason we continue with N9 is because we believe we could learn a lot about certain things that actually make the N9 unique in the way that it is. … What remains unanswered, and will remain unanswered for today, is when I say ‘elements of the user experience’ or ‘the Qt environment’. What does that mean? That’s still something you’ll see ahead from Nokia.

In terms of (Windows Phone) doesn’t allow for the Sense UI or whatever, I would suggest that one of the biggest challenges facing that particular ecosystem is the fact that there is more and more of that going on. And when I go into the store and look at what that brand was supposed to stand for, I’m not quite seeing it — it’s just unclear what the standard is for the user experience.

The user experience of Windows 8 is essentially a supercharged version of the Nokia Lumia experience that you saw on stage today. And you see the parallels and opportunity for commonality from a user perspective. You say wow, this is more than just smartphones, there’s a broader opportunity here. And clearly we see that broader opportunity as well, without specifically commenting on what that may mean in the future.

More hints on N9 and Qt are in the Sept-Oct “Updates” parts of Nokia N9 UX [?Swipe?] on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan [June 24, 2011]

Nokia’s Elop Plans U.S. Return in ’12 With Multiple Carriers [Bloomberg Business Week, Nov 2, 2011]

“There’s a new tablet opportunity coming,” he said. “We see the opportunity. Unquestionably, that will change the dynamics” of the tablet market.

–  Nokia EVP Jo Harlow [Smart Devices] explains why Windows Phone is “Easier, faster, and a hell of a lot more fun” [inc. the 7 min video interview, Oct 27, 2011]
Nokia Drive gets you where you need to go [inc. the 5 min video interview, Oct 26, 2011]
Nokia Music makes music personal & portable [inc. the 5 min video interview, Oct 26, 2011]
First look at Kinectimals for Windows Phone [inc. the 2 min video interview, Oct 26, 2011]
Xbox 360 on your Nokia Lumia 710 and Nokia Lumia 800 [inc. the 2 min demo video, Oct 26, 2011]
New music picks for Nokia Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 [Oct 27, 2011]
Nokia Music on Nokia Lumia 800 – complete video tour [Oct 27, 2011]
Nokia Maps on Nokia Lumia smartphones [Oct 28, 2011]
Nokia Drive and Nokia Music, with MirrorLink [Oct 28, 2011]
40 hours of hard code: Nokia Hackathon winners [Oct 28, 2011]
End of Updates

Content: Nokia Lumia 800 & 710 – Three Unique Differentiators (Nokia Music and MixRadio, Navigation, ESPN Sports Hub – all free) – A Better Representation of the General WP7 Differentiators – Experience “The Amazing Everyday” Marketing Campaign – Nokia Maps Updates – Other Map-related Applications

NOKIA World 2011 Keynote Handout [Oct 26, 2011]

Nokia Lumia (Windows Phone 7) Experience in London – Nokia Lumia 800 – Nokia Lumia 710 – Nokia Asha [= hope in Hindi] (S40) 200, 201, 300, 303 – Nokia Purity Stereo Handset (in-ear) and Nokia Purity HD Stereo Handset (on-ear) by Monster.

Nokia Lumia 800 & 710, Windows Phones Announced [Anandtech, Oct 26, 2011]

Nokia Lumia Windows Phone Lineup:

Lumia 800 Lumia 710
SoC Qualcomm S2 MSM8255 1.4GHz Qualcomm S2 MSM8255 1.4GHz
Display 3.7-inch AMOLED PenTile RGBG 3.7-inch TFT-LCD
Camera 8MP LED Flash rear facing camera
Carl Zeiss lens
5MP LED Flash rear facing camera
Memory 512MB, 16GB NAND 512MB, 8GB NAND
(up to 24GB via a 16GB microSD)
Dimensions 116.5 x 61.2 x 12.11 mm, 142g 119.0 x 62.4 x 12.5 mm, 126g
Battery 5.365Wh 4.81Wh
Network Support WCDMA, EDGE Class B,
GPRS Class B
HSUPA 5.76Mbps
HSDPA 14.4MbpsWCDMA 850/900/1900/2100
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
WCDMA, EDGE Class B,
GPRS Class B
HSUPA 5.76Mbps
HSDPA 14.4MbpsWCDMA 900/1900/2100
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
Connectivity 802.11n b/g/n (2.4 GHz), BT 2.1+EDR, USB 2.0 802.11n b/g/n (2.4 GHz), BT 2.1+EDR, USB 2.0

Nokia Lumia 800 Presentation and Hands On [26 minutes long, Oct 26, 2011]

Nokia Lumia 800 Presentation and Hands On at Nokia World 2011. Stephen Elop: “The first real Windows Phone”.  It took a third less time to produce the 800 and 710 than previous Nokia Smartphones. The body is all one colour throughout as well.  If you did happen to fall foul of gravity and drop it, the body wouldn’t show its scarring half as much as if it was anodized aluminium for example. The screen is lit up by an AMOLED Clear Black Display, fortified with curved Gorilla glass to make your gestures feel smooth like silk. The Gorilla glass is perfect for protecting the Lumia 800 against scratches when it’s in your pocket with coins and keys.

Nokia relying on Mango smartphones to maintain global market share [Oct 26, 2011]

Nokia will release new Mango models powered by dual-core CPUs with additional functionalities, including the support of NFC technology, in 2012, the sources added.

Nokia should rely on handset ODMs in Taiwan such as Compal Communications and Foxconn International Holdings (FIH) as back-up units, said the sources, noting that Taiwan-based ODMs have enough expertise in the development of Windows Mobile phones and have long been in cooperation with Nokia.

The launch of Mango phones offer a chance for Nokia to build up a complete supply chain that will also include Taiwan makers of optical lenses, modules, flat panels, chassis and cases so as to compete effectively with other handset vendors using supply chains in China or Korea, the sources commented.

Nokia unveils Mango phones, optimizing Taiwan supply capacity [Oct 27, 2011]

Nokia, with strong support from Taiwan-based handset ODMs and component suppliers, has unveiled two a series of its Windows Phone 7.5-based Mango phones, the Lumia and Asha lineups.

While Qualcomm is supplying the chipset solutions for Nokia’s Mango phones, the majority of other parts and components are coming from partners in Taiwan, according to industry sources.

Nokia Mango phones: List of parts and components suppliers from Taiwan

Item

Company

ODM/Assembly

Compal Communications, Foxconn International Holdings (FIH)

LCD panel

Chimei Innolux (CMI), AU Optronics (AUO)

Touch panel

Wintek, Young Fast Optoelectronics, JTouch

Keypad

Silitech Technology, Ichia Technologies

Metal chassis

Silitech, Chi Cheng Enterprise

Case

Catcher Technology, Foxconn Technology, Lite-On Technology, Chi Cheng

PCB

Compeq, Unimicron Technology, Ichia

Connector

Foxlink

Lens

Largan Precision

Headset

Merry Electronics

Quartz component

TXC

Source: Industry sources, compiled by Digitimes, October 2011

Nokia showcases bold portfolio of new phones, services and accessories at Nokia World [Oct 26, 2011]

The first Nokia Lumia [the word ‘Lumia’ is the term coined by 20th Century Artist Thomas Wilfred to refer to art created from light] smartphones

First two smartphones based on Windows Phone introduce a range of new experiences designed to make everyday moments more amazing.

Nokia Lumia 800 -- 26-Oct-2011

Nokia Lumia 800
The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, vivid colors (cyan, magenta and black) and the best social and Internet performance, with one-touch social network access, easy grouping of contacts, integrated communication threads and Internet Explorer 9. It features a 3.7 inch AMOLED [PenTile RGBG from Samsung] ClearBlack curved display blending seamlessly into the reduced body design, and a 1.4 GHz processor with hardware acceleration and a graphics processor. The Nokia Lumia 800 contains an instant-share camera experience based on leading Carl Zeiss optics, HD video playback, 16GB of internal user memory and 25GB of free SkyDrive storage for storing images and music. The estimated retail price for the Nokia Lumia 800 will be approximately 420 EUR [US$ 585], excluding taxes and subsidies.

[Nokia Lumia 800 Data Sheet PDF (351.27 KB) and Detailed specifications]Nokia Lumia 710 -- 26-Oct-2011

Nokia Lumia 710
The purposely built, no-nonsense Nokia Lumia 710 can be personalized with exchangeable back covers and thousands of apps to bring the Lumia experience to more people around the world. The Nokia Lumia 710 is designed for instant social & image sharing, and the best browsing experience with IE9. It is available in black and white with black, white, cyan, fuchsia and yellow back covers. With the same 1.4 GHz processor, hardware acceleration and graphics processor as the Nokia Lumia 800, the Nokia Lumia 710 delivers high performance at an affordable price. The estimated retail price for the Nokia Lumia 710 will be approximately 270 EUR [US$ 376], excluding taxes and subsidies.

[Nokia Lumia 710 Data Sheet PDF (181.31 KB) and Detailed specifications]

Both smartphones include signature Nokia experiences optimized for Windows Phone, including Nokia Drive, which delivers a full-fledged personal navigation device (PND) with free, turn-by-turn navigation and dedicated in-car-user-interface; and Nokia Music introducing MixRadio, a free, global, mobile music-streaming application that delivers hundreds of channels of locally-relevant music. In an update delivered later this year, Nokia Lumia users will also gain the ability to create personalized channels from a global catalogue of millions of tracks. Also integrated in Nokia Music is Gigfinder, providing the ability to search for live local music for a complete end-to-end music experience, as well as the ability to share discoveries on social networks and buy concert tickets also coming in the Nokia Music software update delivered later this year.

Completing the ultimate mobile audio offering, Nokia also introduced the on-ear Nokia Purity HD Stereo Headset by Monster and the in-ear Nokia Purity Stereo Headset by Monster, co-designed and co-developed by Monster, a recognized leader in high performance audio. Both products provide a fresh listening experience and are the first output of the exclusive long-term partnership between Nokia and Monster, intended to introduce a range of premium audio accessories to reflect the outstanding quality and bold style of the Lumia range.

The new Nokia Lumia 800 is now available in select countries for pre-order on www.nokia.com and is scheduled to roll-out across France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK in November, with 31 leading operators and retailers providing unprecedented marketing support in those first six countries. It is scheduled to be available in Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan before the end of the year, and in further markets in early 2012.

The Nokia Lumia 710 is scheduled to be available first in Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan toward the end of the year alongside the Nokia Lumia 800, before becoming available in further markets in early 2012.

Nokia also announced its plans to introduce a portfolio of products into the US in early 2012 and into mainland China in the first half of 2012. In addition to the existing products, which include coverage for WCDMA and HSPA, Nokia also plans LTE and CDMA products to address specific local market requirements.

Three Unique Differentiators

Free Nokia Music and MixRadio:

Music and Entertainment – Nokia Lumia 800 [Oct 26, 2011]

Experience the amazing everyday and see just why the Nokia Lumia 800 http://nokia.ly/tTY5an is not your everyday phone. With access to millions of songs in Nokia Music and MixRadio, your ears need never be bored again. With the best in mobile phone entertainment you get more than just click and play. You can create your own channels based on the artists you like, or let MixRadio create a personalised experience based on the music you already have in your library. Throw in the ability to record and watch HD video wherever you are, and you’ll be entertained for hours. Music and Entertainment is one in a series of 6 quick introduction demos to the wonderful world of Nokia Lumia. Each video highlights different hubs and features, letting you dive deeper into the world of Nokia with Windows Phone. Follow us on Twitter here – http://nokia.ly/j7zixs Or connect with us on Facebook here – http://nokia.ly/hWCnbn

Music and Entertainment – Nokia Lumia 710

Nokia’s new Windows Phone include MixRadio streaming music [Oct 26, 2011]

Nokia unveiled its first two Windows Phone smartphones this morning at its Nokia World conference in London: the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710.

Both will include an app called Nokia Music which represents the company’s latest digital music initiative.

During the keynote presentation at the event, Nokia SVP Kevin Shields borrowed one of Apple’s famous phrases to trumpet the simplicity of Nokia Music: “No signup. No subscription. No login. No password. No nothing. It just works!”

What is ‘it’ though? Well, the key feature of the Nokia Music app is called MixRadio. It provides a host of streaming music mixes – playlists of tracks – which can also be cached locally on the device. Sorted by genre, the playlists will be updated every week or so by Nokia’s music team with new tracks.

Music Ally got hands on with the app directly after the keynote, and was shown another feature of MixRadio: its Pandora-style ability to create personal mixes for people when they search for a specific artist. These too can be downloaded to the Lumia phones for offline play.

“I think we have finally solved the mobile music problem. I don’t know how to make it any easier,” said Shields during the keynote. But what about licensing? Afterwards, we asked the Nokia staffer who was demonstrating the app where it stands regarding licences.

He said that Nokia will be building on its existing relationships with rightsholders for its a la carte store and other music services, but said the specific deals for MixRadio are still being negotiated and will hopefully be in place for the launch of the new phones in November.

As with Pure Digital’s announcement of its Pure Music service earlier this week, it could be seen as risky to unveil a new app before the licensing deals are sealed.

There is a music panel session later today at Nokia World with representatives from PIAS and Warner Music International, so we’ll aim to sneak in a question about it.

Free Navigation:

Nokia Drive for Lumia [Nokia Conversations, Oct 26, 2011]
Nokia Drive on WP7 demo by Andre Kuhn [Oct 26, 2011]

Andre Kuhn, the Product Manager for Nokia Drive on WP7 gives us a demo of the Nokia Drive app.

Nokia Drive has been crafted for the new Nokia Lumia phones using the years of expertise we have accumulated in location-based services. This resulting translation for Windows Phone is an application specifically designed to make navigation effortless.

Driving while referring to your smartphone’s sat-nav is not always easy, especially in busy traffic, when you need it most. That’s why we simplified the user interface of Nokia Drive, so that you can focus on features and information you need most.

A map of your position, the direction to take, your speed and the distance to your destination are essential elements of Nokia Drive. So we’ve made them easy to read from the screen of your Nokia Lumia.

Nokia Drive for Windows Phone navigation

Nokia Drive also has neat features like support for 2D and 3D maps, a night mode and satellite view. And, to make it easier for you to find your next destination, Nokia Drive supports type-ahead suggestions and search history. You can also swipe between search results.

Local interests using Nokia Drive for Windows Phone

Most importantly, you can save on data costs with Nokia Drive because you can preload country maps. Fast, reliable, nice to look at and available in more than 100 countries, you are going to love our vector maps.

Nokia Drive comes preinstalled on Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 710 and is available in almost 50 languages.

Of course, Nokia Drive is also available for smartphones with Symbian Anna and Symbian Belle, and for Nokia N9 which also support Nokia Car Mode and MirrorLink. Read more about our location-based apps on the Nokia Maps Blog.

Drive and Maps – Nokia Lumia 800 [Oct 26, 2011]

Experience the amazing everyday and see just why the Nokia Lumia 800 http://nokia.ly/v8hEox is not your everyday, everyday phone. Want to feel like a local anywhere? Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps give you comprehensive mobile navigation and the insider knowledge to make it happen. With support across 95 countries, you’ll get accurate turn-by-turn directions to the destination of your choice, as well as information on all the cool places to visit when you get there. Drive and Maps is one in a series of 6 quick introduction demos to the wonderful world of Nokia Lumia. Each video highlights different hubs and features, letting you dive deeper into the world of Nokia with Windows Phone. Follow us on Twitter here – http://nokia.ly/j7zixs Or connect with us on Facebook here – http://nokia.ly/hWCnbn

Drive and Maps — Nokia Lumia 710

Nokia Maps for Lumia [Nokia Conversations, Oct 26, 2011]

You might already be familiar with Nokia Maps on other platforms: it’s currently available for Symbian, MeeGo but also on the web and on your iOS or Android mobile browser.

Whilst Nokia Drive has been specifically designed for your effortless driving experience, Nokia Maps lets you see where you are and discover places nearby in an instant. In other words Nokia Maps is your perfect companion if you want to explore the world around you, no matter whether you are a local or not.

Nokia Maps for Windows Phone

With Nokia Maps you can easily find a place because it supports intuitive auto-complete suggestions and search history.

However, if you are unsure of where to go next, Nokia Maps helps you decide which place to pick by including reviews and photos from over 50 guides & local content providers.

And that’s not all. With just a tap you can now see which other places are close to the one you’ve just selected. So, after a good meal at a restaurant you know where to go for a drink without going to the other side of town.

Getting to the place you have selected is very easy with Nokia Maps because you get smart directions for drive, walk and public transport. It puts you in charge of navigation. You decide where to go and how to get there.

These are only a few of the things that are keeping us busy bringing you the best location-based experience.

Nokia Maps for Windows Phone

Nokia Live View, for instance, which is currently in beta for Nokia Symbian smartphones, is our augmented reality application. Wherever you are, just open the camera of your smartphone to discover more of what’s around you. And if you are into outdoor activities, you will be thrilled to know that we are working on a specific application for you, called Nokia Tracks. With more than 80% of the planet covered by non-urban areas, we know that you have a lot to explore. This is why we want to give you the ability to record where your route has taken you so far, your current direction, your altitude, and how fast you are going. Stay tuned to know more about the development of Nokia Tracks!

The most advanced features of Nokia Maps are also available on Nokia smartphones with Symbian Anna, Symbian Belle, and MeeGo. You can read more on the Nokia Maps Blog. Nokia Maps is going to be available soon in the Marketplace for your Windows Phone. We can’t wait for you to let us know what you think about it.

Free ESPN Sports Hub: shown only as a “sneak peak” of the future service which will come exclusive to Nokia

Nokia showcases bold portfolio of new phones, services and accessories at Nokia World [Oct 26, 2011]:

Nokia Lumia 800 with ESPN Hub -- 26-Oct-2011This unique collaboration between our two companies on the ESPN Hub has been a truly global effort that will see us continue to work closely together in the months ahead.  Nokia not only provides a great distribution platform, but they’re also a driver of innovation, which allows us to create an experience that enables ESPN to better serve sports fans around the world.

Russell Wolff, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, ESPN International 

Nokia Sports App for Windows Phone 7

Nokia’s third and final innovation for its own branded Windows Phone devices will be in the sports field. Nokia Sports will be integrated with ESPN Sports Huband will highlight Windows Phone 7′s panoramic screens to provide highlights, news, scores, and team information.

Users can pin a league or a team back to the start page on the Metro UI as a live tile. This way, users can have quick access to their sports teams.

A Better Representation of the General WP7 Differentiators

[Social] People and Messaging – Nokia Lumia 800 [Oct 25, 2011]

Experience the amazing everyday and see just why the Nokia Lumia 800 http://nokia.ly/sjGgMl is not your everyday phone. Combining the best in stylish hardware and the best in stylish software, you get a colourful touch screen phone that looks great and feels greater. The People Hub is where being social starts. You’ll be able to see all the latest updates from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn straight from the Start screen. Whether you’re on the go and looking for what’s new, searching for someone’s contact details, taking pictures, or starting conversations, everything’s right where you want it to be. Close at hand. People and Messaging is one in a series of 6 quick introduction demos to the wonderful world of Nokia Lumia. Each video highlights different hubs and features, letting you dive deeper into the world of Nokia with Windows Phone. Follow us on Twitter here – http://nokia.ly/j7zixs Or connect with us on Facebook here – http://nokia.ly/hWCnbn

People and Messaging – Nokia Lumia 710

Office and Mail – Nokia Lumia 800 Smartphone [Oct 26, 2011]

Experience the amazing everyday and see just why the Nokia Lumia 800 http://nokia.ly/ugel2T is not your everyday phone. Working on the go is a necessity these days. Thankfully, Nokia Lumia 800 comes with Microsoft Office Mobile built in, helping you meet any deadline regardless of your location. Whatever email account you use, it’s incredibly simple to set up mail on this phone and have the latest from your inbox available in just a click. Office and Mail is one in a series of 6 quick introduction demos to the wonderful world of Nokia Lumia. Each video highlights different hubs and features, letting you dive deeper into the world of Nokia with Windows Phone. Follow us on Twitter here – http://nokia.ly/j7zixs Or connect with us on Facebook here – http://nokia.ly/hWCnbn

Office and Mail – Nokia Lumia 710

Marketplace and Games – Nokia Lumia 800 [Oct 26, 2011]

Experience the amazing everyday and see just why the Nokia Lumia 800 http://nokia.ly/w4YsUA is not your everyday, everyday phone. What’s a smartphone without an app or two? Marketplace is the place you’ll find the best smartphone apps, games and more on the Nokia Lumia 800. And with Xbox Live available out-of-the-box, you’ll have access to endless hours of fun. Great if you find yourself need of a little light entertainment on the move. Marketplace and Games is one in a series of 6 quick introduction demos to the wonderful world of Nokia Lumia. Each video highlights different hubs and features, letting you dive deeper into the world of Nokia with Windows Phone. Follow us on Twitter here – http://nokia.ly/j7zixs Or connect with us on Facebook here – http://nokia.ly/hWCnbn

Marketplace and Games — Nokia Lumia 710

Browsing and Search – Nokia Lumia 800 [Oct 26, 2011]

Experience the amazing everyday and see just why the Nokia Lumia 800 http://nokia.ly/sjGgMl is not your everyday, everyday phone. Access to the internet is a must have. And getting where you want to go online has never been more important. Thankfully, browsing doesn’t get much better than it is on the Nokia Lumia 800. With Internet Explorer 9 and HTML5 you get the same experience you already know and love from your desktop on your phone. Browsing and Search is one in a series of 6 quick introduction demos to the wonderful world of Nokia Lumia. Each video highlights different hubs and features, letting you dive deeper into the world of Nokia with Windows Phone. Follow us on Twitter here – http://nokia.ly/j7zixs Or connect with us on Facebook here – http://nokia.ly/hWCnbn

Browsing and Search — Nokia Lumia 710

Experience “The Amazing Everyday” Marketing Campaign

An excellent summary of the marketing campaign and sales approach:
More than just sexy phones: how Nokia will help sell Windows Phone 7 [Oct 29, 2011]

Introducing Nokia Lumia – The Amazing Everyday [Oct 26, 2011]

Introducing the new Nokia Lumia – http://nokia.ly/sTL7b1 – Welcome to The Amazing Everyday. Nokia Lumia is the latest smartphone that puts your people first. It’s where being social starts. With updates from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn at your fingertips straight from the Start screen, you’re never far away from seeing what’s new. And with free drive navigation, super-fast browsing, access to millions of songs for your mobile music collection, and the ability to run Microsoft Office on the run — Nokia Lumia is packed with features that will make your life easier, faster, funner. So, whether you’re on the go, searching for someone’s contact details, taking pictures, or starting conversations, everything’s right where you want it to be. Close at hand. Follow us on Twitter here – http://nokia.ly/j7zixs Or connect with us on Facebook here – http://nokia.ly/hWCnbn

10:18 JJ: Steven Overman – marketing – wants to drive lust for Lumia. Marketing communication target age is 25 years old.

10:20 JJ: The Amazing Everyday campaign. “Everyday can be amazing. You can do everyday things in amazing ways. We are going to fill the world with tiles. It’s about time someone offers an alternative smartphone UI.”

The tagline is meant to emphasize optimism and new experiences. Overman said in every channel where Nokia is selling its Windows Phone devices, Nokia will launch a kind of viral marketing campaign – think people dressed as Windows Phone tiles, DJ booths at bus stations – to drive interest in Windows Phone. The design of stores where the devices will be sold will reflect the mutli-colored tiles that mark Windows Phone’s user interface.

10:23 JJ: “We’re going to invade cities. A journey which is leading people to a store. We’re making marketing that is contagious. That people will take photos of.”

The Amazing Everyday TVC – Nokia Lumia 800 Smartphone [Oct 26, 2011]

Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone http://nokia.ly/vZ6q75 Hidden away in the everyday are billions of little adventures. The new Nokia Alpha 800 smartphone makes it easier to find them, take part in them and share them. Daily routines are transformed. Life gets richer. ‘You’ll never guess what happened to me today’ gets said a lot more. And of course, the everyday doesn’t feel everyday anymore. See more of The Amazing Everyday at http://nokia.ly/hWCnbn Learn more about the Nokia Lumia 800 here http://nokia.ly/vZ6q75 Follow us on Twitter here – http://nokia.ly/j7zixs Or connect with us on Facebook here – http://nokia.ly/hWCnbn

Nokia Lumia 800 – Eggs and Bacon Guy [Oct 26, 2011]

An ex-American footballer who was once security for New Kids On The Block. He can cook. He can dance. He can serve up the amazing everyday on plate. See more of The Amazing Everyday here: http://nokia.ly/hWCnbn

Nokia Lumia 800 – Wind Skating [Oct 25, 2011]

Take one car park in downtown LA. Add five pioneers in wind-assisted recreation. And let them show off their new sport, wind skating, check out more at http://windsskate.com See more of The Amazing Everyday here: http://nokia.ly/hWCnbn

Nokia Lumia 800 Smartphone – Gangster Ironing [Oct 26, 2011]

We found Marciano Darling doing his Gangster Ironing online. We invited him from The Bahamas to LA to be in our film. He agreed, but like all good gangsters only if he could bring his mum. See more of The Amazing Everyday here: http://nokia.ly/hWCnbn

Nokia Lumia 800. The designer’s story. [Oct 26, 2011]

An insider’s view on the design principles for the new Nokia Lumia 800 http://nokia.ly/vrJT12 with Nokia designer Anton-Olof Fahlgren. Easier, faster, funner: experience The Amazing Everyday here: http://nokia.ly/hWCnbn

Nokia Maps Updates

Nokia Maps for Web update [Oct 25, 2011]

Our maps.nokia.com has been recently updated with yet more features that we are sure you are going to love.

Nokia Maps 3D: Making Of  [Oct 24, 2011]

With Nokia Maps 3D (http://nokia.ly/snhwAs) it’s almost like being there. You might be wondering how we manged to get such a high level of detail. It certainly isn’t easy, but it’s easy to explain.

First of all, a nice surprise for the location fans among you: the wonderful Nokia Maps 3D is going to be 100% 3D and 0% plugin. If you want to give it a try, it’s been available for a while. All you need to do is point your browser (only Chrome at the moment, other browsers are being tested) to http://maps.nokia.com/webgl

New additions to Nokia Maps
– Plugin-free 3D maps- Heat maps in 56 countries – Public Transport guides- Explore Places

Since we first launched Nokia Maps 3D, many of you were eager to know exactly how we are able to provide such a photorealistic experience. With you in mind, we prepared the video at the top of the page that helps to explain all.

But of course maps.nokia.com is not only about 3D where you can feel like you were at any part of the world. Which is why we are introducing editorial pages for more than 50 cities around the world. Now you can discover all the cool places in, for instance, London, New York City, Buenos Aires, Melbourne, get the latest weather forecasts and Lonely Planet suggestions in one place.

Nokia Maps London City Page

And to make you feel more like a local anywhere, we increased the coverage of heat mapsto 56 cities. However, that’s not all. We have one more feature we would like to highlight: public transport.

Now, in more than 420 cities you can plan your journey from A to B also with underground, light rail and similar options. In more than 30 of those cities you also get timetable information to know exactly when you have to leave home.

Nokia Maps London Public Transport

Give maps.nokia.com a try today to find your perfect destination and have Nokia Maps guide you there, effortlessly.

Nokia Maps set the 3D world on fire, with heat maps [Oct 25, 2011]


GLOBAL – Ever since the new-look Nokia Maps was unveiled last Tuesday, we’ve been playing around with the new features. If we’re not taking a 3D look at the new cities, we’re zooming into different places to see where the local hotspots are by using the heat maps. Want to know more about how these features work? Then read on.

Nokia Maps 3D

Nokia Maps has been a great service offered by Nokia for a couple of years now. We’ve seen it grow from an on-device service to one that now works on the Web. As good as Nokia Maps is, it’s the new feature that’s blowing people’s minds. Nokia Maps 3Dshows you the world in a full 360º perspective – or at least certain cities of the world, for now.

In order to capture the images of a city, specialised camera equipment takes an image a second of the same object, up to 100 times, each at a different angle. It’s at this point the images are automatically joined together to form the 3D object by clever image processing software and those images in turn are joined to the previous image resulting in a seamless tapestry of 3D mapping-goodness.

There are currently 23 cities that have been turned into 3D models with a plan to create 3D representations of everywhere in the world. The practicalities of this can prove difficult, though, particularly with local laws which might prevent our cameras from flying overhead.

Here’s two images of a 3D Buckingham Palace in London with a north view and a south view – Select the images for a close-up.

Heat Maps

Heat maps on Nokia Maps works for one reason, and that’s down to the Points of Interest (POI) that are stored on the Ovi Places directory. Let’s say you want to go out in London for the night, but you’re not sure where the buzzis, or where’s popular. The heat map is an overlay that shows you a darker red colour for more popular – or POI dense – places, with the orange and yellow colours representing the less dense places. Somewhere still exciting, but maybe more intimate and secluded.

In order to achieve this visualisation and not have every single POI on the map, Nokia selected some of the premium POIs. This is due to the fact that people can add their own public place to the map which saves to the directory, and we wouldn’t want to spend the day visiting other people’s houses or offices, would we? The premium POIs are provided from services, such as Lonely Planet, WCities and Michelin to name a few, and these bring reviews and some great photos, too. So you know what to expect before you set off out on your travel to the hotspot.

As the POIs are constantly being updated to add more great restaurants, bars, sight-seeing spots or shopping outlets, this heat map will evolve over time, too. So we’ll expect to see this feature to continually grow and evolve and maybe even see the hotspots shift, slightly.

Here’s what the London Explore local sights heat map looks like with one of the photos selected – Click the image to zoom in and for more details.

You can see there’s the option to expand the window so you can see more details of that place, along with the address and some other options, too, such as share, directions and even a star rating.

What’s your favourite feature of the new and improved Nokia Maps? Have you used the heat maps yet for ideas of where to go? Let us know, below.

Yahoo! Maps: Now powered by Nokia [Oct 25, 2011]

Nokia powers Yahoo! Maps

Last year Nokia and Yahoo! joined forcesto create an alliance that leverages each others’ strengths in email, instant messaging, maps and navigation services. The purpose of the alliance is to provide consumers with access to world-class experiences on both PC and mobile devices.

Following on the successful transition of Yahoo! powering Nokia’s email service, Yahoo! is now making the switch to using the Nokia Maps platform. With a gradual rollout which is starting today in the United States and Canada, Yahoo! Maps is now amongst others benefitting from new features provided by Nokia Maps: latest maps with up-to-date location data/addresses, new routing options allowing users to avoid tolls and freeway, updated road networks and points of interest.

The Nokia Maps engine has been then customized by Yahoo! to offer a new, simplified layout and visual design with a maximized viewable area, enhanced business listings support, leveraging the improvements made to the Yahoo! local listings database, and a consistent interface across the Yahoo! network with the universal location widget, allowing users to search and select locations.

Yahoo! Maps powered by Nokia

This platform switch is further proof of the world class platform expertise and scalable global infrastructure that Nokia has been building over the last couple of years in the location platform space. Other companies have also recognized Nokia’s leadership in that area. All over the world we are supporting partners like Foursquare, Yelp, VKontakte and Sina, to mention a few, in the development of innovative location services – for web as well as for native mobile apps.

In doing so, our partners benefit from our modularly usable platform. What does that mean? It’s quite simple: Every partner can use exactly those pieces of the platform that he needs. At the same time our global platform infrastructure is designed to scale – allowing us to partner with some of the largest companies in the world. You want a proof for that? Just check out Yahoo! Maps – now powered by Nokia.

You can give it a spin now at maps.yahoo.com (US, English); espanol.maps.yahoo.com (US, Spanish); ca.maps.yahoo.com (Canada, English); and qc.maps.yahoo.com (Canada, French).

Other Map-related Applications

Nokia showcases bold portfolio of new phones, services and accessories at Nokia World [Oct 26, 2011]

In addition to its world-class, free walk-and-drive navigation for more than 100 countries worldwide, the Nokia Public Transport application tracks public transportation directly on a mobile device in more than 430 cities worldwide, including up-to-the-minute updates on bus and train routes for 45 cities. Nokia also introduced Nokia Pulse, which allows location-tagged updates and photos to be sent privately, adding location to conversations with the people that matter most. Nokia also showcased Nokia Live View, which turns the phone’s camera view finder into a reality augmenting tool. With Nokia Live View, a phone can be pointed to a building or street and the names of the places become superimposed over them, offering one click access to detailed information about businesses, restaurant or attractions. All the applications announced today are available at Nokia’s Beta Labs (betalabs.nokia.com).

Nokia also announced:

An agreement with the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority to develop a NFC-based smartphone ticketing solution to pilot on New York regional commuter trains starting before the end of 2011

Nokia Pulse Beta (likely to graduate to a commercial product) [Oct 26, 2011]

Nokia Pulse. The New Way to Check in [Oct 25, 2011]

Adding an inspired twist on social location, Nokia Pulse lets you instantly send location-tagged updates and photos to private groups of family and close friends. So syncing up in town and staying up to date is even simpler than sending a text message, but still just as private.

Nokia Pulsebrings your everyday conversations to life by automatically tagging photos and updates with your location.

Every conversation, from pickups and drop-offs to meet-ups, is as instant, private, and simple as sending a text, but far more useful and engaging. Nokia Pulse is integrated with Maps, so finding people nearby, discovering new places, and getting directions is a snap.

Group Conversations:
Keep it Private. Keep it Personal. Keep it Real.

  • Private check in – All your conversations stay private and safe
  • Photo check in – Automatically tag your location to all your photo updates
  • Private by Default – No complicated privacy settings needed

Live Places:
One tap and they know where you are. Two taps to get you there.

  • Bring your favorite places to life – Post a favorite place to a conversation
  • Discover what.s nearby – Make and view recommendations of nearby places of interest
  • Getting there is a snap – Get directions directly from the recommended place

Your People:
Your Family. Your People. You Decide.

  • Instant: Receive instant on-device notifications of all new updates
  • Open:  Everyone with an email address can participate
  • Easy:  Sending and receiving messages with Nokia Pulse is as easy as SMS
  • Powered by the cloud: Your conversations are saved in the cloud for as long as you need them
  • Accessible from anywhere: Nokia Pulse is available on multiple touch-points – desktop web, mobile web, Windows Phone and Symbian devices

Nokia Maps Suite Beta (likely to graduate to a commercial product) [Oct 26, 2011]

Nokia Maps Suite brings you the future of location-based services. Places helps you discover where to go and Public Transport shows the best way to get there with buses, trams and trains with worldwide coverage. Nokia Live View, the augmented-reality browser, turns your phone.s camera viewfinder into a new way to spot nearby attractions, shops, restaurants and places of interest. With Pulse, you can check in with the people you care about most—your family and close friends.

Wherever you are, you have access to everything you need to explore your surroundings, share special moments, and plan your next adventure.

Nokia Maps Suite includes:

Live View
A new way to easily find information and services on the go.
Learn more | Discussion | Suggestions | Bug reports

Places
Discover places around you.
Learn more | Discussion | Suggestions | Bug reports

Public Transport
Plan your journey from here to there easily.
Learn more | Discussion | Suggestions | Bug reports

Pulse
Privately share and discuss your location, photos, and more.
Learn more | Discussion | Suggestions | Bug reports

Try one, get four.

Even if you only use one of these stand-alone apps, we’d like you to install the Nokia Maps Suite and see how things work. Please read the installation and set up instructions on the Try It page. And note that there are some Known issues.

Make a difference. Give feedback!

Please share your thoughts, questions, bugs, and suggestions in the feedback forum (after checking the Known issues). When submitting feedback, select the most appropriate sub-category to make sure the right developers see it.

Discover your world and share it with people who matter the most [Oct 26, 2011]

It’s nice to feel like a local no matter where you are. Maybe you’re in London for Nokia World and have taken some time to see the sites, Places helps you find out where you are. Then you feel like having a coffee and use Live View to get information and reviews about the cafes closest to you. Enjoying your double cappuccino, you check in with Pulse and see that friends are in London for Nokia World too. Finally, you use Public Transport to find the quickest way to meet up with them. But how do you know all of the apps are up-to-date and that you have the latest and greatest from Nokia’s Location team?

We present to you the new Nokia Maps Suite for Symbian. It brings you all of the latest location applications in one easily downloadable package. The Nokia Maps Suite installer checks for the latest each app has to offer and automatically updates, optimizing performance. Today, Nokia Maps Suite is introducing a whole new range of apps: Places, Live view, Pulse and Public Transport, all of which can be installed together on your phone’s home screen. Be one of the first to try it!

Places

With one tap from your home screen, see where you are and instantly discover places around you listed in handy categories.

places

Live view

Explore your surroundings in a new way. The Live View augmented-reality browser uses your phone’s camera viewfinder to spot nearby places and instantly shows what’s around you: landmarks, restaurants, bars, shops, public transport stations and more.

live view

Pulse

An exciting new way to check in with the people you care about the most—your family and close friends. By default, it’s private and you don’t need to be part of a social network, simply add your email address and post. You can automatically add location to every update and receive instant notifications for new updates. Pulse is integrated with maps so you can easily discover nearby places, get directions and recommendations from trusted family and friends.

Pulse group view

Public Transport

All of your commuter information and trip planning at your fingertips! You can choose from multiple route suggestions and follow the slick list of directions for buses, trams, underground or trains. Check the next departure times for the nearest station and any one you have in mind, and easily save your regular commutes to favourites.

public transport

This first release of Nokia Maps Suite for Symbian lays the groundwork of things to come. We’d love for you to try it out and let us know which apps you like to use and when. Give it a try and tell us what you think in Nokia Beta Labs!

Best,

Rebekah, Community Feedback Manager

More Information on Nokia Maps Suite: Places [Oct 26, 2011]

Nokia Places helps you discover where to go faster. Simply open the app and instantly see what’s around. With just a tap or two you can turn places on the map on or off. Tap on the markers to see what the places are and how they are rated. Go to the details to read reviews, make reservations, and find your way there.

Live View: Augmenting Reality Everywhere Experimental Beta (prototype that may change or disappear after the trial period) [updated: Oct 26, 2011, released: July 12, 2011]

A new way to easily find information and services on the go

Have you ever wished you could spot the closest restaurant or ATM? Nokia Live View is a fun and easy way to discover what is around you. Simply launch the app on your phone and Live View will display the points of interests in the camera viewfinder view/ List view / Maps view.Nokia Live View connects you to what you.re looking for . and more . exactly when and where you want it. With Live View you can:

  • Select your interests in many different categories . Live View will filter the points of interests and present your choices
  • Know your options . get details, read reviews of restaurants and hotels
  • Enjoy the place . with one tap you can make a reservation, or navigate to the location via turn by turn walking map

What is different in this version?

Based on your feedback the product has been refined and has the following new features:

  • Live View is now available in several views – Camera viewfinder view, List view, Maps view. Accessible via screen navigation circles on the menu bar
  • Settings to configure the distance in Miles vs. Kilometers
  • Search and My Stuff . Search for a place and access previously searched items from My Stuff
  • Places grouping . when many places are located at the same location they are grouped and can be accessed by expanding the group
  • Browse through the Famous Places around the world
  • Scrollable List view sorted by distance with places details and orientation
  • A single click access to Call, View Ratings, Walk, Drive or Share the place
  • Layout, UI and performance improvements

Nokia Live View augmented reality browser (experimental beta at Nokia Beta Labs) [July 11, 2011]

http://betalabs.nokia.com/apps/nokia-live-view Nokia LiveView is a fun and easy way to discover what is around you. Simply launch the app on your phone and LiveView will display the points of interests in the camera viewfinder.

We are looking forward to your feedback!

We would love to hear from you with feedback on the productand any enhancements that you could think of to make this a better product.

Please make sure to rate our service by answering the NPS question in the client. If you want to leave more detailed feedback you can use the forum here on Beta Labs. Our team will be monitoring the feedback and we respond to you in the forum.

Nokia Live View updated. Augmenting reality everywhere. [Oct 26, 2011]

Are you hooked on Nokia Live Viewyet? If not, we’re pretty sure you will be—because Live View changes the way you see the world around you. It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for, like a café, ATM, or train station. Just look through your phone’s camera viewfinder, and the Live View augmented reality browser actually shows you whatever you’re looking for.

live view

Say you’re taking a taxi to meet friends at that new hot spot downtown. But when the driver drops you at the curb, you don’t recognize a thing. You know it must be close by, but where exactly? No worries. Just pull out your Nokia N8, launch Live View, and see exactly where the place is. It sounds like a gadget 007 might carry. But it’s already in your pocket. Just tap to call or navigate with turn-by-turn instructions. With Live View, you’ll probably beat your friends there. So share your location with them via email or SMS.

Live View can even help you spot new places of interest.  Always looking for the best Korean BBQ on the block? Save your customized searches so you can explore even easier next time. And once you discover someplace new, you can read reviews, descriptions and destination information.

So what do you think? Has Live View saved you from wandering aimlessly? Helped you find something new and different? Share your stories!

Try Nokia Live View for yourself.  This new beta releasehas the following new features:

  • Live View is now available in several views – Camera viewfinder view, List view, Maps view. Accessible via screen navigation circles on the menu bar
  • Settings to configure the distance in Miles vs. Kilometers
  • Search and My Stuff – Search for a place and access previously searched items from My Stuff
  • Places grouping – when many places are located at the same location they are grouped and can be accessed by expanding the group
  • Browse through the Famous Places around the world
  • Scrollable List view sorted by distance with places details and orientation
  • A single click access to Call, View Ratings, Walk, Drive or Share the place
  • Layout, UI and performance improvements

– Ashok, Nokia Live View team

More Information on Nokia Maps Suite: Public Transport [Oct 26, 2011]

Nokia Public Transport helps you navigate cities by public transportation. You can:

  • Choose from multiple routes and follow the list of directions for buses, trams, underground or trains.
  • Smart navigation for walking helps you reach your destination door-to-door.
  • Check the next departure times for any stop in your city and easily save your regular commutes to favourites.

You can enjoy of all these features with time-based information in these areas:

Berlin & Brandenburg, London, New York City, Toronto, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Bay Area, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Turin, Flanders, Denmark, Auckland

We also offer worldwide Simple routing information. Simple routing uses the map data to calculate a heuristic route, based on the likely frequency of lines.
Check out the list of citieswhere coverage is available.

What’s different from the last version?

We have increased our time-based coverage (before we only supported Berlin & Brandenburg) and added Simple routing for many cities all over the world. There’s also a new Stations nearby page (formally known as Departures) with all the stations and departure times around a selected spot. And the Journey details page visuals has been improved.

Nokia City Scene Experimental Beta (prototype that may change or disappear after the trial period) [Oct 25, 2011]

Nokia City Scene (Nokia Beta Labs) [Oct 21, 2011]

Explore cities in 3D with Nokia City Scene from Nokia Research Center. http://nokia.ly/q78Qhw Click on buildings to browse their stores and services, or use search to jump to what you are looking for. Connect to your social networks to find friends’ check-ins or share locations. Now featuring about a dozen US cities with coverage expanding both in the US and to Europe.

Explore cities in 3D with Nokia City Scene from Nokia Research Center. Click on buildings to browse their stores and services, or use search to jump to what you are looking for. Connect to your social networks to find friends’ check-ins or share locations. Now featuring about a dozen US cities with coverage expanding both in the US and to Europe.

The application combines NAVTEQ street imagery, building models and terrain data to create interactive panoramic street scenes. It uses building models to make buildings clickable, and to present information right on the building facade, so you can discover information just by browsing along a street.

You can use City Scene’s location aware search to jump directly to a panoramic view of the place you’re looking for, so you’ll recognize it when you go there. The application lists your friends’ Foursquare and Facebook check-ins so you can jump to where they’ve been. You can also share “postcards” of locations complete with street address (maybe suggesting a place to meet for coffee later). The Featured Cities list will grow automatically as NAVTEQ completes more drives.

We’d be really happy to hear your feedback about Nokia City Scene. If you’ve any comments or suggestions please visit our forum. Please check also the Frequently Asked Questions.

Advertisements

Tackling the Android tide

Remarks by Larry Page on the quarterly earning calls [July 14, 2011, see also Larry Page to boost Google even more as becoming CEO again [April 2, 2011]]

We have tremendous new businesses being viewed as “crazy” Android We actually have a new metric to report of 550,000 Android Devices activated a day!

[See the full post by Larry Page later]

Follow-up:
Nokia Lumia (Windows Phone 7) value proposition [Oct 26, 2011]
Note: the “affordable” Nokia Lumia 710 for 270 EUR [US$ 376] is the one produced by Compal (the 800 is by Nokia itself)

Updates:
Supercharging Android: Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility [Larry Page, Aug 15, 2011]

We recently explained (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/when-patents-attack-android.html) how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The U.S. Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community” (http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/April/11-at-491.html) and it is currently looking into (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903635604576476430510833852.html) the results of the Nortel auction.  Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.

Is Google buying Motorola for its 24,000 patents? [April 15, 2011]

Motorola Mobility Holdings’ CEO Discusses Q2 2011 Results – Earnings Call
Transcript
  [July 28, 2011]

… we own one of the strongest and most respected patent portfolios in the industry. We have over 17,000 patents granted and over 7,000 patents pending with particular strength in 2G and 3G essential, non-essential patents important to the delivery of competitive products in the marketplace, video particularly compression, decompression and security technologies and finally, a leading position in 4G LTE essential.

With new entrants to the mobile space resulting from the convergence of mobility, media, computing and the internet, our patent portfolio is increasingly important. …

@parmy Parmy Olson [Forbes’ London bureau chief]
Microsoft buying Nokia doesn’t seem like such a wild idea anymore. #Google #Motorola
2 hours ago via TweetDeck

Google’s Motorola Deal Could Give Windows An Opening [Forbes guest post, Aug 15, 2011]

Nokia says Google-Motorola deal may help Windows Phone [Aug 15, 2011]

This further reinforces our belief that opportunities for the growth of Nokia’s smartphone business will be greatest with Windows Phone. This could prove to be a massive catalyst for the Windows Phone ecosystem. Additionally, with our respective intellectual property portfolios, Nokia and Microsoft are working together to build and nurture an innovative ecosystem that benefits consumers, operators, developers and other device manufacturers.

Quotes from Android partners [Larry Page, Aug 15, 2011]

“We welcome today’s news, which demonstrates Google’s deep commitment to defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem.”

– J.K. Shin

President, Samsung, Mobile Communications Division

“I welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.”

– Bert Nordberg

President & CEO, Sony Ericsson

“We welcome the news of today‘s acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem.”

– Peter Chou

CEO, HTC Corp.

“We welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.”

– Jong-Seok Park, Ph.D

President & CEO, LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company

Google acquisition of Motorola likely to benefit Taiwan production partners, but potential uncertain [Aug 17, 2011]

Share prices of Taiwan-based companies known to have strong business relations with Motorola staged a rally on August 16, one day after Google announced its plans to acquire Motorola Mobility as investors expect the deal will bring more orders for those companies. However, some industry watchers commented that Google may eventually release Motorola’s hardware business, forcing Taiwan handset ODMs, and parts and components suppliers to face more uncertainties.

The deal should help improve the financial structure as well as
business of Motorola, which will then release more orders to its production partners in Taiwan, said the sources, indicating the potential beneficiaries include Arima Telecommunications, Compal Communications, Merry Electronic, Ichia Technologies and Chi Cheng Enterprise.

Arima is currently a major ODM of feature phones for Motorola, while Compal and Foxconn International Holdings (FIH) are smartphone ODMs for the vendor. Motorola’s focus on Android phones after being merged with Google will benefit all three ODMs, said the sources.

Motorola is expected to outsource a total of 11-13 million handsets to Taiwan ODMs in 2011, with more than 90% being feature phones, said the sources, indicating that shipments of smartphones to Motorola have more growth potential.

However, the sources pointed out initial orders from Motorola after being merged with Google are unlikely to increase substantially as Google has said it will run Motorola as a separate business and will treat all Android partners equally. This means that Motorola will be able to increase its orders to production partners if doing so remains competitive.

Motorola, operating as an independent handset vendor under Google, still also posts a potential threat to HTC and other Android phone vendors. Google is likely to compete directly with HTC or Samsung Electronics unless it sells or terminates Motorola’s hardware business eventually, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report.

Taiwan handset PCB and chipset vendors hail Google acquisition of Motorola [Aug 17, 2011]

Taiwan-based handset PCB and chipsets makers have applauded Google’s announcement of acquiring Motorola Mobility, expecting that a growing Android mobile device market will help boost their sales.

Unimicron Technology and Compeq Manufacturing are currently two Taiwan-based PCB suppliers for Motorola, but supply volumes take only a small portion of their total shipments, according to industry sources.

Taiwan-based handset chipset vendors MediaTek and MStar  Semiconductor have been developing handset solutions for Android models because Apple has a preference of buying handset chips from players outside Taiwan.

MediaTek has also been cooperating with Motorola for some time and so the integration between Google and Motorola is certainly good news for MediaTek as well as MStar from a long-term point of view, the sources asserted.

IHS iSuppli News Flash: Fast Facts on Google’s Purchase of Motorola Mobility [Aug 15, 2011]

 The Motorola Mobility acquisition puts Google Inc. in a stronger position in any potential patent dispute with Apple Inc. “From an intellectual property (IP) standpoint, the acquisition bolsters Google’s negotiating position with Apple, in the event that Apple goes after Android-based products the same way it did with Samsung in Europe,” said Francis Sideco, principal analyst, wireless communications, for IHS. “If nothing else, Google will be able to assert Motorola’s IP for the 3GPP and 3GPP2 cellphone specifications, which are used in both the iPhone and iPad.”

Motorola’s product development capabilities also may have made it an attractive acquisition target for Google. “Motorola has been closely following Google Android’s operating system release schedule,” said Tina Teng, senior analyst, wireless communications, for IHS. “Whenever Google releases a new version of Android, Motorola almost immediately has a device ready with the latest revision of the software, reflecting the company’s prodigious product development capabilities.”Google previously has used new HTC and Samsung products to demonstrate the latest capabilities of the Android operating system. For example, the HTC MyTouch and Samsung Nexus S served to show off the operating systems’ capabilities so other OEMs could follow the example. Now, Motorola is the company that will set the example.

Motorola can serve as Google’s product R&D department as Android spreads into new markets,”Teng added. “Motorola has engineering expertise in a wide range of products where Android will be used, including set-top boxes and televisions. The addition of Motorola’s engineering and intellectual property will accelerate Android’s time-to-market in these areas and potentially revitalize the Google TV business, which so far has met with little success.”

The acquisition could prompt some Android licenses to increase their focus on alternative operating systems, such as Windows Phone.“ Although Google has said Motorola will continue to operate as a separate company, this development has to raise questions among the other Android licensees as to the level of support they will get from Google in the future. Even before this announcement, Motorola already had gotten preferential treatment, receiving first access to Honeycomb on the tablet side. While it’s unlikely that the other licensees will abandon Android, they could shift their priorities and focus more R&D toward Windows Phone from Microsoft.”

Motorola ranked sixth in the global smartphone business in the second quarter. The company held a 4 percent share of global unit shipments. Company shipments amounted to 4.4 million, up 7.3 percent from 4.1 million in the first quarter, as shown in the table below.

Since hitting bottom in the first quarter of 2009, Motorola has been experiencing nearly uninterrupted quarterly growth in smartphone shipments. Quarterly company shipments have expanded sequentially for the past nine consecutive quarters, with the exception of the first quarter of 2011, as shown in the figure below.

Motorola once was the world’s No. 2 cellphone maker. As recently as the first quarter of 2007, Motorola was the world’s second-largest cellphone shipper after Nokia on the strength of its stylish RAZR product line. However, because of its difficulties in offering compelling new models following the success of the RAZR, Motorola’s share of global cellphone shipments went into decline. Following a precipitous and sustained drop in shipments and market share, the company made a strategic decision to shift its focus away from low-margin, mass-market cellphones and toward higher-profit smartphones based on the Android operating system, like the Droid and Backflip.

Motorola Inc.’s XOOM media tablet introduced early this year represented the first legitimate match for Apple Inc.’s iPad 3G, in terms of features and pricing. The IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis service’s dissection of the device determined the Motorola XOOM carries a bill of materials (BOM) of $359.92, based on pricing in March 2011, compared to approximately $320 for a 3G iPad with 32GB of NAND flash memory, based on pricing from April 2010.

Learn More > Low-End Smartphones Boost Market Growth

Has Google wasted $12bn on a dud patent poker-chip? [The Register, Aug 15, 2011]

Larry Page’s Moto bluff fails to convince

Analysis It’s all about patents, says Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page. Google insists that it bought Motorola to shore up its Android platform, which is caught in a litigious pincer movement from old buddies Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison. Microsoft is merely egging them on the sidelines as the manbags fly, shouting: “Fight!”

But analysts I’ve spoken to are already wondering how much due diligence Google performed before the announcement, or whether the Motorola acquisition will turn out to rival Terra’s legendary, rushed purchase of EMI. Here’s why.

Android is a copycat platform. The APIs copy Java, and the UI copies Apple’s iPhone. Oracle believes Google has violated Java IP, which it acquired with Sun Microsystems. Google says the language, and a third of Android’s API’s are “derivative” of Java. On the other warpath, Apple has launched three dozen lawsuits relating to usability and UI. Apple is hurling these lawsuits at Android licensees, rather than at Google itself. Google has refused to indemnify its partners, causing much nervousness.

But Motorola’s IP war chest does not help Google here. It is poor where it needs to be rich. It is no help at all in the Oracle battle, which (alas) as many people have forgotten today, is largely about copyrights not patents. The Motorola patent war chest could only help Google against Apple by opening up a new front, with retaliatory litigation which threatens every rival handset manufacturer. But have a look where Motorola patents’ strengths are: radio engineering and design. The most vital radio patents are already covered by existing patent pools.

Bear in mind, too, that Nokia has a patent portfolio that is as strong as – or stronger than – Motorola’s. Nokia executives believed it was so strong it would derail the Cupertino upstart. But when Nokia and Apple settled last month, Nokia barely came out ahead, with a one-off payment of €430m.

These radio and design patents of legacy manufacturers such as Motorola or Nokia really aren’t worth quite as much as their owners think they are.

Google has paid $12.5bn for a negotiating chip that appears to be almost impossible to redeem. In this light, the acquisition looks like panic, rather than a calm and carefully deliberated strategy. Google didn’t take IP seriously, bidding silly numbers (such as pi billion dollars [1]) for the Nortel patents. Then it realised it might be in trouble, and so went out and bought some IBM patents. Now it has splurged $12.5bn, truly believing the IP is going to be useful.

Hats off again to Motorola’s leadership, though. The company has been trying to sell its phone division for over three-and-a-half years [3] – and nobody wanted to know. “Who would buy a
loss-making mobile maker?” we asked in 2008.

Moto merely had to whisper to Google: “We can solve your patent woes,” and its shareholders were rewarded beyond their wildest hopes. Google’s offer price has a huge premium over the market’s valuation of what Motorola is worth.

With the right timing and the right sales seduction, it is amazing what the right mug punter can be prepared to pay.

End of Updates

Regarding the Apple vs. Android situation in the tablet space see:
Acer & Asus: Compensating lower PC sales by tablet PC push [March 29, 2011 with comprehensive update on Aug 2, 2011] which is showing Apple’s dominant position as well as serious technical and market problems with the original version of Honeycomb up to now
Update: Apple hikes 2H11 iPhone orders to over 56 million units [Aug 15, 2011]

Apple has upward adjusted the total order volume for iPhones,
consisting of iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4 CDMA and iPhone 5, for the second half of 2011 by 12-13%, from 50 million units originally estimated at the end of the second quarter of 2011 to more than 56 million units. iPhone 5 will account for 25.5-26 million units, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.

iPhone 5 orders for the third quarter of 2011 have been lowered from seven million units to 5.5-6 million units, while fourth-quarter orders have been raised from 14 million units to more than 20 million units, the sources pointed out. Total orders for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4 CDMA for the third quarter exceed 20 million units, and fourth-quarter orders have been
reduced to eight million units, the sources indicated.

Total shipments iPhones in 2011 will reach 95 million units, the sources noted. While Taiwan-based supply chain makers will benefit from increased component orders, they are expected to see pressure for price cuts from Apple, especially touch panel makers which account for the largest proportion of total production costs, the sources said.

What about Windows Phone 7 chances to compete with that?

The chances are suddenly becoming quite good as:

1. The Next Release of Windows Phone, codenamed Mango, is coming

Designed to be the best Windows Phone yet. Check out how the next Windows Phone release, codenamed Mango, will deliver smarter and easier mobile apps, web, and communication. Coming Fall 2011 to a Windows Phone mobile smartphone near you. Tons of new features and everything you love about Windows Phone 7.

More: Meet the next release of Windows Phone: Smarter and easier communications, apps, and web

Update: Mango phones to compete with new iPhone in September [July 29, 2011]

Branded handset vendors including HTC, Samsung Electronics, and LG Electronics all plan to launch Microsoft’s Mango-based smartphones in September, competing neck and neck with the forthcoming iPhone which is also slated for the same month, according to industry sources.

Other vendors to unveil Mango phones at the recently concluded Microsoft’s 2011 WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference) included Acer, ZTE and Fujitsu Toshiba, the sources indicated.

In cooperation with Fujitsu Toshiba, Japan-based mobile carrier KDDI has unveiled its first Mango phone, the IS12T, which features a Qualcomm MSM 8655 processor, 3.7-inch touch screen and 13.2-megapixel camera.

HTC is expected to roll out a number of Mango phones, powered by Qualcomm 1.5GHz single-core CPUs with display sizes ranging from 3.8- to 4.7-inch, the sources noted.

Nokia is expected to unveil its first batch of Mango phones at Nokia World 2011 to be held in October, at a time when fellow vendors have already heated up the market for Mango phones, which will probably be a good strategy for the handset vendor, commented the sources.

But the very latest legal problems with Android could become an even more decisive factor:

2. Android legal losses reportedly prompt exodus to Windows Phone and MeeGo [July 19, 2011]:

HTC’s recent legal loss in the ITC Apple patent case, along with Microsoft’s aggressive patent push amid Android OEMs, has reportedly left manufacturers increasingly wary of Google’s open-source OS. According to the 21st Century Business Herald, growing Chinese brands like ZTE and Huawei are looking to adopt Windows Phone Mango either as a placatory measure toward Microsoft or the first step in a transition from over-reliance on Android. However, the platform spat could also have an unlikely beneficiary: MeeGo.

Chinese analysts have pointed to the relatively closeness of MeeGo’s system kernel and that of Android, suggesting that both hardware and apps could be reasonably straightforward to migrate. MeeGo’s under-the-radar legal situation, and backer Intel’s extreme willingness to find new partners – now that Nokia has all but abandoned MeeGo in favor of Windows Phone – could make the platform a safer bet for spooked Android OEMs. Interestingly, rumors have already surfaced earlier in the year regarding the possibility of a ZTE handset powered by Intel processors.

However, just as Nokia has left the N9 to helm its fledgling MeeGo effort, more manufacturers are expected to look to Windows Phone. Although Microsoft charges a roughly $15-per-device licensing fee for Windows Phone 7, versus Google’s free distribution of Android, there are suggestions that should Apple, Oracle and others win their patent cases then $15-20 royalty fees may become commonplace for Android phones and tablets. HTC is already believed to pay Microsoft roughly $5 per Android device in licensing, while Samsung is supposedly being chased for up to $15 per Android device.

Of course, whether Apple would agree to licensing its technologies remains a sleeping-dragon issue. HTC has already announced that it has “alternate solutions” to the systems Apple alleges are infringed, perhaps in unspoken admission of the fact that the Cupertino company is likely more interested in squashing and hamstringing its rivals than it is in clawing license fees from them. Forcing Google back to the drawing board to identify and replace elements of Android found to overstep into iOS IP would certainly sap some of the platform’s current momentum.

DETAILED INFORMATION

Some key Microsoft sites to watch:

Joe Belfiore shows off Windows Phone Mango [May 23, 2011]

  1. A Web experience that goes beyond the browser [00:40 or separate excerpt]
    Windows Phone Mango has the power of Internet Explorer 9 built-in and the ability to localize the Web based on where you are. Corporate VP of Windows Phone, Joe Belfiore, demonstrates how Windows Phone Mango takes mobile internet to the next level.
    Bing serves you better than a hotel concierge. Use Local Scout to find cool restaurants, sights, and shops—then buy tickets or make reservations on the spot.
  2. A smarter approach to apps  [04:45 or separate excerpt]
    Smart app integration is built into Windows Phone Mango, so mobile apps show up when and where you need them. Corporate VP of Windows Phone, Joe Belfiore, demonstrates how to get the most from your mobile apps on Windows Phone Mango.
    Thousands of apps and counting. Rather listen to music? Create playlists, download podcasts, or track down that tune you can’t place with Music search. Live Tiles are more dynamic and informative in the next release of Windows Phone, codenamed Mango.
  3. Easier to connect and share [07:10 or separate excerpt]
    Windows Phone Mango communications features are organized around the person or group you want to interact with, not the app you have to use. Corporate VP of Windows Phone, Joe Belfiore, shows how access to mobile Facebook and Twitter has never been easier with Windows Phone Mango.
    Texting, Facebook chat, and Windows Live Messenger—now in one seamless experience. Create Groups to send your messages, videos, and pics to friends or family at warp speed. Groups and Threads coming to Windows Phone this fall, make it easier to stay connected with friends and family.

Remarks by Larry Page on the quarterly earning calls [July 14, 2011, see also Larry Page to boost Google even more as becoming CEO again [April 2, 2011]]

We have tremendous new businesses being viewed as “crazy”

Android
We actually have a new metric to report of 550,000 Android Devices activated a day!
That’s a HUGE number even by Google’s standards

Chrome
It’s the fastest growing browser
With over 160 million users

People rightly ask how we will monetize these businesses?

And of course I understand the need to balance the short term with the longer term needs because our revenues and growth serve as the engine that funds our innovation

But our emerging high usage products can generate huge new businesses for Google in the long run, just like search And we have tons of experience monetizing successful products over time

Well run technology businesses with tremendous consumer usage make a lot of money over the long term

I think about our products in three separate categories

First, there is search and our ads products, the core driver of revenue for the company. Nikesh and Susan are going to talk more about ads later in the call

Next, we have products that are enjoying high consumer success–YouTube, Android and Chrome. We are investing in these in order to optimize their long-term success

Then we have our new products–Google+ and Commerce and Local. We are are investing in them to drive innovation and adoption

Overall, we are focused on long term absolute profit and growth, as we have always been–and I will continue the tight financial management we have had in the last two years, even as we are making significant investments in our future

Exclusive: AT&T’s Ralph De La Vega on Which Smartphones Are Winning [June 4, 2011 — Excerpt 1 ]

AllThingsD: You guys have always offered the broadest range of smartphones. What are the trends?

De la Vega: They definitely are buying a lot less feature phones than they used to. We’ve seen a dramatic shift from feature phones and quick messaging devices, which were texting devices only, into smartphones. We love that.

Android is becoming more popular. Our Android business is doing very, very well. I think what’s happening is people have latched on to smartphones. I think over time there will be fewer and fewer feature phones.

There are a million Android devices. Do you want to see more customization? I know at Mobile World Congress you said that you would carry the HTC device that is very Facebook-centric. Do you want to see more devices like that, that are a little more specialized?

De la Vega: I think you are going to see more people put a different UI on top of Android, like HTC has very successfully done. I love what they have done with their UI. It’s very simple, but it is still Android. I hope others will step up to the plate and Android itself will get better.

What have been the positive surprises? We talked about how BlackBerry has had a rough time and with Windows Phone, even though you like the product, the volume hasn’t been maybe what you hoped for.

De la Vega: iPhone and Android. I’ve been very pleased with HTC. HTC has come out with the HTC Inspire and it is selling extremely well in our stores. I think HTC has done a great job with the user interface. You go in and it is distinctive and I think other players are going to have to step up to that. So, Android and Apple are really the hot products right now.

Microsoft’s Android Plan: Evil Genius Or Just Evil? [July 13, 2011]

Buried in all the intrigue surrounding the Nortel patent auction was an interesting tidbit: Microsoft did not have to bid on the patents, but they did anyway. Why? As far as I can tell, it’s one of two reasons. One is evil. The other is evil genius. Either Microsoft really wants to kill Android. Or, if Android continues to thrive, Microsoft wants to be the ones that make billions of dollars off of its success.

… they’d prefer that Android (which killed Windows Mobile) would die and Windows Phone would take it’s place. But the next best option is to catch a free ride on the Android train. Patent licensing deals already in place with HTC, General Dynamics, and others could mean revenues of over $1 billion by next year, as Forbes reports. And if they’re able to convince Samsung to sign one as well (which could effectively force every Android partner to sign one), we could be talking multiple billions of dollars of revenue each year.

Microsoft’s intent here is pure evil genius. “It’s not like Android’s free. Android has a patent fee. You do have to license patents,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said last year. What he didn’t explicitly say is that you’d have to pay Microsoftand not Google for those patents. Think about this for a second: it’s entirely possible that Microsoft is going to end up making more money — perhaps significantly more — from Android than Google will. A year ago, such a statement would have seemed like a joke. But now it’s becoming reality. And it must be the ultimate nightmare for Google.

By being a part of the winning team, and not allowing Google to get Nortel’s patents, Microsoft put themselves in a win-win situation. If their continued threats to Google’s Android partners force those partners to reconsider their Android commitments, well there’s Windows Phone waiting with opened arms. If the threats lead to licensing agreements and the continued rise of Android, well there’s a huge pile of money from each participating OEM.

So no, Microsoft did not have to bid on the Nortel patents. But doing so may prove to be one of the best moves Microsoft has never made. And strangely enough, they have Apple to thank. Of course, they’re likely playing their own little game in this situation. Keep your enemies closer. Or keep them fighting.

Behind Microsoft’s $15 Samsung Android royalty claim [July 6, 2011]

Samsung is reported to be trying to lower the payment to $10.

The source for this report is the South Korean Maeil Business Newspaper, which quoted unnamed industry officials.

The Samsung story follows a week in which Microsoft named three OEMs as having agreed to license its patents for devices they make and sell running Android.

A fourth manufacturer was named on Tuesday this week, only this time Google’s Chromewas added to the Android mix. Microsoft said it had signed a deal with Wistron on tablets, mobile phones, e-readers and other consumer devices that use Chrome in addition to Android.

Microsoft is giving manufacturers two choices: pay up over the long term or incur years of high legal fees. You decide which your board or your investors like best.

That’s a tough choice given patent and IP cases can drag on for years and can cost billions of dollars. It’s a hard course of action to take when, given the fashion-driven nature of consumer devices, the product you’re battling over stops selling or gets canned. It’s an even tougher decision to fight cash-rich Microsoft alone while the maker of the thing you’re fighting over, Android, doesn’t want to step in to back you up.

Microsoft is putting other Android OEMs on notice that it’s coming after them for some easy patent money. That’s the first “win”.

The second? Microsoft will be hoping it can influence the courts in the Barnes & Nobel and Motorola cases – and in any future cases – by saying: if you don’t believe us on Android violating our patents, just look at all those who accepted we were right and agreed to pay up.

Nortel Announces the Winning Bidder of its Patent Portfolio for a Purchase Price of US$4.5 Billion [June 30, 2011]

Nortel Networks Corporation [OTC: NRTLQ] announced that it, its subsidiary Nortel Networks Limited (NNL), and certain of its other subsidiaries, including Nortel Networks Inc. and Nortel Networks UK Limited (in administration), have concluded a successful auction of all of Nortel’s remaining patents and patent applications. After a multi-day auction, a consortium emerged as the winning bidder with a cash purchase price of US$4.5 billion. The consortium consists of Apple, EMC, Ericsson [USD 340 million], Microsoft, Research In Motion and Sony.

The sale includes more than 6,000 patents and patent applications spanning wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider, semiconductors and other patents. The extensive patent portfolio touches nearly every aspect of telecommunications and additional markets as well, including Internet search and social networking.

“Following a very robust auction, we are pleased at the outcome of the auction of this extensive patent portfolio”, said George Riedel, Chief Strategy Officer and President of Business Units, Nortel. “The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world.”

The sale is subject to applicable Canadian and U.S. Court approvals which will be sought at a joint hearing expected to be held on July 11, 2011. Nortel will work diligently with the consortium to close the sale in the third quarter of 2011.

As previously announced, Nortel does not expect that the Company’s common shareholders or the NNL preferred shareholders will receive any value from Nortel’s creditor protection proceedings and expects that the proceedings will result in the cancellation of these equity interests.

On the very latest legal problems with Android:

ITC says HTC violating two of Apple’s patents [July 15, 2011]

The ITC administrative law judge’s initial determination was that HTC infringed on two of the 10 patents Apple had filed a complaint over in March 2010, according to an HTC statement. The ITC still needs to make a final ruling on the complaint. A loss carries the threat that HTC’s products would be banned from coming into the U.S., and Apple only needs to get a favorable decision on one of the patents.

The latest development is also a major blow to HTC, which has made strides in building market share and a brand with its line of Android-powered smartphones, many of which feature the company’s own Sense user interface. HTC was the first Android supporter that Apple went after, signalling the growing threat of Google’s software to iOS and the iPhone franchise.

On Monday, Apple had filed a second complaint with the ITC, claiming that five additional patents were being illegally used, including one used for scrolling operations, another for programmable tactile touch-screen displays, and one for a double-sided touch-sensitive panel, all of which are used in another complaint against Samsung.

The other relates to the ability to scroll, zoom, and rotate content on a screen, while the last references “portable computers.”

The five additional patents weren’t a part of this ruling.

HTC is considered the most vulnerable legally of the Android partners because it lacks a robust portfolio of patents that act as a potential shield. Earlier this month, HTC purchased S3 Graphics, largely because of a collection of patents that the ITC administrative law judge recently determined were used illegally by Apple.

Apple, meanwhile, is still in the middle of a similar patent fight against Samsung Electronics.

Apple Notches Patent Win Against HTC [July 18, 2011]

Apple Inc. netted a victory in its legal dispute with HTC Corp., as a U.S. International Trade Commission judge ruled the Taiwanese cellphone maker infringed two patents that Apple had cited in a March 2010 complaint to the agency.

The patents relate to multimedia processing technology and data detection technology that lets users dial a phone number that appears in their email. Apple originally alleged that ten of its patents were used in smartphones from HTC, which uses Google Inc.’s Android mobile operating system. The ITC ruling Friday only applied to four patents.

Apple, which helped reshape the mobile phone market with its hit iPhone, has been grappling with the rise of competing smartphones that run Android.

The ruling comes as a blow to HTC, and could have implications for other Android phones that offer similar functionality. Apple has squared off in other patent cases against smartphone makers such as Motorola Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for HTC said it plans to appeal the decision. “We are confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to defend ourselves using all means possible,” she said, adding that “this is only one step of many in these legal proceedings.”

A spokesman for Apple reiterated its previous statement that “competitors should create their own original technology and not steal ours.”

Taiwan’s HTC rejects fresh Apple patent claim [July 11, 2011]

Taiwan’s leading smartphone maker HTC on Tuesday dismissed fresh patent infringement claims by US giant Apple as the legal battle between the rivals escalated.

Apple Monday filed a complaint against HTC with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) — which is already reviewing three other disputes between the two — over five cases linked to technology used in the iPad and iPhone.

It has also lodged a suit in a US District Court in Delaware.

“HTC is disappointed at Apple’s constant attempts at litigations instead of competing fairly in the market,” said HTC general counsel Grace Lei in a statement.

“HTC strongly denies all infringement claims raised by Apple in the past and present and reiterates our determination and commitment to protect our intellectual property rights,” she said.

Shares in HTC closed limit-down seven percent at Tw$915.0 ($31.5) in the Taipei bourse.

“Sentiment was hit by Apple’s fresh legal action as well as heavy losses in the international and regional markets,” said Alex Huang, an analyst at Mega International Investment Services.

HTC touts its own brand of smartphones and also makes handsets for a number of leading US companies, including the Nexus One unveiled by Apple rival Google.

Apple in March 2010 called on the ITC to investigate the Taiwan company over iPhone patents. That was followed months later by HTC filing for a probe into possible software patent abuse by the California-based firm.

Patent lawsuits are a regular occurrence among technology giants and Apple is currently being sued by Nokia for patent infringement. Apple has fired back a countersuit against the Finnish mobile phone giant.

And last week Apple hit back at an infringement claim by Samsung by calling for the South Korean company to be investigated.

— Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story —

ITC judgment of HTC infringement of Apple patents arouses concern in China handset industry [AFP from Taipei, July 19, 2011]

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has made an initial ruling that Taiwan-based smartphone vendor HTC has infringed two of Apple’s 10 patents related to iPhone, and this has caused concern among China-based vendors and white-box vendors of smartphones mainly because almost all of these smartphones are based on free and open-source Android, according to China-based 21st Century Business Herald.

Some of these vendors worry about the risk of becoming embroiled in patent infringement due to adoption of Android, and have drawn up three strategies to cope with potential impact. The three strategies are enhancement of support to Microsoft Mango operating system, promotion of smartphone customization by mobile telecom carriers for protection through binding common interest (especially carriers partnering with Apple and Microsoft), self-development of own operating systems, the source pointed out. China-based smartphone vendors Huawei Device and ZTE have planned to adopt Mango, the source indicated.

However, other vendors hold the opinion that China-based vendors are not so competitive and important in the global smartphone market as to become targets of Apple’s or Microsoft’s patent infringement lawsuits, the source indicated. They also think the ITC ruling will push up cost of adopting Android and this will benefit white-box vendors because it is impossible for them to pay royalty fees to Apple or Microsoft, the source noted.

Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 Information:

Steve Ballmer: Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 [speech transcript, July 11, 2011]

… Phones, we’ve gone from very small to very small, but it’s been a heck of a year. (Laughter.) And you’re going to see a lot of progress in that market competitively as we move forward.

… A year ago, Microsoft had no Windows Phone. In the last year, we’ve sold millions of phones. When we survey our users, nine out of ten of the people who bought a Windows Phone absolutely would recommend it to a friend. It’s certainly a very busy, active, competitive market. We’ve got a lot of work to do to break through. And yet, the people in the phone business believe us. We’ve already had over 20,000 applications built for Windows Phone in eight months. That’s a faster ramp than either Android or iPhone had. Nokia, who had a choice this year to bet on themselves, to bet on Android, or to bet on Windows Phone said for their bet the company strategy, they’re going with Windows Phone. They saw our roadmaps. They saw what we’ve done. They saw what we’re planning on doing. They’re pushing us. They’re pushing us to go broader geographically with Windows Phone. They’re pushing us to hit new price points with Windows Phone. But, they believe.

Others believe, too. Gartner and IDC both did predictions this year that said Windows Phone would be the No. 2 phone in the market by 2015. We’ve already shipped two major updates since we launched Windows Phone less than a year ago. The update that we just made available, “Mango,” which will be on phones this fall, has over 500, 500 new features. We know we’ve got a lot to do, but like the cloud, like NT many years back, we’re all in when it comes to mobile devices. And whether it’s phones or slates, or PCs, or console devices, we’re certainly pushing extremely far, and extremely fast.

Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango’ video demo YouTube [July 13, 2011]

The 3 main things about ‘Mango’:

  1. Connecting and sharing more easily with people
  2. Making apps smarter
  3. Taking the web beyond just the browser

Andrew Lees: Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 [speech transcript, July 12, 2011]

… there are some key trends that are fundamentally changing the world of devices. Now, they’re going to have a huge impact in the technology that we provide, and the solutions that you build. And it starts right at the core of the devices themselves, the core technologies.

we’re at an inflection point in Moore’s Law, where you can put all of the key things required to run a computer into a single chip, a system-on-a-chip. That means that you can have full PC compute power available in whichever form factor that you like. And that’s part of the reason why we’re seeing all of these different form factors.

… Another advantage of moving everything onto a single chip is that the price comes down dramatically. And, in fact, if you look even at the price of smartphones, a year ago all smartphones cost over $400 when they left their hardware manufacturer. Today, they’re down to about $200, and next year, a smartphone that can run something like Windows Phone 7 will actually be down to $100 to $150. So, you’re seeing a dramatic price reduction. …

… a lot of people have asked me, are we going to produce a phone that is a tablet? You know, are we going to use Windows Phone 7 to produce tablets? Well, that is in conflict with this strategy. We view a tablet as a sort of PC. We want people to be able to do the sorts of things that they expect on a PC on a tablet, things like networking to be able to connect to networks, and utilize networking tools, to get USB drives and plot them into the tablet. To be able to do things like printing, all of the things using Office, using all of the things you would expect from a PC and provide a hybrid about how you can do that with the tablet, as well.

And so at the Build Conference in September we will talk about how we can provide the bet of the PC and the tablet. And our strategy is not just limited to that. We are aiming to provide coherence and consistency across the PC, the phone, and the TV, particularly with Xbox. That’s through providing new types of scenarios, things like the way in which we make the user experience more common, as you saw yesterday in the demonstration of the user experience that you have on Windows 8, Windows Phone, and also on Xbox. But, also sharing key pieces of technology.

You see if you looked at the update that we’re providing to Windows Phone this year, we include a new browser. It’s Internet Explorer 9. It’s the same technology that we have on the PC. It’s not similar. It’s the same. So, we can take the advantages that we provide on the PC and immediately leapfrog and provide those across different types of devices.

This is very important to you, because it protects the investments that you have made with ustogether, and your customers have made in key elements of the technology, not only the device, but the infrastructure, the productivity, and the solutions that are used to feed those devices to enable those business and consumer scenarios.

So, for a phone the strategy here is not to provide a business phone, or a consumer phone, but to have them all be the same thing. There’s only one thing. And so there’s a few key things that we’re delivering with our phone strategy:

The first one is that we need to provide what end users desire and what they require. These personal scenarios like music and games, and communications, personal communications, social networking, build them into the phone, but also enabling a line of business solutions, business productivity, getting access to information inside of your company. And we may need to make sure that it works with the existing infrastructure and we provide the same tools for you to provide solutions to customers.

… what is “Mango” all about? Well, it’s about three main things. The first thing is communication, the second thing is about applications, and the third thing is the Internet.

You see, the phone has always been a communications device, but people today are communicating in lots of different ways. Communications, email, instant messaging, sharing pictures and laugh-out-louds, and social networking; even checking in is a type of communication. Rather than doing all of that in individual applications we build those core capabilities into the phone. It is the easiest and simplest way to communicate across a variety of different services, and to go from phone to phone, phone to PC, or phone to Xbox.

The second area is applications. The problem with applications is they all run in silos. So, with “Mango” we let applications break out of their box. It means that information from the application is available throughout the phone, and also, the application participates in the total experience.

Then finally with the Internet, the challenge here has always been to provide a desktop-type experience on the phone. And we deliver that by including things like Internet Explorer 9, in with “Mango.” But, we go one step further, and we say imagine if you could take the power of the Internet and deliver that beyond the browser, in a way that enables you scrape the Web so that you can quickly find answers and get things done, find information to be more productive. …

IDC recently did a study; first of all, they’re predicting that Windows Phone will be the number two smartphone in 2014. More about that in just a second. But what they’ve also done is looked at the revenue attach opportunities that there are for partners when they go through to provide infrastructure that feeds the phone, through things like management, security, and enabling these types of scenarios. The second thing is productivity through delivering things like Office 365, Office itself, et cetera, to make employees more productive, SharePoint, and then solutions, line-of-business solutions, that you develop. And the opportunity here is just mind-blowing. …

So, the message here is make sure that the phone is a key element of your strategy for how you’re providing productivity, infrastructure, and solutions for your customers.

The second area is with operators. And here what we want to do is provide the largest geo-footprint that we can. We’re going to more than double the size of the market that we have in “Mango.” We significantly increased the number of countries, and we will lower the price of the phones by half, increasing the total addressable market very, very dramatically.

And, of course, we’re doing that in partnership with the handset makers. There will be a whole new range of phones that are available this fall around “Mango” at different price points, with different features, particularly from the partners that we have already been working with, Samsung, HTC, and LG. But I’m also very excited about the partnership that we announced in February with Nokia, and this is where they’re going to move to exclusively rely on Windows Phone as their platform.

Microsoft Reveals New Windows Phone 7 Mango Handsets From Samsung, Acer, And More.flv [July 12, 2011]

Steve Guggenheimer: Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 [July 12, 2011]

[see the above video excerpt]
Andy talked about Acer, Fujitsu, and ZTE as new phone providers. I’m happy for the first time ever to have one of each of the phones up here and running. All of these are running live “Mango” builds. Acer brings one of the large OEM brands into the phone space on Windows 7. I think this Fujitsu brings a little bit of lightheartedness and life along with a waterproof design. Great capability in terms of the camera. And the ZTE brings one of the largest manufacturers in the phone space into the Windows Phone 7 world. So, as we see the technology move forward in Derek’s great demo, we’re going to have devices that take advantage of it.

Last, but not least, I’m very happy to show, this is the first time, this is the new Samsung that’s coming. It’s very thin, and light, and that’s the theme you’re going to see as the processors get thinner and better battery life, as the screens get better, we’re going to see phenomenal screen resolutions, great battery life, lightweight devices across the phone.

Fujitsu to launch first Windows Phone Mango handset in… August? [July 16, 2011]

Say it ain’t so — not only is a phone not delayed, it’s actually planning to come out earlier than its quoted launch window? This particular miracle is the exception much more than the rule, but Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone OS (nicknamed “Mango,”) might come out prior to the anticipated fall release. According to Nikkei, Fujitsu will offer the very first Mango device, a waterproof phone called the IS12T, on KDDI “as early as late next month.” The phone is to be sold for 30,000 – 40,000 yen ($378 – 505), a reasonable amount of coin for what will likely be a higher-end device. And — if it’s the same handset showcased at this week’s Worldwide Partner Conference — a pink version will be on sale. So, what’s more enticing: a Hello Kitty-flavored Windows Phone, or a Samsung Galaxy S II lookalike running Mango? It’s a tough call.

Microsoft slips Windows Phone Mango ready by September

Microsoft spoils WP7 Mango launch timing

Microsoft’s Imagine Cup account on Twitter inadvertently gave away timing for the first Windows Phone 7 Mango devices through a Twitter post(since deleted). The company promised that the finalists in the student competition would all get “Windows Phone 7.5 Mango.” Every winning student would get a phone with the new OS “by September.”

The statement doesn’t directly equate to a full, public launch of Mango in September, but it does hint that the OS will at least be ready by the same time. Microsoft is holding its Build developer event the same month and will probably want a complete OS, if not production hardware, to show.

Outside of the new misstep, Microsoft has only ever committed to fall for the new WP7 update. Its timing may depend on new hardware. This year, the hardware partners are expanding significantly and include very regional companies like Fujitsu and ZTE along with returning veterans like HTC, LG, and Samsung. [via Mobility Digest]

Microsoft President Announces New Partner Benefits and Underscores Opportunity With Windows Phone ‘Mango’ [feature story, July 12, 2011]

During a keynote address at WPC, Lees also emphasized that now is the time for partners to join and benefit from the expanding Windows Phone ecosystem.

Lees highlighted a number of new featurescoming to the next version of Windows Phone, code-named “Mango,” that build upon the unique design of Windows Phone and deliver integrated experiences with the company’s massive business user base of more than 750 million Microsoft Office users, 150 million Exchange users and 100 million licensed SharePoint users.

As the only phone to offer Microsoft Office Mobile and Outlook Mobile built-in, the next version of Windows Phone, available later this year, will enable greater productivity by allowing businesses to extend their IT infrastructure and utilize Microsoft cloud-based services such as Office 365while increasing opportunities for partners around the globe, Lees said.

At WPC, Lees unveiled a range of new benefits and opportunities for members of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).

Lees announced an exclusive discount program that makes it easier for MPN members worldwide to obtain and experience Windows Phone. The new discount program, which begins immediately, is available to all MPN memberswith at least one Microsoft competency.

Lees also unveiled a new MPN app for all Mobility Competency partners that enables them to easily access exclusive technical and sales contentfor Windows Phone while on the go.

“When people try Windows Phone, they love it,” Lees says. “But it’s more than selling phones. Our goal is to equip partners with what they need to be successful, giving them the guidance and tools they need to bring compelling experiences to their customers.”

As a specific benefit to Mobility Competency partners, Lees announced a special MPN logo, available today, that partners may use to distinguish their apps from others in the Windows Phone Marketplace and App Hub.

Lees also announced that the next round of MPN updates in the fall will include a new way for partners that build mobile apps to attain the Mobility Competency certification by developing an app that meets specific business criteria.

For another view of the partner news shared about Windows Phone during WPC 2011, view the Windows Phone Mobility Partners video of Microsoft Partners discussing the opportunities for building Windows Phone applications and solutions.

Mango Provides Sweet Opportunities for Windows Phone Partners [July 12, 2011]

[​Author: Paul Bryan – Sr. Director, Product Management, Business Experience on the Windows Phone team.]

I’m at Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Los Angeles today, which this year is hosting almost 15,000 Microsoft Partners from around the world. Today, Windows Phone Division President Andy Lees addressed attendees on the opportunities for partners with Windows Phone. It’s an exciting time for the Windows Phone business and we’re thrilled to see the great things people are saying about our next major update – code-named Mango. Take the great new product capabilities coming in Mango, combined with new partner benefits just announced and there’s never been a better time to join the rapidly growing Windows Phone ecosystem.

Expanding Windows Phone Partner Ecosystem

We launched Windows Phone 7 last fall with the help of our partners and have seen the ecosystem momentum build rapidly ever since. We’ve received great customer feedback about their experiences across the range of devices being offered by our hardware and mobile operator partners. More than 42,000 developers worldwide have registered with the Windows Phones Marketplace. To date, these developers have added more than 22,000 apps to the Windows Phone Marketplace, greatly expanding the range of experiences for Windows Phone customers. From hot consumer apps like Angry Birds, ESPN Scorecenter and Netflix, to business-focused apps like CWR Mobile CRM 2011, and PushBI, the Marketplace is growing stronger each day with the help of our partners.

Additionally, with our agreement with Nokia finalized, work is well underway to deliver Nokia phones on the Windows Phone platform before the end of the year.

Sweet, Sweet Mango

There’s a lot of buzz around our upcoming Mango update, which will add hundreds of new features and capabilities that build upon the unique design and integrated experiences of Windows Phone. If you’re a partner building solutions with Exchange and SharePoint, Mango adds a number of new Outlook and Office Mobile productivity features bringing even more value to your solutions on Windows Phone. Mango will also add built-in support for Office 365 and a free Lync Mobile app, making communication and collaboration a snap for companies whose infrastructure is on premises or in the cloud. Mango will also offer added functionality for organizations to make the most efficient use of resources, allowing IT departments to use existing infrastructure to manage phones or distribute their own applications using Targeted App Distribution in Marketplace.

For developers, Mango adds a range of new capabilities for delivering richer more compelling apps. In addition to support for SQL Linq, sockets, and background processing, Mango brings new ways for app developers to make the user experience more engaging and seamless through Live Tiles and integration with Bing search services.

Not only do these new features in Mango extend the premier productivity smartphone experience, but they’ll help partners to grow their business. In fact, a new study by IDC study suggests that by 2012 Windows Phone has the potential to generate annual attached software and service revenue of nearly $300 per Windows Phone device for partners. In other words, Windows Phone for the long-term is a huge opportunity for partners to attract new customers and grow their business.

windowsphone1.PNGFor app and solution developers, a familiar platform and enhanced development tools in Mango will enable partners to create and distribute new solutions and applications. Partners will continue to leverage familiar tools such as Silverlight, the XNA Framework, Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend, to bring new apps to market quickly. Some good examples of this are Yellowbook and REALTOR.com. Additionally, Yammer announced today they will be bringing their enterprise social networking app to the Windows Phone Marketplace later this year.

We also recently released the Windows Phone Mango Beta 2 Developer Tools so developers could try out the new capabilities and get a jump on building and testing new apps for Mango.

Revamped Mobility Competency and Added Discounts for Microsoft Partners

As part of WPC, we are happy to announce several new benefits designed to help partners experience Windows Phone and promote their Windows Phone expertise to customers.

First, we’re making it even easier for partners to obtain and experience Windows Phones with a new Windows Phone Discount Program. Partners with at least one Microsoft Competency can take advantage of exclusive discounts from mobile operators and hardware vendors for all of their employees worldwide.

We’re also making it easier for partners to stay informed through a new MPN app for Windows Phone, which provides access to exclusive technical and sales content.

windowsphone2.jpg

In addition, we’re revamping the Mobility Competency certification. Partners can earn the Microsoft Mobility Competency for their organizations through newly revised Windows Phone training. And for the first time, beginning with the next round of MPN updates this fall, partners will be able to obtain the Microsoft Mobility Competency certification for their company by developing an app that meets specific criteria as a business application. Through the Mobility Competency, partners can become and stay proficient in Windows Phone app development and solution deployment. They will also be able to utilize a special MPN logo, available immediately, to distinguish their apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace and App Hub.

Exciting times indeed! With new partners, new products, new platform capabilities, new partner benefits and more great apps and solutions being delivered every day, it is a great time to be part of the Windows Phone ecosystem and take advantage of the tremendous opportunity ahead.

For information about the opportunities with Windows Phone Mango or the Marketplace, visit our Partner site. To view sessions from Worldwide Partner Conference, visit here. For more information, we encourage you to check out this feature on Microsoft News Center.

To learn more about the Windows Phone partner news shared today, we encourage you to check out this video that features Microsoft Partners discussing the opportunities for building applications and solutions for Windows Phone.

The Weekly Wrap: Marketplace tops 25,000, Windows Phone goes Hollywood, Garmin’s new app [Windows Phone Blog, July 8, 2011]

Marketplace tops 25,000 While estimates differ, unofficial Marketplace counters now peg our app inventory at somewhere north of 25,000, as multiple bloggers noted last week. Regardless of whose numbers you trust, the bottom line is that Marketplace is going gangbusters. But buzz about the overall app count overshadowed what I think was the week’s most exciting news: the boatload of brand-name apps that poured in. WPCentral counts at least 52 marquee titles in the last two weeks. Liveside.net, meanwhile, compiled its own handy list (complete with download links) of standouts. Check it out

Devices’ information:

WP7 Mango: HTC Eternity Windows Phone 7 Specs and Release Date [Jul 13, 2011]

The images leaked online provides glimpses of new HTC Windows Phone 7, currently being called ‘Eternity’. HTC Eternity will land as one of the first most smart phones running Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Mango (WP7) operating system.

HTC reconfirmed its commitment to Windows Phone 7 based smartphones in a statement at Global Technology Summit in Paris by HTC Head European Nations, Florian Seiche to to Reuters that they will keep developing Windows Phone 7 smart phones like HTC Eternity and HTC Omega, despite of Microsoft Nokia deal:

It will not change our commitment to Microsoft. With a new player entering, it should actually help to elevate the relevance of that platform. We actually feel that we should be able to benefit. The long-term opportunity with Nokia entering will definitely bring Windows back to critical mass.

There were few news leaks back in May 2011, which failed to attract much attention, but this time there are enough details to be given weight. The new HTC Eternity appears to have a big 4.7 inches WVGA Super LCD display screen, bigger than on the Samsung Infuse 4G. So if a large screen is what you wish for, the HTC Eternity might be the phone you want to wait on. Other than that, HTC Eternity seems to have a typical spec sheet for a mid-to-high level device, beside running Windows Phone 7 (WP7 Mango).

HTC Eternity is said to have a single core 1.5GHz processor, 4.7 inch screen with WVGA resolution, 8P autofocus camera with dual-LED 720p video recording capabilities, 1.3 MP front camera and 16GB internal memory. There was also a DLNA, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, 1650mAh battery. Here under is the HTC Eternity Windows Phone 7 complete specs:

WP7 Mango: HTC Eternity Windows Phone 7 Specs
Microprocessor Chipset CPU:Clock: 1500 MHz
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255
Memory,_Storage+capacity RAM+capacity: 512 MiB
ROM:capacity: 14.9 GiB
Display Display Type: Super LCD , 16777216 scales Display:Diagonal: 4.7 ”
Display:Resolution: 480 x 800
Sound Microphone(s): stereo
Loudspeaker(s): Supported
Audio-Output: 3.5mm
Cellular Phone Cellular_Networks: GSM850, GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS900, UMTS2100 Cellular-Data-Links: CSD, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+
Call Alert: 64 -chord melody
Vibrating+Alert: Supported
Speakerphone-: Supported
Control+Peripherals Positioning:Device: Multi-touch screen Primary Keyboard: Not supported Directional+Pad: Not supported
Scroll-Wheel: Not supported
Interfaces Expansion:Slots: Not supported USB: USB 2.0 client, 480Mbit/s
micro-USB Bluetooth: Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR Wireless LAN: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n Infrared:Gate: Not supported
Multimedia+Telecommunication Analog Radio Receiver: FM radio (87.5-108MHz) with RDS Digital+Media-Broadcast_Tuner: Not supported
Satellite Navigation Built-in-GPS module: Supported Complementary GPS-Services: Assisted GPS
Built-in-Digital-Camera Main-Camera: 8 MP Autofocus-(AF): Supported Optical+Zoom: 1 x Macro_Mode: Supported Built-in Flash: mobile light (LED) Secondary-Camera: 1.3 MP
Additional Details Built-in-accelerometer: Supported Battery: removable Battery Capacity: 1650 mAh

WP7 Mango: HTC Eternity Windows Phone 7 Release Date

Release Date and Price of the new Windows Mobile 7 based HTC Eternity are yet officially disclosed by the HTC, but reportedly HTC Eternity will be released in fall 2011.

HTC to tap tablet boom with many models [Reuters from Paris, May 17, 2011]

Smartphone maker HTC plans to roll out a range of different tablet computers to gain a foothold in the fast-growing market, a company executive said on Tuesday.

The global market for tablets, started only last year with Apple’s iPad, will likely grow to 108 million devices next year, compared with just 17.6 million in 2010, according to research firm Gartner.

“I really believe that the tablet market is really going to be a big market in the future and this is just the start,” HTC Europe head Florian Seiche told the Reuters Global Technology Summit.

“In five years’ time, schools will have tablets probably instead of physical notebooks. I think that’s going to be such a massive wave of additional penetration in society… I think we can’t even guess the potential.”

Seiche said HTC’s first tablet, the Flyer, had made a good start in terms of sales.

“It’s early days but we feel very good about it,” he said.

NOKIA BOOST

HTC should benefit from Nokia’s deal to start using Microsoft’s software in its smartphones as this will boost Windows’ share of the smartphone market, Seiche said.

“It will not change our commitment to Microsoft,” he said. “With a new player entering, it should actually help to elevate the relevance of that platform … we actually feel that we should be able to benefit.”

Microsoft’s mobile platform has rapidly lost appeal among consumers who have instead picked iPhones, BlackBerrys and phones running on Google’s Android platform, which became market leader in the last quarter. It now controls only around 3 percent of the smartphone market.

The long-term opportunity with Nokia entering will definitely bring Windows back to critical mass,” Seiche said at the summit at the Reuters office in Paris.

HTC uses Microsoft software, although its growth has mostly come from smartphones using Google’s Android platform.

“Android has had tremendous growth and we believe that this trend is going to continue, definitely,” Seiche said. “Android’s growth … is going to expand further to Asia and the emerging markets.”

Seiche added that he expects HTC to roll out its first mobile phone using near-field communications (NFC) technology for mobile payments within the next 12 months.

NFC is a short-range way to swap data wirelessly, meaning mobile phones can become a way to pay for goods, store e-tickets or swap photos and business cards.

Samsung GT-i8350 with Windows Phone Emerges [July 11, 2011]

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics is reportedly gearing up for the launch of a new Windows Phone handset, one that would become the direct successor of the company’s Omnia 7 handset.

Samsung was named among the launch partners for Microsoft’s Windows Phone Mango OS, and we knew that the vendor was preparing the release of new devices based on the platform, but no specific info on the handset was available until now.

However, a user agent profile (UAProf) of the Samsung GT-i8350 shows that the company might have this device included among the first series of Mango-powered handsets.

What the said agent string shows is that this mobile phone will arrive on the market with the IE9 browser on board, which leaves little room for speculation when it comes to the operating system it would be based on.

Windows Phone Mango was unveiled previously this year with the new Internet Explorer Mobile 9 on board, and this is the platform the Samsung’s GT-i8350 will land on shelves with.

Moreover, the said UAProf (found by nanapho) unveils that the new device will arrive on the market with a screen capable of boasting a 800 x 480 pixel resolution, and that it would sport Bluetooth 2.1 and HSPA+ connectivity capabilities as well.

As UnwiredView notes in a recent article, the new mobile phone was already added to the handset vendor’s website, though its page does not offer any info at the moment.

Last year, Samsung came to the market with more than just one Windows Phone device, and chances are that it would launch more than one such device this year as well.

This means that Samsung GT-i8350 will soon be accompanied by more new Windows Phone devices on the company’s website, most probably targeted at various segments of the market.

However, it remains to be seen what hardware Samsung would pack inside these mobile phone since nothing was confirmed on it for the time being.

Samsung GT-i8350 may be the WP7 Mango-running successor to the Omnia 7 [July 11, 2011]

Steve Ballmer has said that a new wave of Windows Phones is due out for release before the end of this year, and as we’re approaching that deadline, the leaks are starting to come in. Today we have what is probably going to be one of Samsung’s new WP7 handsets, one to run the Mango update (which will likely be called either WP 7.1 or 7.5) from day one.

Japanese site Nanapho has uncovered a user agent profile (UAProf) of the Samsung GT-i8350, and apparently its Web browser will be IE9. Now, those following Microsoft stuff closely know that Mango is the first version of WP7 to come with what the company is branding IE9, so that can only mean that this new device will run just that.

The GT-i8350 will have an 800×480 resolution screen (which is the standard resolution for WP7), and will come with support for Bluetooth 2.1, and HSPA+.

The i8350 has also received its very own (blank, for now) page in Samsung’s UK support database, pretty much confirming that it’s real. You can see a screengrab of that above.

WMPU speculates that this may be the successor to the Omnia 7, Samsung’s first WP7 device released last year, which has the model number GT-i8700. However, that may not be the case. The i8350 may just be a lower-end device to accompany that successor onto the market. This is also pure speculation, but let’s keep in mind that Samsung likes to increment model numbers for sequels (successor devices). So, for example, the Galaxy S II is GT-i9100 whereas the original Galaxy S was GT-i9000. If Samsung hasn’t just changed that strategy, logically it means that the i8350 should be part of the WP7 lineup, yes, but not a successor to the Omnia 7. Perhaps the Omnia 7 will get a higher-specced successor that will be called i8750, or i8800. That would make sense.

Then again, these are all just (almost) random numbers anyway, so Samsung may have just chosen to do things differently this time. We’ll let you know as soon as we find out for sure.

New images of ZTE’s Mango device destined for China [July 16, 2011]

During WPC11, we saw the first glimpse of ZTE’s entry into the Windows Phone field. Now a few more images have come forth, posted by ZTE’s Dr. Luo Zhongsheng, who evidently is their head of smartphone development.

The phone can be seen sporting some art on the start screen as well as localized Chinese language support. In addition, it looks to have Weibo built in instead of Twitter, which is blocked in China. Weibo is described as “a Chinese microblogging site akin to a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook…”. The device itself looks like a prototype as opposed to the more polished version demonstrated at WPC, though as NanaPho suggests perhaps different color schemes will be offered. No other device specs are currently known.

This coincides nicely with the leak about the Toshiba-Fujitsu phone release in August, suggesting that indeed these phones are coming earlier than expected an the Asian market is gearing up for release.

Update: Evidently it’s not Weibos that’s built, but rather a standalone app running the service.

Fujitsu IS12T with Windows Phone 7 Mango coming next month [July 18, 2011]

At Microsoft’s 2011 Partner Conference , the company had a handful of unreleased smartphones on display running the Windows Phone 7 Mango update. The quartet included models from Samsung, Acer, ZTE, and Fujitsu, and it was thought that the phones would launch sometime in September when Mango is due to be released. The Fujitsu IS12T, however, appears to be ahead of schedule and could be the first to market — launching in August on Japanese carrier KDDI.

Details on the new smartphones remain scant so far, though the Samsung SGHi937 looks an awful lot like a Galaxy S II — one of the most popular non-iPhones in the world right now — running Windows Phone 7 instead of Android. If the internals remain unchanged, then we know exactly what kind of hardware the SGHi937 will pack.

When it comes to the Fujitsu IS12T, there’s not quite as much information. The IS12T won’t sport a massive display like the Samsung’s 4.5″ — instead, it’s a more modest 3.7″ screen that’s expected. There’s also a very good chance the IS12T will feature a 12 megapixel camera, based on its model number, Fujitsu’s past 12MP offerings, and the company’s statement that the phone will feature “great capabilities in terms  of the camera.” In addition to a stellar camera, the IS12T is going to be waterproof.

While snapping high-quality digital pics in the rain is cool, it’s even more amazing to think that a manufacturer may actually be releasing a smartphone ahead of schedule for once — instead of repeatedly delaying its launch. Pricing has yet to be revealed for the IS12T, but it’s safe to say this won’t be one of those $100 Windows Phone 7 devices Microsoft talked about.

More at WM Power User and Nikkei

Acer reveals its first Windows Phone Mango device [May 31, 2011]

Acer W4Windows Phone
Acer has revealed its first Windows Phone Mango device at Computex this week.

The device, expected later this year, will be named the Acer W4. Acer’s Windows Phone includes a 5PM camera, 8GB storage and DLNA support. Chinese blog zol.com.cn published images of the device on Tuesday after discovering it on display at Computex this week. Microsoft previously revealed that Acer was a new hardware parter for Windows Phone Mango devices during a VIP event last week.

Acer’s W4 specifications:

  • 3.6-inch WVGA
  • Screen Resolution: 480×800
  • 5mp Camera with auto-focus
  • HSPA 850/1900 or 900/2100 /GSM quad band 850/900/ 1800/ 1900 MHz Support
  • Qualcomm MSM8255 running at 1GHz
  • Wifi, Bluetooth 2.1
  • DLNA Support (DMC)
  • Windows Phone Mango
  • 8GB Storage

Acer W4 Windows Phone Mango device

Image credits: zol.com.cn

What a difference from the current offering!

From Buy your phone [US] site and HTC’s past press release:

Vendor and model:

Date:

Highlights:

Display:

Processor:

Carrier(s) and store(s):

HTC HD7

Friday, December 03, 2010 4:51 PM

•Seamlessly brings together work, play and family.

•Features the largest screen on a Windows Phone.

•Enjoy Netflix, T-Mobile TV, and Slacker Radio.

480×800

(4.3”)

1 GHz Qualcomm QSD8250

US: T-Mobile, Microsoft Store, Amazon.com, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Walmart

Singapore [Oct 12, 2010], Malaysia [Oct 13, 2010], Hong Kong [Nov 11, 2010], Australia: Telstra [March 29, 2011]

HTC Arrive™
[= HTC 7 Pro]

Friday, March 18, 2011 9:58 AM

•Sliding full QWERTY keyboard

•Tilt-up display

•5MP camera and 720p HD camcorder

[access to Zune, Xbox LIVE and Netflix]

480×800

(3.6”)

1 GHz Qualcomm QSD8250

US: Sprint, Microsoft Store, Amazon.com, Best Buy, Walmart

Samsung Focus™

Sunday, August 01, 2010 5:50 PM

•Thinnest, lightest Windows Phone.

•Brilliant 4″ Super AMOLED WVGA screen.

•Audience Noise Reduction for crystal clear calls.

480×800

(4.0”)

1 GHz Qualcomm QSD8250

US: AT&T, Amazon.com, Best Buy, Costco, Walmart

LG Quantum™

Friday, October 08, 2010 3:52 PM

•Full QWERTY keyboard for faster, easier texting.

•16 GB internal memory.

•Play To (or DLNA) software that lets you easily transfer photos & videos to your home entertainment system.

480×800

(3.5”)

1 GHz

Snapdragon  [Qualcomm QSD8250]

US: AT&T, Amazon.com, Costco, Walmart

HTC Surround™

Monday, October 04, 2010 2:51 PM

•Slide-out speakers with SRS Dolby Mobile surround sound.

•Surround yourself with entertainment, wherever you go.

•Kickstand for hands-free viewing.

16 GB internal memory.

480×800

(3.8”)

1 GHz Qualcomm QSD8250

US: AT&T, Amazon.com, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Walmart

Dell Venue Pro

Sunday, September 26, 2010 3:58 PM

•Vertical QWERTY keyboard provides quick access.

•Scratch and shatter resistant screen.

•Available on the T-Mobile network, exclusively from Dell.

480×800

(4.1”)

1 GHz Qualcomm QSD8250

US: Dell

HTC HD7S [largely = HD7 but with a Super LCD screen, it is exclusive to AT&T in the USA ]

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 10:13 AM

•High resolution 4.3” WVGA Super LCD Screen

•Slim, premium design with kickstand

•5 MP camera with auto focus and dual LED flash (records 720p HD video)

•Voice-activated, location-aware Bing search engine

480×800

(4.3”)

1 GHz Qualcomm QSD8250

US: AT&T, Amazon.com, Best Buy, Walmart

HTC Trophy™

Thursday, May 19, 2011 1:09 PM

•3.8” touchscreen for optimal gaming [harnesses the power of Xbox LIVE® for epic gaming]

•HD video

•5 MP camera with autofocus and flash

480×800

(3.5”)

1 GHz

Qualcomm QSD8250

US: Verizon, Microsoft Store, Amazon.com, Best Buy

Singapore [Oct 12, 2010]

wikipedia HTC HD7: The HD7 shares nearly all its specifications with its older Windows Mobile 6.5-running brother, the HD2, including the screen resolution and size (4.3 inches diagonal and WVGA 800×400 resolution).

HTC GOES BIG WITH MICROSOFT; LAUNCHING FIVE NEW WINDOWS PHONE 7 SMARTPHONES [Oct 11, 2010]: … HTC 7 Surround, HTC 7 Mozart, HTC 7 Trophy, HTC 7 Pro and HTC HD7 …

HTC 7 Mozart („a phone powered by high-fidelity audio”): Singapore [Oct 12, 2010], Malaysia [Oct 13, 2010], Hong Kong [Nov 11, 2010]

From List of Windows Phone devices (wikipedia):

Product
Release Date
System on Chip
Memory (RAM)
Display
Weight (g)
Carrier
Notes
Dell Venue Pro
November 8, 2010
QSD8250
512MB
4.1″, WVGA 800×480 AMOLED
165
AT&T, T-Mobile USA, Rogers (Pending)
Has vertical slide-out keyboard
HTC 7 Pro
January 17, 2011
QSD8250
576MB
3.6″, WVGA
185
Sprint, US Cellular, Cellular South
CDMA: HTC Arrive
Has slide-out keyboard
HTC 7 Surround
October 21, 2010
QSD8250
448MB
3.8″, WVGA
165
AT&T, TELUS
Has slide-out speaker
HTC 7 Trophy
October 21, 2010
QSD8650
576MB
3.8″, WVGA
140
Vodafone UK, Vodafone Australia, Vodafone NZ, Verizon
LCD, 8GB, Yellow back on International version.
SLCD, 16GB, Red back on Verizon.
HTC 7 Mozart
October 21, 2010
QSD8250
576MB
3.7″, WVGA
130
Orange U.K., Telstra
Camera: 8 megapixels + Xenon flash
HTC HD7
October 21, 2010
QSD8250
576MB
4.3″, WVGA
162
T-Mobile USA, O2 UK, Bell
Largest screen on a WP7 device
LG Optimus 7
October 21, 2010
QSD8250
512MB
3.8″, WVGA
157
TELUS, Vodafone UK, Optus
DLNA
LG Quantum
October 21, 2010
QSD8250
512MB
3.5″, WVGA
178
AT&T, Bell
Has slide-out keyboard
Samsung Focus
October 21, 2010
QSD8250
512MB
4.0″, WVGA Super AMOLED
115
AT&T, Rogers
Storage may be expanded with a compatible microSD card
Samsung Omnia 7
October 21, 2010
QSD8250
512MB
4.0″, WVGA Super AMOLED
138
Orange UK, 3 UK, Optus

Developers’ information:

Developer News: Beta Mango Tools Available Today [Windows Phone Developer Blog, July 8, 2011]

Today Microsoft is showing off many of the new features coming in the next version of Windows Phone, code named Mango. We highlighted a few features like hardware accelerated IE9 with HTML5, increased multitasking capabilities and the addition of Twitter to the People hub at Mobile World Congress in February. During April’s MIX11 event, we gave developers a deep dive into new Mango capabilities and opportunities and promised new tools in May.

I’m pleased to announce that the beta release of the Windows Phone Developer Tools that support Mango will be available for download today, in just a few hours! We also have some exciting news to share about Windows Phone Marketplace.

First the tools. Developers can use this beta release to get ready for the upcoming Windows Phone OS release. The new application platform capabilities coming in Mango deliver the top features you have asked for:

– Background processing- New profiler and emulator for testing- Use of Silverlight + XNA together- Silverlight 4- IE9 web browser control- Live Tile enhancements: use of back of tiles and ability to update Live Tiles locally – Deep linking into apps from notifications and Live Tiles- Additional sensors; direct camera access, compass & gyro- Fast application switching- Networking / sockets for communications- Local SQL database for structured storage- Access to calendar and contacts for apps

You also asked us for new ways to keep customers engaged with your apps, so we’ve taken steps in Mango that will help keep great apps front and center. The Mango release allows you to create a new wave of apps and games that appeal to consumers by further extending the popular Windows Phone design system. Mango also helps apps remain engaged with the customer and contextually relevant through integration with the Bing Search, Pictures and Music & Video experiences, as well as added functionality for the Live Tiles that live on the Start screen. For example, with Bing Search, when searching for products, movies, events or places, the customer will see among the results a link to a “Quick Card” for that specific search. That card contains an “apps” panel (formerly known as the “extras” panel).  This panel will display both installed and non-installed apps associated with that search query term. This is just one example of how the app experience is different on a Windows Phone in ways that give you a unique opportunity.

With Mango we are not only improving the way we merchandise your apps within our Marketplace, we are also exposing your apps as a part of our customers’ everyday experiences. You want more ways for consumers to find your apps; and consumers have been raving about the Windows Phone design. In short, we are listening and investing accordingly. You should expect us to continue to deliver technology and services unlike anyone else.

Below is simple graphic to help show how new tools and resources are unlocking additional developer capabilities: image

Another way we’re growing the Windows Phone ecosystem is by expanding geographically. With Mango, Windows Phone Marketplace will expand from 16 to 35 countries where both app submission and app purchase are supported locally.

Today Adding with Mango
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, UK, USA Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan, Korea (South), Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan

In addition, Windows Phone Marketplace now supports app submission in China, Israel and Luxembourg. For those countries that are not yet locally supported by Marketplace, we continue to expand the Global Publisher Program we announced in early March. Today, developers in 69 Middle Eastern and African countries can submit applications via Yalla Apps. App Port supports 13 countries in East Asia. APPA Market is available to developers in 19 central European countries. And both Device7 and MTel service China.

To better reach customers worldwide, I’m also pleased to announce today that Mango will offer a new web version of Windows Phone Marketplace. This will enable customers to shop, share and buy/download apps and games from any PC and send them directly to their phones. You get more visibility for your apps with no extra work. The Mango Marketplace will bring several new features and capabilities that Todd Brix will be expanding upon here a little later.

We’re extremely grateful for all that the Windows Phone developer community has accomplished in a few short months and we’re excited to see what you can do with Mango. Today we offer more than 17,000 apps, and with 42,000 registered developers and counting, plenty more are on the way. We recognize that the strength of our developer community and the Windows Phone ecosystem is a big reason why analysts are so optimistic about the Windows Phone ecosystem in predicting sales of hundreds of millions of units by 2015. With the release of beta tools for Mango, we hope we’ve taking another big step toward giving you exactly what you want from a platform so that you are inspired to create the next generation of amazing Windows Phone apps and games. In the coming weeks we will announce the date when App Hub will begin accepting Mango apps for certification.

Whether you’re a new or existing Windows Phone developer, now is the perfect time to take the next step and be what’s next in mobile. The checklist is simple:

Thank you, Matt Bencke General Manager, Windows Phone Developer and Marketplace Experiences

More information:
Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Beta2[June 29, 2011]

The new Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Beta2 (renamed from WPDT) can be used to develop Applications for both 7.0 and 7.1 version of Windows Phone OS releases.

The Windows Phone SDK includes the following

  • Windows Phone SDK 7.1 (Beta2)
  • Windows Phone Emulator (Beta2)
  • Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Assemblies (Beta2)
  • Silverlight 4 SDK and DRT
  • Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Extensions for XNA Game Studio 4.0
  • Microsoft Expression Blend SDK Preview for Windows Phone 7.1
  • WCF Data Services Client for Window Phone 7.1
  • Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Phone 7

SketchFlow Template for Windows Phone [June 9, 2011]

The SketchFlow Template for Windows Phone 7 adds a new SketchFlow template for Expression Blend* users that makes creating a prototype of a Windows Phone app quick and easy. * Please note: To use the SketchFlow Template for Windows Phone 7 you need to be using Blend 4 with SketchFlow enabled (this is the version of Blend that comes with both Expression Studio 4 Ultimate and Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate) you also need to have the Mango developer tools  Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Beta2 for Windows Phone installed. 2011-06-09 09h43_52   2011-06-09 09h44_47   2011-06-09 09h47_25   2011-06-09 09h47_52 2011-06-09 10h01_27

Developers Get Goody Basket Full of Mangos [Windows Phone Developer Blog, June 29, 2011]

Over the course of the past six months, the Windows Phone team has been working very hard to ensure that there is a great experience for all of our customers with the upcoming Mango release of the Windows Phone OS. That means educating consumers, empowering developers, and working closely with our hardware and carrier partners to bring it all together with great devices.

Just last week, the first reviews of Mango started landing in press and blogs and the early sentiment is very encouraging. People get that Mango is a big step that dramatically enhances the core experiences that we all rely on our phones for every day; messaging and communication, use of any of our more than 20,000 great apps and games, and great use of the Web. AllThingsD wrote that the OS “is a mix of elegance and whimsy that’s a treat to use.” Gizmodo went so far as to say that Mango feels “complete.” However, it was The Daily that offered some bigger picture perspective in noting that, “it took Android nearly two years before hitting critical mass and three years to begin carving out a significant chunk of the smartphone market.” We’ve got a great product in Windows Phone and we feel we’re right on track, in fact we’ve already seen reports showing that in only a few months we’ve surpassed the more established RIM marketplace in the number of real apps available to customers.

Since beginning this journey with the new Windows Phone developer platform, we have aspired to be transparent, easy to build for, and easy to partner with.

We know that one of the most impactful things we can do for developers is to help them get their hands on the actual product. For Mango, that starts today with an early access program for developers. We’re still working out some final kinks in the distribution and support infrastructure for delivering Mango to all of our registered developers around the world, but are inviting the most eager developers to come get Mango today, for their retail devices, as part of our early access program! We expect the full distribution infrastructure to be fully operational in the next couple of weeks. For now, consider yourself a beta tester for the distribution process. Registered developers will get invites to the Microsoft Connect site, which will give them access to Mango. This build of Mango should also be viewed as beta quality, so there are still consumer features missing, but you can now start building apps and testing them against retail devices. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Download the Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta 2 – You will need to update your developer tools to update your phone and to deploy your apps, so run…get them now.
  • Read the instructions before updating – These are very important steps which you need to follow to the letter. We’re committed to supporting our developer community with such an early access program, so if you have questions, start with the forums, which we are monitoring.

This is especially well timed for the tens of thousands of student developers who have registered through DreamSpark or related programs. Just as our Spring Cleaning program encouraged developers to finish up their projects over the past few months, delivering thousands of new apps, summer break is the perfect time for student developers to relax and have some fun with Mango. With the free Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta 2 and free access to Mango, now is the perfect time to see what you can do with Windows Phone. To make it even more interesting for students looking for a great summer project, we’ve set aside 50 Mango phones for those students who are building the next big thing on Windows Phone. Want one? Here’s what to do:

  1. Make sure you’re registered for DreamSpark
  2. Download and install Expression Studio Ultimate and the new Mango Windows Phone Developer Tools (available free as a member of DreamSpark)
  3. Get the free Sketchflow Template for Windows Phone and create a Sketchflow mock-up of your app
  4. Post the Sketchflow mock-up somewhere online and tweet out the link using the hash tag #WPAppItUp
  5. We will review all prototypes and will contact the developers who submit the best ones and send them a special Mango developer device

There’s lots to like in Beta2 of the developer tools, and some new goodies as well. You can find the release notes here, but I also wanted to talk about the new Advertising SDK June 2011 Update that was released for Windows Phone 7 earlier this week. The June update makes it even easier for developers to earn money and build ad-enabled mobile apps with streamlined Ad Control APIs and other new features.

Lastly, we got a lot of questions in email and on twitter as to why reviewers got Mango first. In short, it was to allow us to get you Mango today. Bringing a product to market requires a healthy balance between marketing features and empowering the ecosystem. Striking that balance is all about sequence. Microsoft believes in developers like no other company, but not even we want developer tear downs serving as the foundation for how consumers ultimately understand Mango. To get Mango to you today, we had to first set some context so that the market would have a good understanding of the product and not define us only by those features that developers uncovered. Think of it this way: if you could choose which path to go down, would you rather have a tightly selected group of influential people write your first reviews of your amazing app, or leave it to the customers with the fastest fingers?

So what now? First, go get the tools. Second, update your retail phones to Mango. Third, go rub it in your friends’ faces that you have Mango and they don’t. Fourth, start building your Mango apps using some of the cool new functionality like fast app resume, updated Live Tiles, Motion Sensor, Live Agents, sockets, background audio or raw camera access. There will be a tools update in the coming months which will have the go-live license you need to publish Mango apps to the Marketplace, but don’t wait. With the tools and the ability to test on Mango enabled phones, you should all be in really good shape when Mango is released later this year.

For the early access program, here are the countries which are explicitly supported – meaning that should your device become unusable as a result of updating, we will be able to process it for fixing once the full distribution infrastructure is fully operational in the next couple of weeks:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States

Windows Phone around the world: Language support in Mango [Windows Phone Blog, July 6, 2011]

At launch last year we supported 5 display languages: English (US and UK), French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

In Mango, we’re adding 17 more: Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Swedish.

The Zune software will be available for the same set of languages.

Displaying some of these new languages required new phone fonts. Specifically, we’ve added 4 beautiful new fonts for the East Asian languages:

… The 20 new keyboard options are: Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, and Ukrainian.

The keyboard languages shown in italics regular [here] also support text prediction, which makes typing on your phone faster and easier. Even better, all these input languages are available on any Windows Phone, regardless of which display languages come with it.

The new East Asian keyboards—which were developed in Asia by the same team that creates them for Windows and Office—are especially neat. We’ll explore them in more detail in a future post.

This fall you’ll see a significant increase in the number of new countries where the Xbox LIVE service for Windows Phone is available. The Zune Marketplace for music, video, and podcasts is also expanding to more markets. We’re not quite ready to announce specifics just yet—expect to hear more later this summer.

Finally, we get many questions about specific phone features—especially ones related to searching and mapping— and where they’ll be available. Here’s a list of ones we hear about most:

  • Bing search (accessed from the phone’s hardware Search button) is available in 33 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States. (Elsewhere, handset and mobile operators can configure the hardware search button to a locally-relevant search site).
  • Local search results show up in 6 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • Maps is supported in 19 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • Voice-to-text and Voice-to-dial is available in 6 countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and the Unites States.
  • Voice search is supported in 4 countries: France, Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Extending services such as Marketplace or Xbox LIVE to more markets, on the other hand, is a very different type of challenge—as much legal and organizational as it is technical. But we’re working hard to scale up our engineering effort from a couple dozen countries to the entire world.

Application Certification Requirements for Windows Phone

Windows Phone

June 24, 2011

This section provides the policies and technical requirements that a Windows Phone application or game must meet to pass certification and to be eligible for listing in Windows Phone Marketplace.

1.0 Program Overview


A core principle that is applied in designing the certification process is that each individual policy or requirement is clear, objective, and testable. This transparency is designed to help developers easily design and test applications to meet these requirements.

The following list shows the pillars of the certification program:

  1. Applications are reliable.
  2. Applications make efficient use of resources.
  3. Applications do not interfere with the phone functionality.
  4. Applications are free of malicious software.

1.1 What You Need to Know About the Submission and Certification Process

When your application is ready for publication, it must go through the certification process before it is eligible for listing in Windows Phone Marketplace. Your application does not have to be signed before submission.

The certification process involves static validation and automated testing of your application to verify that it meets all the policies and requirements. The following list shows the five major categories of policies and requirements:

The following is a simplified illustration of the submission and certification process.

CertificationDiagram

1.1.1 Process Outline

The following is a brief outline of the submission and certification process:

  1. Sign in to your account in App Hub.
  2. Create a new application submission.
  3. Upload the application XAP file.
  4. Enter the metadata for the application, such as title, description, category, and iconography.
  5. Select the distribution countries/regions and pricing.
  6. The XAP file is validated while you are entering metadata.
  7. If the XAP file validation succeeds, the submission process continues to Step 8; otherwise, the process terminates and you get a notification. Select the option to publish immediately after passing the certification process or to wait until you decide to publish.
  8. The XAP file is repackaged as described in Section 4.1.2.
  9. The repackaged XAP file is deployed to a phone for the certification testing. Certification involves the automated and manual verification of the meeting of the requirements that are described in Sections 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
  10. If the application meets all the requirements, the repackaged XAP and assembly files are signed, and the application is eligible for publication according to the option selected in Step 8.
  11. If the application fails one or more of the requirements, you get a failure report and the application is not published.
Important noteImportant Note:
When you submit an application update for certification, it goes through the same process as the original application.

1.1.2 Code Signing

Code signing occurs automatically once the application has successfully passed the certification testing without any failure. The application and repackaged XAP files are signed with the Authenticode® certificate assigned to you when you registered for App Hub membership. Any signatures in a submitted application or XAP files will be replaced and are not retained.

Important noteImportant Note:
All applications must be signed with the Microsoft issued Authenticode certificate before they can be installed and run on commercially available Windows Phone devices.

Zune to Expand Multiscreen Entertainment Services Into International Markets [Sept 10, 2010, as Zune Marketplace was originally only available in the United States]

Microsoft Corp. today announced the further international expansion of Zune, its digital entertainment service. This fall, Zune will expand its music and video footprint and bring the free Zune software, Zune Marketplace online store, Zune Pass1 music subscription service and enhanced features on Zune.net to new markets, providing a comprehensive entertainment experience on Windows-based PCs, on the go with Windows Phone 7 and in your living room through Xbox LIVE.2

“The integration between Zune, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE is an exciting expansion in our entertainment offerings,” said Craig Eisler, corporate vice president, Interactive Entertainment Business Group at Microsoft. “Zune enables users to access the entertainment they want, wherever they want it — and now, more people than ever will be able to enjoy the freedom and flexibility that the Zune service offers.”

Zune software has been upgraded with new features and functionality and will serve as the Windows Phone 7 synchronization client. The new software (version 4.7) will be available to download for free in more than 20 countries, including the U.K., France, Italy, Germany and Spain, to easily manage your personal collection of movies, music, podcasts and pictures. Zune software continues to set the standard for entertainment software, providing best-in-class experiences to organize, discover and enjoy digital media with a variety of exclusive features. For example, the Quickplay menu enables immediate access to recently played content and personal favorites, and Smart DJ 3 automatically creates playlists from your personal music collection and takes the extra step of mixing in suggested music from the Zune Marketplace. The updated Zune software will also enable instant streaming of high-definition movies, allowing you to watch some Zune Marketplace movies in HD, with no download time, directly on a Windows PC.

Zune Marketplace online store is accessible from within the Zune software and offers the ability to purchase millions of individual songs or albums from its catalog, all in MP3 format. Here, consumers can also subscribe to Zune Pass,4 which provides unlimited downloads and music streaming capabilities from the Zune music library, including content from major music labels such as Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music and Warner Music Group, as well as thousands of independent labels. Zune Marketplace also has a large library of videos from major studios such as Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution for purchase or rental. Video purchases will be accessible through Xbox LIVE and Windows-based PCs, and can also be added to a Windows Phone 7. Simply buy your favorite video from Zune Marketplace and watch it on the screen of your choice.9

Zune.net is the perfect resource for consumers as it allows them to download the software and set up a Zune account with a new or existing Windows Live ID.5 Zune.net will also provide Web access to Zune Marketplace so you can purchase music or use a Zune Pass to stream music directly through an Internet browser,6 as well as purchase video content.7

Zune Expansion to New Markets

As Zune expands internationally, its music and video service will be tailored for each market. Genre experts will custom program Zune Marketplace and feature the top songs, videos, movies and unique promotions for each country.

The fall 2010 international expansion of the Zune music and video service includes the following:

Zune Marketplace will extend services to several markets in Europe and beyond.

Zune Pass (U.K., France, Italy and Spain). The monthly music subscription service will be available for 9.99 euros /8.99 pounds per month for unlimited download and streaming access to the Zune music catalog and will be accessible on Windows-based PCs, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE. The offer in the U.S. will remain at $14.99 per month for unlimited downloads and streaming access, with the ability to keep 10 MP3s per month.8
Music purchase (U.K., France, Italy, Spain and Germany). Expansion to these markets will enable consumers to purchase MP3s and listen on their Windows-based PC, Windows Phone 7 or any other device that supports MP3 format. Users will also be able to purchase music videos to enjoy on Windows-based PC, Windows Phone 7 and Zune on Xbox LIVE.
Video purchase (U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Consumers will now be able to purchase movies to download and watch anywhere — on the big screen in the living room with Xbox LIVE or their Windows-based PC as well as sync it to their Windows Phone 7 to enjoy on the go.9
Movie rental (U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). In addition to Zune video on Xbox LIVE, consumers in these countries will now be able to rent movies for viewing on their Windows-based PC or choose to sync the rental to their Windows Phone 7.

The global expansion of the service is the latest step in a series of milestones for Zune, including powering Bing music search results, the added ability to purchase music and video on Zune.net, and the forthcoming integration with Xbox LIVE and Kinect for Xbox 360. By continuing to integrate Zune across the most important screens to consumers, Zune provides an all-in-one music and video service for users to discover, enjoy and experience their entertainment wherever they want.About Zune

Zune is Microsoft’s music and video entertainment service that provides an integrated digital experience across Zune devices, Windows-based PCs, Xbox LIVE and Windows Phone 7. The Zune platform includes a line of portable digital media players, elegant software, the Zune Marketplace and Zune.net online stores, the Zune Social online music community created to help people discover music, and the ZuneOriginals.net online media player customization store. More information can be found online at http://www.zune.net/en-us/press.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

1 Zune Pass available in U.K., France, Italy and Spain.

2 Zune Pass on Xbox 360 requires an Xbox LIVE Gold membership and a Zune Pass subscription.

3 Only available with Zune Pass.

4 Zune Pass is a music subscription; some Zune Marketplace songs and content are not available via Zune Pass. Available content may vary over time.

5 For cross-screen functionality, the same Windows Live ID needs to be used on the Zune software, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE accounts.

6 Internet browser support for Silverlight required.

7 Service features may vary based on market availability.

8 Keep 10 MP3s per month feature available to U.S. Zune Pass subscribers only, on their PC or Windows Phone 7.

9 Content available for download on multiple devices may vary over time. Availability of content and video resolution will vary by device.

On Windows Phone 7 history:

Thoughts on Windows Phone 7 Series (BTW: Photon is Dead)[Feb 17, 2010]

The real Windows Mobile 7, that is, Photon as it once was called, is dead. Windows Mobile 7 was supposed to be an evolution of Windows Mobile 5 and 6. It was supposed to be built on the paradigm that previous generations of Windows Mobile had been created from: a Start-menu centric application experience, two soft keys on bottom, and applications that acted as they would on the desktop (often with a close button). Well Photon was scrapped, probably around 2008 when the Mobile division of Microsoft saw a big reorganization. With that, Microsoft started from scratch to build the next generation of Windows Mobile, or Windows Phone as they began calling it in 2009. Also at that time, they decided to extend the life of Windows Mobile 6 to buy some time, and a year later we saw 6.5. And despite rampant criticism, 6.5 shipped on a lot of really awesome devices like the HTC Touch Pro2 and HD2, Acer neoTouch, and Samsung Omnia II.

Back in 2007, as you may or may not recall, I wrote about Windows Mobile 7 after having seen it at a Microsoft event. If you want to go back and see the text, it’s still available at MobilityToday. I contended that what Microsoft had in store for the next version of Windows Mobile was awesome, and that it could succeed. But I also warned that if they didn’t bring the product to market before the target late 2009 launch, it would fail. It would fail because by that time, two years later, iOS, Android, and other mobile platforms would be wildly evolved, and that Photon would seem like more of the same, instead of a breakthrough new operating system that the market would so desire.

I also saw Photon two years prior to 2007. Back then, it was pretty much the same as we know Photon to be today. It’s very possible that work began on Photon as early as 2004, which begs the question: how could a company with such vast resources and fantastic human talent take nearly half a decade to roll out a product? The answer could come down to mismanagement or lack of investment. My guess is that Microsoft didn’t truly understand how big the mobile category would grow, and how fast it would happen.

Behind the scenes: Windows Phone 7 [June 17, 2010]

… The launch of the new phones is critical for Microsoft, which is trying to play catch-up with Apple and Google. Despite having been in the phone business far longer than either of those two rivals, complacency, lack of focus, and bad bets have left Microsoft an afterthought in the cell phone business. It now has just a single-digit percentage market share among smartphone operating systems, trailing Symbian, RIM’s BlackBerry, Apple’s iPhone, and Google’s Android, according to Gartner. Windows Phone 7 is the big bet to reverse years of decline, assuming it’s not too late.

Leading that effort is vice president Terry Myerson, the 37-year-old former head of the Exchange Server development team. Myerson is the rare Microsoft exec who knows what it’s like to be an underdog. He came to Microsoft in 1997 through the acquisition of his own Web analysis company [Interse’ see Terry Myerson [Duke Pratt School of Engineering, Oct 16, 1998]] and went to work on Exchange back when it was badly behind IBM’s Lotus Notes software.

… Myerson, who agreed to take on this job in October 2008, has picked up the pieces on a next-generation mobile operating system that Microsoft has been developing in fits and starts for several years now, switching leadership and approaches several times along the way.

Despite its long and winding road to fruition, Windows Phone 7 has a chance, Myerson says with a quiet conviction that sounds more like an engineer sure of his work than a salesman looking to close the deal. Myerson is convinced that Microsoft can get back in the game if Windows Phone 7 really nails the set of things that it does tackle–merging personal and work contacts, integrating Xbox Live games and Zune music and video, including mobile versions of Office and aiming to bring together photos from various social networks.

What they’ve already done hasn’t been easy. Although it retains Windows CE at its core, Windows Phone 7 has a completely new look and interface. The overhaul was so significant, that when it was first outlined in early 2009, the project’s leaders handed out a bottle of Pepto Bismol to the several hundred people on the development team. “The entire user experience of Windows Phone 6 was built on a certain graphics framework,” Myerson said. “We decided to change that to a different one. We sort of decided that top down and teams just had to digest that, so it was sort of a joke that people were given that.”

“I think we are going to have something very high-quality and different this holiday,” Myerson said. “We won’t be better on every dimension and we won’t be better on a feature point on all of the dimensions we wish we could… I think about this really as a first release, a first release for this team.”

A blunt assessment

Catching up with the market leaders, Myerson figures, is a multiyear project, something he warned both executives and colleagues when he took over the project. “We’re going to reset, but it is going to take us five years to build a product we all want to have,” he said.

Myerson’s less-than-rosy assessment scared off more than a few people. “There were people that looked in the mirror a year ago and said, well, if we aren’t going to win next year, I am out of here,” he said. “There were people that looked in the mirror and said what a great fun project to spend the next three to five years of my life on and kind of buckled down for it…Those are the people you want because that’s how long it is really going to take. The company has that level of commitment.”

If anything, Myerson hopes that is what he is bringing to the team–clarity, along with enough resources to get the job done.

“If you invest in people as craftsman and give them great tools, I think they will build great products.” Myerson said. “Probably the most important thing we can give these guys is a clear plan. If the plan changes every three months, it’s hard to do great engineering.”

With that in mind, the company decided more than a year ago to start over yet again, with a new approach and a firm target–holiday 2010–to have the all-new Windows Phone on the market. “I think when we look back on the release five years from now, this was a foundational release, not the release that broke through,” Myerson said. “We’ve got some tough competition.”

In particular, Microsoft will need to make a good impression with carriers–the companies like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile–who decide which phones will get the prime shelf space and the big ad campaign, and which will not make the cut at all.

“They take all the burden of support calls and all the burden of selling it,” he said. Given that “they want it months ahead of time so they can learn how to sell, learn how to support it.”

Having to coordinate among chipmakers and Microsoft and hardware makers and carriers is a lot of work, Myerson acknowledges. It requires a lot more companies working together than is the case with Apple, which now even designs the iPhone’s main processor.

“The OEM partnership model we have is more complicated,” Myerson said. “We aspire to have the same level of end-user finish as Apple, but getting that level of user finish requires a level of partnership.”

The idea of partnering with phone makers like Samsung and HTC is to get the benefit of their ideas as well as have more models than Microsoft could if it built the hardware itself. But add that to a business model that also includes 180 different carriers across the country as well as other components and it’s a lot to juggle.

“Between Qualcomm and Broadcom and Samsung and LG and HTC, AT&T and T-Mobile, it’s just very partnership-complex, it just is,” Myerson said. “I don’t know any other way to describe it.”

Microsoft has considered but rejected the idea that it should go it alone in the phone business, building its own hardware to better take on Apple. Among other reasons, it’s just how the company prefers to do business. Although it makes the Xbox and Zune, the company prefers to build software that is used a wide range of hardware makers.

“We’ve made it work many times in the past and as you know, there’s times in the past where it hasn’t worked out so well,” Myerson said. “We’re aspiring to do it well, which unfortunately does take more time.”

But time is running out for Microsoft, which needs to get the first devices to carriers soon if it wants the devices to be on sale by the holidays. Hence, the conference rooms inside Microsoft this day are filled, not just with folks from Microsoft, but also from its many partners.

As the work day draws to a close, the hours-long meeting between Qualcomm and Microsoft engineers beaks up. Myerson meets in his office with Torrey Harmon, a Qualcomm senior vice president. The conversation is informal–a mix of some subtle salesmanship and small talk and venting about some of the project’s more challenging aspects and people.

Between trading jabs at various partners and competitors, the two turn their attention to their own companies’ partnership, discussing how they might further reduce the amount of friction between the teams working on the chips at Qualcomm and those working on the software at Microsoft.

“We want you to see us as an extension of your team and we’re trying hard to figure out how to do that,” Harmon said. Qualcomm recently hired one of the members of the Windows 95/98 development team to help the company in that effort. “We’ve made a lot of progress and still we’ve got a ways to go. We’d like just to look like another one of your technology groups, that’s our goal.

As the conversation continued, they talked about the battery life issues on a particular prototype. “Usually it runs out by about 2 o’clock,” Harmon said, although, that’s better than before a recent software build. “It was running out at about 11 o’clock when I first got it. It’s better already than it was.”

As it often does, Myerson’s mood this day shifted quickly between optimism and pessimism. “I just want to survive this launch,” Myerson told Harmon. “If I can get out there and get some respect, for lack of a better word, from consumers, everything will get easier. Right now things are hard.”

Windows Phone 7: A Fresh Start for the Smartphone[Microsoft feature story for the press, Oct 11, 2010]

The goal for Microsoft’s latest smartphone is an ambitious one: to deliver a phone that truly integrates the things people really want to do, puts those things right in front of them, and either lets them get finished quickly or immerses them in the experience they were seeking.

“When you first get the phone, the stuff that’s more obvious makes you smile,” says Andy Lees, Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business president. On the phone’s Start screen, “live tiles” show users real-time content, such as social media updates and contacts. “The features sort of scream out at you,” says Lees. “But the other thing that is even deeper for me is the elegance of the experience, which you only appreciate if you’ve used the phone for some time.”

Learn more about Windows Phone 7 The result is Windows Phone 7, which will make its debut in some European markets on Oct. 21 and in the U.S. Nov. 8. The phone uses an elegant operating system that is very different from the current trend toward app-focused phones. Instead it provides active and configurable interface elements called tiles that update on the fly with real information, allowing users to place the tiles that interest them most where they want on their Start screen. Facebook photos, music and contacts are pulled into the phone and distributed appropriately across Hubs. It also brings together many of Microsoft’s popular offerings from other platforms, including Xbox, Zune, Office and Bing.

The new phone is an important step for Microsoft in three ways. To begin, it is a completely fresh start for Microsoft in smartphones. Second, it represents a new approach from Microsoft toward integrating products and services from across the company into the phone to create a richer experience and greater productivity. Hence the presence of Office, Zune and Xbox LIVE and their integration within the Hub model. And finally, the new phone approach is critical to Microsoft’s efforts to make new gains in the huge smartphone market, which despite the success of the iPhone and Android is still relatively untapped globally.

As people use their phones, they’ll discover lots of thoughtfully designed features and perks. Holding down the camera shutter button, for example, lets the user take a picture even if the phone is locked – as Lees says, “unlocking your phone can sometimes mean the difference between missing the moment or not.”

The phone’s interface features Hubs for categories such as People, Music and video, Photos, Games and Office. These Hubs are never more than a few screens away, no matter how deep the user navigates within the phone. The People Hub, for example, pulls in Facebook status updates from friends as well as providing the more obvious contact information and phone numbers. Users can take actions like responding to updates or sending a text message right from the People Hub rather than having to find and launch a particular app. The Hubs also update live, pulling in pictures and information so that in many cases a glance and a couple of clicks will be all that users need to bring themselves up to date with phone messages, e-mail and what is happening with friends and colleagues.

“We think people want to get updates from their social networks, they want to get contact information, they want to get e-mails from a variety of different places, they want to share music — but they want control over it,” says Lees.

Plus, says Lees, “They want one thing that they can access their work e-mail on and then put in their bag and go to the party, and they want it to be easy to use. That’s exactly what we’re delivering.”

Applications will be available for the phone as well via a Hub called the Marketplace. But, unlike other smartphones, they won’t be required for the majority of everyday tasks.

Smartphones are increasingly a part of our lives. It is incredibly seductive to be constantly connected, to be able to communicate with and interact with friends and associates at any time. Or to be able to dive into the sea of information on the Internet at any time. But the current smartphone designs aren’t helping. People either take too long to find what they need on their phones or they get distracted and drawn in to unproductive activities simply because they have to click in and open apps to see things.

To highlight the problem, the company is launching a provocative advertising and marketing campaign, showing how Microsoft’s new phone is different. The new Windows Phone 7 is designed to help users connect with the people and information they care about most, then let them return to the real world as fast as possible.

Terry Myerson, corporate vice president of Windows Phone engineering at Microsoft, led the development group for the new phone. “We had this list of things we knew we wantede-mail, a browser, games, a music player,” says Myerson. The team knew that they wanted the phone to be versatile and deliver exactly what the customer wanted out of a phone. But its greatest asset is something less tangible than a single feature or access to a program. “Using this phone is truly a delightful experience,” says Myerson.

Creating this ease of use was one of the design team’s primary goals. “We talked a lot about smart design when we talked about this phone,” says Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Windows Phone program management. Belfiore joined the project shortly after Myerson and oversaw, among other things, user experience. “We wanted this phone to be able to anticipate what you want and give it to you before you ask for it.”

New phones in a variety of hardware designs will be available from Samsung, HTC, LG and Dell.

Microsoft is so committed to the new phone that it has arranged for every full-time employee worldwide to be able to switch to the new phone as soon as it launches in their market. And while executives say they are thrilled with the final product, they also acknowledge there is a lot more to be done. When the phone is released, they plan to enjoy the moment – but not for long. “There’s so much more of Microsoft we’ve got to bring out in the phone,” says Myerson. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Exclusive: AT&T’s Ralph De La Vega on Which Smartphones Are Winning [June 4, 2011 — Excerpt 2]

Nokia has made this huge bet on Windows Phone. One of the reasons, they have said, is to have a bigger presence then they have had in many years in North America. How interested are you in adding them to your lineup?

De la Vega: We already have Windows Phone 7 in our lineup. We actually like that software very, very much. It hasn’t sold as well as Microsoft or we would want it to, but I think having the Nokia hardware capability with the Microsoft software capability is a really good combination. They have to prove it by bringing some great devices to market. But I would love to have a great Nokia device with Microsoft Windows Phone 7.

Windows Phone 7, is it a hard sell, or are their features that are missing?

De la Vega: Keep in mind this is the first product that Microsoft has come out with since Microsoft redid their OS. I think for the first thing out of the chute it is pretty good. I think they just need to make it better. If you listen to what Steve Ballmer is saying (Mango, the next version), is going to add about 500 features. I think they are going to make it a lot better. Giving customers more application choices, having a bigger app store with more functionality on the phone, I think that is all that it needs.

Actually, I loved Windows 8. That looks a lot like a Windows Phone screen, with the tiles. I think that’s a huge win for Microsoft. Now they have their same look and feel on their PCs and tablets as they have on their smartphones.

Building the Next Great Mobile Software Developer Opportunity [by Terry Myerson, Feb 14, 2011]

On Friday Feb 11th our two companies announceda partnership that we believe will shake up the mobile phone market. Together Nokia and Microsoft are bringing to bear significant and complementary strengths in global smartphone and mobile phone market reach, hardware, software and services. Based on these strengths, we will build a new, global ecosystem that creates a wealth of new opportunities and innovative experiences.

However, we can’t do it alone. We need you: our developers. Over the years, you, our developer communities, have created great experiences for your customers. You’ve also given us feedback that you want new opportunities, accelerated innovation, and access to more consumers. We are going to realize this future based on a shared set of principles about what developers want and deserve:

  • Opportunity: a large number of customers with unparalleled global reach
  • Feedback: so that you can improve your applications and games
  • Ovi Store and Windows Phone Marketplace: a great shopping experience, where your creativity can be discovered
  • Flexibility: in how you are compensated for your work– in dollars or notoriety
  • Amazing tools: to take creativity from idea to sale
  • Structure: a prescriptive roadmap that balances opportunity and diversity while maintaining the stability of the platform
  • Innovation: combining services assets to drive innovation including putting Nokia’s Ovi Maps at the heart of key Microsoft assets like Bing and AdCenter

We appreciate that applications and games are many peoples’ livelihoods, and that developers deserve respect and transparency. We further understand that choosing a mobile platform is a serious commitment of time and energy that we must earn. This new conversation is just starting and we would like it to be an open and continuing dialogue.

To that end, we want to make clear that our alliance represents a long-term commitment to developers. Nokia developers working with Qt or Java will continue to do so and enjoy healthy demand for those. Nokia has an installed base of 225 million Symbian devices, and plans to sell 150 million more, and Series 40 has an addressable market of 600 million devices today. Nokia continue to enhance and innovate on those platforms and in Qt tools. Nokia, and now Microsoft, are committed to making sure that your contributions to and investments in the Nokia ecosystem will be worthwhile. In the coming weeks we will provide more information about programs that will help you access the Symbian and Qt opportunities more effectively.

Nokia’s Windows Phone portfolio will support the existing, free Windows Phone Developer Tools. Nokia and Microsoft will support Symbian developers wishing to port their application to Windows Phone. Both Nokia and Microsoft manage rich application and game commerce platforms in Ovi Store and the Windows Phone Marketplace. We believe that both platforms bring distinct strengths to the alliance, and we are planning to combine these strengths into a single great commerce experience for developers and consumers alike.

We still have much work to do and we will provide you, our developers, with more details in the weeks and months to come. We will ensure that developers can count on timely and prescriptive guidance on the implications and opportunities of this new alliance. For now, we hope that you are as excited about the long-term potential of this alliance as we are, and that you are already thinking of new application and games that you’ll bring to market to take advantage of the significant volumes of Nokia Windows Phones, as well as the existing and future Symbian and Series 40 devices from Nokia.

If you’re interested in learning more about developing for Windows Phone, please visit http://create.msdn.com. For the latest guidance to Nokia developers, visit http://forum.nokia.com. Sincerely Tero Ojanpera, Executive Vice President, Services, Nokia Terry Myerson, Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone Engineering, Microsoft

Reindeer Antlers and Reykjavik: How Microsoft and Nokia Are Getting Down to Business Together[July 11, 2011]

“We’ve spent the last couple months working really closely together to get first products really materializing,” Nokia’s Jo Harlow, who is in charge of Smart Devices at the phone giant, said in an interview. “We all feel confident about where we are.”

… Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has been boasting for a while that he is carrying something along those lines, and a recently leaked video shows him with an early version of the hardware.

Harlow declined to comment on that leak, but says she is increasingly confident in the first product that will arrive this year, and that the company may yet have multiple devices for sale before the end of the year. The first Nokia phones are expected to arrive this fall alongside Mango, the first major update to Windows Phone 7.

“I’m committed to one model this year,” Harlow said. “More would be great.” For next year, though, Harlow said there will be a steady stream of releases — something that Microsoft badly needs as it tries to keep up with rivals, particularly Android devices, which are released on a constant basis.

If Microsoft was close to the latest hardware when it released the first Windows Phones last fall, it is fair to say that its models now look dated when stacked up against the latest Android models, some of which boast 3-D screens, dual-core processors, high-definition video recording and other features. “I’m hoping that won’t be an issue next year,” Myerson said. Harlow said her goal is that Nokia will have more frequent hardware updates, keeping the company, and by extension Windows Phone, front of mind with phone shoppers.

… For its part, Microsoft said it has shifted its priorities to make sure that Nokia’s needs are being met first. The company has increased its focus on going global more quickly, as Nokia counts on Windows Phone to quickly fill a gap created by the rapid decline in its existing Symbian phone business. “We had been focused on North America and Western Europe,” Myerson said of the company’s early efforts. That, he said, has now changed.

Although Microsoft is also working with its other partners, Myerson isn’t shy about saying that he is pouring more energy into his partners in Finland. After all, while HTC and Samsung build Windows Phones, they also make phones running Google’s Android software. Nokia, meanwhile, has pledged to make Windows Phone the core of its smartphone strategy. “We are prioritizing work proportionate to Nokia’s commitment to Windows Phone, which is unlike anything we have had before,” Myerson said.

On Andy/Andrew Lees’ promotions:

Microsoft Announces New, Expanded Roles for Key Executives[Feb 14, 2008]

Microsoft Corp. today announced a series of executive promotions — seven new senior vice presidents and seven new corporate vice presidents — reflective of the company’s commitment to build and maintain a strong and dynamic management team across its unique portfolio of businesses.

… “Along with attracting world-class talent from outside the company, one of my top priorities is growing Microsoft’s existing leadership team,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Each of these executives will play a critical role in leading Microsoft into the future. Today’s promotions are a result of their ability to think strategically on a global scale, the respect they’ve earned from their peers, customers and partners, and their significant contributions to the company.”

Andy Lees, senior vice president, Mobile Communications Business. Previously corporate vice president of the Server & Tools Marketing and Solutions Group, Lees will oversee the development, marketing and sales of software and services that power mobile devices for business and consumer customers worldwide. Lees will fill the role previously held by Pieter Knook, who made the decision to leave Microsoft to pursue new opportunities.

Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president, Original Equipment Manufacturer Division. Previously general manager, Application Platform Marketing, Guggenheimer will move to a new role leading the group that manages Microsoft’s relationships with the makers of personal computers and other devices.

Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president, .NET Developer Platform. Previously general manager, Guthrie will continue to oversee several development teams responsible for delivering Microsoft Visual Studio developer tools and Microsoft .NET Framework technologies for building client and Web applications.

Microsoft Announces Retirement and Transition Plan for Robbie Bach [May 25, 2010]

Underscoring the strength of the leadership teams in place for the entertainment and mobile businesses, the company announced that Senior Vice President Don Mattrick will continue to lead the Interactive Entertainment Business and Senior Vice President Andy Lees will continue to lead the Mobile Communications Business. Each will report directly to CEO Steve Ballmer effective July 1.

… Bach will remain with Microsoft through the fall, working with Ballmer and his leadership team to ensure a smooth transition. …

… Lees has led the Mobile Communications Business since February 2008 and has been instrumental in reinvigorating Microsoft’s mobility efforts, bringing in new business and development talent and overseeing the creation of both KIN and Windows Phone 7. A 20-year Microsoft veteran, he previously served as corporate vice president for Server & Tools marketing and sales, led a variety of worldwide sales and marketing functions, and began his career in Microsoft’s U.K. subsidiary. “One measure of a leader is the team he assembles around him, and Robbie built an incredible team.

Don and Andy are exactly the right leaders to carry our entertainment and mobility efforts forward,” Ballmer said.

Microsoft also announced that J Allard, senior vice president of Design and Development for E&D, will be leaving Microsoft after 19 years, and will take an official role as an advisor in a strategic role for Ballmer and his leadership team. “J has brought a game-changing creative magic to Microsoft for years, from Windows to Xbox, from Zune to KIN,” Ballmer said. “He was one of the key drivers in our early work on the Web, and we’re absolutely delighted that J’s role with the company will evolve in a way that lets all of Microsoft benefit from his business insight, technical depth and keen eye for consumer experience.”

Microsoft Announces New Leadership Promotions[Oct 1, 2010]

Microsoft Corp. today promoted Kurt DelBene to president of the Microsoft Office Division, Andy Lees to president of the Mobile Communications Business, and Don Mattrick to president of the Interactive Entertainment Business. … As President of the Mobile Communications Business, Lees, 45, will continue to oversee the overall marketing and product development for Microsoft’s mobility efforts. Lees, a 20-year Microsoft veteran, has led the Mobile Communications Business since February 2008 and was at the center of the company’s efforts to rebuild the mobile business, including the development of the upcoming Windows Phone 7 to be released this holiday season. Windows Phone 7 is designed to make every-day tasks faster by doing more in fewer steps and providing timely information in a “glance and go” format.

Microsoft Mobile Communications Business is now the Windows Phone Division[June 16, 2011]

Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business (MCB) is no more. The group itself still exists, but is known officially, as of this week, as the “Windows Phone Division.” I noticed the change on the bio page for the division President Andy Lees. (Until yesterday, Lees was listed as President of MCB. He’s now President of the Windows Phone Division.) A Microsoft spokesperson said that only the name of the unit has changed and that there’s no change in the unit’s responsibilities or charter.

Say it ain’t so — not only is a phone not delayed, it’s actually planning to come out earlier than its quoted launch window? This particular miracle is the exception much more than the rule, but Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone OS (nicknamed “Mango,”) might come out prior to the anticipated fall release. According to Nikkei, Fujitsu will offer the very first Mango device, a waterproof phone called the IS12T, on KDDI “as early as late next month.” The phone is to be sold for 30,000 – 40,000 yen ($378 – 505), a reasonable amount of coin for what will likely be a higher-end device. And — if it’s the same handset showcased at this week’s Worldwide Partner Conference — a pink version will be on sale. So, what’s more enticing: a Hello Kitty-flavored Windows Phone, or a Samsung Galaxy S II lookalike running Mango? It’s a tough call.

Nokia N9 UX [?Swipe?] on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan

Update as of August 10, 2012: After acquiring the Qt commercial licensing business in March 2011 from Nokia, the Helsinki based, ~1000 people strong Digia, with 2011 sales of 121.9 million Euro,yesterday acquired all the rest of the Qt business from Nokia. More details in the Digia extends Its commitment to Qt with plans to acquire full Qt software technology and business From Nokia [Digia’s Qt Commercial Blog, Aug 9, 2012] and Digia Committed to Thriving Qt Ecosystem [KDE.NEWS, Aug 9, 2012] posts from Digia’s R&D director Tuuka Turunen. With this all pre-Windows Phone software platform commitments except the Java based S40 (evolved in the new Asha range) have strategicallybeen revoked by Nokia.

Nokia N9 Journey [Oct 24, 2011]:
A story about the making of the most beautifully simple smartphone.

Follow-up:
Designing smarter phones–Marko Ahtisaari (Nokia) and Albert Shum (Microsoft) [Nov 23, 2011]

Updates:
3 Minutes with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop [YouTube, Oct 27, 2011]

[About N9 and Qt:] Elements of N9. The things that really define that product you will see continue on. The reason we continue with N9 is because we believe we could learn a lot about certain things that actually make the N9 unique in the way that it is. … What remains unanswered, and will remain unanswered for today, is when I say ‘elements of the user experience’ or ‘the Qt environment’. What does that mean? That’s still something you’ll see ahead from Nokia.

Goodbye MeeGo, Hello Tizen [Sept 28, 2011]

By now, you may have read that The Linux Foundation, with the support of several other companies, announced a new project, Tizen [tizen.org], to build a new operating system for devices. This new project is first and foremost open source, and based on Linux. So it begs the question: why not just evolve MeeGo? We believe the future belongs to HTML5-based applications, outside of a relatively small percentage of apps, and we are firmly convinced that our investment needs to shift toward HTML5. Shifting to HTML5 doesn’t just mean slapping a web runtime on an existing Linux, even one aimed at mobile, as MeeGo has been. Emphasizing HTML5 means that APIs not visible to HTML5 programmers need not be as rigid, and can evolve with platform technology and can vary by market segment.

More info [meego.com]

there is not mentions of Qt in the article 😦

Limo Foundation And Linux Foundation Announce New Open Source Software Platform [Limo Foundation press release, Sept 28, 2011]

 LiMo Foundation™ and the Linux Foundation today announced a new open source project, Tizen™, to develop a Linux-based device software platform. Hosted at the Linux Foundation, Tizen is a standards-based, cross-architecture software platform which supports multiple device categories including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, netbooks and in-vehicle infotainment systems. The initial release of Tizen is targeted for Q1 2012, enabling first devices to come to market in mid-2012.

Tizen combines the best open source technologies from LiMo and the Linux Foundation and adds a robust and flexible standards-based HTML5 and WAC web development environment within which device-independent applications can be produced efficiently for unconstrained cross-platform deployment. This approach leverages the robustness and flexibility of HTML5 which is rapidly emerging as a preferred application environment for mobile applications and the broad carrier support of the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC). Tizen additionally carries a state-of-the-art reference user interface enabling the creation of highly attractive and innovative user experience that can be further customized by operators and manufacturers.

About LiMo Foundation
LiMo Foundation™ is a dedicated consortium of mobile industry leaders working together within an open and transparent governance model—with shared leadership and shared decision making—to deliver an open and globally consistent handset software platform based upon mobile Linux for use by the whole mobile industry. The Board of LiMo Foundation comprises ACCESS, Panasonic Mobile Communications, NEC CASIO Mobile Communications, NTT DOCOMO, Samsung, SK Telecom, Telefónica and Vodafone. A full description of LiMo Foundation can be found at www.limofoundation.org.

LiMo & Tizen FAQs

How does Tizen relate to MeeGo and LiMo?
Tizen builds upon best practices and technologies from MeeGo and LiMo to deliver a complete cross-device open source software platform and will result in broader, stronger ecosystem support from leading service providers and OEMs. Intel will be working with partners to help them transistion from MeeGo to Tizen. In order to enable successful transition, sustainng engineering support will continue for MeeGo v1.1 and v1.2 releases into 2012. Intel will fold its ongoing MeeGo development efforts into the new Tizen project.

What are the key differences between MeeGo, LiMo and Tizen?
The key differences are Tizen’s comprehensive, standards-based HTML5 application solution, broader industry support and a hardened mobile device stack.

Nordic System Integrators Welcome Open Source Initiative Tizen [Sept 28, 2011]

According to Pasi Nieminen, CEO of Nomovok, the leading MeeGo integrator, “For the past two years Nomovok has been working on Steelrat, a commercially optimised version of MeeGo, and today we are pleased to join with this industry-lead project to help make Tizen a commercial reality.”

Notes taken on Qt Dev Days 2011 in Munich [Oct 24-26, 2011]

Nomovok has a stand there. I discussed with the guy and he confirmed that they are providing the integration of Qt into Tizen. They see Tizen as MeeGo + the HTML5 additional overlay, and clearly not as MeeGo minus Qt. To them,
there is no reason why things we were able to do with MeeGo should not be feasable with Tizen. They meet every second week with Intel to work about the integration of Qt into Tizen. Looks damn promising!

Talk by Marco Argenti (SVP Developer Experience, Nokia) about “Qt and the broader strategy”.
– 100 millions Qt-enabled smartphones on the market.
– Strong emphasis on N9 being the best ever device for developers.

– Big opportunities for developing apps for the “next billion”
– ex[ample]: India: 800 millions mobile suscribers => those users will mainly experience the web through apps => Qt is core to achieve this!

“Qt Roadmap, Open Governance and Qt5”, by Lars Knoll, Qt Chief Architect:
– Nokia definitely is backing up Qt! That has been said and hammered extensively during this talk.
– Nokia has a growing interest in Qt, increasing its investment into it. Plus, there are job openings.
– Transition from Qt4 to Qt5: will not be as painfull as the transition from Qt3 to Qt4, as most of the stuff is implemented all right. Basically a matter of running a script for adapting header files and minor tweaks to the build system.
– Qt5 to be split into “Essentials” and “Add-on odules” (including widgets, Qt Webkit, part of Qt Mobility,…
– Qt Quick 2 built and optimized for OpenGL, with dramatic performance improvements
– Qt5 timeline:
>> Feature freeze by early 2012
>> Beta by March/April 2012
>>  Done by 1st half of 2012
– Qt Widgets supported in Qt5 (but to some extent, development on widgets is shifting towards community efforts, through Qt-Project)
– After Qt5: plan is to release twice a year, at fixed time periods (more predictable)
– In response to a question about Symbian and MeeGo:
>> Symbian STAYS on Qt 4.8 = Symbian NOT supported on Qt5!
>> MeeGo: tests done, works well so far, so shouldn’t be a problem. (He would not tell more than this)
– Development opportunities:
>> Desktop: yes, clearly in the focus
>> Mobile: You will see something coming… This is all Nokia is ready to say now! (Seems clearly to indicate some big announcement by tomorrow at the Nokia World event!!)

[Later the same person:] Apparently nothing as of yet. The Nokia World has been sharply focused of the Lumia (WP7) and Asha (S40) launches.

Session about developing with MeeGo on N9, by Yoann Lopes. Quote: “N9 is awesome, but it misses one thing: you, your apps”. 75 minutes is a too short time to go very deep, but the guy basically showed the whole process, step by step, and some of the possibilities (demoed: applications “MeeSpot”, “Trafikanten”). A few security-related questions were raised (about preventing an app sending over-priced SMS’s), which didn’t lead anywhere, by lack of enough informations about the topic. Again, question asked about the incentive for developing for a “dead platform”: “Can’t say anything about this, but if you develop for MeeGo now, you definitely will be able to reuse your skills.” (not quoting exactly, just what I remember from it). He mentioned also again “next billion”…

Tizen Summit Asia 2011 coming! [Oct 27, 2011]

Nomovok organizes Tizen Summit Asia 2011 at Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall 8-9 December. The event gathers together Open Source Vendors, OEMs, operators and other Tizen project contributors, together with local Open Source contributors in China. Check the event website and register here!

Dear Intel & Samsung, Can Tizen have some Qt ? [Oct 24, 2011]

So Qt Developer Days is kicking off in Munich today and I feel sad. As if something is not right. Something is missing. Tizen has recently began its Qt-less journey and this does not seem like a sensible move to me. Many would argue that Qt is supported in the Netbook version and yes it is for now, but there are no guarantees that it will survive for the future.

Is alienating a whole group of Developers that bought into the MeeGo dream the best way forward? These are Developers that have invested time, money and effort into the integration of MeeGo and Qt and now are floating away to develop for Android / Symbian and possibly iPhone. Surely having YOUR developers developing for the already established competition a bad thing ?

Is banking everything on HTML5/JS/CSS3 the best way forward ? I think Not. Could we not have HTML5 + Qt Support in Tizen ? Already Nomovok have announced that they will provide Tizen with integrated Qt, but for this to work we need it to be adopted by the project as a whole. If we lose Qt then we Lose a lot of Developers that believe in it and NOT in HTML5 and have not bought into being able to make the move to HTML5. For the wholesale of applications HTML5 seems like the one, but for more specialist applications Qt is a Development Framework that a lot of development companies prefer and that is a fact that you can’t get away from.

Tizen launched with it trying to appeal to the same target audience as MeeGo, Everyone, So shouldn’t we also try to appeal to as many developers as we can ?

With Tizen we also now get Samsung which has been the silent giant in all of this and that makes us all nervous. Very nervous. No press releases, Nothing actually stating what Samsungs vision / Intentions are for Tizen. Samsungs existing Linux Platform uses EFL (http://www.enlightenment.org) and Tizen will also use this. Is there an issue with trying to support both EFL and Qt / QML on Tizen? Surely it can be overcome.

When Nokia Dropped MeeGo on Feb 11 it caused major rifts between them and several companies including intel but now with the recent move of Qt being an Open Source Project with Open Governance can we not overcome issues of the past ?

There are many that are fighting the Qt cause in Tizen. I wish them good luck and hope Tizen has a Qt future.

….

sleeve says: October 26, 2011 at 10:33 pm

@uncle steve: now intel says no to qt?

no, samsung says no to qt as it is open source LGPL and any improvement or deployment would help Nokia tiny 1% – Samsung afraids. Samsung is happy with its vaporware BSD-licensed englightement without even one stable release in 11 years because the license allows to close any single bit if needed. If enlightenment fails samsung will use the backup tech aka HTML5 as already plans and no qt at all. Again, because in their flawed perception that would give nokia a point. All in samsung’s SLP/Limo – 4 bloody years without even single flawed release. The korean giant is strong in pushing hardware that’s all about it. Otherwise bada would be such a success for them.

Yeah Intel apparently HAPPILY supports qt on its part of tizen on its hardware and in AppUp stores. Intel wants apps SO qt will give what enlightenement wont.

Marko Ahtisaari’s speech about ‘Patterns of Human Interaction’ at Copenhagen Design Week [Sept 8, 2011] EXCELLENT!

– Very detailed summary of the above presentation: Video Marko Ahtisaari On N9 – I know We Have Out Simplified The iPhone [Sept 9, 2011] EXCELLENT!
– N9 is becoming available on Sept 30 for ~ US$700 list price
as per Предварительный заказ на Nokia N9 [excerpted on Aug 17, 2011]
See also the PDF copy (in case when the page is not available anymore):
N9 with Swipe in Kazakhstan — 17-Aug-2011
(99.999 Kazakhstani Tenge is US$683 as of today’s exchange rate. Samsung Galaxy R is advertised for the same price, note that Galaxy R is currently available in Sweden for US$634)

Nokia Styles Comeback Plan [Aug 30, 2011]

With the release of its first Windows-based smartphone coming soon, Nokia Corp. is making a big bet: that the innovative design of its new phone will help it stand out and draw attention away from software problems the company has faced as it struggles to compete in the lucrative market.

Anyone interested in the look and feel of Nokia’s future handset design should examine the N9 launched in June—the first smartphone to replace the traditional home button with a swipe of the hand. It is made from a colorful polycarbonate material and although it appears rectangular, it has a curved glass screen.

The N9 features the MeeGo operating system, in which Nokia has already lost interest. But Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia’s head designer, says the design is an indication of where the company is headed. “We will drive this trend toward reduction and more natural forms. Compare that to the black, grey and metallic rounded-corner rectangles you are seeing in the market,” Mr. Ahtisaari says during an interview.

Mr. Ahtisaari says today’s touch-screen phones are inappropriately immersive, and that he would like to design in a way that allows users to keep their heads up again.

“When you look around at a restaurant in Helsinki, you’ll see couples having their heads down instead of having eye contact and being aware of the environment they’re in,” he says.

Designing for true mobility…makes it easier for people to have more eye contact and be aware of their environment, and is an example of what people would not explicitly ask for but love when they get it,” Mr. Ahtisaari says.

For Mr. Ahtisaari and his design team, which numbers several hundred people in Finland, China, the U.K. and the U.S., innovation is about designing better and more natural ways to use a phone through careful observation of users and their environments. Mr. Ahtisaari adds that frequent prototypes, from paper sketches to 3-D wax models to real phones, are crucial to achieve the simplicity and precision needed.

Nokia’s hardware success stems from distinguishing features that often depend on the types of materials used in handsets. Polycarbonate with inherent color is key to the company’s current designs. “The inherent color in the polycarbonate allows us to do color in an interesting way, and that will continue to be important as a simple symbol of choice,” Mr. Ahtisaari says.

Customers can expect more touch-screen phones with physical keyboards, such as the E6 and C3 handsets. “It’s a very rich area for Nokia to innovate in years to come, as many people still want keyboards,” Mr. Ahtisaari says.

He also plans to add value by “linking the phone experience to maps and information about where you are, mapping the world in a way that we have not even imagined possible.”

End of Updates

The Nokia N9: a unique all-screen smartphone [June 21, 2011]

Nokia today announced the Nokia N9, built for people who appreciate a stunning blend of design and the latest smartphone technology.

The Nokia N9 introduces an innovative new design where the home key is replaced by a simple gesture: a swipe. Whenever you’re in an application, swiping from the edge of the display takes you home.

The three home views of the user interface are designed to give fast access to the most important things people do with a phone: using apps, staying up to date with notifications and social networks, and switching between activities.

So, going to Windows Phone 7 or not it has happened as communicated back in last December:
Nokia to enter design pattern competition for 2011 smartphones with MeeGo [Dec 9, 2010]


Note: Version 1.2 of MeeGo OS is scheduled for April 2011 but the smartphone product won’t happen, either on Intel or ARM until around June 2011. See my post on Intel Oak Trail to beat ARM with MeeGo specific prices [Nov 25]

This is all according to its SVP Design and User Experience, Marko Ahtisaari [the indicated timing is for the video record of his plenary speech at LeWeb 2010 on Dec 8, also linked later on]:

1. [2:25] Elegant, simple, extremely blown out – the iOS design pattern. Essentially a screen or screens full of apps and a physical homekey like the mouse key. You click it, you take your hand off the screen to do something on the screen, then may leave to go home. Beautifully elegant, extremely simple to learn with a few steps. And think of a forefront of a house where if you want to go from the kitchen to the dining room you know how you go to the front door. And if after dinner you want to go to the living room you again know how to do that, you go to the front door. Of course the physical button is this mouse click has been loaded with more and more functionality, but essentially a beatifully elegant system that is fantastically constrained. [3:18]. 2. Multiple personizable homescreens where the bet is that the process of personalizing (filling out these home screens) is so simple and organic that it just happens over time and you end up using the device by these home screens – the pattern shared by both Symbian and Android, also the fastest growing pattern. There is not only one physical button but there are many, in fact there are many different configurations that are quite fragmented, as many people commented. And there is some way to flip to where you launch apps, but essentially it is about these personalizable home screens for both shortcuts and live information, or using tabs or so on those widgets. [4:08]
3. [4:20] Windows Phone 7 has introduced an interestingnew pattern, too early to tell [how successful it will be]. But it just shows that there is demand for other patterns. [4:26]One important remark by Sofpedia’s Nokia Poised to Change Mobile UI Approach with MeeGo Devices [Dec 8] report: “Marko Ahtisaari suggests that the future would bring different UI patterns to devices, and that one of them would be based on notifications.Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 OS was built based on notifications.” 4. [4:28] This is basically what is the design team in the Nokia Design Studios is spending most of its time on doing: is introducing a new pattern. This will be launched with MeeGo in 2011. … [To give the idea:] … If you look at touchscreen immersive experiences, so most touchscreen devices, and what you start thinking is this way: you will see this at every single moment – so you walk in Paris, you see in cafe, [where] you see a couple [who] have been together for 10-15 years – they will be there head down, pitching and zooming. Touchscreen interfaces are immersive, they require our full attention. [5.15]I think we are missing a trick and also we are not doing good enough design unless we give people their head up again. What do I mean by that? Better one-handed use, better ways to use the devices, without them demanding our full attention. This means more eye contact, more ability to be present both with the people you are around, with right now the physical environment, as well as when you are navigating the physical environment and using maps. I think this giving people their head-up again is extremely important. [5:45]

This is how Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia talked about Nokia’s smart phone strategy on the Nokia Connections 2011 event in Singapore (from a 3d party video record [June 21, 2011]):

[0:05] I’am going to jump right in and talk about our progress and talk about the progress and advances in smart devices. As we’ve shared our primary smartphone platform strategy is the focus on Windows Phone. I have increased confidence that we will launch our first device based on Windows Phone platform later this year. And we will show our products in volume in 2012.

Now I’ll tell you we have these devices in hand now, we have them working and those who have viewed our early work are very optimistic about the devices Nokia will bring to market. In fact — to quote — the CEO of a leading retailer, and I quote, this device is an absolute beauty with a very fast user interface. The combination of a best of Nokia with a great user interface will have a tremendous impact on the market. [1:00, then in the record comes Marko Ahtisaari with N9 intro, but in reality Marco Argenti was preceding him with Qt [cute] related announcements which are well expressed on the following post on the Nokia Developer]

The future of Qt: Bringing apps to the next billion [June 21, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Exciting news for the developer community today, and in particular for those who are focused on Qt: At the Nokia Connection 2011 event in Singapore, Nokia Senior Vice President, Developer Experience Marco Argenti confirmed that Nokia will “make Qt core to bringing applications to the next billion,” and he reassured developers that investments made in Qt today will live on in the future with Nokia.

During his presentation, “Qt and the Next Billion”, Argenti noted the following:

  • “Qt-powered Apps have serious momentum on Ovi Store. Our consumers are downloading more Qt-written apps on over 100 million devices worldwide. And today I’m happy to announce that we will make Qt core to bringing great applications to the next billion.”
  • “Why did we pick Qt? Qt is a great cross-platform framework. Qt is modern and efficient. Qt Quick bridges the design phase with the production phase – making it incredibly easy to design, prototype and develop new applications. With QML, the interface markup language, web developers can feel right at home creating great UI’s.”
  • “Qt is widely supported by an active community of over 1/2 million developers. And Nokia will continue to invest in Qt, as we’ve recently released Qt SDK 1.1, and we’re actively involved in contributing to Qt 5.”

This means developers will have both a large existing audience to target with Qt-based mobile apps (100 million Symbian-based phones, plus our first-ever pure touch smartphone, the Nokia N9).

Argenti also noted that: “We will disclose further details in due time; today we want our developers to see the opportunity that the future of Qt brings as part of our mobile phones strategy.”

Learn more about developing for the Nokia N9 and developing with Qt.

And before Ahtisaari was invited by Elop to introduce N9 he actually said according to the official webcast (emphasis is mine):

[42:23] When we’ve determined that that we will shift our strategy we’ve assessed we could bring our innovation and technology to the market three times faster than we’ve had in the past. … [now he says that Symbian Ana, Windows Phone, dual SIM products are showing that] … But we are also breaking through with new forms of innovation. As we’ve said on February 11 we intend to launch an exciting experience around user interface, the industrial design and the developer platform. As part of that work we’re exploring technology to create a better phone. [43:10, after which Ahtisaari is invited on the scene and delivers what could see from the already mentioned 3d party video record from 1:00]

Then, at another event [for the employees] after N9 introduction by Marko Ahtisaari and before the first Nokia Windows Phone 7 has been shown (from a 3d party video record, the 2nd embedded into Engadget’s Nokia’s first Windows Phone: images and video, codenamed ‘Sea Ray’ [June 23, 2011]):

So, I have to say a special thank you as Marko did to everyone working in and around the MeeGo effort. It’s been a challenging time for that team as well. And yet look at the quality of work that’s been done.

Now one of the big questions we get is, yes you’re launching this device but we know you are transitioning to Windows Phone, what’s the point? What is the point?

The point is this. There’s a whole collection of innovation available in the N9 that is going to live one. So — for example — Marko talked about the work in and around Qt [cute] and the development of Qt applications [see between 13:20 and 13:55 in the N9 announcement video record embedded below], and as we’ve already said  yesterday, Qt lives on and actually strengthenes because of its engagement in the next billion. So that’s really good. Innovation in that device lives on.

Another example is the user interface and user experience. We’re not saying precisely what device, and when and how. The user experience you see here is something that will live on as well.

A third example of innovation that will live on is the beautiful industrial design. So now I’m going to just ask everybody to put away your cameras, turn off all of the recording devices. I’am serious because I’m going to share with you something … because this is something that is super confidential and we do not want to see out in the blogosphere, wherever it is. We think it is important for all of you to understand how this innovation lives on, and how well we as a company are today executing.

Let me show you another new device from Nokia. … So what is it? It’s sort of looking at it and then say that is what Marko has shown us. Beautiful design, Gorilla glass … Carl Zeiss” 8mpixel camera … you notice there is as one extra button on the top. So you notice that is not the same device. … What this is, is a product that is code-named Sea Ray, and it is Nokia’s first Windows Phone device. [2:34, then comes a quite detailed WP7 part, until 21:45]

So from all these it is quite obvious that with February 11 decision the only thing which Nokia immediately had thrown out of the boat was the MeeGo operating system itself. And indeed in an interview to Helsingin Sanomat on Thursday Elop delivered a a quite clear message: Nokia CEO Stephen Elop rules out possible comeback of MeeGo [June 3, 2011]

Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop promised that the company will soon introduce a range of new inventions and innovations, with which it will improve the competitiveness of its mobile phones.

As an example of new inventions, Elop mentioned the brand-new N9 handset launched in Singapore on Tuesday, which will come on sale in the autumn, a year behind the original schedule.
“The N9 features many new breakthroughs related to its usability, design, and materials, which we will be utilising and developing further in our upcoming models. I cannot speak of them more specifically just yet, but they will soon become apparent”, Elop said.
According to Elop, the N9 is a handset that relies more on the Qt application framework than its MeeGo operating system. Thanks for the Qt environment, the used applications can be programmed to work with three of the platforms used by Nokia, though not with the Windows Phone system.
In Elop’s words, there is no returning to MeeGo, even if the N9 turns out to be a hit.

The switch to the software giant Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system has frustrated many of the Nokia staffers.
Some are afraid that the company will turn into a mere equipment manufacturer and a Microsoft subcontractor.
Elop roundly rejects this interpretation.
“Nokia will continue its research and development on the software side, as well as in services and equipment design. We will build inventions for our Windows phones that will make us stand apart from our competitors and bring significant additional advantage to our application developers”, he declared firmly.
According to Elop, in recent months Nokia has launched several different software development projects.
“Those working within the software R&D sector are more and more motivated thanks to our achievements. I am continuously in touch with them. I constantly receive emails that tell me how the pace of problem-solving has quickened.”

Nokia N9 details

Nokia N9 Design Story [June 20, 2011]

In this video, Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia’s SVP of Design, talks about the design of the Nokia N9 http://nokia.ly/iGrtvJ. It only takes a swipe to get to what you want with the Nokia N9, and it all floats beautifully on the large, curved display. Stay in touch with people, news and events. And browse the web. Quickly. Get around with free maps and navigation. And take great pictures with the 8MP camera. The Nokia N9 makes it all smooth, effortless and gorgeously stylish. Learn more about the new Nokia N9, visit: http://nokia.ly/jUnOCP.

Nokia N9: the designer’s story [June 22, 2011] (in paragraph emphasis is mine)

I love sitting down with Nokia’s designers. There’s not one square millimetre of each phone that doesn’t get refined and revised a hundred times. They always have a mind-blowing story to tell about each aspect of the design. It’s never, “We chose blue cause that would be cool”; it’s always like, “We chose cyan, not blue, because the design is pure, so colours need to be pure, and…” at which point, my head explodes. I sat down with the Nokia N9′s lead designer, Anton Fahlgren, for a chat about his epic two-year project

How did the Nokia N9 begin?

I headed up a team in Copenhagen during the summer of 2009, and that’s where it began. The brief was to evolve the story from the previous Nokia Nseries/Eseries devices, and define it moving forward. We chose to work with an Nseries product as it was interesting times at Nokia – things were bumpy in the high-end market. Extreme numbers on a spec sheet was not the way to win. We knew we needed innovation at every level.

I’ve had the option to do this before, but those occasions didn’t feel so very exciting: here we had a blank canvas. I wanted to define what high-end means today and take a more software-driven approach, and show people it’s not just the hardware that makes a great phone: it’s the UI and platform and how it all works together.

Did you know you’d be creating for something other than Symbian?

The MeeGo stuff had started bubbling, but we hadn’t seen it. We tried to simplify and distil the existing story, because there was a lot of good in the work that was done. That was the starting point – no compromises. We tried different styles; we did a range of devices like slide-and-tilt; we did a couple different sizes, but they were all based on the same design family. But the one that made it to the market was the Nokia N9.

What makes the Nokia N9 unique?

Above all, it’s the continuity that you feel from the shape of the glass continuing to the side profile. It just feels right. The basic concept is that seamless continuity of the form, and I think it was something we refined with the UI. It’s just something nice about interacting with a device that has a gentle curvature. Once you have something that’s more continuous in your hand, it’s just more pleasant to interact with it, all the way to the edges. Try to swipe stuff on other phones, and you’ll soon see that the edges will bother you.

When you see it in three dimensions, there’s not a single straight surface on the product. It’s actually really difficult to model in CAD. It’s almost like a pillow. In concept, a pillow is a simple form. It’s not hard to understand. But if you have to build those surfaces on a computer, you’ll realize how complicated they are. So the concept is simple, but as a piece of geometry, it’s quite elaborate.

No buttons! Just swipe!

Once you’ve got a flavour of life without buttons, it’s hard to go back. I find myself with other devices trying to swipe, but I can’t. Phones with keys feel old now, in some respects.

Last question, how would you like consumers to feel when they first pick up a Nokia N9?

That’s a good question. What’s important for us is that if this becomes a hardware story, we’ve failed. It needs to be in context with the UI. I hope the first point of delight will be about the interface, the button-less navigation. I hope it’s not only about the hardware design. The idea was to create a canvas for the UI and the user to shine. When you watch TV, you don’t want a frame, you just want the content.

The Nokia N9 Announcement by Marko Ahtisaari at Nokia Connection 2011 [June 21, 2011]

In this video, Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia’s SVP of Design, announces Nokia N9 http://nokia.ly/iGrtvJ.

The related press release: The Nokia N9: a unique all-screen smartphone [June 21, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Singapore – Nokia today announced the Nokia N9, built for people who appreciate a stunning blend of design and the latest smartphone technology.  To learn more about the design of the Nokia N9 visit: http://swipe.nokia.com

One swipe and you’re home
The Nokia N9 introduces an innovative new design where the home key is replaced by a simple gesture: a swipe. Whenever you’re in an application, swiping from the edge of the display takes you home.

The three home views of the user interface are designed to give fast access to the most important things people do with a phone: using apps, staying up to date with notifications and social networks, and switching between activities.

The industrial design of the Nokia N9 is an example of extreme product making and craft. The body is precision-machined from a single piece of polycarbonate and flows seamlessly into beautiful curved glass. The laminated deep black display means that the user interface just floats on the surface of the product.

The Nokia N9 also packs the latest in camera, navigation and audio technology for a great all-round experience.

“With the Nokia N9, we wanted to design a better way to use a phone. To do this we innovated in the design of the hardware and software together. We reinvented the home key with a simple gesture: a swipe from the edge of the screen. The experience sets a new bar for how natural technology can feel,” said Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia’s head of Design. “And this is just the beginning. The details that make the Nokia N9 unique – the industrial design, the all-screen user experience, and the expressive Qt framework for developers – will evolve in future Nokia products.”

Innovative all-screen design
With no need for a home key, the all-screen Nokia N9 makes more room for apps to shine. The 3.9-inch AMOLED screen is made from scratch-resistant curved glass. The polycarbonate body enables superior antenna performance. This means better reception, better voice quality and fewer dropped calls.

Camera, maps and multimedia
The 8-megapixel Carl Zeiss autofocus sensor, wide-angle lens, HD-quality video capture and large lens aperture enable great camera performance even in lowlighting conditions. This makes the Nokia N9 one of the best camera-phones ever produced.

The Nokia N9 features free turn-by-turn drive and walk navigation with voice guidance in Maps. With the new dedicated Drive app, you can get in your car and start navigating to your destination right away.

You can watch videos in true 16:9 widescreen format. And because the Nokia N9 is also the world’s first smartphone with Dolby® Digital Plus decoding and Dolby Headphone post-processing technology, you get a surround sound experience with any set of headphones.

Touch just got better
Fitted with the latest in wireless technology, Near Field Communication (NFC), the Nokia N9 allows you to easily share images and videos between devices by touching them together.  Pair it with Bluetooth accessories like the new NFC-enabled Nokia Play 360° wireless music speaker only once, and you get a great surround sound music experience with just a tap.

Colors and Memory
The Nokia N9 will be available in three colors – black, cyan, and magenta with storage options to accommodate plenty of content: 16GB and 64GB. The Nokia N9 is scheduled to be in stores later this year, with availability and local pricing to be announced closer to the sales start.

More information about the Nokia N9 can be found at: http://swipe.nokia.com.

Video: Diving into the Nokia N9 UI and specs [June 21, 2011]

The Nokia N9 is fresh out of the oven and we think it’s pretty hot. We’ve received quite a few questions from our readers about this newcomer’s technical profile and user interface. To give you a better idea of how the product works, we grabbed Marketing Manager Jussi Mäkinen and asked him to give us a guided tour of the Nokia N9 UI on video.

Nokia Marketing Manager Jussi Mäkinen walks us thru Nokia N9. Nokia N9 is designed around the things people typically use the most.

Here is some geeky data on the technical specifications:
– Networks: Pentaband WCDMA 850, 900, 1900, 1700, 2100, Quad band GSM/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900
– Speed: HSDPA Cat10: 14.4Mbps, HSUPA: Cat6 5.76Mbps
– Display: 3.9” WVGA (854×480) AMOLED display with curved Gorilla glass, no air gap, anti-glare polarizer
– OS: MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan
– Memory: 1024MB RAM, 16GB/64GB storage
– Camera: 8Mpix auto-focus Carl Zeiss, wide-angle lens, 2x LED flash, Video capturing MPEG-4 SP 720p @ 30fps, 2nd camera for video calls
– Size / Weight: 116.45 mm x 61.2 mm x 7.6–12.1 mm (L x W x T) / 76 cm3/ 135 g
– Connectivity: BT 2.1, GPS, A-GPS, WLAN 802.11abgn, NFC, 3.5mm AV connector,  micro USB connector, USB charging
– Processor: ARM Cortex-A8 OMAP3630 1 Ghz, PowerVR SGX530
– Audio: MP3 player, Audio jack: 3.5mm, Supported codecs: mp3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, FLAC.
– Battery: 1450 mAh

Operating Times
– Talk time: (GSM/WCDMA) up to 11 h / up to 7 hours
– Standby time: Up to 450 hours (WCDMA), up to 380 hours (GSM)
Video playback (720P): up to 4.5 hours
– Music playback: up to 50 hours

Other information from the official Nokia blog:
Introducing the Nokia N9: all it takes is a swipe! [June 21, 2011]
Nokia N9 – photo taking and sharing [June 22, 2011]
Nokia N9: what would you like to see? [June 22, 2011]
Getting up close, with NFC on the Nokia N9 [June 23, 2011]
Nokia N9: Drive & Maps [June 23, 2011]
Blogbite: let’s talk Nokia N9 [June 24, 2011]

Nokia’s N9: Cool, Cruel and Unusual [by Randy Arnolds, June 23, 2011]

source: http://swipe.nokia.com

Unlike many friends and former Nokia colleagues, I have not had the pleasure of fondling a sexy new N9 so this won’t be a product review as much as a process and philosophy review.  That means something a little less structured than usual and loaded with unabashed opinion, pontificating and ranting.

So buckle up, this should be a ride that would do Tomi Ahonen proud.

We have ignition…

Maemo and MeeGo community advocates didn’t begin with high expectations for the Nokia Connection 2011 event in Singapore on June 21.  Lacking the presentation pizzazz of Apple or even Microsoft, Nokia has a mixed history with this sort of thing and has too often bombed when it needed to blow something up.  So when we were bored with a Symbian Anna demo followed by an even more tiresome spiel on S40, the peanut gallery in a freenode.net IRC webchat augmented Nokia’s endless warm-up with the usual locker room antics.  CEO Steven Elop had promised a disruption; we were just distracted.

Then Marko Ahtisaaricalmly and quietly claimed the stage.

Speculation had run rampant over who would more likely stun us with the allegedly disruptive device, but the consensus had correctly pinned Marko as the man.  He sealed the deal by very quickly getting down to business.

A presenter’s presenter, the well-spoken Ahtisaari peeled away layers of the slick N9 with the deftness of a professional magician.  I can’t speak for anyone else but our little web gathering was enthralled.  The catcalls and comic relief abruptly ceded to what amounted to geek sexting.  That’s the magic of what Nokia has pulled off here, with impeccable industrial design and a clever UI just begging to be swiped.

That’s also the problem.

The MeeGo Mambo

When Elop announced Nokia’s head-scratching new strategy (and I use that last term extremely loosely) back in February of this year, there was the promise of an undescribed MeeGo device to be produced at some point, to be followed by an anticlimactic year-long ramp-down of the project once hailed as Nokia’s high-end salvation.   Never mind that the N9 isn’t running pure MeeGo (but rather a mish-mash of Maemo 6 and MeeGo parts now curiously labeled as MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan).  To any end user, it’s MeeGo enough.

But the question becomes: why?

Why release something designed to run what is, for Nokia, a dead-end OS?  Elop says this otherwise-seductive N9 is intended as a test-bed for future Windows Phone 7 devices.  But how many consumers tolerate being tested? Those few who fell in with Nokia’s steps 1 through 4 with Maemo can be forgiven for feeling too defeated to step up for number 5.  That would make the N9 a profit sink at a time when Nokia’s stock (NOK) is severely depressed.

Is this just a stopgap until Windows Phone 7 graces similar Nokia hardware?  If so, will enough purchasers succumb in the meantime to this obviously alluring work of art to at least cover its costs?

Conspiracy theorists are having a field day with this, pointing to admittedly mind-boggling statements and steps that, like the pieces from different puzzle sets, do not fit together.  One of the more prevailing and extreme speculations is that the N9′s strange release is actually a deliberate move by Microsoft-via-Nokia to torpedo the prospects of MeeGo– not just within Nokia’s domain, but in toto.  The old Fear/Uncertainty/Doubt (FUD) machine grinding up another competitor.  I’m resisting this line of thought, but… but…

The Maemo Legacy

Nokia struggled with its last Maemo device, the N900 mobile computer, both in terms of consumer adoption and reliability issues.  Can the company afford to repeat that with the N9?  And will the life of the typical N9 exceed Nokia’s willingness to support it?  The track record isn’t good there.

It’s all… bewildering.

Back to the device unveiling.  Again, Elop referred to this little beauty as disruptive.  He even went so far as to invoke his favorite word, ecosystem, although the N9 doesn’t appear to come with one.

So what could the N9 disrupt?  Well, so far it’s done a number on the MeeGo and Maemo communities, particularly the latter.  maemo.org members are largely polarized on included or excluded features like hardware keyboards, Adobe Flash support and HDMI.  Nothing new there.  But this is likely the last time the Maemo community could survive a foundation-fracturing device.  It’s already on shaky ground as legacy Maemo devices and long-standing community leaders run out of steam or just plain run out.

Long Limbs, Thin Ice

Many Maemo/MeeGo fans are looking at the glossy N9 with a glint of hope.  Maybe, just maybe goes the logic,  success for the N9 could change Elop’s mind on MeeGo.  Maybe the Linux-based operating system really is a Plan B– one that advances to Plan A under the right circumstances.  If Windows Phone 7 falters, and that’s a reasonable conjecture based on current sales, what else is Nokia going to do?  Stay with Symbian, which it tossed over to Accenture?  Elevate S40?  I don’t think even bringing Qt to S40could happen fast enough.  If the N9 sells out completely, or close enough, will that trigger a slow-down in Nokia’s ramp-down?  If so, does Nokia have the ready staff for it, or have too many abandoned the wayward ship?

Detractors are saying this is all pointless, that there’s no room for MeeGo in a two-horse Android-plus-iOS world. How selective amnesia can be; there wasn’t room for them, either, a few years ago when Symbian owned the playing field.

MeeGo could actually succeed with a similar approach to Apple’s: highly target a select demographic comprised of, say, fifteen to twenty percent of a given population and please them to no end.  But instead of the same demographic, cater to those at the complete opposite end of the open-closed spectrum.  In other words, the Maemo/MeeGo crowd in addition to those largely invested in Android because it isn’t iOS.  Then let Android, WP7, and the rest battle for the middle.  Select markets generate higher margins than mass markets, as Nokia has learned the hard way.

Summing Up

I found the Singapore event a crude juxtaposition of a lethargic Singapore (and similar) market address awkwardly combined with a brief, exciting N9 reveal.  This was the wrong venue to introduce this device.  The better one would have been the MeeGo Conference 2011, which sorely needed it.

Those who read here regularly will expect me to be completely candid, so I won’t disappoint.  There are aspects of the N9 I don’t like.  Sealed-in battery, lack of memory card slot, last year’s CPU, and a few others.  But I’m not the type to lose the forest for the trees.  From a big picture perspective, I love the Nokia N9.  Yes I drooled over its renderings.  Yes I find that uniquely-curved screen to be cool enough to touch.  Yes I want one NOW.  I will forgive the known shortcomings.  Heck, even Engadget likes it.

And as for MeeGo: it still enjoys strong support from Intel and partners.  It just needs a high-profile, lust-inducing handset to improve its consumer recognition prospects.  The N9 shows it can be done in spades, despite Elop’s disputable claims to the contrary.

My disagreement with Elop on MeeGo [by Felipe Contreras, working in Nokia (Maemo), June 21, 2011]

Some time ago I received a private email directly from Elop (just me, nobody else in CC, I am not going to go into details as to why), in which he explained that the biggest problem was the small amount of MeeGo devices in the years immediately ahead.

This is simply not true.

Before explaining why, I’ll quickly say that I actually work on hardware adaptation, so if somebody knows the amount of effort needed to adapt MeeGo to different hardware platforms, it’s us. Plus, I closely follow Linux related mailing lists (linux-arm, linux-omap, linux-media, etc.), and know a lot of people in different companies that work precisely in this area. I have quite a few years of experience doing this, so I know what I’m talking about.

Update: To avoid confusion, I am a mere software engineer. And when I say “us” I’m talking about the bigger team I am part of.

Nobody I know believes what Elop said, and let’s keep in mind that Elop is not an expert in this area, we are. So my guess is that he got his information from some upper management guy who didn’t know what he was talking about either.

As I explained Elop, if we wanted to ship 10 devices with OMAP 3 (the same platform of the Nokia N9) today, there is absolutely no problem from the software point of view: all the UI software remains the same, and the hardware adaptation would probably require few modifications, if any.

The problem is when porting to an entirely new hardware platform, say Snapdragon. Suppose only 3 devices are planned on the “years immediately ahead”, well, then it makes sense to have 3 different hardware platforms, and each one of those requires work from the hardware adaptation team, not from the upper layers, though. However, that’s not a technical limitation, it could very well be 30 devices instead of 3, it’s basically the same amount of work for us. IOW; what matters is the hardware platform, not the number of different devices.

Note: all these are merely examples, not actual plans

Funnily enough, Windows Phone only supports one hardware platform: Snapdragon (and in fact only certain chips). So MeeGo alreadyhas an advantage over Windows Phone; you could ship more devices on more hardware platforms. All we need is the word.

Not to mention the fact that most of the hardware adaptation is already done by hardware vendors. They do it because it’s the easiest way to demo their hardware (it’s Linux). I tried to explain that on an earlier post where I show many examples of people porting MeeGo to a plethora of devices(it’s easy and fun).

Another advantage of course is that MeeGo is already here (Nokia N9).

Not to mention the fact that MeeGo is open source, and Linux is a synergetic endeavor; there’s man more than one company (Microsoft) working on it, in fact, almost everybody else is.

Elop’s answer? “I am simply going to choose to respectfully disagree on multiple fronts”. He didn’t even bothered to mention exactly what was the disagreement.

So there you have it, if there’s a reason for ditching MeeGo, it’s certainly not a technical one, and most likely not a good one either. I hope the people out there like what we did with the Nokia N9 and ask the though question “Why exactly did you leave MeeGo, again?”, specially when there are no signs of any Windows Phone device.

Note: as usual, this is my own personal opinion, and it’s based on publicly available information

Texrat the Crypticum Keepersays:

June 21, 2011 at 20:03

As a former engineer (for Nokia Maemo devices) and product designer (elsewhere) I can vouch for everything Felipe says. Elop’s comments about MeeGo device development are disingenuous and simply designed to reinforce his decision to go with Microsoft. Maemo was run on a shoestring budget yet managed to make incredible progress– put serious resources behind MeeGo and Nokia or any other company would outperform competitors in device innovation. The retreat from MeeGo points to the success of FUD more than anything. Sad that we have allowed that and risk aversion to stifle innovation.

another adaptation guysays:

June 22, 2011 at 10:01

I’m not a big fun of Elop or WP7 either, but …

It’s not only about the number of platforms or number of devices made on particular HW platform. There is important factor – time to market. You have to be on time to the market to sell your stuff.
MeeGo Harmattan OMAP3 adaptation work is brilliant. It is also late. And who needs OMAP3 devices anymore? Market is looking forward… Tegra, OMAP4/5, Snapdragon.

If Nokia would start working on adaptation of a new HW platform that’d mean another 1-2 years from now (and there isn’t any decent adaptation layer from chip makers available on the market yet). By the time they are done existing UI would go out of fashion, so they would have to change it too to stay competitive. Once again Nokia would end up in situation as in all OSSO/Maemo/MeeGo – changing the HW platform AND the whole SW stack. And being late to the market by years.

WP7 was chosen simply because they believe MS adaptation layer closer to the completeness on their HW platform of the choice than Nokia would be with MeeGo in 1 year. Is that right ? Intel’s chip is far from ready… MeeGo on ARM SoCs is a joke^Wdemo.
Nokia needs LOTS of new devices on the market ASAP. Or it will be too late.

Ready application frameworks, SDK, ecosystem and services – all this comes as a bonus. Of course this might be pretty far from reality, but check how cool it all looks on paper. Too good offer to pass.
IMO the real mistake they made by going with WP7 is the choice of business model and ecosystem structure. Closed, royalties based SW. Last century.

“Not to mention the fact that most of the hardware adaptation is already done by hardware vendors. ”
Name a single decent one ? Sure they try, but they are not quite there yet.
Ability to boot linux on your SoC doesn’t count as “adaptation”. Besides that’s only for SoC, without peripherals. Just adding a new USB transceiver to your device can generate some man/months of SW work in adaptation. Let’s not even start talking about power management.

“Another advantage of course is that MeeGo is already here (Nokia N9).”
MeeGo ? Yeah, right. Common ppl, for the 100th time N9 != MeeGo.

“…MeeGo is open source, and Linux is a synergetic endeavor”
From Nokia experience – synergy was seen only in a handful of open source components in OSSO/Maemo/MeeGo Harmattan. Adaptation contributions went mostly one way – upstream.

FelipeCsays:

June 22, 2011 at 14:04

@another adaptation guy The hardware adaptation in Nokia has been ready since a looong time. The problem has always been the UI. Maybe not perfectly, but in a competitive level compared to current Android devices.

And no, WP7 is not closer to completeness. What makes you think so? See the list of chips supported by WP7, it’s basically only QSD8250, which is 2008 technology. That should make you think how easy it is to support different chips, forget about platforms, or architectures.

Sure, hw vendors don’t have perfect adaptation for Linux, but they have something which is better than what WP7 has; nothing. There’s no OMAP4, Intel, Tegra, Sh-Mobile, or anything else, not even booting. Not to mention the fact that Android kernels are already shipping, and most of that work can be re-used, as it’s still Linux.

I’m sure it would have been easier and faster for Nokia/Qualcomm to finish up the adaptation of a Snapdragon chip that it is for Microsoft to provide OMAP4 support, or even worst: Intel support.

FelipeCsays:

June 22, 2011 at 16:59

I never bought that story, and I am kind of shocked that elop (and the other management) actually believes that this is a legitimate argument. Maybe this is just what they say to you? There are of course other, more relevant reasons for the adaption of wp7.

@oli Yes, that’s also my thinking; whenever the official reasons don’t make sense from any point of view, there’s probably some secret reasons. However for now that’s speculation.

What I am interested to see is how much people like the Nokia N9, and how much pressure does Nokia gets to continue working on MeeGo. I don’t know if anything will change, but we in the Maemo/MeeGo team did all we could to make the Nokia N9 a success, now it’s the turn of the consumers :)

Although i love maemo/meego and the n9. its the ecosystem that elop is worried about, and one of the key factors why its so limited at this stage.

@Anthony Well, that’s another reason that can also be debunked. For starters, “ecosystem” seems to me more like an invented term from Elop rather than something consumers are actually looking for, so it’s hard to tell exactly how important such a thing is, or even what exactly does that mean. Also, you have to remember that a few years ago Android didn’t have any “ecosystem”, which is exactly how all platforms start.

I believe MeeGo’s “ecosystem” would have been bigger than Windows Phone’s, in fact, if the “ecosystem” is supposed to be that important, why does WP7 has so small marketshare?

It just doesn’t make sense from any point of view.

FelipeCsays:

June 23, 2011 at 15:28

Does WP7 support multicore?

@Guest It doesn’t. I heard there’s a new WP release that does support it, but that hasn’t shipped on any phone yet (AFAIK).

It is amazing that 95% or comments do not understand basic market(ing) facts. Today, we are not buying phones because they are great. At least smartphones. We are buying them, because other smart people can write amazing apps for them and there is big existing market of these great applications. It is called ecosystem.

@Dantius Palpatine I call bullshit on that. For the ecosystem to matter, first you need good phones. If your assertion was true, WP7 would be gaining market, not loosing it as it is.

sorry but another adaptation guy is right. First and foremost, Harmattan has nothing to do with MeeGo, and I’m still wondering how this marketing trick went through.

@crowbar MeeGo, Maemo, Harmattan, who cares? The software is good. What I want is to see the consumers buying the device like crazy. Sure, it would have sold much more if it wasn’t the last of its kind, and there was a believable developer story, but it’s still a great device (specially if you compare to others in the market).

FelipeCsays:

June 24, 2011 at 3:03

When Elop said that Nokia wouldn’t be able to produce many Meego devices before 2014 I’m sure he was correct.

@jii Great, a statement without any argumentation. What makes you think so? How difficult do you really think it would be to take the software of the Nokia N9 and put it into another device? I’ll tell you how; not at all, it can be done in a few months.

FelipeCsays:

June 24, 2011 at 3:53

@Son of a Finn

Seems like so many posters here are children. Does anyone really believe that Elop does not want to see Nokia succeed?

Of course he wants Nokia to succeed, but he wants it to succeed based on his own decisions. Do you really think he would say “you know what, I was wrong, this WP stuff is not going to work”? That’s not going to advance his career.

Most of what people call “conspiracy theory” can be explained in systemic terms. Maybe Elop truly never thought on crashing Nokia so it can be sold cheaply to Microsoft, but humans are social creatures, we rarely make big decisions without talking to other people — I’m sure he talked with some friends in Redmond, and they tried everything they could to sell the idea of WP7. They might have thought about the possibility of Nokia crashing, and they didn’t care, they pushed Elop to make the move that benefits Microsoft the most, even though it’s the most risky for Nokia.

At the end of the day Elop’s intentions don’t really matter, what matters is what he does, which is most likely influenced by a lot of hidden agendas of other people.

The real question you have to answer is: what happens if Windows Phone fails?

Really, what would happen to Nokia? The stock price is already in ruins, and that’s just because of lack of good news, imagine what would happen when really bad news arrive. What would happen to Finland?

It is rarely a good idea to go “all-in” like Nokia is doing with Windows Phone. It only makes some sense when you are completely sure, but look around, everyone is asking the same question — Why WP7 when you have MeeGo? — that alone should raise some questions regarding the “all-in” position, and then the next question arises — Why not try both?

Let’s suppose Elop is right and I’m wrong; it would only be possible to develop a few MeeGo devices in the next coming years. Well, even if that’s the case there’s nothing wrong with that, it would be a good backup plan if WP fails. Somebody might say, but it takes too many resources, but that’s not true, the Maemo team never took that many resources (it’s kind of efficient), and with a reduced scope, resources could be decreased.

Nokia's Investment

Microsoft is all about partnerships. They do not make hardware or very many end products. Microsoft’s success has come from partnering with many many companies and enabling them to be successful. Every PC manufacturer and 93% of VARs are Microsoft partners. Every PC peripheral or PCI card vendor needs to be a Microsoft partner to succeed.

You call that “partnership”? Then I guess mafia bosses “partner” with their debtors, and when somebody becomes somebody else’s bitch on jail, that’s also a “partnership”.

Strictly speaking they are partnerships, but that’s not what everybody would consider a good partnership.

FelipeCsays:

June 24, 2011 at 12:59

What’s your opinion about needing more than the 3 devices in 3 years that Elop claimed was the problem? Apple has been doing well with an average of 1 new iPhone model a year. I look at the N9 and can’t figure out what hardware would be outdated before 2014. Maybe a next model with a sliding keyboard, but what beyond that?

@Pat That’s a good point, I think Nokia could have done the same as Apple, and concentrate on a few excellent phones. Regarding hardware I would add a sliding keyboard, but also a camera button, and micro HDMI, probably with a dual-core Snapdragon. Something more interesting would be to have a docking station like the Motrola Atrix, but helped with the fact that MeeGo already runs on laptops and so on.

FTR I didn’t claim Elop said 3 devices in 3 years, that was just an example.

Do you know if the number of N9 devices will be limited or it will depend on sales?I hope Nokia promotes this phone with operators because the biggest amount of sales comes from operators, with that in mind, if N9 is promoted the same as N900 it’s impossible it will be a big hit.

It’s hard to make a great phone, but it’s easy to destruct its sales.

@Fran Excellent question! That is something everyone should ask Elop.

FelipeCsays:

June 24, 2011 at 19:41

@Son of a Finn

Read my postings carefully, you will see that I agree with you that Nokia should continue to invest in Meego (as Elops R&D chart shows). I would love Meego to succeed, though I have doubts based on the mobile operators not wanting another platform to support (regardless of the OS being great or not).

Operators want a counterweight against Android. I don’t think they care if it’s WP7, or MeeGo, but something.

Where I differ from most posters here is that I believe if Nokia is not successful with WP7 then they will not survive. Yes, it is an “all in” bet. Success with WP7 will generate the cash to support investment in Meego, failure leaves no hope for Meego at Nokia.

Let’s concentrate on the idea that WP7 fails. If that happens either Nokia starts from scratch, or somebody buys it (for cheap BTW), and given that Nokia already transitioned to WP7, it would be an interesting option for Microsoft. BTW, I do believe that a merge between Nokia and Microsoft would produce decent WP7 phones, because all the traditional barriers for collaboration typical of Microsoft would disappear.

Also, my definition of partnership is when the parties work together and mutually depend on each others success for their own. The examples I gave fit that. PC vendors can and do make PC’s with Linux variations, they can choose to work without Microsoft if they wish. Microsoft would die if no PC vendors used Windows. The truth is that they need each other and are partners.

Nokia and Microsoft’s Windows Phone division (the new name for the Mobile Communications Business division) also need each other and are partners. Nokia has a strong position in this relationship and I expect them to use that to their advantage.

Do you seriously believe that if WP7 fails, Microsoft would be in serious trouble? Nokia is betting the house, but Microsoft is not risking anything; WP7′s humble marketshare is already decreasing. Not that their mobile division is that important, they can survive comfortably without it.

TSMC led foundries and their SoC customers against Intel

See also: Intel’s SoC strategy strengthened by 22nm Tri-Gate technology [May 10, 2011]

Follow-up: Next-gen Snapdragon S4 class SoCs — exploiting TSMC’s 28nm process first — coming in December [Aug 9 – Nov 25, 2011]

Update: TSMC seeing tight capacity for 28nm processes [Nov 25, 2011]

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) continues to see orders heat up for advanced 28nm technology, despite a general slowdown in the semiconductor industry, according to industry sources. Order visibility has stretched to about six months, said the sources.

TSMC is expected to see 28nm processes account for more than 2% of company revenues in the fourth quarter of 2011. The proportion will expand further to over 10% in 2012, as more available capacity coupled with rising customer demand boost the output, the sources indicated.

Wafer output using 28nm processes is projected to top 20,000 units a month by the end of 2011, and will expand significantly in 2012 when new capacity at Fab 15 comes online, the sources noted. Fab 15, TSMC’s third 12-inch fab, will begin volume production in the first quarter of 2012, and ultimately raise its monthly capacity to the designed level of 100,000 wafers per month.

Altera, AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Xilinx have all contracted TSMC to manufacture their 28nm products. Broadcom, LSI Logic and STMicroelectronics reportedly are among potential clients for TSMC’s 28nm technology.

TSMC chairman and CEO Morris Chang remarked during the company’s most-recent investors meeting that sales from 28nm process technology would play an important source of company growth.

TSMC to Double Output Capacity in Five Years [May 6, 2011]

Over the past three years, the No.1 silicon foundry spent around US$16 billion boosting production capacity, to an equivalent of 10 million 200mm wafers. The company`s four new factories will help achieve the 20 million wafer goal after entering into pilot production sometime this year.

Advanced process technologies are crucial in the goal. The company will put its 28nm process into pilot production at its Fab 15, an extraordinarily huge wafer fab by capacity, in the third quarter of the year. By the end of this year, the company`s 300mm wafer fabs are projected to have total output of 300,000 wafers of chips a month.

TSMC Estimated to Earn NT$7 Per Share in 2012 [May 10, 2011]

The No.1 silicon foundry recently announced it would enter pilot production based on 28nm process technology sometime in the third quarter ahead of schedule and kick off volume production in the following quarter. So far, the chipmaker has completed 89 contracted 28nm tapeouts, the final results of photomask design for 28nm integrated circuit.

Industry watchers pointed out that the tapeout number is 10 times the number of all its competitors and twice the number of the company`s 40nm tapeouts introduced in 2008. TSMC, they added, has seen hefty revenue and earnings from 40nm process, which it took two years to develop.

Some institutional investors noted that advanced process technologies have propelled TSMC far ahead of its rivals in market dominance, with 65nm process securing a 65% of the contracts depending on the process and 40nm wining an 80% of the customers using the process. Overall, TSMC has filled 47.1% of world demands for silicon foundry service.

They analyzed TSMC still gains an upper hand in 28nm competition in spite of formidable competitors as Intel and Samsung. These competitors would have an uphill battle against TSMC if they fail to put 28nm process into volume production by the end of this year.

Over the next three years, smartphone and tablet PC will remain the major drivers behind TSMC`s growth.
This year, TSMC has budgeted US$7.8 billion for boosting its 28nm, 40nm and 65nm production capacities, compared with its US$5.9 billion spending on advanced process projects last year.

TSMC Makes Fortune From Smart Phones [May 3, 2011]

For every smartphone sold on the market, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) rakes in an average of US$7 in revenue from the sale, the company`s chairman and chief executive officer, Morris Chang estimated.

TSMC has been the primary contract manufacturer of the chips for almost all smartphones other than iPhones. Its contract buyers include processor vendors Nvidia Corp., Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) and Marvell Technology Group Ltd. as well as wireless-chip vendors Broadcom Corp. and Qualcomm International Inc.

Thanks to a strong smartphone market, sales of contracted chips for communications products constituted 48% of TSMC`s revenue of NT$105.3 billion (US$3.5 billion at US$1: NT$30) for the first quarter.

TSMC to Launch 20nm Pilot Production in 2012 [April 26, 2011]

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) will put its 20nm process into pilot production sometime in the second half of 2012 as its first step into 450mm wafer era, according to the company`s senior vice president in charge of research and development, S.Y. Chiang.

The senior vice president disclosed the process-technology roadmap yesterday at a forum, held in Taipei, addressing very-large scale integration (VLSI) technology.

As for 28nm process technology, Chiang pointed out that the company, which is recognized as the world`s No.1 pure silicon foundry, will place the process on volume production lines in the second half of this year. The company has begun pilot run of this process technology in the second quarter of the year on some design tapeouts. Tapeout means the final step of IC design cycle at which the photomask of the IC is sent for manufacturing.

Chiang noted that 28nm process can turn out more than twice as many chips as 40nm can on the same wafer. He added the company will complete pilot production of the process on 70 tapeouts throughout this year.

Chiang estimated the Moore`s Law, which is named after Intel Co-Founder Gordon E. Moore describing the number of transistors in an IC chip will double about every 18 months since the 1965 invention of IC, will remain applicable in the semiconductor industry at least until 7nm process is introduced.

He said in the future wafer foundries will not only shrink chip size but also system-on-chip size and the room for size-shrinkage technology to advance will remain ample.

Also, the room for cooperation between silicon foundries and chip assemblers, Chiang added, will grow bigger when sizes of single chips and system chips continue scaling down.

UMC Scrambles to Boost 300mm Capacity to Combat Nearest Competitor [April 13, 2011]

United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) plans to set aside nearly 90% of the US$1.8 billion it plans to spend on expansions this year for boosting capacities at its 300mm wafer fabs, in a bid to further stay ahead of the ambitious GlobalFoundires Singapore Pte. Ltd.

GlobalFoundries, currently the world`s No.3 pure silicon foundry next to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), has vowed to soar past UMC as its primary goal. The company has budgeted US$5.4 billion for expansions this year in conjunction with its ambition.
GlobaFoundries plans to boost output at its 300mm fab each in New York, Singapore and Dresden to the maximum 190,000 wafers altogether a month by 2012.

UMC plans to boost output of 300mm wafers to 150,000 a month sometime in the second half of next year after ramping up to 100,000 by the end of this year. Although the volume is 40,000 wafers fewer than GlobalFoundires’, UMC`s outputs of 200mm wafers are 20-30% above GlobaFoundries’ 200mm wafer outputs.

Industry executives estimated UMC would offer 40-50% more 200mm wafers than the nearest rival as soon as it merges HeJian Technology (Suzhou) Co., Ltd.

The 28nm Turning Point [Tom R. Halfhill, The Linley Group, April 18, 2011]

Foundries Bring High-k Metal Gates to the Masses

Metal tools delivered humanity from the Stone Age, and now, metal is enabling another technological breakthrough. For the first time, metal-gate transistors are broadly available to chip designers, allowing them to create higher-performance microprocessors that can still occupy less silicon and consume less power. This nanoscale application of metallurgy has been touted as the biggest advance in electronics since the invention of planar integrated circuits.

As usual, Intel got there first. In 2007, Intel introduced the first microprocessors built in its new 45nm high-k metal-gate (HKMG) process. The company substituted hafnium dioxide for the transistor’s silicon-dioxide gate dielectric and replaced the polysilicon gate electrodes of NMOS and PMOS transistors with other metallic materials. Thanks to higher dielectric constants (k), these materials increased the gate capacitance without reducing the thickness of the dielectric, allowing the transistor to operate at higher currents when switched on and to leak less current when switched off. (See MPR 1/29/2007, “Intel Leads the Way for High-k.”)

The rest of the semiconductor industry has been waiting four years for the same technology. Now, the wait is over. At the 32/28nm node, the leading independent foundries are introducing their own HKMG processes, and their first 28nm HKMG chips are entering production this year. Chip designers can use HKMG to deliver higher performance (by driving more current into the transistors) or to save power (mainly by reducing static current leakage). Most designers want a little of both.

Now that almost all digital-semiconductor companies except Intel rely on independent foundries or technology consortiums for their IC-process development, the 32/28nm rollout makes HKMG available to the entire industry. But the corollary is that HKMG probably won’t alter the competitive balances between most semiconductor-product companies, for the same reason: the technology is available to everyone. Although Intel enjoyed a four-year head start, the competitor most affected was AMD, the only other major vendor of PC processors. For the most part, everyone else competes with each other and not with Intel, and they’re all getting HKMG at about the same time.

Instead, the biggest contest is shaping up between leading semiconductor foundries, specifically TSMC (which reaps more than three times the revenue of any competitor) and upstart GlobalFoundries. If one of them can ramp production and improve yields significantly better than the other at 32/28nm, the foundry business could look much different at the 22/20nm node and beyond, when even more exotic technology will arrive.

Microprocessor Report subscribers can access the full story (7 pages, 5 graphics) here:
http://www.mdronline.com/mpr/h/2011/0418/251601.html

FinFETs Extend Intel’s Technology Lead [Tom R. Halfhill of the Linley Gwennap Group, May 6, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Cadillac introduced tailfins to evoke high-tech style in the 1950s, but Intel’s new finned transistors are far from cosmetic. Purely functional, highly efficient, yet equally brash, these fin-shaped field-effect transistors (finFETs) are sure to be copied as widely as Cadillac’s useless appendages—and they will play a similar role in defining an era.

Intel calls finFETs “tri-gate” transistors, touting them as the first true three-dimensional devices built on planar integrated circuits. A tri-gate transistor folds a conventional planar gate into an inverted U-shaped fin that protrudes above the silicon substrate. By coating all three sides of the fin with metal, Intel builds a 3-D gate structure that has much more volume than a planar gate while still squeezing into the same horizontal space.

Tri-gate transistors can handle greater drive currents, allowing higher clock frequencies. They can switch states at a lower threshold voltage without sacrificing as much switching speed, which reduces dynamic power consumption. In addition, the thicker gate leaks less current, reducing static power. As always, chip designers can trade off these factors in various ways to achieve the best balance of performance and power consumption for the target application.

Intel will use the new transistors for both logic circuits and memory arrays in all its microprocessors built in the next-generation 22nm process, which debuts later this year. The company has demonstrated PC and server processors built with the new technology and is already shipping samples to OEMs for system design. Volume production is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter and ramp quickly next year. And Intel isn’t hedging its bets: contrary to rumors, the new chips will use tri-gate transistors universally, abandoning planar transistors forever.

FinFETs reinforce Intel’s significant lead in chip fabrication. In addition to using new transistors, Intel is moving to the 22nm mode about two years ahead of the rest of the industry, which is only now beginning the transition to 32/28nm technology. The independent foundries serving virtually all of Intel’s competitors have no plans to use finFETs before the 14nm node—and adoption may be tentative even then. It appears that Intel has gained a head start of at least four years, much as the company achieved in 2007 by introducing high-k metal-gate (HKMG) transistors at the 45nm node. FinFETs could boost Intel’s position in the mobile and consumer markets, where it needs an edge to overcome entrenched competitors. —Tom

Integrated chips fuel smartphone growth [April 19, 2011]

Silicon integration will be the key differentiator in smartphones which could grow to 600 million units in 2014, driven by expansion in low-cost handsets, according to a presentation at the inaugural Linley Tech Mobile Conferencehere.

“The next 300 million smartphones will come from feature phone replacements,” said Linley Gwennap, principal of The Linley Group (Mountain View, Calif.), organizer of the event. “The pressure for smartphone designers will be in reducing systems cost to meet this growing demand for lower cost smartphones and silicon integration is a key,” Gwennap said.

Much of the integration will come from combining application and baseband processors. By 2014 nearly 70 percent of all smartphones will use such integrated chips, up from 40 percent in 2010, Gwennap predicted.

Such chips will be key as designers try to hit prices as low as $100 for smartphones sold in emerging markets. Meanwhile, “the percentage of the market you can address with stand-alone application and baseband processors is slowly diminishing” to about 80 to 100 million units a year, Gwennap said.

Qualcomm and Marvell led the move to integrated application and baseband processors and along with Broadcom and ST Ericsson own the pieces required for next-generation integrated chips, Gwennap said.

Qualcomm is shifting from a four- to a three-chip smartphone set in 2012 with separate devices for digital, RF and analog, he added. However many integrated chips may actually use multiple die in a package.

Quad-core chips too hot

In application processors, dual core is sweeping the market this year. Nvidia led the way with its Tegra 2 processor already shipping in LG smartphones and Motorola tablets. A half a dozen other dual-core mobile processors from all the leading chip makers will ship in systems this year, Gwennap predicted.

In February Nvidia demonstrated its next generation, the quad-core Tegra 3. Freescale and Qualcomm have announced similar products on the horizon.

“Some of the initial quad-core designs will exceed the thermal limits of what you can do in a smartphone, so you will need to throttle them back and then you won’t get the performance you expect,” Gwennap said. “Thus quad-cores will be more successful in tablets initially because of their better heat dissipation” until 28nm versions for smartphones are available, he said.

“Over the next year or two, Nvidia and Qualcomm will duel over the performance lead in apps processors, and TI never quite gets there,” said Gwennap. “Broadcom is aiming for lower performance mainstream tablets and feature phone replacements rather than the high-end luxury market [because] you don’t have to be the performance leader to make it in this market,” he said.

Intel is likely to find a small but significant foothold in smartphones over time, Gwennap said.

“By 2014, we expect Intel to have pretty competitive products on aggressive process technologies that may be enough to get them in a small number of phones but there are big barriers for them in creating a software ecosystem,” he said.

Mobile 3-D graphics are also on a tear moving from dual-core chips this year to quad-core versions soon. However, measuring raw mobile graphics performance remains a challenge, said Gwennap, calling for a mobile graphics benchmark.

The hardware along with new video engines will help process either two 1080-progressive video streams at 24 frames/second for stereo 3-D or 60 frames/s video for picture quality. To handle the load at low power rates will require video engines access system memory directly without going through a host CPU, he said.

Nokia may lag shift to dual-core phones [May 4, 2011]

Nokia may lag the shift to dual-core smartphone processors happening this year for lack of support from Microsoft, its new operating system partner.

Three companies are already shipping dual-core mobile processors and as many as eight will be by the end of the year, according to a talk at the Multicore Expohere. “Just about every high end smartphone” will move to dual-core processors in 2011, said Linley Gwennap, principal of the Linley Group (Mountain View, Calif.).

Microsoft removed multicore support from its Mobile Phone 7 OS, focusing the software only on a single-core Qualcomm chip set in an effort to get it to market quickly, said one source. The company knows it needs to update its mobile software more often than its desktop code, but it’s not clear when it will add multicore support.

Handsets typically have a 12-24 month lifecycle, said Gwennap. The lack of multicore support “could limit Nokia until Microsoft can retrofit the software for dual core,” Gwennap said.

Nokia has long been the leading supplier of cellphones, making its Symbian OS among the most popular mobile software platform. But the handset giant has been slow to respond to the concept of a Web-connected device pioneered by the Apple iPhone.

In the first quarter, Apple lead growth in smartphone unit sales, according to IDC.

Symbian^4 is expected to be released soon supporting multicore processors. However, Nokia recently struck a deal with Accenture to hire its Symbian team as part of a plan to layoff 7,000 people.

The LG Optimus smartphone was the first smartphone to use a multicore chip when it shipped in January, quickly followed by tablets from Motorola and Apple in February and March. Mobile multicore chips coming later this year include (in order of their expected appearance) the Samsung Exynos 4210, Qualcomm MSM8260, ST Ericsson U8500, Marvell Armada 2828 and Broadcom BCM 11311.

“ARM has a dual-core Cortex A9 reference design enabling the chip vendors to ship quickly. Most vendors are using it except Marvell and Qualcomm that designed their own multicore architectures.

The multicore chips will help speed core apps from the OS makers such as browsers, Flash and PDF viewers. They will also be used by third party game developers.

“It will take time for a broad base of multicore mobile software to appear,” said Gwennap.

About 21 percent of mobile devices will use multicore processors in 2011 rising rapidly to 94 percent in 2015, Gwennap estimated. By 2013 more multicore processors will ship in mobile systems than in PCs and servers, he said.

The trend will be accelerated by the arrival in 2012 of dual-core chips based on ARM’s Cortex A5 core replacing single-core Cortex A8 chips in mid-range phones. By 2014, those chips will get packed into low-cost smartphones, said Gwennap.

Serving a purpose: Why the ARM architecture is attracting attention in the server market [Feb 21, 2011] (emphasis in red is mine)

Power consumption in data centres is becoming an increasingly important issue – no surprise when these centres can house tens of thousands of servers. So there is a push towards the development of processors which offer higher performance with lower power consumption.This emerging market is attracting the attention of a number of processor developers, including Marvell. “Marvell is targeting data centres that support cloud computing and which provide web services,” said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst at The Linley Group. “In those cases, there would be some significant interest in what Marvell is doing.”

The latest processor family from Marvell, the Armada XP (Extreme Performance), uses the low power ARM architecture to deliver a 1.6GHz quad core variant that has the processing performance needed for the enterprise market. According to Viren Shah, Marvell’s senior director of marketing for embedded SoCs, the device family is aimed at networking, network attached storage, laser printers and the server market. “The server market is dominated by the x86 [architecture], but ARM is making forays into that segment – and the reason is mainly its low power,” said Shah.

Power is the all important metric. “With the quad core design, our goal is to be sub 10W,” said Shah. This is a noteworthy figure; according to Gwennap, Intel’s Xeon processor consumes around 40W. “Even at that power level, Xeon is not designed as an SoC.” In addition to Xeon, a South Bridge chip and Ethernet controllers would also be needed. Marvell has Sheeva, an ARM based core developed after gaining an architectural license when it acquired Intel’s XScale business in 2006.

Sheeva, which is ARM v6 and v7 instruction set compatible, is a two issue design: either two integer instructions or an integer and floating point are issued each clock cycle. The core also has a limited ability for instruction look ahead, boosting code throughput by reordering the sequence in which instructions are processed.

There are five devices in the Armada XP family: two single core; two dual core; and a quad core, the MV78460 (see fig 1). All are pin compatible, but vary in the on chip peripherals, cache size and the width of the memory interface. Each ARM cpu on the MV78460 has a 32kbyte instruction cache and 32kbyte data cache, while the four cores share a 2Mbyte L2 cache. The other Armada XP SoCs have a 1Mbyte L2 cache. The L2 cache is doubled in size in the MV78460 to maintain processing performance.

image

Sheeva cores access external memory through a controller, with the processor supporting DDR3 memory clocked at 800MHz. The device has 40bit physical addressing that supports up to 1Tbyte of dram. Three Armada XP SoCs, including the MV78460, support a 32 or 64bit memory data interface, while the rest have a 32bit bus. The MV78460 includes two serial ATA (SATA), four PCI Express and four Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) media access controllers (MACs).

These 10 controllers share 16 6GHz serdes, so the PCI Express controllers could be configured as three x4 ports and one x1 port, while the chip cojuld also support two SATA interfaces and a GbE interface. The Ethernet MAC supports the QSGMII interface such that all four GbE ports can be put onto a single serial link. One design challenge with the MV78460, according to Marvell, was cramming four cores and the I/O peripherals onto an SoC. “We have multiple fast I/O that must coexist in the system,” said Erez Alfiya, an application manager at Marvell. “Contention on one affects the whole system performance.” To this end, an on chip crossbar switch connects the cores and the L2 cache, as well as the peripherals as they access DDR3 memory.

The interface between each core and the L2 cache is 128bit wide and includes a coherency unit, which ensures cache coherency by updating the cache whenever data is written to external memory. The crossbar switch also supports the various on chip blocks. “That is a lot of bandwidth we need to supply to the different I/Os,” said Alfiya.

As an example, he cites the case of a GbE interface being used alongside two PCI Express ports. “You have traffic coming from the Ethernet port and from the two PCI Express ports. You need to balance the traffic and allow DDR access to the three interfaces,” said Alfiya. “We have arbitration between the units because only one unit can access the DDR at any time.” Other on chip peripherals include a security engine and support for VoIP via a time division multiplexing (TDM) interface.

The security engine can encrypt 2Gbit/s data streams using such algorithms as AES and 3DES. With the TDM interface, the SoC supports up to 32 channels of VoIP. Marvell uses several power saving techniques to limit the MV78460’s power consumption to 10W. The device can power down unused cpus and vary the clock frequency dynamically to adapt power consumption to processing load. In sleep mode, the cpus can be turned off while the L2 cache remains powered. In deep sleep mode, the L2 cache is saved in dram before being powered down.

The I/O ports then wake the cpus when data arrives. The GbE MACs are Energy Efficient Ethernet compliant (see NE, 25 January 2011) and support DDR3L. Because DDR3L operates at 1.35V, instead of 1.5V, this can reduce power consumption by up to 20%. The device can run one operating system in symmetric multiprocessing mode or asymmetrically.

The latter is less common for servers, but features more widely in embedded applications, where the cores can run separate operating systems. “By integrating everything onto one chip, Marvell has designed a single chip quad core server,” said Gwennap. This is different to Intel’s approach, where two Xeon multicore chips can be put side by side – a so called two socket server configuration. “You cannot do that with the Marvell chip,” said Gwennap. “Marvell has boiled the whole server down to a chip; if you want to scale it, you have to add a whole new, separate, server.” The Armada XP is currently implemented on TSMC’s 40nm G cmos process, although the roadmap includes an eight core design at the 28nm node. The Sheeva cores will be clocked at 3GHz or more, while the SoC will support 10Gbit Ethernet and the PCI Express 3.0 specification.

But Marvell isn’t the only company looking to bring ARM cores to the server market and ARM is seeding the process with a quad core reference design for the Cortex-A9 architecture, while the basic design for the Cortex-A15 is also quad core (see fig 2). One contender is Calxeda, in which ARM is an investor. It is using a quad core implementation of the Cortex-A9 but, because it is limited to four cores per die, it will probably need to use multiple chips to match the performance of Xeon processors.

image

But the startup is not providing details on the interconnect or the blocks it plans to integrate. “We are going to see a lot of quad core Cortex-A15 designs coming out in a year or so,” Gwennap concluded.

Gartner: media tablets are the new segment next to mobile PCs and desktops, as well as web- and app-capable mobile phones

Between March 30 and April 13 Gartner delivered quite new research on the IT spending forecasts till the year 2015. This presents a radically changed market outlook best viewed via the following April 5 Gartner webinar slide (warning: Gartner distinguishes between “media tablets” and “mobile PCs” while other sources are referring to “tablet PCs” in general which are including Microsoft legacy tablet PCs and upcoming Windows slates in addition to Gartner’s “media tablets”):

Gartner on PC and Media Tablet Forecast -- 5-April-2011

Follow-Up (Aug 2, 2011):
Acer & Asus: Compensating lower PC sales by tablet PC push [March 29, 2011 with comprehensive update on Aug 2, 2011] which is showing IHS iSuppli’s recent mobile broadband device forecast with constituents of Apple’s dominant position in media tablet space as well as serious technical and market problems with the original version of Honeycomb up to now

Update: Consumer Education on Unique Use Cases Remains Largest Barrier to Media Tablet Adoption, According to Survey [ABI Research, June 13, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

It has been suggested by some that media tablets are slowly killing the netbook market, and that both device types are “cannibalizing” sales of personal computers. But results of a survey of 1,142 consumers conducted by ABI Research in March, 2011 reveal that netbooks and media tablets are actually neck-and-neck in terms of consumer interest. 25% of respondents rated themselves as either “extremely” or “very” interested in acquiring a netbook, while for media tablets, the number was 27%. Purchases of these companion devices are likely to result in a prolonged PC lifecycle and delay replacement.

But according to mobile devices group director Jeff Orr, “Nearly half of those surveyed, however, report that they are either ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ interested in purchasing a media tablet. The most common reason for the lack of interest is ‘I don’t see the need’, selected by 60% of this group.”

Although media tablets are grabbing today’s headlines, they still face some challenges to adoption. “What activities can media tablets perform that are not already well-addressed by laptop/netbook PCs or smartphones?” Orr asks. “This remains the single largest barrier to consumer interest.”

A little more than half believe that the primary use for the media tablet will be entertainment. In line with this result, entertainment-related applications are the ones that most people report they would likely use on the media tablet:

•       82% intend to use email
•       71% expect to use a web browser
•       57% plan to watch TV or download movies
•       56% intend to use social networking
•       55% plan to play games
ABI Research conducted a similar survey on netbooks in 2009, when interest levels were shown to be higher. Moreover, the netbook use-case appears to be changing, from a focus on productivity applications towards the consumption of entertainment content. Orr says, “This change is consistent with potential buyers realigning expectations to match modern netbook capabilities.”

End of Update

Suggested associate and/or prelimary reading from this trend-tracking blog:
China Mobile repositioning for TD-LTE with full content and application aggregation services, 3G [HSPA level] is to create momentum for that [June 18, 2011]
Acer repositioning for the post Wintel era starting with AMD Fusion APUs [June 17, 2011]
Barnes & Noble NOOK offensive [May 25, 2011]
Microsoft on five key technology areas and Windows 8 [May 24, 2011]
E Ink and Epson achieve world-leading ePaper resolution [May 23, 2011]
Chromebook / box with Citrix Receiver going against Microsoft [May 12, 2011]
Amazon Tablet PC with E Ink Holdings’ Hydis FFS screen [May 3, 2011]
E Ink Holdings EPD prospects are good [April 30, 2011]
Acer’s decision of restructuring: a clear sign of accepting the inevitable disintegration of the old PC (Wintel) ecosystem and the need for joining one of the new ecosystems under formation [April 1, 2011]
Acer & Asus: Compensating lower PC sales by tablet PC push [March 29, 2011]
ASUS Eee Slate based Windows marketing from Microsoft [March 21, 2011]
ASUS, China Mobile and Marvell join hands in the OPhone ecosystem effort for “Blue Ocean” dominance [March 8, 2011]
Be aware of ZTE et al. and white-box (Shanzhai) vendors: Wake up call now for Nokia, soon for Microsoft, Intel, RIM and even Apple! [Feb 21, 2011]
Kinoma is now the marvellous software owned by Marvell [Feb 15, 2011]
Marvell to capitalize on BRIC market with the Moby tablet [Feb 3, 2011]
Changing purchasing attitudes for consumer computing are leading to a new ICT paradigm [Jan 5]
CES 2011 presence with Microsoft moving to SoC & screen level slot management that is not understood by analysts/observers at all [Jan 7]
Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and 3.0 (Honeycomb) [Dec 30, 2011]
Hanvon – E-Ink strategic e-reader alliance for price/volume leadership supplementing Hanvon’s premium strategy mostly based on an alliance with Microsoft and Intel [Dec 21, 2011]
Intel’s industry position and prospects for years ahead [Dec 9, 2010]

For surrounding details on the new Gartner research see the presentation from the IT Spending Forecast, 1Q11 Update [April 5, 2011] Gartner webinar.

Regarding the bright prospects of the media tablets one should consider the following Gartner press releases and related blog posts as well:

Gartner Says Apple iOS to Dominate the Media Tablet Market Through 2015, Owning More Than Half of It for the Next Three Years [April 11, 2011]

Despite mounting competition from other operating systems (OSs), Apple’s iOS will continue to own the majority of the worldwide media tablet through 2015, according to Gartner, Inc. Due to the success of Apple’s iPad, iOS will account for 69 percent of media tablet OSs in 2011, and represent 47 percent of the media tablet market in 2015.

Gartner analysts said Apple iPad did to the tablet PC market what the iPhone did to the smartphone market: re-invented it. A media tablet is not just a different form factor to perform the same tasks that can be done on a PC. Tablets deliver a richer experience around content consumption, thanks to the ecosystem they support. The richer the ecosystem, the stronger the pull for consumers.

“Seeing the response from both consumers and enterprises to the iPad, many vendors are trying to compete by first delivering on hardware and then trying to leverage the platform ecosystem,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “Many, however, are making the same mistake that was made in the first response wave to the iPhone, as they are prioritizing hardware features over applications, services and overall user experience. Tablets will be much more dependent on the latter than smartphones have been, and the sooner vendors realize that the better chance they have to compete head-to-head with Apple.”
Google’s Android OS is forecast to increase its worldwide share of the media tablet market from 20 percent in 2011 to 39 percent in 2015 (see Table 1). Analysts said Google’s decision not to open up the Honeycomb, its first OS version dedicated to tablets, to third parties will prevent fragmentation, but it will also slow the price decline and ultimately cap market share.

“Volume will be driven by support from many players, the ecosystem of applications for tablets getting more competitive and some platform flexibility allowing lower price points,” said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner. “The new licensing model Google has introduced with Honeycomb enables Google to drive more control, allowing only optimal tablet implementations that don’t compromise quality of experience. This might mean that prices will drop at a slower pace than what we have seen in the smartphone market.”

Table 1
Worldwide Sales of Media Tablets to End Users by OS (Thousands of Units)

 OS 2010 2011 2012 2015
iOS   14,766   47,964    68,670   138,497
Market Share (%) 83.9 68.7 63.5 47.1
Android 2,502 13,898 26,382 113,457
Market Share (%) 14.2 19.9 24.4 38.6
MeeGo 107 788 1,271 3,057
Market Share (%) 0.6 1.1 1.2 1
WebOS 0 2,796 4,245 8,886
Market Share (%) 0 4 3.9 3
QNX 0 3,901 7,134 29,496
Market Share (%) 0 5.6 6.6 10
Other Operating Systems 234 432 510 700
Market Share (%) 1.3 0.6 0.5 0.2
Total Market 17,610    69,780    108,211    294,093

Source: Gartner (April 2011)

With the migration of Blackberry devices to QNX – the OS used on the Blackberry PlayBook – in 2012, RIM will be able to offer users a consistent experience across its whole product portfolio and create a single developer community. While QNX is a strong platform that delivers on performance, graphics and multitasking features, Gartner analysts said success in the media tablet market will be driven by richness of ecosystem.

“It will take time and significant effort for RIM to attract developers and deliver a compelling ecosystem of applications and services around QNX to position it as a viable alternative to Apple or Android. This will limit RIM’s market share growth over the forecast period,” Ms. Milanesi said. “It will be mainly organizations that will be interested in RIM’s tablets because they either already have RIM’s infrastructure deployed or have stringent security requirements.”

Gartner analysts said platforms such as MeeGo and WebOS, which currently have a weak presence in the smartphone market, will have a limited appeal unless they can grow that business.

“Smartphone users will want to buy a tablet that runs the same operating system as their smartphone. This is so that they can share applications across devices as well as for the sense of familiarity the user interfaces will bring,” Ms. Milanesi said. “Vendors developing on Android should be prepared to see more cross brand ownership as some users might put OS over brand when it comes to the purchasing decision. Improvements on usability and brand recognition are the strongest differentiators they can focus on.”

A media tablet is a device based on a touchscreen display (typically with a multitouch interface) whose primary focus is the consumption of media. The devices have screens with a diagonal dimension that is over 5 inches and may include screens that are as large as is practical for handheld use, roughly up to 15 inches. The media tablet runs a lightweight OS such as Android and iOS that is more limited than, or a subset of, the traditional fully featured OS such as Windows.

Gartner’s detailed forecast is available in the report “Forecast: Media Tablets by Open Operating System, Worldwide, 2008-2015.” The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1624614.

Gartner Says Media Tablets Help Drive Worldwide IT Spending Up 5.6 Percent in 2011 [March 30, 2011]

Gartner has added media tablets, such as the iPad, to its computing hardware spending estimates beginning this quarter. Including media tablets has increased Gartner’s computing hardware growth outlook from 7.5 percent to 9.5 percent for 2011 (see Table 1). Worldwide media tablet spending is projected to reach $29.4 billion in 2011, up from $9.6 billion in 2010. Global spending on media tablets is forecast to increase at an annual average rate of 52 percent through 2015.

The addition of media tablets, reinforced by an expected additional decline in the value of the dollar, accounts for the increase in top-line growth,” said Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner. “Absent the addition of media tablets, the forecast would have slightly declined in constant-dollar terms; however, with their addition, there’s virtually no change in underlying forecast growth at the level of overall IT.”

Gartner analysts said this stable forecast outlook comes despite political unrest in the Middle East, while the impact on IT markets of the recent natural disasters in Japan is yet to be fully understood.

How much will be spent on Media Tablets in 2015? [March 30, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Our latest global IT spending forecast is released today and for the first time we’ve included Media Tablets in our spending estimates.

Big deal you might think … what took you so long? And anyway, what difference would a few Media Tablets make to the overall numbers?

The trouble with forecasting the market for new electronics devices is that we need to beware of the hype; for every gadget that achieves market success there are dozens of failures. That said, sometimes it becomes clear early on that a new product is going to live up to expectations of rapid market adoption and that’s the case with Media Tablets, whose time has definitely come.

In our latest forecast update, the 1Q11 iteration, we estimate that about $10B was spent on Media Tablets last year – that’s about 18 million units at an average priced of $550 each. In 2015, we forecast that close to 300 million (!) units will ship with an average price of $250 each– I’ll do the math for you; that’s nearly $80B in annual spending on Media Tablets!

We recently downgraded our PC forecast through 2015, partly because we assume some substitution of PCs by Media Tablets. Nevertheless, spending on PCs and Media Tablets combined is forecast to be about $400B in 2015, with Media Tablets taking a 20% share.

For more detail of our latest global IT spending forecast, including an early assessment of the impact of the recent natural disasters in Japan and the political unrest in the Middle East, check out IT Spending, Worldwide, 1Q11 Update

Most recent IT spending forecasts are always available here: www.gartner.com/quarterly-it-forecast

Then Gartner delivered its next webinar on the iPad and Beyond: The Media Tablet in Business [April 13, 2011]

Here the company took an extended look to the market as best represented by these two slides from the attached to the webinar presentation:

Gartner on Common Target Devices -- 13-April-2011

Gartner on Media Tablets in the Larger Scheme -- 13-April-2011

So what is the story?Here Gartner’s message is the following (extracted as text from the slides which follow the above two):

    1. Computing Behavior Changes, as reported by mobile salesforce workers per:
      – laptop/smartphone scenarios:
      >>> 7 sessions with 24.0 mins duration for laptops
      >>> 26 sessions with 1.5 mins duration for smartphones
      – laptop/[media] tablet/smartphone scenarios:
      >>> 4 sessions with 36.0 mins duration for laptops
      >>> 12 sessions with 7.0 mins duration for [media] tablets
      >>> 19 sessions with 1.2 mins duration for smartphones
    2. Tablets and Smartphones Will Be Elements of Other Products and Systems
    3. Apple iOS: The Bechmark:
      – Consumer first, enterprise second
      – Third Party Management Tools
      – Weak in integrated collaboration, social application support, cloud services
      Recommendation for Enterprise CIOs: Consider to meet user demand and for near-term projects
    4. Google Android: Momentum
      – Fast innovator, not afraid to experiment
      – Surpasses Apple in overall features
      – Fragmentation is a major threat
      – Weak app validation
      Recommendation for Enterprise CIOs: Consider with enterprise-aware supplier
    5. RIM QNX: Enterprise Focus
      – QNX: stable OS but with new UI
      – Catch-up on apps and ecosystem
      Recommendation for Enterprise CIOs: Consider if already a Blackberry shop; Watch app availability, Android support
    6. Microsoft Windows 7: Legacy
      – “Heavy” OS in cost and resource requirements
      – Tablet OS on ARM not due until 2012
      Recommendation for Enterprise CIOs: Consider for traditional tablet PC hardware refresh, hardened legacy apps and meeting endpoint security demands
    7. HP WebOS: Coming from Behind
      – Focus on sync across platforms
      – Potential as strong enterprise player
      – Major work required to build apps store and ecosystem
      Recommendation for Enterprise CIOs: Watch ecosystem and apps
    8. HTML 5 Gets Strong Support
      – APIs include:
      >>> Offline Web applications
      >>> Canvas tag for 2D drawing
      >>> Offline storage database
      >>> Document editing
      >>> Drag and drop
      – Will the OS be relevant in the future?
      >>> Backing from Apple, Google, Nokia and others
      – JavaScript performance becomes important
      – Expect HTML extension and browser incompatibilities; Mobile Enterprise Application Paltforms can help

The press release Gartner Says There’s No Reason to Delay, CIOs Should Be Experimenting With Media Tablets in Business [April 5, 2011] provided these encouragement for enterprise IT (emphasis is mine):

Media tablets are presenting a variety of new opportunities for businesses, but they are also requiring a new set of policies, technologies and skills for enterprises, according to Gartner, Inc.

CIOs are determined not to make the same mistakes they made with smartphones, which were often written off early as expensive and frivolous toys, or executive status symbols— which then left room for more inventive leaders who saw the competitive advantage that mobile applications would bring,” said David Willis, research vice president at Gartner. “They are also more willing to see that they don’t need to supply and manage every device that employees use at work: Consumerization is here to stay, and moving very fast. If you can think of an application for tablets, your competition may well be thinking in the same way — and acting on it. It is time to explore the use of media tablets in business.”

The impact of the media tablet in the eyes of the public is much greater than would be believed from the number of units shipped. Gartner expects media tablet shipments to be approximately 69 million in 2011, which is only a small fraction of the total number of application-capable mobile devices, such as smartphones. Yet already the impact of the device on other forms of computing is great.

The media tablet device itself is only part of the story. Gartner analysts said the packaging of hardware and software that Apple created with the iPad, along with the ecosystem of applications and media that surrounded it has made the real difference. Media tablets present a variety of new opportunities for business, while supplementing traditional uses of notebooks and smartphones.

The iPad, and the larger wave of media tablets, has captured the imagination of business leaders. Some companies have issued them to business and IT leaders in the spirit of exploration. Others see areas in which they can use media tablets to bring computing into settings that were not practical or were too cumbersome to use traditional approaches,” said Mr. Willis. “For the consumer, the iPad brought a casual but rich experience into the living room, or the train, or while waiting in line at the bank. In turn, IT organizations are finding new places where tablets can deliver information and media in new ways.”

Mr. Willis pointed out that companies that had already recognized the flood of consumer devices coming into business, and had figured out a way to leverage it rather than fight it, have been more-prepared to support media tablets. Those who embraced “managed diversity” and figured out how to manage and secure iPhones, were developing strategies to manage and keep iPads within weeks of its launch.

Gartner has long maintained that media tablets are neither “better laptops,” nor “better smartphones,” but complement both. When compared with laptops, media tablets activate instantly, allowing a user to get right to what he or she needs, immediately, without long and frustrating startup times. They have exceptional battery life and are responsive, tactile and inviting. However, in a common mobile-worker scenario, employees may travel with a media tablet during the day, but then return to their laptops in the evening for heads-down data entry or content creation.

“Sales leaders are clamoring to adopt media tablets with their sales teams, as a more engaging way to share sales collateral and promotional materials. And it won’t stop there: Next will come customer relationship management systems, and order entry and sales configuration applications. For sales managers, media tablets will be a natural platform for business analytics and performance dashboards,” said Mr. Willis. “In other settings, the intimacy of using a media tablet supports more personal interactions. Doctors, nurses and medical technicians find they can sit down with a patient and help that patient understand a diagnosis, walk through a medical procedure and describe a therapy with them. Retail clerks can use tablets to display customized clothing for a customer. Conference attendees can take surveys on their own, with no training required. The opportunities are huge.”

However, just as media tablets won’t replace PCs, Gartner does not believe that they will replace mobile phones as voice devices, even in the smaller form factors, such as those with 7-inch displays. Nevertheless media tablets still have enormous potential in the workplace, although who stands to benefit most from the phenomenon remains to be seen.

“Fundamentally, the market battle will not hinge on features and specifications; on the fit and finish of a given device; or even on a device at all. The platform that will prevail will have a strong supporting ecosystem of developers producing a wide range of applications. And in this area, Apple is far ahead of any competition,” Mr. Willis said. “Not only does it have a first-mover advantage in the device itself, but it has built a curated application distribution mechanism in the App Store that is notable both for how users hold it in high regard and how detractors see it as a limitation. In the end, Apple’s lead will be very difficult to beat.”

Mr. Willis will provide more detailed analysis during the upcoming Gartner webinar “iPad and Beyond: The Media Tablet in Business” on Wednesday April 13 at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. To register for the complimentary webinars, please visit http://my.gartner.com/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=202&mode=2&PageID=5553&ref=webinar-rss&resId=1586614&prm=WB_IPD11R.

Additional information is provided in the Gartner Special Report ” iPad and Beyond: The Media Tablet in Business.” The Special Report highlights Gartner’s research and advice to customers on best practices for business uses of iPad and other media tablets. The report is available on Gartner’s website at www.gartner.com/technology/research/ipad-media-tablet.

Gartner’s media tablet forecast is included with the latest IT spending forecast and can be found on the Quarterly IT Spending Forecast page www.gartner.com/technology/research/quarterly-it-forecast/index.jsp.

Returning to presentation attached to the webinar on the iPad and Beyond: The Media Tablet in Business [April 13, 2011] there are three slides worth to include here with an additional one used by Gartner for its Strategic Planning Assumption (SPA):

Gartner on New App Stores Delivery Model -- 13-April-2011 Gartner on Apple App Store Lead Retention -- 13-April-2011 Gartner on Mobile App Dev Tools through 2012 -- 13-April-2011 Gartner on Drive to Rapid Tablet Adoption in businesses -- 13-April-2011

Here an earlier Garner blog post comes in handy as well:

Curated App Stores, Security, And Why The Next Kindle Will Be An Android Device [March 23, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

We have been having some interesting discussions internally about the recent Android malware fiasco and how things need to be improved if Android ever wants to be taken seriously as an OS fit for use in an enterprise environment.

There has been some serious rhetoric against Apple’s “walled garden” approach in recent months but, like it or not from a philosophical standpoint, it certainly provides more protection for users than the Android Market. Some claim that the Apple approach stifles innovation. Pah! (Yes, I said “pah” – add to that a “pish and twaddle”, if you will.) One needs look no further than the sheer number of apps to shoot holes in that argument. Granted far too many of them are designed to emulate the passing of gas – some of us might argue that more controls are required, not fewer!

At the other end of the spectrum there are some truly excellent apps. Evernote, PDF Reader, TeamViewer, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, QuickOffice, DocsToGo, SoundNote – these are all apps on which I rely daily. And for sheer awesomeness look no further than GarageBand and iMovie. No shortage of innovation and quality there then.

And from the point of view of the user – particularly the non-computer savvy user – all of this just works. Couple of clicks to search for your app. One click to purchase, download and install. And – most important of all – Trojan-free once it arrives. Curated app stores are essential to the well-being of the ecosystem.

Google needs to emulate that experience with its Market, though its very credo seems to suggest that will never happen. Yet without it the store will descend into anarchy, with users scared to purchase for fear of what new and terrible piece of malware they might be introducing to their phone or tablet.

So along comes Amazon from nowhere, and in one fell swoop it might have beaten Google at its own game. Amazon has the position of trust. It has the customer review infrastructure in place. It already has our credit card details (who hasn’t bought anything from Amazon?) And now it has an Android Appstore (TM) to go with it. Now all it has to do is make sure that the stuff it sells is safe.

It has promised to do that, by applying both quality control and security vetting to the app review process. So why wouldn’t you buy from there rather than the Google Android Market? Well, I would – I already have. But my Auntie Edna probably wouldn’t. It is way more difficult than the Apple process, and right now requires a multi-step process just to get the Appstore app on your phone. It is not that difficult, but it is certainly a sub-optimal user experience compared with the “It Just Works” approach of Apple.

So what needs to happen for the Amazon Appstore (TM) to succeed? Simple – it needs to arrive pre-installed on Android devices. Lots of them.And while I am sure Amazon is probably in discussions with a bunch of carriers to achieve that objective, what better way to make sure it happens than to ship it in huge numbers on Amazon’s very own Android tablet – The Kindle IV?

Give us that great Kindle experience with Android flexibility at a super-low price point, and you might just have your iPad-killer… I certainly haven’t seen one among the devices announced so far.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@bwalder) to be kept informed of new research.

UPDATE: For those interested in all things tablet-related, Gartner has a special report out entitled iPad and Beyond: The Media Tablet in Business. The Apple iPad and its competitors in the coming media tablet wave have captured the imagination of business leaders. This special report highlights Gartner’s research and advice to customers on best practices for business uses of iPads and other media tablets.

Amazon’s “iPad-killer” opportunity with Android is especially an interesting observation by Gartner as in another press release it has been stated:

Gartner Says Android to Command Nearly Half of Worldwide Smartphone Operating System Market by Year-End 2012 [April 7, 2011] (emphasis is mine):

Egham, UK, April 7, 2011— Worldwide smartphone sales will reach 468 million units in 2011, a 57.7 percent increase from 2010, according to Gartner Inc. By the end of 2011, Android will move to become the most popular operating system (OS) worldwide and will build on its strength to account for 49 percent of the smartphone market by 2012 (see Table 1).

Sales of open OS* devices will account for 26 percent of all mobile handset device sales in 2011, and are expected to surpass the 1 billion mark by 2015, when they will account for 47 percent of the total mobile device market.

By 2015, 67 percent of all open OS devices will have an average selling price of $300 or below, proving that smartphones have been finally truly democratized,” said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner.

“As vendors delivering Android-based devices continue to fight for market share, price will decrease to further benefit consumers”, Ms. Cozza said. “Android’s position at the high end of the market will remain strong, but its greatest volume opportunity in the longer term will be in the mid- to low-cost smartphones, above all in emerging markets.”

Table 1
Worldwide Mobile Communications Device Open OS Sales to End Users by OS (Thousands of Units)

 OS 2010 2011 2012 2015
Symbian 111,577 89,930 32,666 661
Market Share (%) 37.6 19.2 5.2 0.1
Android 67,225 179,873 310,088 539,318
Market Share (%) 22.7 38.5 49.2 48.8
Research In Motion 47,452 62,600 79,335 122,864
Market Share (%) 16 13.4 12.6 11.1
iOS 46,598 90,560 118,848 189,924
Market Share (%) 15.7 19.4 18.9 17.2
Microsoft 12,378 26,346 68,156 215,998
Market Share (%) 4.2 5.6 10.8 19.5
Other Operating Systems 11,417.40 18,392.30 21,383.70 36,133.90
Market Share (%) 3.8 3.9 3.4 3.3
Total Market 296,647 467,701 630,476 1,104,898

Source: Gartner (April 2011)

Gartner predicts that Apple’s iOS will remain the second biggest platform worldwide through 2014 despite its share deceasing slightly after 2011. This reflects Gartner’s underlying assumption that Apple will be interested in maintaining margins rather than pursuing market share by changing its pricing strategy. This will continue to limit adoption in emerging regions. iOS share will peak in 2011, with volume growth well above the market average. This is driven by increased channel reach in key mature markets like the U.S. and Western Europe.

Research In Motion’s share over the forecast period will decline, reflecting the stronger competitive environment in the consumer market, as well as increased competition in the business sector. Gartner has factored in RIM’s migration from BlackBerry OS to QNX which is expected in 2012. Analysts said this transition makes sense because RIM can create a consistent experience going from smartphones to tablets with a single developer community and — given that QNX as a platform brings more advanced features than the classic BlackBerry OS — it can enable more competitive smartphone products.

Gartner predicts that Nokia will push Windows Phone well into the mid-tier of its portfolio by the end of 2012, driving the platform to be the third largest in the worldwide ranking by 2013. Gartner has revised its forecast of Windows Phone’s market share upward, solely by virtue of Microsoft’s alliance with Nokia. Although this is an honorable performance it is considerably less than what Symbian had achieve in the past underlying the upward battle that Nokia has to face.

Gartner analysts said new device types will widen ecosystems. “The growth in sales of media tablets expected in 2011 and future years will widen the ecosystems that open OS communications devices have created. This will, by and large, function more as a driver than an inhibitor for sales of open OS devices,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

Consumers who already own an open OS communications device will be drawn to media tablets and more often than not, to media tablets that share the same OS as their smartphone,” Ms. Milanesi said. “This allows consumers to be able to share the same experience across devices as well as apps, settings or game scores. At the same time, tablet users who don’t own a smartphone could be prompted to adopt one to be able to share the experience they have on their tablets.”

Note *: An open OS makes a software developer kit (SDK) available to developers, who can use native application programming interfaces (APIs) to write applications. The OS can be supported by a sole vendor or multiple vendors. It can be, but does not have to be, open source. Examples are BlackBerry OS, iOS, Symbian, Android, Windows Phone, Linux, Limo Foundation, WebOS and bada.

Gartner’s detailed forecast is available in the report “Forecast: Mobile Communications Devices by Open Operating System, Worldwide, 2008-2015.” The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1619615.

Finally there are two Gartner press releases on the state of legacy PC market which were also behind of the above reasoning:

Gartner Says Worldwide PC Shipments in First Quarter of 2011 Suffer First Year-Over-Year Decline in Six Quarters [April 13, 2011]

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 84.3 million units in the first quarter of 2011, a 1.1 percent decline from the first quarter of 2010, according to preliminary results from Gartner, Inc. Although the first quarter is traditionally a slow one for PC sales, these shipment results indicate potential sluggishness, not just a normal seasonal slowdown. These figures are below Gartner’s earlier forecast for 3 percent growth in the first quarter of 2011.

“Weak demand for consumer PCs was the biggest inhibitor of growth,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Low prices for consumer PCs, which had long stimulated growth, no longer attracted buyers. Instead, consumers turned their attention to media tablets and other consumer electronics. With the launch of the iPad 2 in February, more consumers either switched to buying an alternative device, or simply held back from buying PCs. We’re investigating whether this trend is likely to have a long-term effect on the PC market.”

Steady growth in the professional PC sector, driven by the replacement cycle, was a bright spot for the global PC market. Without the professional segment growth, the PC market could have experienced one of the worst declines in its recent history. Replacement sales will generally continue into late 2011 or the start of 2012, with some variations between different regions and market segments.

HP performed below the worldwide average, but maintained the No. 1 position, accounting for 17.6 percent of worldwide PC shipments in the first quarter of 2011 (see Table 1). HP was impacted by weak consumer PC demand, as well as growing issues in Asia/Pacific. Acer continued to face challenges as the mini-notebook market was impacted by media tablets, and its shipments declined 12.2 percent.

Table1
Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q11 (Units)

1Q11 Shipments 1Q11 Market Share (%) 1Q10 Shipments 1Q10 Market Share (%) 1Q11-1Q10 Growth (%)
Company
HP 14,797,299 17.6 15,312,468 18 -3.4
Acer Group 10,893,793 12.9 12,412,859 14.6 -12.2
Dell 9,984,370 11.9 10,210,766 12 -2.2
Lenovo 8,137,904 9.7 6,976,683 8.2 16.6
Toshiba 4,821,600 5.7 4,580,746 5.4 5.3
Others 35,615,953 42.3 35,686,995 41.9 -0.2
Total 84,250,918 100 85,180,518 100 -1.1

Note: Data includes desk-based PCs, mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablet such as the iPad.
Source: Gartner (April 2011)

In the first quarter of 2011, Dell experienced a shipment decline year-over-year for the first time in six quarters. Dell underperformed in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Latin America, but it achieved strong growth in Asia/Pacific. Lenovo experienced the strongest growth among the top five vendors (16.6 percent) as it continued to price its products very competitively in both the consumer and professional sectors. It achieved strong growth across all regions.

In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 16.1 million units in the first quarter of 2011, a 6.1 percent decline from the first quarter of 2010. “As with the worldwide market, the U.S. PC market was affected by the hype surrounding media tablets. This was the third consecutive quarter of mobile PC shipment declines in the U.S.,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “The U.S. professional PC market showed steady growth across all sectors. However, the public sector showed more than the normal seasonal weakness due to budgetary issues.”

HP continued to lead the U.S. market with its market share increasing to 26.2 percent, despite a shipment decline of 3.5 percent in the first quarter (see Table 2). While HP struggled in the consumer PC market, it also encountered tough price competition in the professional segment, especially in the midmarket.

Dell faced tough competition in both the U.S. consumer and professional markets. The challenge for Dell arose in the midmarket, where more vendors tried to squeeze in to benefit from professional PC refresh cycles. Apple maintained strong shipment growth, even after the holiday season. The MacBook Pro refresh at the end of February accelerated already strong Mac growth.

Table 2
Preliminary United States PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q11 (Units)

Company 1Q11 Shipments 1Q11 Market Share (%) 1Q10 Shipments 1Q10 Market Share (%) 1Q11-1Q10 Growth (%)
HP 14,797,299 17.6 15,312,468 18 -3.4
Acer Group 10,893,793 12.9 12,412,859 14.6 -12.2
Dell 9,984,370 11.9 10,210,766 12 -2.2
Lenovo 8,137,904 9.7 6,976,683 8.2 16.6
Toshiba 4,821,600 5.7 4,580,746 5.4 5.3
Others 35,615,953 42.3 35,686,995 41.9 -0.2
Total 84,250,918 100 85,180,518 100 -1.1

Note: Data includes desk-based PCs, mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks, but not media tablet such as the iPad.
Source: Gartner (April 2010)

PC shipments in EMEA totaled 26.1 million units in the first quarter of 2011, a 2.8 percent decline from the first quarter of 2010 (see Table 3).

Table 3
Preliminary EMEA PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q11 (Thousands of Units)

Company 1Q11 Shipments 1Q11 Market Share (%) 1Q10 Shipments 1Q10 Market Share (%) 1Q11-1Q10 Growth (%)
Hewlett-Packard 5,019 19.2 5,532 20.6 -9.3
Acer Group 4,939 18.9 5,557 20.7 -11.1
Dell 2,318 8.9 2,500 9.3 -7.3
ASUS 1,950 7.5 2,186 8.1 -10.8
Lenovo 1,325 5.1 1,236 4.6 7.2
Others 10,567 40.5 9,856 36.7 7.2
Total 26,119 100 26,867 100 -2.8

Note: Data includes desk-based PCs, mobile PCs, including mini-notebooks but not media tablet such as the iPad.
Source: Gartner (April 2011)
“The PC market in EMEA had not exhibited decline since the third quarter of 2009 when the market declined 8.9 per cent,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “The excess inventory accumulated at the end of the fourth quarter of 2010 was reduced slowly, especially as some of the delayed Sandy Bridge products entered the market in March. The seasonal trend was also weaker than expected, indicating that the downward trend seen at the end of 2010 continued into the first quarter of 2011.”
Western Europe remained the main area of weakness in EMEA, as consumers continued to delay spending disposable income on PCs or other products like media tablets, especially after the launch of the iPad 2. This is extending current PC life cycles.

In Asia/Pacific, PC shipments surpassed 28.2 million units in the first quarter of 2011, a 4.1 percent increase from the first quarter of 2010. PC purchases by consumers remained weak, especially in China and Taiwan. PCs were not high on consumers’ shopping lists during the Chinese New Year holiday. In India, consumers were distracted by the Cricket World Cup. They also preferred to upgrade or purchase new TVs or other home electronics.

The PC market in Lain America grew 5.4 percent in the first quarter of 2011, as shipments totaled 8.1 million units. Brazil accounted for over 40 percent of Latin America’s PC shipments. As PC vendors’ interest in Brazil grows, so does competition. Local PC vendors are particularly vulnerable, as their strength lies in the production of desk-based PCs. Multinational vendors are making inroads by selling less-expensive mobile PCs.

PC shipments in Japan declined 13.1 percent in the first quarter of 2011, with shipments reaching 4 million units. The earthquake and tsunami on March 11 reduced PC shipments, and Gartner analysts are still investigating the scale of the impact on the market in first quarter. The impact of the disaster was most evident in the professional PC market, where the second half of March is the year’s busiest procurement period.

These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner’s PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program. This program offers a comprehensive and timely picture of the worldwide PC market, allowing product planning, distribution, marketing and sales organizations to keep abreast of key issues and their future implications around the globe. Additional research can be found on Gartner’s Computing Hardware section on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/it/products/research/asset_129157_2395.jsp.

And this was preceded by earlier Gartner Lowers PC Forecast as Consumers Diversify Computing Needs Across Devices [March 3, 2011] press release:

Gartner, Inc. is lowering its PC unit forecast for 2011 and 2012, based on expectations of weaker demand for mobile consumer PCs. Worldwide PC shipments are forecast to reach 387.8 million units in 2011, a 10.5 percent increase from 2010, according to Gartner’s preliminary forecast. This is down from Gartner’s previous projection of 15.9 percent growth this year.

Gartner expects worldwide PC shipments to total 440.6 million units in 2012, a 13.6 percent increase from 2011. This is down from Gartner’s previous outlook of 14.8 percent growth for 2012.

“These results reflect marked reductions in expected near-term unit growth based on expectations of weaker consumer mobile PC demand, in no small part because of the near-term weakness expected in China’s mobile PC market, but also because of a general loss in consumer enthusiasm for mobile PCs,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

Gartner analysts said that consumer mobile PCs have been the dynamic growth engine of the PC market over the past five years, averaging annual rates of growth approaching 40 percent. For much of this period, mobile PCs remained consumers’ platform of choice for bringing the Internet into their daily lives. However, due to the spread of low-cost embedded Wi-Fi modules, Internet access is now available through a multitude of mobile devices that allow consumers to engage in virtually all their favorite online activities without the need of a mobile PC.

“We expect growing consumer enthusiasm for mobile PC alternatives, such as the iPad and other media tablets, to dramatically slow home mobile PC sales, especially in mature markets,” said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner. “We once thought that mobile PC growth would continue to be sustained by consumers buying second and third mobile PCs as personal devices. However, we now believe that consumers are not only likely to forgo additional mobile PC buys but are also likely to extend the lifetimes of the mobile PCs they retain as they adopt media tablets and other mobile PC alternatives as their primary mobile device. Overall, we now expect home mobile PCs to average less than 10 percent annual growth in mature markets from 2011 through 2015.”

The professional market is expected to continue to exhibit double-digit growth in 2011 and 2012, as aging PCs are replaced across all regions of the world. “However, even in the professional market, media tablets are being considered as PC substitutes, likely at least delaying some PC replacements,” said Raphael Vasquez, senior research analyst at Gartner.

The dramatic rise in the popularity of alternative devices and the limitations of the PC are two of many dynamics that played a significant role in Gartner’s revised outlook for the PC industry.

Media Tablets Causing Hesitation Among Potential PC Buyers
Consumer enthusiasm for media tablets is a key factor in Gartner’s forecast that the consumer mobile PC market will remain weak in mature markets. Consumer substitution of media tablets for mobile PCs already appears to be impacting mobile PC shipments in mature markets. However, a bigger issue seems to be that consumers are taking a “wait and see” attitude toward PCs as they anticipate the arrival of new media tablets during the rest of 2011.

PCs’ Limitations Are Exposed
Not too long ago, PCs were a “fashion accessory” in mature markets with vendors linking themselves to fashion designers and even creating PCs specifically for women. The current “cool” device is the smartphone, and now PCs will soon have to do battle with media tablets when they are launched in large numbers in the second quarter of 2011. Up to now, the appeal of mobile PCs has been their portability. But mainstream mobile PCs have not shed sufficient weight, and do not offer the all-day battery life, to substantiate their promise of real mobility. These limitations have become all the more apparent with the rapid spread of social networking, which thrives on constant and immediate connections. In short, all-day untethered computing has yet to materialize, and that has exposed the “mobile” PC as merely a transportable PC at best.

More information is available in the report “Forecast Alert: PC Forecast Is Lowered as Consumers Diversify Computing Needs Across Devices,” which can be found on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1558714.

Be aware of ZTE et al. and white-box (Shanzhai) vendors: Wake up call now for Nokia, soon for Microsoft, Intel, RIM and even Apple!

Update as of August 10, 2012: After acquiring the Qt commercial licensing business in March 2011 from Nokia, the Helsinki based, ~1000 people strong Digia, with 2011 sales of 121.9 million Euro, yesterday acquired all the rest of the Qt business from Nokia. More details in the Digia extends Its commitment to Qt with plans to acquire full Qt software technology and business From Nokia [Digia’s Qt Commercial Blog, Aug 9, 2012] and Digia Committed to Thriving Qt Ecosystem [KDE.NEWS, Aug 9, 2012] posts from Digia’s R&D director Tuuka Turunen. With this all pre-Windows Phone software platform commitments except the Java based S40 (evolved in the new Asha range) have strategically been revoked by Nokia.

Here is the shortest and still very comprehensive way to understand the essence of Nokia’s decision to radically change its strategy – Engadget’s video interview with Stephen Elop [Feb 15, 2011], the CEO of Nokia:

 

STATEMENTS IN THE ABOVE VIDEO YOU WILL FIND NOWHERE ELSE:

[00:48]: As it relates to the low-end we think regardless of how far we can push down Symbian and/or Windows Phone, which will rapidly come down in price as well, in price points, we believe there is always going to be this layer below, i.e. the absolute lowest level, highest cost-optimized approach. So Series 40 and its successors, and new work that we’ll do in that area, we think will continue to be an important part of the strategy going forward. [1:13] … [1:17] We call those ’mobile phones’ [i.e. not feature phones]. In our strategy, the Nokia strategy has three pieces to it: the smartphone strategy, which is about Windows Phone, it has what we call ’the next billion strategy’ which is about taking those first mobile experiences … at the very lowest of the price continuum, and the third part of our strategy is what we call ’the future disruptions’. Investing today to plan for to lead the next disruption beyond all the current activities we are doing today. [1:45]

[1:58]: Part of the specific relationship between Nokia and Microsoft is for us to contribute the expertise to planning, design and everything else, so that the Windows Phone product is not only a premium product but in the same way that Symbian has been pushed way down the price continuum, you’ll see us to do that very aggressively with Windows Phone as well. [2:16]

[08:07]: Our Plan B is to make Plan A successful. Just to be clear. What we’re doing is not thinking of MeeGo as the Plan B. We’re thinking about MeeGo and related development work as what’s the next generation. So to the extent that today there is a three horse race – Windows Phone, Android, Apple, and so forth – what comes next, what is the next major wave of business and technological disruption. We want to make it sure that we’re leading through that as well, and so the efforts will focus further into the future. [8:35]

Update: Nokia N9 UX [?Swipe?] on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan [June 24, 2011]

Update: Open Letter from Purnima Kochikar to Developer Community [March 25, 2011] (emphasis is mine):

First, let’s recap what it is we announced; the three main areas of our strategy:

  1. Plans for a broad strategic partnership with Microsoft on Windows Phone
  2. Connecting the Next Billion
  3. Future disruptive technologies

What about Symbian? What about Qt?

Understandably, these are the first questions that come to mind. Although Windows Phone will become our primary smartphone platform, we will continue to deliver a great deal of value from Symbian. We’re making investments that will help us to engage and attract existing and new Symbian users and allow us to launch new competitive smartphones.

Over the past weeks we have been evaluating our Symbian roadmap and now feel confident we will have a strong portfolio of new products during our transition period – i.e. 2011 and 2012. These devices will take advantage of the strong integration of devices and services as well as our strength in areas such as imaging and location-based services. They will also include improvements in hardware performance such as GHz+ processing capabilities and faster graphics speeds.

To further enhance the competitiveness of these products we will deliver updates to the current Symbian user experience. The first major update will arrive in summer, delivering a new home screen, new flexible widgets, new icons, a faster browser, new Navbar and a fresh look and feel to Ovi Store and Ovi Maps, including integration of social media services in Ovi Maps….

I’ve been asked many times how long we will support Symbian and I’m sure for many of you it feels we have been avoiding the question.  The truth is, it is very difficult to provide a single answer. We hope to bring devices based on Windows Phone to market as quickly as possible, but Windows Phone will not have all language and all localization capabilities from day one.

In many markets, including markets where Symbian is currently the lead smartphone platform with significant market share such as China, India, Russia and Turkey, we will continue to make our Symbian portfolio as competitive as possible while we work with Microsoft to introduce Windows Phone. For that reason certain markets will play a more significant role in selling the 150 million Symbian devices than others and we will be selling devices long after Windows Phone devices from Nokia have already started to appear in other markets. That is why we cannot give you the date when Symbian will no longer be supported.

Qt, the development platform for Symbian and future MeeGo technology remains critically important and Nokia is committed to investment in Qt as the best toolset for those platforms and we are focusing on future developments in part by our plan to divest the commercial licensing business [“by the end of March 2011” Digia to acquire Qt commercial licensing business from Nokia [March 7, 2011]], used mainly by developers of embedded and desktop applications beyond the mobile market. [“Qt is actively used by around 3500 desktop and embedded customer companies which will be transferred to Digia upon closing. The commercial customers represent a broad range of industries, e.g. consumer electronics, finance, aviation, energy, defence and media.”]

Additionally we are readying app analytics, in-app advertising, in-app purchasing, a new browser and hardware enhancements. There are a lot of new things for developers to take advantage of in these soon-to-be-released APIs. We are continuing to explore Qt for use in other strategic investment areas as well.

WHAT IS NOT CLEAR AT ALL FROM THE VIDEO is the global market situation in all its details and nuances which forced Nokia to make such a radical change in its alltime strategies of going alone. From simple news articles it is also not clear to outsiders whether it was the best decision for Nokia or not, specifically considering the current favorite of the market, the Google Android platform. And to have a clear picture on both is more the essential. For everybody who is doubting that please first read Nokia’s radical CEO has a mercenary, checkered past [Feb 14, 2011] and after being confused with that (especially with the comments part) get yourself familiar with (emphasis is mine):

Shanzai [alt. sp. shanzhai or Shan Zai] literally means “Mountain Bandit or Fortress” [here is a very detailed wikipedia explanation] in Mandarin Chinese. It is a phenomenon that goes far beyond the simplistic view of “copycat products” and in popular Chinese cultural usage is used to describe a vendor who operates a business without observing traditional rules or practicesoften resulting in innovative and unusual products or business models. Reading the stories on this website will open your eyes to a whole new business phenomenon that is affecting all of our lives whether we realize it or not.

from the Shanzai.com opened in July 2009, when it became obvious to Timothy James Brown, an IT executive working in Asia for the past 13 years, that Shanzhai (I will use rather this form as it is more general in referenced sources used below) is indeed a new business phenomenon which will start to influence the non-Chinese speaking world of the global technology in an big way. In the last two years another new name also came out for part of Shanzhai: white-box vendors, to reflect the fact that they were hard pressed (by the government) to leave the gray-market, thus to become legitimate in all respects, as well as naturally becoming larger scale operations capable of entering the international markets.

It is also worth to look at China Gray-Market Cell Phone Shipments Slow in 2011 [iSuppli press release, Dec 16, 2010] (emphasis is mine):

China’s gray-market cell phone shipments will amount to 255 million units in 2011, up 11.8 percent from 228 million in 2010. This compares to a rise of 43.6 percent in 2009.

Gray Market Handset Shipment Forecast by iSuppli -- Dec-2010

Gray-market handsets are cell phones manufactured in China that are not recognized or licensed by government regulators. Makers of these products generally do not pay China’s value-added taxes and, therefore, profit illegally from their participation in the market.

“The object of a nationwide government crackdown, the gray cell phone market in the world’s most populous country is facing some trepidation as official scrutiny focused on illegal handsets and as consumers are starting to lose some interest in the devices,” said Kevin Wang, director of China research at iSuppli. “This created particular challenges for white-box handsets – on which gray-market dealers can put their logos. These types of phones use smuggled chips, carry no certification from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, sport fake international mobile equipment identity codes and are smuggled to Hong Kong to avoid value-added taxes.”

What growth there is in 2011 will be driven by demand from emerging countries as well as by falling average selling prices for gray handsets.

After growing in 2011, the gray market will begin to decline in 2012. This is because gray market cell phone suppliers will be unable to cut prices any further – even if they wish to win more new customers in emerging countries. Suppliers also will find themselves competing with an increasing number of locally branded original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that provide better quality and after-sales service, iSuppli believes.

The market for gray handsets

Aside from serving domestic demand in China, gray handsets command sizable sales in other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, an area that includes Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines – as well as Pakistan, a neighbor to China. And while gray-handset shipments in 2010 within China will fall to 24.2 million units, down from 33.2 million in 2009, gray-handset shipments to other Asian countries during the same period will rise to 154.4 million units, up from 110.2 million.

The market for non-gray handsets

Meanwhile, shipments from Chinese non-gray handset makers will grow by 36.4 percent in 2010 and continue to climb during the next five years. Not only will Chinese OEMs improve their global market sales – especially in the emerging countries – China’s white-box handset shipments also will keep growing. Furthermore, Chinese handset makers will win more orders from international carriers and from locally branded OEMs in the emerging markets.

Within the domestic market, China’s 3G handsets are poised for dramatic expansion – reaching 51 million units in 2010 and maintaining growth in the next five years, thanks to the continued decline of both 3G handset prices and service fees. By 2014, local 3G handsets are projected to reach 134 million units.

Read More > China’s Gray Market Handset Shipments Continue Expanding in 2011

Update: China’s innovation drive in “post-Shanzhai” era [Xinhua, March 11, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

The “Shanzhai” industry, which churns out electronic goods that imitate well-known brands, is declining even in its hotbed and birthplace in south China’s Shenzhen City.Signs that say “Shop to Let” adorned many electronic stores along Shenzhen’s Huaqiangbei Road. About one-third of Huaqiangbei’s estimated 3,000 sellers of “Shanzhai” cell phones have left the business, said Tang Ruijin, the secretary general of Shenzhen Mobile Communication Association.

The price cut of branded cell phones and the public’s growing intellectual property protection (IPR) awareness contributed to the decline of “Shanzhai.” But the heaviest blow came from China’s determination to enhance IPR protection and develop indigenous innovation, Tang said.

Sociologist Ai Jun noted that the “Shanzhai” phenomenon is a period that China and other developing countries must go through in fostering their companies’ innovative capacities. “It is a natural process to first imitate and then innovate.”

So it might quite well be the case that big name legacy businesses will need leaders like Stephen Elop to compete with the new, legalized (non-gray) “mountain bandits”, i.e. Shanzhai, if the bad-mouthing about Elop referred above is indeed true. If this is not true, then a very impressive leader, like Steve Elop is in the above video again, will be needed either.

You will understand this in all details when coming through the sections below:

  • Stir in the “old boys” camp: Nokia, Microsoft, Intel, and Apple
  • Earthquake like changes in the mobile phone market: numbers from IDC
  • Radical strategy shift/reorg at Nokia
  • White-box (Shanzhai) vendors
  • MediaTek as the catalyst of the white-board ecosystem
  • ZTE et al.

(If you don’t like such long readings you can finish with a quite literary type story of how Nokia’s Flirtations Put the Fear of Google Into Microsoft [WSJ, Feb 18, 2011]. The “only” thing you will miss will be the real understanding of the deal.)

Stir in the “old boys” camp: Nokia, Microsoft, Intel, and Apple

Nokia sees Windows phone prices dropping fast [Feb 18, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Prices of smartphones using Microsoft’s Windows Phone software platform will fall fast, Nokia’s chief executive Stephen Elop said on Friday.

Last week Nokia, the world’s largest phone maker by volume, said it would adopt Microsoft’s software across its smartphones, raising fears the firm would miss out during the transition on surging demand for cheaper smartphone models.

Elop said one of the key topics in the talks on doing a deal with Microsoft was convincing Nokia that it could reach “a very low price point.”

We have become convinced that we can do that very quickly,” Chief Executive Stephen Elop said in a meeting with Finnish business journalists.

Trying to better compete with Apple’s iPhone, Microsoft has so far had tight hardware requirements for phone models using its software — pushing up handset prices and limiting the potential market.

As part of the push to a wider market and lower prices, Microsoft plans to open its mobile platform to other chipset suppliers beyond Qualcomm.

Nokia’s shares dropped more than 20 percent after it announced the Microsoft deal, but industry executives have said the new alliance will be good for competition and innovation.

Elop said the final agreement between Nokia and Microsoft would be signed in the next few months.

“The conclusion of the agreement will happen, we think, quite quickly, measured in a couple of months, it may be a bit longer, it may be shorter,” he said.

ELOP SELLS MICROSOFT, BUYS NOKIA

Elop, who joined Nokia from Microsoft last September said he sold all his Microsoft shares on February 17 and has bought 150,000 shares in Nokia. The Canadian is the first non-Finn to head the firm.

Shares in Nokia were up 0.7 percent at 6.76 euros by 1038 GMT.

Now it is worth to watch a 7-minute highlights video of Microsoft’s (Steve Ballmer’s) keynote from the Mobile World Congress 2011 to understand the enhanced version of Windows Phone 7 which will be introduced quite probably in fall of this year with the new WP7 Nokia devices:

Especially follow when Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone Program Management, is showing the three most important enhancements for WPF7: the effect of hardware accelleration from IE9 added to the WP7 (demoed vs. iPhone 4 using the well known FishIE page demo), multitasking demoed by a combined phone and gaming scenario, and the new user interface element to have a task-switching view from the Back button.

Stephen Elop has summarized the significance and the benefits of this new strategic partnership as follows (during Steve Ballmer’s keynote at the Mobile World Congress 2011 [Feb 14, 2011]): (emphasis is mine)

It’s truly a pleasure to address you here today at a moment that we think is pretty significant in how we see the evolution of the mobile industry evolve.

You’ve heard me talk about it in a number of forums, that the world is shifting from a battle of devices to a war of ecosystems. And with the announcement that we made jointly with Microsoft just a couple of days ago, it’s very clear the selection we’ve made as it relates to that war.

As you read all of the press and the analyst commentary, of which there’s been a little bit over the last couple of days, it is the case that there’s a common theme emerging that I want to focus on, and that is that Microsoft and Nokia together represent a natural partnership. People are getting it, and they’re getting it for a variety of reasons.

First of all, if you think about the device experience, Nokia brings iconic hardware, incredible industrial design, and we’re matching that up and bringing that together with a leading operating system platform for the future, with an amazing amount of capability that you saw demonstrated here today, and between the two of us we have the understanding of what it means to take it from where it is today, even more broadly down through the pricing continuum so that we have the opportunity to deliver an entire portfolio and range of devices the world over. So, that’s an incredible bit of symmetry and the complementary nature of the relationship, a very powerful element.

A second point of symmetry relates to the area of our global reach, our distribution, the power of our brand, the volumes that we bring, and what we can do to strength the Windows ecosystem, while at the same time getting the support from Microsoft to help us address some of our challenges, which, of course, relates to reentering the U.S. market in a compelling way where Windows Phone has already had a strong start, so there’s an opportunity there.

And, of course, the third point of symmetry relates to the services area that Steve referenced here a few moments ago. We bring mapping, location-based services, the capability to do local advertising, and a variety of other things, together with things like Bing search, Office for productivity, Xbox, and a variety of other things, and thereby form that third ecosystem, because again what our consumers are purchasing today is a combination of all of those things, a single user experience that is a combination of all of those pieces, and together we’ve been able to bring those together to create that third ecosystem.

But if you were to sum it all up, what we’re able to do through this relationship is to ensure that we deliver products that are more competitive, which, of course, is what it’s all about.

Now, it is our belief that this is good news for operators. It’s good news for operators because we’re in a situation where we can actually create that third ecosystem and create an entirely different dynamic than that which was appearing to be forming as it relates to the actions of those other ecosystems, and you understand what I mean in terms of the importance of that balance, because that balance also allows operators to deliver more choice to the ultimate consumer, which is important.

It is also the case that for operators Nokia has had a longstanding relationship with operators all over the world. We understand what it means to be the most friendly partner to operators, we know what we have to do, and this is an area where we will be contributing our strength and our knowledge, our engineering and other assets to allow the Windows Phone ecosystem to be unquestionably the most operator-friendly ecosystem that exists today, because that’s clearly part of it.

We also think this is very good news for developers. It’s good news for developers because we can bring a scale operation, a large number of devices and opportunities to reach customers all over the world through what Nokia will deliver to this partnership through our broad reach and distribution.

Microsoft has a very modern collection of tools to help developers move in that direction. Nokia contributes things like operator billing and other forms of monetization that are not available through any of the other ecosystems. So, we bring those pieces together.

And, of course, finally and most importantly, we think this is great for consumers: iconic hardware, stellar software, combined with unique services, the third ecosystem. We’re thrilled to have this opportunity.

So, there’s been a lot of news, a lot of things going on. Our focus today shifts to delivering those first devices, and changing the industry.

The upcoming new features of the WP7 are not limited to the ones demonstrated by Joe Belfiore in the previous video. Here is another benefit the combined Windows Phone 7, Xbox and Kinect experience [Feb 14, 2011]:

The technology shown in the video is real and is intended to demonstrate the types of experiences Microsoft will be bringing to market. This is just one example of what’s possible as the company explores new ways to interact with Microsoft technology.

How Microsoft was summarizing the benefits of that strategic partnership? The shortest but still essential presentation of that was given on Microsoft financial analyst briefing at the 2011 Mobile World Congress [Feb 14, 2011] by Andy Lees, President of Microsoft Mobile Communications Business (emphasis is mine):

The other thing that we announced at Mobile World Congress is the partnership with Nokia. Our ecosystem is very important for the success of the phone. Nokia sold about 100 million smart phones over the last 12 months, and they are putting Windows Phone as their primary smart phone platform going forward. They’ll still continue to sell Symbian during a transition period. So, it will carry on in parallel for a while, but nonetheless, it’s a strong commitment to the ecosystem.

And that’s going to have a big acceleration for us. That’s going to have benefits for Microsoft, and actually for the ecosystem – that includes operators, ISVs, developers, and even, in many respects, the other OEMs. When speaking with the other OEMs, they’re excited about the competition in many respects, because it will broaden the overall size of the market, and <it will broaden> the adoption of Windows Phone by users and, therefore, the breadth of the ecosystem that supports it.

It’s a very good arrangement for ourselves, and it’s also good for Nokia. Nokia does a wide variety of things, not just the handset; they innovate in lots of different ways. And they’re going to be able to bring those <innovations> to the Windows Phone ecosystem. For example, the agreement includes mapping. We will adopt Nokia’s core mapping technology, which really is second to none. Bing will be integrated across everything that Nokia does. Their location services will generate advertising revenue for Nokia, not only on their phones, but actually across where those same location services are used on other phones, and even on the PC and other devices.

It’s a multi-faceted agreement, and it includes royalty payments for our software. It includes joint marketing and, as I mentioned, significant revenue opportunities. Considering the size of the smart phone market is growing to being in excess of half a billion phones over the next few years as a run rate, and an install base that will very quickly reach over a billion smart phones, you can see how the opportunity for them not only to sell more devices through the differentiation that they provide and the collaboration that we do to enable that, but also to add-on through these individual services.

QUESTION: My question would be related to the Nokia licensing agreement. Do you see Nokia as a more important licensee to Windows Phone 7 than others? And are they going to have any special treatment when it comes to royalty fees? Thank you.

ANDY LEES: So, first of all, it’s a much broader agreement than being a licensee. It includes an element where they are a licensee but, as I described before, it incorporates a wide variety of things like mapping, location-based services, advertising, search, joint marketing, and joint development. Because of the footprint of Nokia, and the overall unit volume that they represent, the multi-faceted element of this agreement is unique.

Having said that, we do continue to support other OEMs. They’re excited about the impact that that’s going to have on the ecosystem. They also have the ability to differentiate and compete. So, yes, the agreement is very unique, because it’s multifaceted and very broad with Nokia, and that’s part of the reason why I think it’s going to be good for them. But also, we know that an important element is to have competition, and Nokia recognizes that, and it’s an important part for them that the ecosystem is healthy.

QUESTION: I was wondering if you could help us understand a little bit about the timeframe for the design cycle for a new Windows Phone?

ANDY LEES: It varies a lot by OEM. If you were to start completely from scratch, it takes a while, 18 months. But, you don’t often need to start from scratch. If you’re asking specifically with Nokia, Nokia has lots of components that they can use in order to get a much faster start. So, it depends on how far progressed you already are, and how much is transferable with that.

One of the things that we did in Windows Phone 7 is to design much more of the totality of the core system, which does improve overall quality, and the predictability of the experience, but it has a nice side effect of being a much faster operating system for people to come on stream with. So, that’s an advantage of Windows Phone versus other options.

QUESTION: Nokia said that Microsoft will transfer billions to kind of get this ecosystem going. I’m just wondering what your priorities might be in terms of jumpstarting the initiative, where those billions might be spent, and also if you now have feedback from carriers of what they might be saying about the combination?

ANDY LEES: So, in terms of the agreement, it’s a long-term multi-faceted agreement, as I’ve just said. It includes search revenue transfer, advertising revenue transfer, location-based services revenue transfer, royalty payments for software, and it includes joint marketing. There are lots of facets of the deal. We’re not going into the numbers for each one of those things. Given the size of the total market, there is very substantial opportunity both for Nokia and for ourselves in order to grow units, revenue, and margin. We’re not predicting that, obviously. So, we see it as a good opportunity for us.

And I think Nokia went through a very rigorous evaluation process. Certainly from the conversations we had with them, and being involved in the process in that way, they did an evaluation that included the technology, a strategic evaluation of long-term roadmap and differentiation that they can provide, assets that they have that they can apply, and then, of course, an economic return through our businesses. And they chose this. They could have chosen whatever one, so they must think it’s the best opportunity for them going forward having done that, and I would say it was a very, very rigorous evaluation done over actually a few months. And it was probably one of the most rigorous things I’ve been involved in in that way.

QUESTION: Just a quick one on sortre of skins and customization. I just wondered whether Nokia would be able to customize the devices that they offer with Windows Phone 7. And then related to that, whether there was an issue with Qt for Windows 7, or whether it wasn’t a problem, because I think Stephen Elop last night said that Qt wouldn’t be available for Win 7. Thank you.

ANDY LEES: So, the first question is about differentiation. Yes, we’ll enable differentiation. What we don’t want to do, though, is fragment the ecosystem. And fragment it for developers, or indeed for end users. So, we have a collaborative development process with OEMs, and in this case particularly with Nokia, to be able to listen to what it is they want to do and then make a joint decision. And what they know is fragmentation in the ecosystem is ultimately a significant problem. And so they don’t want that. And so having change for the sake of change, which is what does happen in other places, is sometimes a negative thing. So, yes, they can differentiate, yes they can add value, yes, they can enhance in that way. However, we want to make sure that we are consistent.

And then the second question was to do with Qt. Qt is a development part of Symbian. It is not a development part of Windows Phone. We will be helping developers with Nokia, who want to do that transition. But, they will be transitioning from Qt to Windows Phone. They will carry on development of Symbian for a number of ‑‑ quite a period of time. They have a huge install base and developers will want to go through and continue to address that.

So, they’ll continue to enhance and support Qt for quite some time. I think they’ve predicted that they will be selling, even from this day forward, about 150 million copies of Symbian over the next few years. So, it’s not that it’s a dramatic change over – it’s that there will be an evolution and we’ll help developers with that transition.

QUESTION: Can you summarize for us your message to the operators as Stephen Elop put it earlier today, the most operator-friendly ecosystem?

ANDY LEES: Yes, if you look at the choices that operators have in terms of fully fledged ecosystems, the conversations we’ve had with operators is that they have been ecstatic without exception, and I mean so much so that what they have said to us is that this is strategically important for us. They would like to have a balance of ecosystems. They want to bet on having a balance of ecosystems in their network and therefore, they will disproportionately work to help make sure this ecosystem is successful.

One of the things they are finding is that increasingly the other ecosystems appear more and more hostile, with the people that are working on those using it as a way to control revenue flow and to control relationships with customers. [Quite obvious reference to Apple and the way how AppleStore is set up, could be even a reference to Android ecosystem as well.]

That’s not our strategy and our strategy is to be a full-fledged ecosystem. We’re not trying to own the customer in the place of somewhere else, we’re not trying to stop other people from making revenue on the phone. An ecosystem is all about people working together and that means making money together and dealing with customers together. So, that really is our strategy. We are therefore very operator-friendly. So is Nokia. And that really helps us, I think, quite a lot in getting their support.

UPDATE 2-Intel says will find new MeeGo partners [Feb 17, 2011] (emphasis is mine):

Intel Corp (INTC.O) said its partner Nokia dropped the MeeGo operating system [not exactly true, see later] after Microsoft offered “incredible” amounts of money for the phonemaker to switch to Windows but it would find new partners for MeeGo.

Intel’s Chief Executive Paul Otellini said in a meeting with analysts in London, accessed by Reuters via conference call, that Nokia’s (NOK1V.HE) choice of Microsoft (MSFT.O) over Google’s (GOOG.O) Android platform was a financial decision. [ID:nLDE71A0DG]

Otellini said Nokia’s Chief Executive Stephen Elop received “incredible offers — money” from Google and Microsoft to switch.

“I wouldn’t have made the decision he made, I would probably have gone to Android if I were him,” he said. “MeeGo would have been the best strategy but he concluded he couldn’t afford it.

Microsoft was not immediately available for comment.

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Wednesday that he had held extensive talks to try to woo Nokia. [ID:nLDE71F026]

Otellini said Nokia would find it hard to differentiate using the Windows platform: “It would have been less hard on Android, on MeeGo he could have done it.”

“We will find another partner. The carriers still want a third ecosystem and the carriers want an open ecosystem, and that’s the thing that drives our motivation,” he said.

MeeGo was created last year by the merger of Nokia and Intel’s Linux-based platforms Maemo and Moblin. [ID:nLDE61E0Z2]

Otellini said in Barcelona that open systems had the edge over closed systems: “Some closed models will certainly survive, because you can optimise the experience, but in general, if you harness the ability of all the engineers in the world and the developers in the world, open wins.”

Intel as the new champion of open systems? YES. Nokia’s decision is – however – representing the best interests of Nokia. There is certainly nothing left to Mr. Ottelini as represent his own company’s best interests which he does well, by championing open systems for example. Another proof is just that when President Obama Visited Intel’s Oregon Research and Manufacturing Site, Highlights Education, Jobs and Innovation [Feb 18, 2011] the simultaneous announcement was that Intel to Invest More than $5 Billion to Build New Factory in Arizona [Feb 18, 2011] (emphasis is mine):

The new Arizona factory, designated Fab 42, will be the most advanced, high-volume semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world. Construction of the new fab is expected to begin in the middle of this year and is expected to be completed in 2013.

“The investment positions our manufacturing network for future growth,” said Brian Krzanich, senior vice president and general manager, Manufacturing and Supply Chain. “This fab will begin operations on a process that will allow us to create transistors with a minimum feature size of 14 nanometers. For Intel, manufacturing serves as the underpinning for our business and allows us to provide customers and consumers with leading-edge products in high volume. The unmatched scope and scale of our investments in manufacturing help Intel maintain industry leadership and drives innovation.”

While more than three-fourths of Intel’s sales come from outside of the United States, Intel manufactures three-fourths of its microprocessors in the United States. The addition of this new fab will increase the company’s American manufacturing capability significantly.

Building the new fab on the leading-edge 14-nanometer process enables Intel to manufacture more powerful and efficient computer chips. The nanometer specification refers to the minimum dimensions of transistor technology. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter or the size one ninety-thousandth the width of an average human hair.

“The products based on these leading-edge chips will give consumers unprecedented levels of performance and power efficiency across a range of computing devices from high-end servers to ultra-sleek portable devices,” said Krzanich.

Fab 42 will be built as a 300mm factory, which refers to the size of the wafers that contain the computer chips. The project will create thousands of construction and permanent manufacturing jobs at Intel’s Arizona site.

Considering that it was just last October as came the news Intel Announces Multi-Billion-Dollar Investment in Next-Generation Manufacturing in U.S. [Oct 19, 2010] (emphasis is mine):

  • Intel will spend $6-8 billion in manufacturing to support future technology advancements in Arizona and Oregon.
  • The investment supports the creation of 6,000-8,000 construction jobs and 800-1,000 permanent high-tech jobs, and also allows Intel to maintain its current manufacturing employment base at these U.S. sites.
  • The investment will fund a new development fab in Oregon, as well as upgrades to four existing fabs to manufacture the next-generation 22-nanometer (nm) process technology.
  • Intel’s next-generation, 22nm microprocessors will enable sleeker device designs, higher performance and longer battery life at lower costs.

Intel’s strategy – quite obviously – is to “outmanufacture” everybody else. See also my post: Intel’s industry position and prospects for years ahead [Dec 9, 2010 with updates till Jan 14, 2011]. In a longer term it is definitely the best representation of Intel’s own interests.

Parallel to that they are strengthening their software-related investments as well, see Intel Capital Investments to Help Expand the Mobile Ecosystem [Feb 14, 2011] (emphasis is mine):

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS, Barcelona, Feb. 14, 2011 – Intel Capital, Intel Corporation’s global investment organization, today announced six new investments to drive continued innovation across the mobile hardware, software and applications ecosystems. The new deals total approximately $26 million and include open source mobile software solutions company Borqs; location-based mapping platform and tools provider CloudMade; QuantumFilm™-based image sensor vendor InVisage; open source online video platform Kaltura; online authentication provider SecureKey Technologies; and unified communications and collaboration service software provider VisionOSS Solutions.

The six companies each have developed innovative technologies to enhance the user experience across a continuum of devices, including handhelds, tablets and laptops, that run a variety of operating systems including MeeGo and Android*.

Borqs Ltd. (Borqs) (Beijing) is an Android software integrator for mobile devices. The company works with name-brand smart phone OEMs, semi-conductor companies, and mobile operators to enhance the Android system to meet their requirements. With expertise ranging from kernel, device-level drivers to top-level user interfaces, Borqs Android solution has been deployed in more than 30 Android mobile devices for W-CDMA networks and TD-SCDMA networks. Borqs Android solution is Google CTS compliant. The investment from Intel Capital, subject to the satisfaction of closing conditions, aligns with Intel’s port of choice strategy to support multiple operating systems across a variety of devices and will be used by the company for business development.

CloudMade (Menlo Park, Calif.) was founded in 2007 to enable developers to build location-enabled applications and services. The company provides application developers with a range of innovative tools and application programming interfaces to enable the creation of unique location-based applications across all major web and mobile platforms. Today there are more than 16,000 developers using CloudMade’s tools to create applications for mobile and Web consumers. The investment from Intel Capital will be used to further strengthen the platform and to work with developers to provide them with an unparalleled suite of tools designed for their specific needs. CloudMade will be certified under the Intel’s AppUp™ application store.

Kaltura (New York) provides a widely adopted open source online video platform. More than 100,000 media and entertainment companies, enterprises, small- and medium-size businesses, educational institutions, service providers, platform vendors and system integrators use Kaltura’s flexible platform to enhance their websites, Web services and Web platforms with advanced customized rich-media functionalities that are delivered through any connected device. Kaltura’s features and products enable the easy deployment of custom workflows involving video, photo and audio creation, ingestion, publishing, management, distribution, engagement, monetization and analysis. The investment will be used to enhance rich-media functionalities on tablets, mobile phones and other connected devices, with a special emphasis on supporting the MeeGo™ mobile operating system and Intel’s AppUp application store.

Software-wise Intel’s strategic bet is definitely the open-source as it was already shown in my earlier post Intel’s industry position and prospects for years ahead [Dec 9, 2010 with updates till Jan 14, 2011] by a single presentation excerpt of:

(where Nokia was already missing from the MeeGo design wins !) as well as by the another post of mine Intel Oak Trail to beat ARM with MeeGo specific prices [Nov 25, 2010]. Note that Android is high on Intel’s list as well since MeeGo is a quite new system. See Nokia, Intel release MeeGo 1.1; lacks support for tablets [Oct 29, 2010], For developers’ eyes only: MeeGo version 1.1 [Nokia’s own blog, Oct 28, 2010], MeeGo 1.1 Release [meego.com, Oct 28, 2010], MeeGo v1.1 for Netbooks (Google Chrome Browser) [meego.com], MeeGo v1.1 for Handset [meego.com] and MeeGo v1.1 for In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) [meego.com]. Nokia also had different plans for MeeGo from Intel back then platformwise as per Nokia Makes Qt its Sole App Development Framework [Oct 21, 2010], Nokia Focuses on Qt to Extend Reach for Developers, Make Mobile Experience Richer for Users [Oct 21, 2010] and Nokia further refines development strategy to unify environments for Symbian and MeeGo [Oct 21, 2010].

With the latest Nokia decision to select Windows Phone 7 as its primary operating system Nokia’s plans for MeeGo changed only in the sense that Qt has been dropped as the unified environment for developers but as per the Nokia outlines new strategy, introduces new leadership, operational structure [Feb 11, 2011]:

Under the new strategy, MeeGo becomes an open-source, mobile operating system project. MeeGo will place increased emphasis on longer-term market exploration of next-generation devices, platforms and user experiences. Nokia still plans to ship a MeeGo-related product later this year.

which is very painful for Intel as it practically should push MeeGo through the market alone while Nokia can pick the fruits of Intel’s effort practically free of charge when MeeGo becomes a factor on the market. Nokia’s biggest contribution to the MeeGo success will be just the advanced user experience as has been promised before, see my earlier post Nokia to enter design pattern competition for 2011 smartphones with MeeGo [Dec 9, 2010]. But that user experience wil be kept to Nokia, so Intel will not benefit from it elsewhere.

Whether Intel understands the upcoming threat to its business is still not clear from all that above.

Meanwhile Apple definitely needs to take the white-box vendors threat more seriously as indicated by two recent news below:

New York Times: Apple Is Not Making a Smaller iPhone [Feb 18, 2011]

The New York Times has poured cold water on a rumor that Apple is preparing to sell a smaller version of the iPhone.

The report conflicts with stories published earlier this week by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, who both claim that Apple is making a smaller iPhone that relies heavily on cloud-based storage and media streaming.

Citing an anonymous source, NYT explained that Apple is working on methods to bring costs of the iPhone down, and a smaller iPhone wouldn’t necessarily be cheaper to produce, nor would it be easier to operate.

Two major publications say something is happening, and one major publication is saying it’s not. We’re inclined to believe NYT, however, because the explanation seems more rational. Reducing storage and size wouldn’t bring down costs much, and a different screen size would also cause fragmentation in the App Store.

Apples biggest plans to upset faster retail store progress in China [Shanzai.com, Feb 21, 2010]:

We’ve reported before that Apple was lagging on meeting its earlier commitments to open 15 or 25 retail stores in China this year but now it seems an effort to build its biggest store yet will slow things down further.

40,000 people/day apparently tromp through the few Apple retail outlets in China at the moment (I’m never sure but now I think there are 5 locations)… so bigger is probably a much welcome strategy for building an Apple shrine/store.

Since Apple revenue in China last year grew over 4x from the previous year, they’re probably needing to scout new locations that can handle higher retail traffic volumes.

Apple, which had all but neglected the China market for years, has recently stepped up efforts to expand outside the U.S. In its last earnings call, the company’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said revenue from Greater China reached $2.6 billion, four times the company’s China revenue a year earlier.Source

Apparently Chinese Apple retail store traffic is also 4x larger than American retail traffic so I suppose they’ll also need to find 4x the geniuses to guide consumers through the buy and use process.

 

Earthquake like changes in the mobile phone market: numbers from IDC

According to CORRECTING and REPLACING Mobile Phone Market Grows 17.9% in Fourth Quarter, According to IDC [Jan 28] the phone market changed significantly in 2010:

Top Five Mobile Phone Vendors in 2010 by IDC

Considering the market changes in the 4th quarter 2010 the changes are even more significant:

Top Five Mobile Phone Vendors in Q4 2010 by IDC

IDC also released information about the smartphone part of the phone market. See Android Rises, Symbian^3 and Windows Phone 7 Launch as Worldwide Smartphone Shipments Increase 87.2% Year Over Year, According to IDC [Feb 7, 2011]. Here we can see even more troubling signs for four traditional phone vendors in the Top 5. Year-over-Year the situation is as follows:

Top Five Smartphone Vendors in 2010 by IDC

Here Research in Motion (the Blackberry vendor) is quite visiblibly in a trouble zone as its strong smartphone position is fast declining against such Top 5 challengers as Samsung and HTC. Even Apple should worry since it barely succeeded grow a little faster than the overall smartphone market but the upcoming challengers, Samsung and HTC grew by several times faster, 318.2% and 165.4% accordingly. This observation for all three Top 5 companies in trouble is even more proven by IDC’s 4th quarter 2010 numbers:

Top Five Smartphone Vendors in Q4 2010 by IDC

Here we can see that Nokia lost 27.5% of its quarterly market share in a year, Research in Motion (RIM) 27.1%, and Apple remained on the same quarterly market share as a year before which means that all the lost marketshare by Nokia and RIM, which is not less than 16% of the overall (10.6% + 5.4% subsequently) went to the other challengers. Samsung’s and HTC’s gains were “just” 10.3% of the overall (6.6% + 4% subsequently) which means that even vendors in the “others” category were able to pick 5.4% out of the Nokia’s and RIM’s 16% combined loss of marketshare. For Apple it is as much of a danger sign as the most obvious things for Nokia and RIM.

IDC’s additional verbatim assesment of the 4th quarter situation (from their press release indicated above, emphasis is mine):

Android continues to gain by leaps and bounds, helping to drive the smartphone market,” said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team. “It has become the cornerstone of multiple vendors’ smartphone strategies, and has quickly become a challenger to market leader Symbian. Although Symbian has the backing of market leader Nokia, Android has multiple vendors, including HTC, LG Electronics, Motorola, Samsung and a growing list of companies deploying Android on their devices.”

Adding to the competitive landscape is the entrance of two refreshed operating systems, Symbian^3 and Windows Phone 7 [wrong: WP7 is a completely new system, has nothing related to the previous Windows Mobile line]. “In their first quarter of commercial availability, both Symbian^3 and Windows Phone 7 ramped up quickly, just in time for the holidays,” added Llamas. “By the end of the quarter, Nokia had shipped five million Symbian^3 units while Windows Phone 7 vendors shipped more than 1.5 million units. Now, with the holiday quarter over, both platforms will need to sustain this initial growth in the quarters to come.”

Regarding Nokia IDC was even somewhat positive:

Nokia noted the positive progress of its new Symbian^3 smartphones during 4Q10: five million units combined from the N8, C7, and C601 worldwide, a strong showing given their recent introduction to the market. At the same time, Nokia’s volumes are largely comprised of older devices, while MeeGo-powered devices have yet to arrive on the market. In addition, Nokia continues to struggle in the North America market. The recent cancellation of the X7 smartphone at AT&T highlights Nokia’s challenges and a new device has yet to be revealed.

Regarding Apple and RIM IDC did not see any kind of problems worth to mention. Regarding the overal mobile phone market situation (as given in the first press release linked so far) their observations are (emphasis is mine):

It’s not just smartphone-focused suppliers that capitalized on the mobile phone market’s renewed growth last year. ZTE, a company that sells primarily lower-cost feature phones in emerging markets, moved into the number 4 position worldwide in 4Q10. It is the first quarter the Chinese handset maker finished among IDC’s Top 5 vendors.

“Change-up among the number four and five vendors could be a regular occurrence this year,” added Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. “Motorola, Research In Motion, and Sony Ericsson, all vendors with a tight focus on the fast-growing smartphone market who had ranked among the top five worldwide vendors during 2010 are well within striking distance to move back into the top five list.”

Regionally they were only indicating that (emphasis is mine):

Domestic brands in India like G-Five, Micromax, and Karbonn grew with aggressive advertising and branding activities for entry-level phones, while ZTE and Huawei worked closely with carriers to push low-cost Android smartphones in China. …

… In Western Europe, carrier smartphone promotions motivated more users to scrap their feature phones, resulting in strong smartphone sales. … In CEMA, quarterly volumes breached the 70 million unit threshold for the first time, marked by an influx of Chinese and unbranded handsets. Meanwhile, smartphones experienced brisk growth due to falling prices and more Android-powered devices.

The United States … [and] Canada, the focus was on smartphones. Android-powered devices from multiple players, along with incumbent vendors RIM and Apple, pushed shipment volumes to a new record level.

In Latin America, sustained user interest in smartphones drove the market, resulting in strong results for Nokia, RIM, and Samsung as well as relative newcomer Huawei. Smartphones, as well as QWERTY-enabled feature phones, helped boost social networking and messaging, two fast-growing trends in the market. Finally, Alcatel and ZTE once again thrived in the inexpensive entry-level device market.

The numbers as have been indicated by me on the above tables are however exceptionally worrying for Nokia as the leaked internal memo (Engadget, Feb 8) by their new CEO Stephen Elop has described to the employees (emphasis is mine):

In 2008, Apple’s market share in the $300+ price range was 25 percent; by 2010 it escalated to 61 percent. They are enjoying a tremendous growth trajectory with a 78 percent earnings growth year over year in Q4 2010. Apple demonstrated that if designed well, consumers would buy a high-priced phone with a great experience and developers would build applications. They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range.

And then, there is Android. In about two years, Android created a platform that attracts application developers, service providers and hardware manufacturers. Android came in at the high-end, they are now winning the mid-range, and quickly they are going downstream to phones under €100. Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry’s innovation to its core.

Let’s not forget about the low-end price range. In 2008, MediaTek supplied complete reference designs for phone chipsets, which enabled manufacturers in the Shenzhen region of China to produce phones at an unbelievable pace. By some accounts, this ecosystem now produces more than one third of the phones sold globally – taking share from us in emerging markets.

While competitors poured flames on our market share, what happened at Nokia? We fell behind, we missed big trends, and we lost time. At that time, we thought we were making the right decisions; but, with the benefit of hindsight, we now find ourselves years behind.

We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market.

At the midrange, we have Symbian. It has proven to be non-competitive in leading markets like North America. Additionally, Symbian is proving to be an increasingly difficult environment in which to develop to meet the continuously expanding consumer requirements, leading to slowness in product development and also creating a disadvantage when we seek to take advantage of new hardware platforms. …

At the lower-end price range, Chinese OEMs are cranking out a device much faster than, as one Nokia employee said only partially in jest, “the time that it takes us to polish a PowerPoint presentation.” They are fast, they are cheap, and they are challenging us.

And the truly perplexing aspect is that we’re not even fighting with the right weapons. We are still too often trying to approach each price range on a device-to-device basis.

The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems, where ecosystems include not only the hardware and software of the device, but developers, applications, ecommerce, advertising, search, social applications, location-based services, unified communications and many other things. Our competitors aren’t taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we’re going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem.

Note that Gartner’s numbers are diufferent, as descibed in Gartner’s 77 million shanzhai mystery [Nov 26, 2010]

Radical strategy shift/reorg at Nokia

As the result of Elop’s assesment on February 11 came the news that Nokia and Microsoft announce plans for a broad strategic partnership to build a new global ecosystem [Feb 11]. The line of thought behind this decision from Nokia’s part was clearly explained a couple of days later on the Mobile World Congress 2011 on the Stephen Elop’s Nokia Press Conference at MWC [Feb 14] as (emphasis is mine):

There were three possible options for Nokia’s future, he explained. It might pursue the internal route and rely on Symbian and MeeGo to see Nokia through to regaining its mobile crown through further and faster development. Second, the company could go to Google and become another licensee of the Android platform. Third, it could become a licensee of Microsoft’s Windows Phone.

Looking at the pace and performance of Symbian and MeeGo over recent years was enough to discount the first choice. Of course, he then talked to Google and Microsoft, the only two realistic external choices.

Both companies were keen. Nokia has a massive global footprint and retains an enormous market share. Nokia was, in Stephen’s words, “suited” by both companies.

So why choose Microsoft over Google? It’s all about how it affects the mobile ecosystem.

If Nokia had gone with Google, it would have been another Android licensee and handed Google massive share. The world of mobile phones would have become a “duopoly” – Google versus Apple.

Going with Microsoft might look counter-intuitive, given the lower market share and youth of that mobile operating system.

However the point, Stephen said, was exactly that. Microsoft has everything to gain by supporting Nokia’s venture in creating devices with its operating system. Windows Phone is a challenger in the mobile space, not one of the current incumbents.

Here’s the way the deal works: Nokia pays Microsoft royalties, it gives Microsoft unprecedented reach, it also gives them access to services such as Maps. Nokia’s hardware expertise creates devices that truly let the Microsoft’s new OS shine.

In return, Nokia gets a substantial reduction in its operating expenses; it gains a range of services to enrich its smartphone offering. There’s a new revenue stream for Nokia in the form of mobile advertising. It gets marketing support with a value of billions of dollars.

The real point is that there’s a co-dependency between Nokia and Microsoft – both partners need the other to fully succeed. That’s part of what makes it the right choice.

The other part of this is about new ecosystems. There are two flourishing apps and services ecosystems currently, Apple’s and Google’s. The combination of Nokia and Microsoft creates a third choice: that’s good news for consumers and good news for the whole of the mobile industry. More choice and more competition drives everything forward.

That means a complete overhaul of Nokia businesses which is best described in the Nokia provides financial targets and forecasts linked to new strategy [Feb 11] as (emphasis is mine):

Due to the initiation of Nokia’s strategic transformation on February 11, 2011, the full-year prospects for its Devices & Services business are subject to significant uncertainties, and therefore Nokia believes it is not appropriate to provide annual targets for 2011 at the present time. …

Nokia expects 2011 and 2012 to be transition years, as the company invests to build the planned winning ecosystem with Microsoft. After the transition, Nokia targets longer-term:
– Devices & Services net sales to grow faster than the market.
– Devices & Services non-IFRS* operating margin to be 10% or more.

During this two years transition there will be the following essential setup as per the Nokia outlines new strategy, introduces new leadership, operational structure [Feb 11]:

With Nokia’s planned move to Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform, Symbian becomes a franchise platform, leveraging previous investments to harvest additional value. This strategy recognizes the opportunity to retain and transition the installed base of 200 million Symbian owners. Nokia expects to sell approximately 150 million more Symbian devices in the years to come.

Under the new strategy, MeeGo becomes an open-source, mobile operating system project. MeeGo will place increased emphasis on longer-term market exploration of next-generation devices, platforms and user experiences. Nokia still plans to ship a MeeGo-related product later this year.

In feature phones, Nokia unveiled a renewed strategy to leverage its innovation and strength in growth markets to connect the next billion people to their first Internet and application experience.

As of April 1, Nokia will have a new company structure, which features two distinct business units: Smart Devices and Mobile Phones. They will focus on Nokia’s key business areas: high-end smartphones and mass-market mobile phones.  Each unit will have profit-and-loss responsibility and end-to-end accountability for the full consumer experience, including product development, product management and product marketing.

Smart Devices will be responsible for building Nokia’s leadership in smartphones and will be led by Jo Harlow [she is a 49 years old American marketing executive who joined Nokia in 2003 as VP of North America Mobile Phones Marketing, then responsible for the same just globally as a SVP, then a few device specific roles like Symbian smartphones and finally appointed to her smartphones releated role in July 2010, before the arrival of Elop]. The following sub-units now in Mobile Solutions will move under Smart Devices:
– Symbian Smartphones
– MeeGo Computers
– Strategic Business Operations

To support the planned new partnership with Microsoft, Smart Devices will be responsible for creating a winning Windows Phone portfolio.

Mobile Phones will drive Nokia’s “web for the next billion” strategy [i.e. the feature phones as mentioned above]. Mobile Phones will leverage its innovation and strength in growth markets to connect the next billion people and bring them affordable access to the Internet and applications. The Mobile Phones unit will be led by Mary McDowell [she is a 46 years old American computer industry executive who joined Nokia in 2004 as an executive VP and GM of Enterprise Solutions, then leading the Corporate Development unit from 2008 until assuming her current role in July 2010, before the arrival of Elop].

Services and Developer Experience will be responsible for Nokia’s global services portfolio [i.e. location, messaging, entertainment and context-based services], developer offering, developer relations and integration of partner service offerings. Tero Ojanpera will lead the Services and Developer Experience unit in an acting capacity. [46 years old Tero Ojanpera has been with Nokia along his full carrier which started in research. He is said to be an oustanding radio engineer back then. In 2003-2004, he headed the Nokia Research Center, and was appointed chief strategy officer a year later. From 2006, Tero served as chief technology officer, responsible for corporate and technology strategy, strategic alliances and partnerships, research and intellectual property rights. He has been a member of the Nokia Leadership Team since 2005, and was appointed to his current position in 2009.]

NAVTEQ, an integral part of Nokia’s location and advertising business, will be headed by Larry Kaplan, and continue as a separate reporting entity.

Design, responsible for Nokia product and user experience design, will be led by Marko Ahtisaari. [Although not a member of the Leadership Team he is an equally important person on the new operational structure. Marko Ahtisaari re-joined Nokia in September 2009 to head the Design team within the new Solutions Unit and then becoming SVP Design and User Experience. Before he was the CEO and co-founder of Dopplr, the online social atlas for smart travel acquired simultaneously by Nokia. In 2006-2008, he was the Head of Brand & Design at Blyk, the free mobile service for young people. Previously, he worked at Nokia as Director of Design Strategy and held management positions in corporate strategy and venturing since 2002. In 1999-2001, he built and led the mobile practice at digital services company Satama.]

[as noted by ArcticStartup [Sept 29, 2009]: “Last time he stayed almost two years with the Finnish mobile phone giant pulling the Design unit from individual separate pieces into a well functioning shop before leaving in August 2006 to Blyk as a Head of Brand & Design.”]

Note that the above structure essentially means the dissolution of the previous Mobile Solutions unit with dropping the mobile computers focus for the next two years (just retained with MeeGo for longer term) as well as the focus on the “world-class suite of internet services under the Ovi brand” which is now moved into a joint services and developers unit responsibility. The previous structure was as follows:

Structure

July 1, 2010

Our organizational structure is designed to position us for a world where the mobile device, the Internet and the computer are fusing together.

Mobile Solutions is responsible for developing and managing our portfolio of smartphones and mobile computers. The team is also busy developing a world-class suite of internet services under the Ovi brand, with a strong focus on maps and navigation, music, messaging and media. Mobile Phones is responsible for developing and managing our portfolio of affordable mobile phones, as well as a range of services that people can access with them. Markets manages our supply chains, sales channels, brand and marketing activities, and is responsible for delivering our mobile solutions and mobile phones to the market.

Nokia Siemens Networks, jointly owned by Nokia and Siemens, provides wireless and fixed network infrastructure, communications and networks service platforms, as well as professional services to operators and service providers.

NAVTEQ is a leading provider of comprehensive digital map data and related location-based content and services for automotive navigation systems, mobile navigation devices, Internet-based mapping applications, and government and business solutions.

White-box (Shanzhai) vendors

While Nokia and Microsoft are talking about the need to have a third smartphone ecosystem (in addition to Apple’s and Google/Android’s) the fact is that within the Google/Android camp there is an absolutely threatening ecosystem in itself which is generally called the China-based white-box vendors. The Special Report: China’s white-box handset market (Jul 26) from Digitimes Research (Taiwan) describing this as follows (emphasis is mine):

In China, there is a specific form of business operation that has come to be called the white-box industry mostly targeting the vast low-income segment of the market. The white-box supply chain is a production system centered in southern China, with product designs relying on core component suppliers and with a supply chain working on a division of labor, high flexibility and a minimal amount of assets.China's white-box handset market

In more details this kind of model is described in Digitimes Research analyzes China white-box handset market in new report [Aug 10] (emphasis is mine):

While the mainstream business model for manufacturing and distributing mobile handsets remains leveraging the OBM/ODM/OEM/EMS model, a whole new paradigm has developed within China’s domestic market, according to a new report from Digitimes Research.

The local China-based industry called “Shanzhai,” but translated as “white box,” is based on small-scale or underground factories whose products are seldom sold through regular sales channels, but the scale of the market now rivals that of global top-10 brands or major Chinese brands in the domestic China market, Digitimes Research pointed out. The “white-box” industry currently accounts for more than 100 million handset shipments, and some players in the market, such as K-Touch (Beijing Tianyu Communication Equipment) and Gionee have made the leap to become recognized brands.

While accounting for about one-third of domestic handset shipments, the white-box industry in China has been working under the acquiescence, and even active encouragement in some cases, of the government and is proclaimed by its proponents as representing the success of China’s homegrown innovation and enterprise. The Digitimes Research special report examines the difference between the traditional ODM supply chain and the virtual organization used by white-box players, and highlights the advantages of the white-box business model.

Link: China’s white-box handset market

Next we should clearly understand What drove the shanzhai success? [Shanzai.com, Nov 13, 2009]:

Shanzhai players have gained a strong foothold in the local market in the last two years [i.e. in 2008 and 2009]. Although they started off with copied brands, nearly one third of them are now [i.e. Nov’09] becoming more and more innovative in their products.

… Five years back, none of us had even heard of shanzhai. Copy or fake products existed only in the grey market.

… why are we instantly attracted to shanzhai products?

Price is surely one major factor. While you get a shanzhaid version of an Apple iPhone in China for around USD 70, the real iPhone will cost you 5 to 7 times more. The shanzhai have given a new ray of hope to the lower middle classes to flaunt the features of branded phones.

… While established brands are cautious about trying something new, the shanzhai design their products according to customer demand. Netbooks with CD drives and dual SIM phones with TV streaming are common examples of shanzhai designing customized products for identified consumers.

The shanzhai option is also often the first way of getting a new product … er well, a version of a new model anyway, something Kiran [from shanzai.com] pointed out, “Since they are acutely aware of the need to cater to local needs, they have the inherent capability to produce a slew of new devices with the latest technology every one to two months. This innovative, flexible and cheap market strategy poses a huge challenge to legal branded manufacturers. For the branded manufactures, the gestation period of a new product is much longer than the shanzhai counterparts. If a new product is designed it takes approximately 6 months to release into the market as it passes through different safety and regulatory measures. By the time it enters the market, it is already out of date due to the early availability of its clone products devised by the shanzhai bandits.”

The shanzhai are also rebelling against established brands by promoting open source platforms, which cost less and offer similar features of other platforms. … The actual manufacturing cost of a phone is only 20% of the retail price of a phone; the rest is spent in designing, marketing, tax, regulatory checks, safety tests and post sales services. Shanzhai products save the funds spent in TV advertising and other marketing activities.

While price, specs and rebellion against established brands has contributed to the success of the shanzhai business model, another major factor responsible for the sudden boom of the shanzhai is the economic downturn of 2007-09. Although the impact of the financial crisis is less evident in countries like China and India, it has paralyzed foreign investments to a large extent. The recession has actually affected the spending power of people, so a person thinks twice even before making a small investment like buying a new phone. So when offered similar features at a much lower price, many people go for the cheaper option where they once might have stuck loyally with a big brand.

Shanzhai distribution channels work quite effectively and actually quite speedily too. In Shenzhen, a small group of workers have their own factories with R&D, software development and hardware manufacturing facilities. Go to any shop in Shenzhen in the morning and tell them the features you want in your mobile phone and collect your phone in the evening! Shanzhai prefers its marketing through its local channels; Chinese people also prefer their local brands over international products. If we take a look at tech building companies in countries like India and Brazil, the shanzhai lead there too. They export the hardware parts to save export duties, and then the completed products can be assembled easily in these countries.

[Another factor – in fact a major “catalyst type” force – is mentioned in the article as “the emergence of local silicon players like MediaTek” which – quite naturally – will be discussed in the next section separately: see MediaTek as the catalyst of the white-board ecosystem below.]

The attached diagramm (to the first news item above) of mainland China’s home market growth is clearly showing that there is essentially no forecasted growth for 2011 so there is no other way for the white-box vendors as enter the international market even more aggressively than before. Digitimes even reported that White-box handset makers gearing up smartphone and 3G handset production, MediaTek to benefit [Dec 3, 2010] also indicating the Chineses government increased support for that (emphasis is mine):

White-box handset makers in China are gearing up their production of in-house designed smartphones and 3G handsets, a trend which will benefit Taiwan-based IC design house MediaTek. China’s white-box handset industry in 2010, has begun to place more emphasis on upgrading specifications and added value to enter the high-end segment, and has allocated more resources on development of intellectual property.

Even the China government has voiced its support for the white-box industry. Yang Xueshan, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), recently said that the government will support the white-box business model as long as there is no infringement of IP.

Yang pointed out that from imitation to innovation is a process white-box handset makers have to go through, citing China-based telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies as a success story. Huawei’s foray into the handset sector began with low-cost products and the company now has research and development capability, he said.

Supporting the white-box business model, given that no patents are infringed, is a good way to protect intellectual property rights as well as provide the most cost-effective products to consumers, Yang added.

Two months later came out the news that Shipments of sub-US$150 Android handsets to reach 20-25 million units in 2011, says Digitimes Research [Jan 28] (emphasis is mine):

Shipments of entry-level Android handsets with a price tag of below US$150 are likely to reach 20-25 million units in 2011 which could affect Nokia’s performance, according to an estimate by Digitimes Research.

Shipments of sub-US$150 Android phones totaled only 2.5-3 million units in 2010, mostly shipped by China-based Huawei Technologies and ZTE. However, the number of sub-US$150 Android phones is likely to increase by 8-10 fold in 2011 resulting a substantial increase in shipments, Digitimes Research said.

Google’s efforts to push Android phones to emerging markets, strong demand from markets in China, India, South America, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Russia, and a shift of telecom carriers in mature markets from feature phones to smartphones all work to stir up shipments of Android phones.

In addition to Huawei, ZTE, white-box handset makers in China and Taiwan-based ODMs, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Motorola are also likely to step up their presence in the entry-level Android segment, Digitimes Research said.

The increasing popularity of low-cost Android phones is expected to have a major impact on Symbian-based smartphones as Nokia is projecting merely a 10% sales growth rate for its smartphones, far below the 50% growth projected for the segment, Digitimes Research noted.

Two weeks later even more threating news were coming stating that China-based white-box vendors to offer below US$100 Android smartphones for emerging markets [Feb 9] (emphasis is mine):

China-based vendors are poised to offer Android smartphones priced at below US$100 for sale in China and other emerging markets including India, Indonesia and Brazil [so called BRIC] in 2011, according to Taiwan-based handset and component makers.

Such low-price Android smartphones are equipped with basic functions including dual-mode or dual-SIM, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, FM radio, trackball and G-sensors, with other functions such as mobile TV and GPS available for additional choice, the sources noted.

The low price is based on non-customized turnkey solutions featuring the integration of chips, operating systems, software and user interfaces, the sources pointed out. Taiwan-based IC design houses MediaTek and Infomax Communication have offered such solutions at less than US$100 and US$80-90 respectively, while China-based Leadcore Technology and Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics have done so at US$80-105 and US$90-105 respectively, the sources indicated. Qualcomm, ST-Ericsson and Broadcom have also offered such solutions, but mostly for 3G and priced higher at US$100-120, the sources noted.

In an additional news it was indicated that FOB price of turnkey solutions for Android smartphones now under US$120, says Digitimes Research [Feb 9] (emphasis is mine):

FOB prices of turnkey chip solutions for Android-based smartphones are now under US$120, according to Digitimes Research.

Taiwan-based MediaTek and Infomax Communications are offering Android chip solutions at below US$100 and around US$80-90, respectively. China’s Leadcore Technology and Rockchip Electronics are quoting at US$80-90 and US$80-105, respectively. Even international players such as Qualcomm, ST-Ericsson and Broadcom have joined in the battle with solutions priced between US$100-120.

International chip providers are outsourcing their solution designs to handset designers and manufacturers. Qualcomm is working with Gsmart [Taiwan] and Thundersoft, [HQ in Beijing, branch in Tokyo, support centre in Seoul and Taipei], Marvell has partnered with Zoom Technologies [HQ in Beijing, mainly EMS for OEMs + ODM + own brand sales via Hong Kong, ownership via Delaware-BVI chain of holdings], Broadcom with Yuhua [rather Yuhua TelTech, an ODM in Shanghai, with ~$40M international ODM sales] and ST-Ericsson with Beijing Xuntong Antian (transliterated).

More background information:
Cheap chips off the old block [China Daily, Oct 31, 2008]
Decoding Shan Zhai Ji (Bandit cell phone) – the opposite side of brand chasing [Nov 17, 2008]
The phenomenon of Shan Zhai products and culture [Noc 19, 2008]
‘Shanzhai’: Faking it for money or fun? [China Daily, Dec 9, 2008]
MIIT: GSM Association Issues IMEI Numbers To Chinese Mobile Phones [Dec 25, 2008]
Copycat “Shanzhai” culture takes on life of its own [Xinhua, Dec 30, 2008]
Chinese Mobile Phones Lacking IMEI Numbers Face Death In India [April 7, 2009]
Mountain village handsets storm market [China Economic Net, July 19, 2009]
Experience the shanzhai market: video [Oct 6, 2009]

China’s ‘Bandit’ Cell Phones – The High-Tech Golden Egg with ‘Taiwan Inside’ [Oct 6, 2009]
India Starts To Block Chinese-made “Shanzai” Mobile Phones Without IMEI [Dec 3, 2009]
Chinese Shanzhai Mobile Manufacturers Will Move Production To India [Feb 23, 2010]
Egypt Will Ban Chinese Shanzai Mobile Phones [June 28, 2010]
Shanzhai grew by 43.6% in 2010, production cycle also cut by 25% [Shanzai.com, Feb 3, 2011]

MediaTek as the catalyst of the white-board ecosystem

Update: MediaTek to Launch Ultra Cheap Handset Chip Against Spreadtrum Communications [March 21. 2011.] (emphasis is mine)

MedaiTek Inc. has recently announced plans to introduce an ultra low cost multimedia system-on-chip for mobile handsets in a bid to rival a competing solution Spreadtrum Communications Inc. of mainland China will roll out in April.

According to MediaTek, the upcoming handset solution, codenamed as MT6252, supports serial flash memory and is cost efficient for handset makers as it uses lesser passive devices and smaller printed circuit board than existing solutions. Also, the MediaTek solution supports four-SIM, four-standby mobile phones, convincing the mainland`s home-grown handset makers including Gionee Communications Equipment, Ragentek Communication Technology Co., Ltd. and Leatek Technologies International Co., Ltd. to support it.

MT6252 is also designed to replace MediaTek MT6251, a provisional low cost solution to 2.5G mobile phone. Industry executives pointed out that the SOC-based MT6252 is crucial to whether or not MediaTek can dominate the mainland`s market for 2G chips.

The mainland`s market for low-end handset chips had been controlled by Infineon Technologies AG of Germany with its ULC2/3 solutions until the end of last year, when Intel phased out of the low-end business after acquiring Infineon`s handset chip asset.

The low-priced solution Spreadtrum will launch in April is named SC6610, which incorporates embedded SRAM into it.

Here it is worth to start with a historical detour of Shanzhai.  Quoting from MediaTek rides high in bandit territory [May 16, 2010] article (emphasis is mine):

MediaTek, which originally focused on making chips for DVD players [see: MediaTek Announces the MT1389S-DVD-Player single chip. To enable the best digital media experience [March 26, 2007]], switched to designing mobile-phone chips after recognizing that cheap locally made phones from China’s Ningbo Bird and DBTel of Taiwan could not match the functionality of Nokia and Motorola, which 10 years ago dominated the China mobile handset market.

MediaTek’s response was to create “complete solutions” for mobile phones – the so-called “system-on-a chip”. It integrated the handset’s motherboard with other major components and the software for practically any desired feature onto a single circuit board. Most important, the products were extremely cheap. According to industry insiders, a set of such systems sells for as little as 100 yuan (US$12.50) to 200 yuan.

Practically all that is then required to produce a mobile handset is the addition of a battery and a casing to hold MediaTek’s “semi-product”. The combination of innovative Taiwan technology and mainland China’s low-cost mass manufacturing makes such handsets available at less than a third of the price of branded rivals.

“MediaTek revolutionized how cell-phone handsets are made in China,” said Zhang, formerly a general manager of Motorola’s Mobile Software Solutions Group for Asia-Pacific and now president of Yostar.net. “It makes it possible for toy factories to manufacture mobile phones.”

Many of these phones are imitations of major branded products, with similar (or the exact) functionality and style. But a lot of innovative handsets are also produced – mobile phones with seven speakers, for students to reproduce dance floor or boom-box music environments; handsets with four bright LED lights to serve as a cell phone and a powerful flashlight. For senior citizens, devices have big displays, big keys and a loud sound. For people who work outside in the fields, there are handsets with longer battery life. There are handsets with two sim-card slots for people traveling between different cities – allowing use of, for example, both a Hong Kong number and a Beijing number. Some are even equipped with a reader to check whether cash is counterfeit. Others look like a pack of cigarettes, or have a built-in laser pointer, a global positioning system, or a TV signal receiver.

The adaptability of small manufacturers also means that whatever is the latest trend – a new iPhone design, for example – can be almost immediately matched by a bandit version.

Then what happened is that after purchasing Analog Devices’ cellular radio and baseband shipset operations [Sept 10, 2007], completed next January [Jan 11, 2008], and the company report that its approach to providing a total solution for customers resulted in a total shipment of mobile solution chipsets over 150 million in volume in 2007 [June 8, 2008] followed an even more effective step of introducing its first multimedia-rich GSM/GPRS single-chip [Feb 12, 2009] (emphasis is mine):

MediaTek, Inc., the leading fabless semiconductors company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, today announced that its first GSM/GPRS single chip, the MT6253, has been adopted in mobile phones on the GSM/GPRS network. Integrating all essential electronic components, including DBB, ABB, power management unit and RF transceiver onto a single chip, the MT6253 can further reduce the materials costs of a complete mobile phone. Equipped with strong peripheral supports including camera, high speed USB and Class D audio AMP, MediaTek’s MT6253 is the most highly integrated chip in the market for mobile communication.

“Bringing together advanced multimedia technology, efficient manufacturing, system-level design tools and real-time support, MediaTek’s MT6253 sets a new standard for cellular SoCs ”, said JiChang Hsu, Executive Vice President of MediaTek. “To better address the needs of emerging market, where handset manufacturers care cost-performance ratio more than ultra low cost, MT6253 provides perceptual peripheral support to bring down costs and reduce space requirements greatly.”

In addition to MT6253, MediaTek also brings its multimedia expertise to its smart phone solutions. Supporting LCD resolution up to WVGA, MediaTek’s first smart phone solution – MT6516 is the first solution for smart phones in the market which is able to process MPEG-2 transport stream decoding without any co-processor. MediaTek’s MT6516 features multiple video codec to enable MDTV applications, including DVB-T, CMMB and DVB-H, all of which can be easily implemented without multimedia co-processor.

This was followed by the advanced single-chip all-in-one GPS solution, MT3329 [May 25, 2009], by three second generation IEEE 802.16e WiMAX chips, the MT7110 Series [June 1, 2009] which was found by an external benchmark to outperform its peer products [July 28, 2010] and thus laying a foundation towards IMT-Advanced (4G) via the WirelessMAN-Advanced route (see my earlier post: IMT-Advanced (4G) for the next-generations of interactive mobile services, China is triumphant [Oct 24, 2010]), as well as both types of LTE Advanced. It is said to be possible to base all these advanced protocols on the same chipset construction. Thus MediaTek has already all the foundations to continue its leadership as the Mobile Internet is going to be faster and faster every year, as well as well more and more accessible to everybody in this decade.

Then came the news that MediaTek to Obtain WCDMA License from Qualcomm [Oct 15, 2009] (emphasis is mine):

Taiwanese wireless semiconductor manufacturer MediaTek has announced that it will soon receive a license to produce Qualcomm’s WCDMA chipset.

Once the license agreement is finalized, MediaTek’s first WCDMA 3G chipset, the MT6268, is aiming for release late this year, with hopes of becoming a major earner for the Taiwanese manufacturer next year. Qualcomm will receive a 6% licensing fee on every 3G chipset produced by MediaTek [the arrangement obtained later was different, see below].

MediaTek says that its license agreement discussion with Qualcomm has entered its final stages. The broad framework and provisions are already agreed upon by both sides, with only minor technical issues still under discussion.

Because Qualcomm still holds the patent on WCDMA technology, any manufacturer that has a product involving WCDMA technology or wishes to produce WCDMA chips must first obtain a license from Qualcomm.

Although MediaTek has yet to officially obtain a license from Qualcomm, its MT6268 3G chipset has already entered small-scale test production by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). The test production, which mainly utilizes a 65nm manufacturing process, has so far met with success, and full production can begin immediately upon receipt of the license agreement.

The agreement has been reached as per MediaTek and Qualcomm Enter Into Patent Arrangement [Nov 20, 2009]:

MediaTek’s customers do not receive rights to any of Qualcomm’s patents and such customers will need to obtain a separate license from Qualcomm in order to receive rights to any of Qualcomm’s patents. Qualcomm’s customers do not receive rights to any of MediaTek’s patents and such customers will need to obtain a separate license from MediaTek in order to receive rights to any of MediaTek\’s patents. The remainder of the terms of the arrangement are confidential.

This allowed MediaTek reaching out to 3G market with Multimedia Phone Solution MT6268 [Dec 10, 2010] as far as in India:

Grant Kuo, MD, MediaTek [India] said, “With MT6268 multimedia solution, MediaTek has started reaching out to 3G market. The 3G strategic layout of MediaTek will be significant for the industrialization and the future moment of the 3G market in India.”

With high level of integration, MT6268 which supports 3G is targeted for the feature-rich multimedia market. MT6268 offers key features such as support for Video Calling, 5Mpixel camera, High GPRS speed, integrated BT, Dual SIM and full html browser. In addition to it, MT6268 is intended to address the need of embedded devices for low power with its patented power saving technology. These chipset solutions are intended to revolutionalize the market and take the industry to the next level of mass market adoption.

On this year’s Mobile World Congress – quite naturally – MediaTek announced the MT6573 platform for mainstream 3G smartphones [Feb 11] (emphasis is mine):

The MT6573 platform incorporates a highly-integrated, core chipset, a full range of connectivity solutions and supports the latest versions of the popular AndroidTM operating system. The MT6573 platform supports a quad-band [i.e.: all 4 GSM bands, the 850 and 1900 MHz bands – used in Americas – and 900/1800, used elsewhere], 3G/HSPA modem with mobile broadband rates of 7.2Mbps in the downlink and 5.76 Mbps uplink, as well as quad-band EDGE. The integrated applications processing system combines a 650 MHz dedicated ARM®11subsystem for the Android operating system; support for advanced 3D graphics; multi-format video capture and playback up to FWVGA 30fps; high-resolution camera support to 8MP and a high-end FWVGA, touch-screen display. The platform chipset is completed with a full range of connectivity solutions for Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, FM radio and Mobile TV from MediaTek.

The core chipset of the MT6573 integrates the modem, applications, multimedia subsystem and all necessary power management functions into a single SOC. Combined with a single-chip, multi-mode, multi-band transceiver, it enables extremely small footprints that allow for smaller, more innovative industrial designs and form-factors. Additionally, the integrated 3D graphics capability brings gaming and user interface capabilities that were previously available only to high-end smartphones. Finally, the platform provides advanced camera and multimedia features that include smile and face detection, panorama and burst shot, as well as high-resolution video capture and playback. The platform can be delivered as a full system solution consisting of hardware reference design and fully-tested, compliant software suite that can improve design efficiency and speed time to market for customers in the rapidly changing smartphone market.

… The MT6573 platform is currently sampling to lead customers and will be in mass-production by mid 2011.

Back to the MediaTek rides high in bandit territory [May 16, 2010] article (emphasis is mine):

Big-name Chinese phone-makers such as TCL, Lenovo and Konka are now using MediaTek chips for their products, followed more recently by foreign brands like Motorola and Sharp for their low-end products.

The local Chinese phone-makers made huge losses in 2005-06 due to the rise of shanzhai ji,” said Knock of JPMorgan, to the extent that the top 20 local Chinese brands have used MediaTek chips for their phones. “The mobile phone companies have outsourced their R&D [research and development] to MediaTek and now focus on marketing and manufacturing only.”

In 2008-09, US giant Motorola restructured its global operation, significantly cutting back its R&D department. “That is when Motorola started to use MediaTek chips,” said Knock, “In this way, Motorola only needs to keep a research team for cutting-edge technology, leaving MediaTek to work on the more mature or mainstream technology research.”

MediaTek has now captured about 30-40% of the branded handset market in China, estimates Knock. Moreover, demand for affordable phones in places such as India and Latin America has made it one of the top five global suppliers of all handset chips. Last year, only about half of the 360 million phone mobile chips made by MediaTek were shipped to China, with the remainder going to the rest of the world.

Now MediaTek Aims to become the Best Mobile Chipset Partner of Indian Mobile Manufacturers [Jan 27] according to MediaTek India (emphasis is mine):

We do believe that our latest single chipset solution- MT6253, and a customized Android platform for the India market that features many extremely popular applications will help sustain our leadership in the Indian market and the introduction of some of our new 3G solutions will help penetrate new segments”, says Mr. Grant Kuo, MD MediaTek India.

According to a recent Gartner survey, major handset manufacturers view India as a very attractive investment because it is projected to have the most rapid growth of mobile users worldwide: 660 million mobile users in India by end of 2010. This number is expected to cross the one billion mark by 2014 according to global consultancy firm PwC. Rural India is expected to drive this growth in mobile adoption including 3G handsets. PwC also predicts the 3G subscriber base to grow to around 107 million by 2015 out of which 24% will be rural subscribers.

At the forefront of this growth in rural India will be low cost mobile handsets. According to the Voice&Data100 Indian Telecom Survey, low cost Indian brands like Micromax, Spice and Karbonn strengthened their presence in the market in 2009-10, at the cost of well established MNC’s.

“India is a high potential market for our company. The consumers in semi urban and rural areas, who have been the traditional users of low cost handsets, now demand high end features at affordable rates. MediaTek has a proven track record worldwide and aims to leverage this to become the preferred chipset provider to indigenous Indian handset makers, thereby bringing high end applications within the reach of the Indian masses. We are planning to step up our marketing initiatives in India to create awareness about our products and enhance our brand value in the Indian market”, adds Mr. Arun Gupta, Business Development Director MediaTek India.

MediaTek’s technology and product innovation has also received a lot of recognition and awards from media and institutions around the world. In 2010, MediaTek is ranked top 10 among Asia’s 200 most-admired companies by “The Wall Street Journal” and ranked No. 12 among Global Top 100 High-Tech Companies by “Bloomberg Business Week. In addition, its highly integrated mobile single chip MT6253 has been honored with the EDN innovation award. In 2010 MediaTek also had five publications in the distinguished International Solid State Circuits Conference – highest record in the Taiwan semiconductor industry. MediaTek is also honored with the “Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility Top 50” award every year since 2007 by Taiwan’s most prestigious Common Wealth Magazine.

And for this local manufacturers penetration strategy MediaTek has all the prerequisites via the earlier Shanzhai’s route.

Meanwhile International handset vendors align with Taiwan and China makers to take on local competition in emerging markets [June 24, 2010] (emphasis is mine) and by doing this they are essentially following Motorola’s route:

International handset brand vendors will likely step up cooperation with manufacturers in Taiwan and China to compete more effectively with local vendors in emerging markets that are sourcing white-box models and selling under their own brands.

India’s Micromax, Indonesia’s Nexian and i-Mobile of Thailand are some of the domestic brand vendors that have taken down global giants at home with current market share rankings at third, second and fourth, respectively, in their countries.

Their business models are sourcing handsets from white-box manufacturers to target the entry-level segment as well as niche opportunities that were neglected by larger international vendors, according to sources from Taiwan-based handset makers.

The low-end strategy is certainly effective since consumers in emerging regions are typically more price sensitive. For niche markets, Micromax introduced phones with long standby time of 30 days and models with dual-card, dual-band and dual-standby functionalities. Nexian heavily promoted devices with dual-card and dual-standby features and QWERTY keypads. i-Mobile launched dual-card and dual-standby phones and models with analog-TV features.

Besides entry-level products, local vendors have rolled out smartphones and begun to expand to markets overseas, the sources said.

Most of the local vendors are also well-known distributors with strong ties within domestic sales channels and are responsible for their own after-sale services, the sources pointed out. This solves two major issues white-box critics often bring up – low brand recognition and poor service. Combined with protectionism policies and consumer preferences for home-made brands, the local players still have plenty of room for growth.

Recently, several brand vendors ranked in the top-five globally have contacted manufacturers in Taiwan and China-based handset designers to outsource new models that are comparable in both features and price to those sold by local vendors, said the sources.

Taiwan handset manufacturers have previously produced for local players in emerging markets but gradually gave up orders to white-box makers, since those clients never provided long-term order commitment and often shopped around between seven to eight contract manufactures, the sources noted.

And just now came the news that MediaTek reportedly to secure new orders from Nokia and Samsung for 2011 [Feb 17] (emphasis is mine):

IC design house MediaTek will likely attract new orders for entry-level and mid-range handsets from Nokia and Samsung Electronics in 2011, in addition to its existing ones from Motorola and LG Electronics (LGE), according to market sources.

New contracts, as well as continued-strong demand from China’s white-box handset market, may assist MediaTek to fulfill its handset-chip shipment goal of 550 million units for 2011, the sources said.

Having grown its market share in China’s white-box handset market with 2.5G solutions, MediaTek finds it hard to gain a further larger presence in the white-box handset market. As a newcomer to the 3G and smartphone chip segment, MediaTek is facing strong competition from international chipset companies. Meanwhile, price cuts initiated by local China-based rivals have squeezed its 2.5G market share.

MediaTek now stands a chance of breaking into the supply chains of more brand-name handset companies in 2011, the sources pointed out. MediaTek is likely to grab orders mainly for entry-level and mid-range devices from four out of the global top-five handset vendors, the sources indicated. The orders could boost MediaTek’s handset-IC shipments to 600 million units in 2011, the sources said.

In addition, the sources pointed out that MediaTek is preparing the launch of its next-generation 2.5G single-chip solution, which will be built using 40nm process technology with more features integrated in the compact all-in-one package.

MediaTek's MT6253 - MT6516 - MT6268

Note that in 4Q10 at least one mainland China rival started to use heavily MediaTek’s major foundry – albeit at 65nm not the 40nm MediaTek is aiming for – as reported by TSMC to get 60% more orders from Spreadtrum in 4Q10 [Oct 15, 2010]. In fact MediaTek had two make two pricecuts in the second half of 2010 and smartphone chipsets MT6516 and MT6268 now down to under US$10 [Dec 3, 2010] (that price is without the WCDMA license which should be additionally paid to Qualcomm, see above). There is more information about that came in MediaTek to take on MStar with 40nm single-chip 2.5G solutions [Feb 17]:

MediaTek will take on rival MStar Semiconductor in the 2.5G handset chipset segment with single-chip solutions built using 40nm process technology soon, according to industry sources.

MediaTek aims to take back the service privilege in the 2.5G chipset sector with advanced manufacturing processes after MStar managed to boost its share in the segment in the China market from the original 5-10% to almost 30% in the second half of 2010, the sources noted.

MediaTek’s next-generation 40nm parts will integrate baseband, RF, Bluetooth, power amplifier and power management ICs into an all-in-one package, said the sources. In comparison, MStar’s 40nm chips, which are still in development, will come with only baseband and RF chips.

Having cut its chip prices drastically in the past few months to stop MStar from further denting its share in the 2.5G segment, MediaTek’s strategy to launch parts made with advanced technology will also force MStar to channel its newly earned profits into a technology race, the sources asserted.

Note: MStar is a Taiwan-based competitor of MediaTek as per MediaTek to see challenges in China market [Sept 9, 2009]

In this way the white-board ecosystem will expand not only outside mainlad China but also to the international brand vendors, and MediaTek will likely remain the major catalyst of that peculiar ecosystem for the years to come.

ZTE et al.

@ MWC: ZTE Goes For The High End With The Skate [Feb 14, 2011]:

ZTE, the Chinese handset and wireless equipment maker, epitomises a certain kind of new entrant in the mobile industry: very determined, very cheap, and very much on the rise. At an overheated stand crowded with competitors, partners and non-partisan observers checking out ZTE’s newest devices — led by the Skate Android-based smartphone—I retreated to a quiet, air-conditioned room with Zhang Xiaohong, ZTE’s VP for handsets, to talk cannibalization, me-too Android competitors and more.

North America is our fastest-growing market. ZTE’s home market of China, where it ships devices with the three major operators China Unicom, China Mobile and China Telecom, is the company’s single largest market. But North America, shays Zhang is growing the fastest. Shipments in that region went up four-fold in the last year, with ZTE signing distribution deals with the U.S.‘s four major operators (selling both handsets and data cards for mobile broadband). Europe also grew—by a rate of 100 percent, with notable increases also in Japan, Australia, Russia and Latin America.

ZTE has already made a crucial shift in the last year to exporting more devices than it sells domestically. Zhang says the current rate is 35:65. If you take IDC’s recent number that indicates that ZTE shipped 60 million units in 2010, that works out to 21 million in China and another 39 million everywhere else.

Is it all about the cheapest price? No, she says. ZTE has disrupted the market with devices like the Blade (which sold for under $200), but it looks like it is now trying to leverage that market share to expand into the more premium segment against higher-end competitors like HTC and Apple:

“We will continue to focus on low-cost solutions for developing and developed markets, especially developing markets” she says. “But it’s also about new devices like the Skate.” No prices have yet been revealed for the Skate, which features a 4.3-inch screen and runs using Android 2.3—but the device, when I tried it out, seemed a little slow and jerky in its graphics. The specs say it runs on a 800MHz processor, compared to some of the newer devices from other Android OEMs built on 1GHz chips. The device is set to debut in May 2011.

Who is your biggest competitor? No straight answer on this one. Zhang says ZTE splits their competitors into two segments: “established” companies like Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and Samsung and “new ones” like HTC and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL). “ZTE can produce devices that compete with both,” she says.

What makes you different from other Android device makers? Ultimately a lot of these devices start looking more or less the same as each other, I say.

We are good at customisation, according to different cultures and customs. We can differentiate.” ZTE says that it can and has developed devices for specific operators, making them unique in the marketplace. It also looks like ZTE is looking to take customisation to the software level, too: the company launched a new app store this week, to deliver services that complement those in the Android Market.

One other key area, says Zhang, is that, unlike a lot of the other Android OEMs, ZTE also sells network equipment: this means that ZTE can sell “total solutions”—at very competitive prices. She says that ZTE has such agreements with 28 of the top 30 operators worldwide.

What do you think of the Nokia/Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) deal, and do you have any plans for MeeGo? For now, Nokia’s choice to work on Windows Mobile phones “means the future does not look good for MeeGo,” she says. “Last week’s news may have been the last straw or it, and we have no plans to develop on it for now. But whether going with Microsoft will give Nokia advantages over the long term remains to be seen.”

http://www.shanzai.com/ remark on that article is that ZTE is still singing tried and true Shanzhai tune: “We are good at customisation” [Feb 11, 2011]

ZTE is a Shanzhai success story. Starting out small and then big in China, ZTE is now doing well in North America and is expected to increase market share there even more this year. When their VP was asked this week, why they have been so successful, their Shanzhai their Shanzhai roots showed through.

According to IDC, ZTE shipped 60 million products in 2010. Their exports were mainly to North America and also to Japan, Australia and Latin America.

Now what we have seen, time and time again, is that the successful Shanzhai make handsets that fulfill a local (rather than generalized global) market need. Sometimes that can lead to quirky products, like exchangeable solar batteries, cigarette lighters, or more practical factors like dual SIM support, etc. It turns out that even in “mainstream” North America, catering to the local audience is the key.

Zhang Xiaohong, ZTE’s VP for handsets at the Mobile World Congress said that ZTE’s success is because “We are good at customisation, according to different cultures and customs. We can differentiate”.

It’s ironic that the Shanzhai are often seen as strangers to differentiation because of the high profile of clone models, when actually it’s the Shanzhai’s adaptability that keeps their business strong.

But ZTE and Huawei are not alone. Here is another example, G’Five so far known only in India but expanding rapidly both in India and into the other parts of the world:

India Mobile Handset shipments grow 6.7%, to 101 million units in 12 Months ending June 2009 [IDC India, Oct 9, 2009]

Market intelligence firm, IDC’s India Quarterly Mobile Handsets Tracker, 2Q 2009, September 2009 release issued today states that in terms of units shipped Nokia had the largest share of 56.8%, followed by Samsung with a 7.7% share while LG stood third with a 5.4% share in the 12-month period ended June 2009.

New Vendors Make a Mark
A number of new vendors entered the India mobile handsets market in the last 12 to 18 months to carve a niche for themselves by offering feature-rich (dual SIM card, full QWERTY keyboard) and application-rich (IM enabled) mobile handsets at attractive price points. They also introduced entry-level models for the ‘price sensitive’ Indian consumer.

Figure 1: India Quarterly Mobile Handsets Market: New Vendor Shipments Growth

Source: IDC’s India Quarterly Mobile Handsets Tracker, 2Q 2009, September 2009 releasee

This development shows that even in a crowded market there is room for vendors to enter with the right product-feature-price mix.

IDC’s India quarterly mobile handsets tracker 2Q 2010 [Sept 28, 2010] (some emphasis is mine):

According to Mr. Anirban Banerjee, Associate Vice President-Research, IDC India, “In the recent quarters several new players successfully launched their own devices at significantly lower Average Selling Values (ASVs) in the price sensitive India market. Such handsets found ready acceptance amongst first time buyers, especially from small towns and villages.”

This influx of new brands led to a spurt in overall market and saw ‘emerging vendors’ corner as much as 33.2% of total India mobile handset shipments in 2Q 2010. The Finnish handset maker Nokia retained its No.1 spot with a market share of 36.3% in terms of units shipped. The Korean electronic giant Samsung retained the No. 2 position, while Chinese brand G’Five emerged as the No. 3 player.

According to IDC’s India Quarterly Mobile Handsets Tracker, 2Q 2010, September 2010 release, the number of emerging vendors in India’s burgeoning mobile handsets market grew to 35 in 2Q 2010 and they together garnered 33.2% of total shipments for the first time during the April-June 2010 quarter. This represented a manifold increase from five (5) new vendors representing a 0.9% combined share of units shipped in the January-March 2008 quarter.

During the last 6 months (January-June 2010) the top five mobile handset vendors in India were Nokia, Samsung, G’Five, Micromax and Spice.

Figure 1: India Mobile Handsets Market: New Vendor Contribution to Shipments, Q1 2008 to Q2 2010

Source: IDC India, 2010

July-September 2010 mobile phone shipments (sales) log 3.6% quarter-on-quarter growth to
cross 40 million units: ‘Emerging Vendors’ capture 41.2% combined share [IDC India, Dec 29, 2010] (emphasis is mine):

… the Finnish handset maker Nokia had the largest share of 31.5%* in terms of units shipped during 3Q 2010.
The Chinese brand G’Five emerged as No. 2 player in terms of unit shipments market share and Korean handset manufacturer Samsung stood at No. 3 in 3Q 2010.

The India mobile handsets market continued to grow in 3Q 2010 as well to record a quarter-on-quarter (3Q 2010 over 2Q 2010) growth of 3.6%* to touch 40.08 million units in the quarter, according to IDC India. The year is expected to end with total mobile handset sales of 155.9 million units.

The number of emerging vendors in India’s burgeoning mobile handsets market grew to 68 and they together garnered 41.2%* of total shipments (sales) for the first time during the July-Sep 2010 quarter.

Smartphone prices continued to drop through the year and as competition increased, devices were made available by vendors at successively lower price points. So, while 80%* of total India smartphone sales were below the ASV (Average Sales Value) of Rs. 18,000 in 2Q 2010, this proportion increased to 90%* in 3Q 2010.

Top G’Five mobile phones in India [Jan 13, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Which are the top two cell phone brands today in India in terms of shipment volumes? Nokia and Samsung, many of us would like to think, right? Or maybe Sony…or LG…or Micromax which has been advertising quite a bit.

Not quite, folks. A recent report from leading market intelligence firm IDC India reaffirms the Finnish telecom giant’s status as the leading cell-phone player in the country, with Nokia accounting for 31.5% of the domestic cell-phone market during the July-September period last year. But, surprisingly, a little known Chinese brand called G’Five has made it to the second spot by capturing a 10.6% market share–with Samsung coming in third at 8.2%!

Sounds shocking, right? How can a Chinese player, without any big-ticket advertising campaign or any celebrity as its brand ambassador, manage to create such a big impact in the cut-throat Indian cell phone industry–without any fanfare? Well, the answer lies in G’Five’s strategy of rolling out a bevy of feature-rich phones at competitive prices (in the Rs.1,400-Rs.7,000 range), targeted exclusively at urban first-time buyers and those in semi-urban and rural areas looking to upgrade from basic phones.

So if you are looking to buy a G’Five mobile phone, here is a list of eight affordable (costing not more than Rs.5,000) models from around 26 G’Five phones currently available in India (in the order of ascending prices)– with each of them having their own USPs.

G’Five D10 Price: Rs.1,820 [US$40.4] … G’Five X5 Price: Rs.1,899 [US$42.1] … G’Five N92 Price: Rs.2,249 [US$49.9] … G’Five i310 Price: Rs. 2,400 [US$53.2] … G’Five M33 Price: Rs.2,499 [US$55.4] … G’Five L600 Price: Rs 2,700 [US$59.9] … G’Five X33+ Price: Rs.3,786 [US$83.9] … G’Five V60 Price: Rs. 4,490 [US$99.6] …

And these phones are not crap as you can even see from their pictures (for features info it is worth to go into the article).

G'Five D10 - i310 - V60

Note that to target the upper part of this range Social networking is Nokia’s latest mobile strategy [Feb 17, 2010] (which the above phones do not have):

The company’s latest launch on Nokia X2-01 mobile, at Rs 4,459 [US$99.2] is one such product. “QWERTY is one of the fastest growing mobile phone category in the world due to the rise in messaging and social networking. The Nokia X2-01 makes it easy to set up chat and email direct from the mobile phone,” said Nokia India General Manager-South T S Sridhar. “This means superfast access to your favourite Ovi Mail, Ovi Chat or other popular accounts.”

As young users want to stay connected with friends on the move, instant messaging is rapidly on the rise. With messaging devices like Nokia X2- 01, we are empowering the youth, he said. The handset also provides live updates from social networks such as Facebook, Orkut and Twitter directly from home screen. The Nokia X2-01 is Series 40 2G phone with VGA camera and FM radio. It has one click access the music player and has 3.5mm AV connector ideal for headphones or speakers. It also has Bluetooth and can support up to an 8GB micro SD memory card and has a standby battery time of up to 20 days, he claimed. For affordable access to internet, Nokia has also tied up with country’s largest mobile service provider Airtel which allows 100 mb of free data download per month for 12 months to its subscribers on this phone. Under this scheme one can access Face Book, and OVI Chat and Ovi Mail free of charges.

Gfive Mobile Phones (by Devika Rajpali)

The company of GFive is from China. The investors of the company are a syndicate named Zerone group that of the most esteemed OEM factories that boost of producing around 100 million mobile phones. The GFive mobile phones are the hottest running brand in indisputable imei china mobiles. The company has now established itself completely in the field of tech support, repairing and software installation. You will find the GFive mobile phone to be very stylish with large number of mobile phones to offer to its consumers. The company claims to have experience, confidence and data along with the in-depth insight of their Chinese mobile phones.

The KingTech Telecom (Shenzhen) Co Ltd. is behind the brand with KingTech Telecom (HK) Limited behind the export activities. As far as India is concerned the arrangement will be developed into a stronger local representation as Victor Infotech ties up with King Tech Telecom [Nov 11, 2010] (emphasis is mine):

Victor Infotech Ltd has tied up with King Tech Telecom Ltd (a Hong Kong-based telecom company) to form a joint venture company — Asian Telecom Ltd. The majority stake of 51% in the new company will be held by King Tech Telecom Ltd and the balance 49% equity will be held by Victor Infotech Ltd.

Asian Telecom Ltd., the new joint venture company, will come into being with immediate effect to launch the G’Five brand of mobile phones in the Indian market. The company plans to take the G’Five brand of mobiles to new heights in India and achieve 20% of the market share in the next two years.

As part of the collaboration, Kingtech Telecom shall manufacture the mobile phones and Victor Infotech will be responsible for distribution and marketing of the phone in India. Initially Kingtech Telecom will manufacture the Indian specific mobile phones in Hong Kong [rather in Shenzen] and gradually the same shall be manufactured in India.

The Indian mobile phone market is growing very fast. The company expects the sales of the mobile phones to grow 5 times in the next two years and plans to take advantage of this growth to gain the maximum market share. To achieve this, the company shall introduce many variations in its mobile phones, which shall be specific to the needs of the Indian consumer.

Meanwhile for other parts of the world a new sales and marketing operation has been set up: GLX mobile – G’FIVE Mobile’s Brother Company [Dec 14, 2010] (emphasis is mine)

A new member of Zerone Group called GLX mobile has been founded. With its full name as GLX International Limited, GLX mobile is dedicated in global distribution of GLX mobile phone.

Since G’FIVE is a member of Zerone Group, G’FIVE and GLX are brother companies. The new-founded GLX focuses on international markets, especially emerging markets. GLX mobile covers the whole range of mobile phone user market, from low-end to high-end with stylish and unique handsets.

GLX is aiming to create golden life for worldwide consumers with all ranges of mobile phones.

And the GLX company’s website indicates that it has taken over (almost all) the rest of the existing G’Five business network:

GLX Mobile initial business network

Kinoma is now the marvellous software owned by Marvell

A leading chip, even SoC company buying a leading software company and moving immediately with that into the heart of the Android software and solution market? It is not so strange if one is considering Marvell’s strategy as expressed in my posts: Marvell ARMADA with sun readable and unbreakable Pixel Qi screen, and target [mass] manufacturing cost of $75 [Nov 4, 2010] and Marvell to capitalize on BRIC market with the Moby tablet [Feb 3]

Follow-up:
– First real chances for Marvell on the tablet and smartphone fronts
 [Aug 21 – Sept 25, 2011]
High expectations on Marvell’s opportunities with China Mobile [May 28, 2011]

But, Kinoma as a marvellous software? Here is a video recorded yesterday at Mobile World Congress 2011 by IntoMobile in which Kinoma is demonstrated on the last year’s leading Android 2.1 based (now with 2.2 already) Nexus One by Google & HTC device, and this is the best proof of such judgement by itself (after that you can also follow the Android community responses on the Android Central’s Kinoma Play for Android beta):

IntoMobile:
“We take Marvell’s Kinoma platform for a spin with Kinoma Play. The third-party app runs on the Kinoma runtime, and beats out native apps in terms of performance and battery life. The demo speaks for itself.”
Truly amazing closing remark from Marvell’s Peter Hoddie in the video:
“Not just a bunch of application silos but you are really getting a suite of applications that works together and cooperates to give you the kind of user experience you expect to have.”
My own comment: a much needed enhancement for the whole Android world.

Some quotes from IntoMobile’s Hands-on: Kinoma Play – When third-party apps beat native app performance [Feb 14] article accompanying the above video (emphasis is mine):

What is Kinoma? Well, to put it simply, it’s an application platform that runs a virtual environment on your smartphone … But, unlike other runtime solutions (cough, Java, cough), Kinoma integrates with your phone at almost the hardware level, allowing it to optimize apps for speed and power usage. The end result are apps that run within Kinoma’s runtime that can outperform even the fastest native apps out there.

We got a chance to sit down with Kinoma’s Peter Hoodie at Mobile World Congress 2011 to see what the app runtime, recently acquired by Marvell, can do. We were amazed that Kinoma Play was able to load full-resolution pictures in it’s gallery in near real-time. In less than a second, full-res images were ready to zoom and pan in the Kinoma Play image gallery. We were also impressed by the super fast, but still smooth, scrolling capabilities of Kinoma. And, to top it all off, Kinoma Play apps were capable of cross-communication, allowing apps to share their data on demand with other apps.

The idea here is to get Kinoma out to market and get developers to start making apps using the Kinoma platform.

Then there is another article about Kinema by VentureBeat emphasizing another aspect: Chip maker Marvell debuts a cool mobile user interface with Kinoma Play [Feb 14] (emphasis is mine):

Kinoma Play is a user interface for smartphones, tablet computers, and other mobile devices. It can be built into a single application or become the user’s main interface for operating the multimedia apps on a phone. Kinoma Play is a beautiful, functional, fluid and fast interface. It works great with a touchscreen, letting you do tasks more easily, such as flipping through your music collection or zooming in on a face in a picture. Marvell acquired the small software company Kinoma with just 12 people a month ago.

Kinoma Play can move really fast. It loads a five megapixel photo in under one second, compared to three seconds for other software. You can put your finger on a touchscreen and hold it there. The software will zoom in on the spot in the photo where you are pressing. You can scroll through music or video collections as if you were looking at a carousel. And you can do that in either horizontal or vertical modes. If you run a video and then exit to the main menu, you can still see a video icon with the video imagery moving.

Founded more than eight years ago, the Kinoma team created software that ran on the Palm operating system and Sony’s original Sony Reader eBook device. Some 40 or 50 apps were built to work with Kinoma Play, which is not a full operating system but a subset of one, dubbed a user interface. Kinoma Play has been used on some phones in Japan and the Google Nexus One. It’s also being designed into phones that are coming out in the future.

And here Kinoma Play is shown on the Samsung Galaxy tablet as well in the accompanying video (from 3:58 on):

VentureBeat:
– “We’re a bunch of software guys who worked on things like the original Quicktime” media player, Peter Hoddie VP of the Kinoma Platform at Marvell said. “We have deep roots in software.”
Kinoma About our Team:
Peter Hoddie: For nearly a decade, Peter played a central role in defining, building, and promoting Apple’s trailblazing QuickTime technology.
Brian Friedkin: As a Principal Engineer at Apple, Brian was a member of the small engineering team that brought Quicktime to Windows. He also researched and developed prototype QuickTime software targeted at small devices.
Michael Kellner: At Apple Computer he was involved in open systems platforms, focusing primarily on developing multimedia infrastructure and core system software that was used in multi-platform QuickTime and became the basis for the development authoring platform Carbon in Mac OS X.

Marvell sells billions of chips each year for mobile devices. The combination of the two makes sense because Kinoma Play runs efficiently on both lightweight and heavy-duty hardware. This approach is called a “stack,” where Marvell provides not only the hardware but the software that makes the hardware functional.

Marvell is a hardware company that sees what software means,” [Peter] Hoddie [VP of the Kinoma Platform at Marvell] said. “It is working its way up the stack.”
[Note that the Kinoma like platform software is far the best for Marvell strategies indicated above. They can add Kinoma to whatever Linux distribution (or other OS like vxWorks, u-boot, Windows Mobile 6.1/6.5, Windows CE etc.) they generally and to Fedora 11 and above which particularly with OLPC are using, as well as the Android used by their Moby tablet effort or elsewhere.]

Hoddie said that Kinoma Play can work on phones with slow 150-megahertz processors because it is built into a very low level of an operating system. It has a performance advantage over software that sits on the highest level. It can thus flip through a collection of photos at a much faster speed than other photo viewers could. It works on either capacitive (multitouch) screens or resistive (single-touch) screens.

Kinoma Play can pretty much run on any operating system. Over time, Hoddie expects to make the platform available as open source software so that others can modify it for their own purposes. After all, Marvell wants to make money selling chips, not providing software. Users who learn how to use Kinoma Play on one device will find they can use it on another.

Hoddie said Marvell can take Kinoma Play’s user interface into new markets such as home automation controls and smart meters. In these markets, the hardware is often light years ahead of the software, which is often difficult to use because it has been designed by engineers who aren’t used to creating consumer software. The first phone with the new version of Kinoma is expected to launch at the end of February.

The press release from the new owner says not less than: Marvell Introduces Kinoma – Revolutionary Open Software Platform to Unify Applications [Feb 14] (emphasis is mine):

Marvell (Nasdaq: MRVL), a worldwide leader in integrated silicon solutions, today announced Kinoma®, a software platform that will dramatically transform the way consumers interact with the devices that fuel their digital lives. Kinoma is a new foundation for creating and delivering fast, simple user experiences for an unprecedented range of devices. Through its recent acquisition of Kinoma Inc., a visionary creator of mobile media software, Marvell now offers an experience and solution that is fully integrated from silicon to applications, creating new opportunities for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and manufacturers while freeing developers from traditional restraints.

“We are living in an exciting world of proliferating electronic devices.  They are becoming a key part of our lives. More than ever consumers demand great ease-of-use and seamless connectivity across all these devices,” said Weili Dai, Marvell’s Co-Founder. “I am very excited to bring the talented Kinoma team to Marvell – it is our mission to coherently integrate our industry-leading hardware solutions with beautiful software experiences to enable the entire ecosystem to address this emerging demand.  The addition of Kinoma – a simple, intuitive, easy to use software experience optimized for Marvell’s total silicon solutions – provides a unified look and feel across an array of products from handheld devices to smart appliances and smart furnishings. …”

To encourage broad industry adoption, Marvell will offer Kinoma under an open source license. Developers will be able to adapt Kinoma for any device they can imagine. Marvell will also provide two software development kits (SDKs). The first SDK is for application developers to fully integrate their content and services into Kinoma powered devices. The second SDK is for OEMs and manufacturers to port and customize Kinoma for their products.

Marvell will announce further information on developing with Kinoma and licensing in the coming weeks.

And here is the Kinoma value proposition video as released simultaneously by Marvell:

Kinoma Play for Android beta availability has been announced just on the forum of Kinoma, see Sign up for the Android beta NOW [Feb 13]. On their homepage (http://kinoma.com/) you can also signup for the Kinoma app developer SDK avaialbility. This was welcomed enthusiastically by Kinoma users, see Finally! [Feb 14]. Regarding Windows Phone 7 see what Kinoma said on that in the Some space for Kinoma on Windows Phone 7 [Nov 22, 2010] topic (emphasis is mine):

[as the issue has been raised by the creator of the topic]

I’m using Windows Phone 7 for 3 weeks. All I can say is that Zune is absolutely great as an audio player. Still I regret some Kinoma’s features, and all I can say is that, despite Zune, there is some space for Kinoma on WP7.

Indeed, we are missing a lot of features on Zune, and especially access to third party services (RSS, shoucast, Bing Images, Flickr, Last.Fm, Box.net, etc, etc, etc…)

Therefore the Last.fm team shall really reconsider the opportunity to join Windows Phone 7.
A Kinoma App to complete Zune would be fabulous.
WP7 is the future, but it would be even better with Kinoma.

[as the issue has been answered by Kinoma]

Regarding Windows Phone, there’s currently no official way to develop native apps for it, and so no way to consider bringing Kinoma Play to that platform. Once Microsoft provides an SDK for native apps, we’ll definitely take another look.
— Charles Wiltgen

There was a somewhat more detailed answer to that from the same person in the Possible update of Kinoma [July 22, 2010] as well:

Actually, we can’t support Windows Phone 7 because that OS doesn’t have the ability to support native apps. Mozilla has announced that they’re not supporting Windows Phone 7 for that and other reasons as well.
In the meantime, “Windows Phone Classic” support is going to be important to Kinoma for several years. It’s going to continue to be the Windows Phone OS of choice for emerging markets and enterprise, and emerging markets are very important to indie developers like Kinoma because that’s where the volume’s at.
— Charles Wiltgen

Kinoma’s Success Story before the acquisition by Marvell

Kinoma Play in fact has been first introduced two and a half year ago for Windows Mobile smartphones, see Kinoma Introduces Kinoma Play — the world’s first mobile media browser [Aug 25, 2008]:

With Kinoma Play, smartphones now have digital media capabilities that meet, and sometimes even exceed, what users can do on their personal computers. Kinoma Play goes beyond organizing and playing a user’s video, audio and picture files, by bringing in media from around the Internet through the built-in Kinoma Guide, the most comprehensive catalog of the freshest, most diverse mobile media available.

Kinoma Play provides on-demand access from your phone to an unparalleled range of content:

  • Media files – Play the music, video, pictures, panoramas and audio books on your phone
  • Media services – Share your Audible.com, Flickr, iDisk, Live365, and YouTube accounts between your phone and computer
  • Internet – Explore a terabyte of constantly updated, free streaming podcasts, music, radio stations, web-cams and audio books from thousands of providers including ClearChannel, CNN, NPR, Reuters, SHOUTcast, TUNED.mobi, and SomaFM
  • Home PC – Access the gigabytes of music, video and pictures on your home PC from your phone – both on-demand streaming and download

Among the key innovations in Kinoma Play:

  • Streaming podcasts – Instead of tediously downloading and syncing, podcasts stream on-demand, so users are always up to date
  • “Media First” user interface – User interface elements all-but-disappear when viewing photos, listening to music, or watching video to keep the focus on the media
  • High quality YouTube – Kinoma Play provides high quality YouTube video by playing the same feeds delivered to your PC, when bandwidth permits
  • Integrated search – Search your phone, your home PC and the Internet to find what you want
  • Menu Pod – A beautifully animated dynamic menu providing fast access to many powerful features

Pricing & Availability

Kinoma Play is available at the Kinoma web site (www.kinoma.com) for a one-time payment of $29.99. The software is compatible with Windows Mobile 5.0 and higher.

It was immediately recognized by The Wall Street Journal: “Kinoma Play desperately needed by Windows Mobile users” [Aug 27, 2008]

10 days later the company announced that the first post-launch Kinoma Play update now available [Sept 5, 2008] for a wide of devices from Samsung and HTC as well as a few from HP, ASUS and Dell.

No wonder that just 7 months later Kinoma Play chosen as anchor application for Windows Marketplace for Mobile [March 31, 2009]:

The recently announced application marketplace will be included with all Windows phones based on Windows Mobile 6.5 this fall.

“Enthusiasts have embraced Kinoma Play as a ‘must-have’ application that shows how powerful the Windows Mobile media experience can be,” said Peter Hoddie, co-founder and CEO of Kinoma. “Windows Marketplace for Mobile opens up users to a new experience where they can discover and experience dynamic applications, like Kinoma Play, on their Windows mobile device.”

“As a creator of mobile media software, Kinoma offers technology that is a great asset to the Windows Marketplace,” said Steve Hegenderfer, group product manager, Microsoft. “We look forward to making it easy for millions of Windows phone users to download Kinoma Play, one of the latest mobile media browsers available for finding and accessing video, audio and pictures.”

At the same time it came that Kinoma to preview Kinoma Play for Symbian/S60 at CTIA Wireless 2009 [March 30, 2009]:

Kinoma Play for S60, slated for launch on Nokia’s forthcoming Ovi Store, lets consumers see and hear their favorite media faster.

“Kinoma Play for S60 is a natural progression for us,” said Peter Hoddie, co-founder and CEO of Kinoma. “S60 on Symbian OS is the world’s leading mobile platform, and that’s appealing because we want the whole world to be able to enjoy the Kinoma mobile media experience. Through Forum Nokia, we get access to devices like the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic which is a great showcase for Kinoma Play, and we’re excited about the prospect of being able to connect with Nokia customers through Ovi Store.”

As well as the news that Kinoma Play to debut in Japan on SoftBank handsets [March 31, 2009]:

Kinoma Play for SoftBank is available immediately for users of the advanced SoftBank X04HT and SoftBank X05HT handsets by HTC.

Then another 2 months later the news came that Kinoma Play Debuts with World’s First “Snapdragon” Phone on NTT DOCOMO, Japan’s Largest Mobile Operator [May 20, 2009]:

“Sorry iPhone fans,” said Peter Hoddie, CEO of Kinoma. “The unbelievable combination of NTT DOCOMO’s network, Toshiba’s stunning T-01A, and our own Kinoma Play set a new bar for how cool a phone can be.”

A week later the actual functionality of Kinoma Play has been extended with social networking services like Twitter and Facebook integrated into it. See Kinoma Introduces World’s First Mobile “Social Media Browser” [May 28, 2009]:

With today’s release of Kinoma Play, the best way to find, play and share media on a mobile phone is now also the best way to find, play and share media across social networks and media services like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Picasa.

  • Cross-social sharing – Kinoma Play’s unique approach to supporting social media services and social networks breaks down the barriers between them and is key to its “share everything with everybody” approach. Users can share YouTube videos on Facebook, share Facebook photos on Twitter, share tunes via SMS, and more — because everything’s a first-class citizen, they can do it in a way that would otherwise be clumsy or impossible.
  • Your mobile media home – Users can now create personal Home screens for fast access to their favorite stuff. Exclusive ZoomLinks let users jump instantly to almost anything — individual items, entire albums, even to specific features of any Kinoma Play application. They can make pages that collect friends’ Flickr photostreams, YouTube favorites and Twitter tweets, pages of “presets” to live radio streams and podcasts — the possibilities are infinite.
  • Twitter – Allows users to tweet about the music, videos and podcasts they love on the world’s largest microblogging site. They can update their status, and photo-blog their day for friends, family and followers all around the world with built-in TwitPic integration. There’s even built-in search so users can see what the world’s saying about breaking news, or about themselves.
  • Facebook – The world’s largest social network is also the world’s largest photo sharing site, and Kinoma Play is now the easiest, most convenient way for users to update their status and instantly share the pictures that tell the story of their life.
  • App stores — Kinoma Play’s built-in store allows users to download and update their Kinoma Play apps. With two clicks they can install the Mobihand Store app to buy Windows Mobile apps for their phone, check out screenshots and YouTube video demos before they buy, and even download free trials.
  • YouTube — Kinoma Play is now the world’s most comprehensive mobile application for YouTube, the world’s largest social video site. There’s an all-new user interface and tons of features — upload, browse, search, play, favorite, rate, comment, share and lots more.
  • Last.fm — It’s the music service that “learns what you love” and now Kinoma Play lets users share their love of music with the world. Users can automatically “scrobble” while they listen, see and read about favorite bands and artists, find more artists like the ones they love and connect with what their friends are listening to as well.
  • News Reader — Kinoma Play’s new built-in news reader application lets users read their favorite blogs and other news right within Kinoma Play, and play associated video, music, podcasts and pictures as well. By subscribing, they’ll automatically be notified about new posts as they become available.

  • Flickr and Picasa — They’re two of the world’s largest photo-sharing sites, and they’re built right in. With Kinoma Play, the phone is an “infinite photo album” of personal photos, photos from friends and family and the most interesting photos taken by people around the world. Even upload new photos on the fly in just seconds.

And finally, just over a year of the introduction of Kinoma Play the news came that the company was Introducing Kinoma Play for Symbian/S60 phones [Sept 15, 2009] (emphasis is mine):

“Nokia’s goal is to provide the best media experience possible on mobile, so we’re thrilled that Kinoma Play is now available for Nokia S60 phones,” said Purnima Kochikar, VP, Forum Nokia and Developer Communities, at Nokia. “It’s exciting and fun for consumers who want to play and share the world’s best entertainment content, and indispensible for business users who need constant access to the latest business and financial news. Innovators like Kinoma show that the only limit to Nokia platforms is their imagination.”

Kinoma Play for Nokia Symbian/S60 is available immediately (in 11 languages!) for supported phones [of Nokia 5000, 6000, E and N Series] running S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 1 or Feature Pack 2.

The platform story essentially has ended a week later by New Kinoma Play update: Twitter location, location, location (and more!) [Sept 22, 2009]:

Not only did we introduce support for a new mobile platform with the release of Kinoma Play for Symbian/S60, but we also released a very nice update for all of our Windows Mobile customers as well.

Kinoma Play’s Twitter app is now location aware. A new Set Location command in the Profile tab lets you enter a location, or use your phone’s GPS to choose your location from a list. A list of recent locations makes it super-quick to update your location.

twitter_set-location-100

Plus, a new Nearby search (GPS required) shows you nearby news, views and gossip. Who needs a watercooler when you’ve got Kinoma Play?

twitter_search_nearby

Plus:

  • If a message contains links to a YouTube video or Flickr image, Kinoma Play now opens them directly in its YouTube and Flickr apps rather than launching a web browser. It’s much faster, and (unlike a web browser) always works.
  • The Twitter app now shows the source (web, Kinoma Play, API, etc.) of individual tweets.

What came after this was “just” a great series of new content announcements with minor updates and a few reminders (sometimes via quoting 3d party reviews) of the values of the available features. There were just three anoouncements related to the “expansion/enhancement” of the platform:
Kinoma Play powers the media experience of another Snapdragon phone [Nov 12, 2009] the the dynapocket SoftBank X02T
See Kinoma Play on Nokia’s just-launched E72 [Nov 23, 2009] “how Kinoma Play turns the mild-mannered Nokia E72 (and other Symbian/S60 phones) into a mobile media monster.”
Kinoma FreePlay and Kinoma Player 4 updates now available [Apr 2, 2010] as “YouTube recently made some unannounced changes that broke YouTube support in some of our products”

Below you can find the headlines of not less than 53 posts describing quite well the richness and usability of Kinoma as a multimedia platform:

“A Life Well Wasted” [podcast] now available on mobile with Kinoma Play [Sept 24, 2009]

New! Listen to The New York Times on mobile with Kinoma Play [Sept 29, 2009]

Feature focus: Flights [Oct 1, 2009]

Celebrate 40 years of Monty Python (nudge, nudge) with Kinoma Play [Oct 5, 2009]

Feature focus: Yelp – Quick, easy local business search [Oct 21, 2009]

Halloween treats from Kinoma (Spooky radio, podcasts and more!) [Oct 30, 2009]

Listen to SKY.fm + Digitally Imported with Kinoma Play: 60+ stations, aacPlus [Nov 2, 2009]

We’ve just released a new Kinoma Guide update that adds all currently-available SKY.fm and DI.fm (Digitally Imported) stations in all available stream formats — including aacPlus.

AAC is the standards-based successor to MP3. It offers far higher-quality than MP3 at similar bitrates.

Kinoma Play is the only mobile player that supports not just AAC, but also the even more-advanced aacPlus and aacPlus v2 (a.k.a. HE-AAC and HE-AAC v2) formats.

New! Now Mac users can stream video, music and pictures from home to phone [Nov 19, 2009]

I love being able to stream my entire personal media library on-demand. Not just because my collection takes up more space than any SD card could ever hold, but also because I don’t have to worry about ”syncing” my phone every time I leave the house.

Our customers seem to agree, and that’s why we built support for Orb — a free personal media server that runs on your PC — into Kinoma Play, Kinoma FreePlay and Kinoma Player 4 EX.

The only problem? Until very recently, Orb was only available for Windows. Today I’m glad to share that Orb is now available for Mac OS X.

Orb - Home

If you’re a Mac users, it means that now you can enjoy the best way to play your entire library of movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, pictures and more while you’re out and about. Try it today!

Listen to SomaFM independent radio with Kinoma Play: 20 channels, commercial-free [Nov 24, 2009]

New! Listen to holiday music anytime, everywhere with Kinoma Play [Nov 29, 2009]

The Windows Mobile grade-and-pave (or, how to make your phone work like new again) [Dec 3, 2009]

New! Watch 500+ TEDTalks on your phone with Kinoma Play [Dec 15, 2009]

“Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show” now available on your phone with Kinoma Play [Dec 17, 2009]

New! 938 audiobooks from Project Gutenberg [Dec 30, 2009]

Can’t remember where you stopped? Kinoma Play does! [Jan 5, 2010]

How to play Zune Pass music on your WinMo and Symbian/S60 phone [Jan 8, 2010]

New! Learn HowStuffWorks [podcasts] on your phone with Kinoma Play [Jan 13, 2009]

PalmAddict readers: Kinoma Play best media app for Windows Mobile [Jan 21, 2010]

New! Stay on top of tech with 650+ videos from O’Reilly TV [Jan 29, 2010]

Watch, re-watch and share Super Bowl 2010 commercials [Feb 8, 2010]

New! The Muppets Muppets Muppets on your mobile mobile mobile [Feb 11, 2010]

Two ways to send a direct message with Twitter for Kinoma Play [March 8, 2010]

Kinoma Play one of “7 best and most gorgeous applications for Symbian” [March 16, 2010]

Enjoy “Maximum Fun” shows on your phone with Kinoma Play [March 24, 2010]

New! Watch FreeBe TV shows on your phone with Kinoma Play [March 25, 2010]

New! Catch shows by Scott Johnson and friends on your phone with Kinoma Play [April 5, 2010]

JAMM: “I am an app junkie…I bought Kinoma Play and haven’t looked back” [April 7, 2010] (emphasis in red is mine)

David Gray‘s published his review of Kinoma Play on Just Another Mobile Monday this weekend. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer Easter present!

“I tried it, was so impressed by it’s graphics, intuitive ease of use, and its inclusion under-one-roof of some functions I already had individual apps for, I immediately bought the pay-version, called Kinoma Play, and haven’t looked back. I was also able to un-install a bunch of those now unnecessary space/memory wasters.”

Adam Carolla’s ACE Broadcasting shows now available on your phone with Kinoma Play [April 12, 2010]

Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist podcast “now a thing!” in Kinoma Play [May 14, 2010]

The Really Mobile Project: Kinoma Play “a bloody good app” [May 20, 2010]

The site published an excellent review of Kinoma Play. … the author — mobile technology expert Ben Smith — gets to the heart of both the what and the why of Kinoma Play. To quote (emphasis mine):

So what is Kinoma Play? At heart it’s a media player, but that description sells it short. It’s an audio player, picture viewer, a video player, a podcast manager (and player), a YouTube client, plus it’s got interfaces to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

The trouble is, that longer description makes it sound like a mess — trying to be all things to all people… But it’s not. And that’s actually made me a fan. It’s the polish…the refinement, the usability.

I quickly re-produced my media library (normally on my iPhone) onto my now-ageing N82 — podcasts, audio in multiple formats (including non-DRM content from the iTunes Store) and RSS feeds were all viewable just as easily as the iPhone. It’s advanced enough to keep the geeks happy and I’d happily give it to a ‘non-geek’ to use too, it’s that good.

Kinoma Play YouTube app update now available [May 21, 2010]

Follow the FIFA 2010 World Cup on your phone with Kinoma Play [June 10, 2010]

Kinoma Play Flights update now available [June 12, 2010]

Enjoy TWiT.tv shows anytime, everywhere (now with video!) [June 15, 2010]

177 (live!) London traffic cameras now available for your phone with Kinoma Play [June 22, 2010]

Google Reader update for Kinoma Play now available — speedier, more compatible [June 24, 2010]

One of the apps we use every day is Kinoma Play’s Google Reader app. It’s a fast, easy way to keep up with your favorite sites, and the full-text searching makes it incredibly easy to find posts on the exact topic you want no matter what feed or folder they’re in.

The reason we keep the word “Beta” painted on is that Google hasn’t quite settled on its “API”, which is what software developers like Kinoma use to access your Google Reader feeds. That means that they can change it anytime without notice.

That’s exactly what just happened, and so today we have a shiny new update of the Google Reader app for you!

Celebrate Michael Jackson’s legacy with Kinoma Play [June 26, 2010]

New! AccuRadio comes to Kinoma Play [July 6, 2010]

200+ BBC podcasts, new in Kinoma Play [July 13, 2010]

New! Hear spellbinding stories and tales from “The Moth” on your phone [July 22, 2010]

New! 87 radio stations from 1CLUB.FM now available on your phone [July 30, 2010]

Loads of new PBS content now available in Kinoma Guide [Aug 26, 2010]

Next Best Thing to Being There: Burning Man 2010 in Kinoma Play [Sept 1, 2010]

San Francisco’s cool new pirate radio station now available on your phone with Kinoma Play [Sept 16, 2010]

New Kinoma Play and FreePlay updates bring improved YouTube support [Sept 17, 2010]

New! Play hundreds of Sesame Street videos on your phone with Kinoma Play [Sept 21, 2010]

(Way) Up, up and away with NASA and Kinoma Play [Sept 23, 2010]

The world’s best movie podcasts, now available in Kinoma Play [Sept 30, 2010]

New! Scary stuff to get you in a spook-tacular mood for Halloween [Oct 26, 2010]

Bring the spirit of the holidays everywhere you go with Kinoma Play [Nov 16, 2010]

Remember John Lennon’s life and music with Kinoma Play [Dec 9, 2010]

New! Slate and Slate V come to Kinoma Play [Dec 15, 2010]

Enjoy Podcast Awards’ best podcasts of 2010 with Kinoma Play [Jan 12, 2010]