By Greg Mills
Nokia, in big trouble
I can remember having Nokia cell phones, but that goes back a few years. Recently the smart phone revolution has taken it's toll, and Nokia's market share has fallen off dramatically. In an attempt to reinvigorate the company, they ditched their CEO of long standing, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo to tap a former Microsoft Executive, Stephen Elop for the job. To a great extent it might be sort of like rearranging the deck chairs on the doomed ship Titanic.
Apple and Google have the app store business so locked up, Rim and Nokia and the also rans are struggling to even stay in the game. I can well remember extremely stupid smart phones. I had one Motorola (also a sinking ship) cell phone that had a web access element that even a Sprint service center couldn't get up and running. Despite acknowledging the problem, the Sprint customer service department was reluctant to remove the charges on my bill for that service.
It took Apple and Steve Jobs to realize that using a smart cell phone shouldn't require an arcane 55-page booklet where features are so non-intuitive and hard to use, they are worthless. Microsoft's Mobile OS was also much less than user friendly. The notion of software developers creating an OS "for the rest of us" never seemed to be an idea Redmond ever understood. Now Microsoft is another sinking ship in the smart phone war. I give the vaporware Microsoft Mobile OS 7 almost as much credit for its potential as the Kin phone. Microsoft knows it must really make a strong connection soon or bow out of the mobile OS game. Personally, I think even if WIndows Mobile OS 7 is fine. it is too little, too late.
Is there room for more than two really valid Mobile OSs and their app stores? Only time will tell. The problem the other companies face is that the head start Apple with iOS and Google with Android have is at least two years ahead of everyone else out there. Two years in the the smart phone market is an insurmountable lead.
The Android OS, since it runs on any hardware configured for it, give hardware companies that don't have an OS a place to go. The problem for Android is that it's strong point of being open source is also it's weakness. Hacks and bootlegging on iPhone is nothing compared to the Android market. With as much as 90% of the App market pirated software, developers are wondering why bother with Android apps since Apple has almost none of the problem Google has with that issue. Intellectual property rights in the Apple market place are well protected.
Google has tried and so far failed to stem the problem of piracy and they must settle that issue or see the Android OS fall further back behind the Apple iOS market.
Recent movements from Apple to allow developers to use Adobe software to create apps is going to help their iOS hold onto the lead in apps for the short haul. As I have mentioned in this column before the beta App Inventor program coming from Google will allow Hobby apps to be developed in minutes. These drag and drop apps will not be too sophisticated at first but will certainly expand the Android store numbers with a lot of less than professional apps.
I have speculated that a Hobby App creator program for the iOS must be coming from Apple. I expect either iWork or iLife to sport such a program soon. Apple has too much to lose to not make it as easy as possible to create apps. I expect that software to be launched any day now.
(Greg Mills, is a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup, www.CottageIndustrySolar.com using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's art web site at www.gregmills.info ; His email is firstname.lastname@example.org )