Saturday, February 17, 2007
Greg Winn is so wrong - we need a new phone OS
It's been reported in The Age that Telstra's Greg Winn thinks that Apple should not enter the mobile phone business. He's so wrong.
I've experienced a series of mainstream expensive phones from Sony Ericsson, Motorolla, and Nokia. Aside from the basic functionality of making and taking calls, the extra "smart" stuff tends to be confusing to use, buggy and often slow.
My current phone, a Nokia 6233, can be routinely crashed simply by forwarding an MMS. I'm no basic user, I want internet, bluetooth, MMS and email. Some of the things shown in the Apple iPhone launch, like easy conference calling are probably possible but I dare not attempt them.
Current phone operating systems from Symbian, and Palm haven't scaled well up to the requirements of multi-threaded networking applications. Microsoft's Windows Mobile is looking pretty good these days (used to crash in earlier versions) but I hear the battery life is terrible on some devices.
We desperately need operating systems on phones that are built for the internet, you can't go past unix in that department. Where are the Linux phones? Apple takes great care with user interface, iPods have amazing depth of functionality in them yet they seem so simple to use, the competition has transformed the portable digital player marketplace over the past few years, I hope the iPhone does the same for the phone business.
I wonder what phone Greg Winn uses, and can he figure out how to set the APN for his MMS without going mad?
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I thought this quote was particularly telling:
"You can pretty much be assured that [usual mob] will be coming out with devices that have similar functionality."
He doesn't get it because the *functionality* is *already* there on other devices, just really poorly implemented. The current crop of devices has generally poor user interfaces and (as you say) terrible reliability.
I don't know if the iPhone will be significantly better in these respects but the past form (ie iPod) and the early indications (ie keynote presentation) look good.
In other words the iPhone is not going to necessarily do *more*, but it will do it *better*.
I think I disagree that the OS is important. Given that this is a closed system (and we can debate the merits of that decision) it seems to me to be irrelevant what OS is used. Again, we should look to the iPod as an example.
Reading between the lines here, it seems to me that the iPhone trash-talk is all about Telstra getting the best deal with Apple when they sit down to negotiate.
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