Beyond The iPhone: A World of Opportunity

It’s getting a little bit silly now, dear reader.

Ridiculously silly. We’ve had a good year now of mobile applications taking off, going ballistic. Now, though, it’s time for the industry to get real about the iPhone: It isn’t the only handset on the marketplace.

The World Is Not Flat

I understand that the iPhone is gorgeous, glorious, elegant, beautiful. Indeed, I have been first in the line to pan the painfully obvious failures of other manufacturers who had the temerity to vomit out handsets that couldn’t hope to match the ‘elegance’ of the jPhone (“Jesus Phone”).

I won’t go into specifics, suffice to say that for the last 3 years, any manufacturer stupid enough to show off their ‘iPhone killer’ looked, well, stupid. Very stupid.

And now that the plebians have got hold of them — i.e. you can get the jPhone free on contract in the United Kingdom — it seems there’s no stopping the iPhone juggernaut.

i-Limitations

As I discussed in my DevNest presentation last Wednesday, the iPhone has limitations. Here’s a good example: Anyone calling themselves a geek and actually using an iPhone as their primary handset is universally acknowledged to be wet. Highly wet. Aged-45-and-still-lives-with-his-parents wet. That’s because the iPhone is a glorified Fisher Price toy phone. It doesn’t do background applications. Like the proverbial thick-kid at the back of the class, the iPhone can only do one thing at a time. iPhone users are reduced to thinking and working in monotone.

[Sidenote: I do feel for the people showing off magnificently crafted applications that turn your iPhone into something awesome. I’m thinking of super-cool mobile messaging aggregators, VOIP clients or remote access clients, anything that’s particularly nifty. How galling is it to know that when your users get a phone call, the whole sodding house of cards — the simply fantastic system you’ve built — falls to pieces because the device only does one thing at a time? And then the user has to fire up the application again… Simply rubbish, isn’t it?]

Anyway, for the rest of the planet, the iPhone is a pretty nice experience. My mother loves hers. My wife — having dumped her Android G1 for the latest iPhone 3GS — is delighted. She is particularly enamoured with the nifty applications.

iPhone: 14% — still in the teens!

Gartner reckons that in terms of 2009 sales, worldwide, 14% of them were iPhones. 20% were BlackBerries and a whopping 47% were Symbian devices. 4% were Android (which, in case you were wondering, is why nobody is downloading your Android app). Just so we’ve got numbers in perspective, there were roughly 80 million smartphones sold in 2009. Looking at total handset sales — including rubbish devices — Nokia shipped 440 million phones last year. Samsung shipped 235 million, LG knocked back 122 million and both Sony and Motorola did about 50 million each.

Today, Nokia will ship about a million phones. Just to be clear: Over a million phones will leave their factories today.

And you’re busy developing on… iPhone.

Yes.

Great.

iPhone has served its purpose. It has demonstrated that mobile applications have relevance, that the market is worthy of attention. We have got past the stage of experimentation though. We know it works.

It is no longer good enough to only release an iPhone application. It’s fine to experiment with it. But if you’re a big brand and you only release on the iPhone, you’re stupid. Stupid, stupid and thrice stupid.

That’s because there’s a massive market sitting staring in the window wondering why they can’t do business with you.

The other platforms out there have been working really hard to make sure that the app experience on their handsets is beginning to resemble the elegance of iPhone. BlackBerry’s AppWorld is working nicely. Nokia’s Ovi Store is chugging back 1.5m downloads a day now. Samsung are working hard on their offerings, likewise Sony. Even the Android Marketplace is becoming useful.

Time To Think About Other Platforms

For a long time I’ve been complaining to Nokia. I’ve been going nuts over the fact that, a few months ago, I went out and bought a Nokia N86 on contract from UK operator, 3. The N86 is a piece of engineering genius and the camera is simply fantastic. I really do like it.

Here’s the example I’ve used — that really winds me up. A little while ago, Ocado (the grocery delivery service allied to the Waitrose chain of shops) launched an iPhone application. The app enables you to literally order your toilet rooms whilst you’re sat on the train. Genius. It’s basically an app interface to their existing online ordering portal.

My problem is this: How come the chump sitting opposite me on the train with his iPhone can order his toilet rolls with a few taps — and, with my Nokia N86, I can’t?

It’s because the people at Ocado decided not to create a Nokia/Symbian app. Instead, they decided just to focus on iPhone.

Initially I railed at Nokia for allowing this situation. And whilst the manufacturer did carry a substantial amount of responsibility for not creating the conditions to easily allow application creation and dissemination, the key issues are more or less fixed.

I don’t believe it’s Nokia’s problem any more. It’s companies like Ocado that are holding the marketplace back.

I’ll be more specific: It’s the digital agencies that are propping up the iFascist viewpoint.

I should point out that I haven’t phoned Ocado to find out if they did their development in-house or via an agency. I don’t want to because the Waitrose brand is held particularly high in my mind. I don’t want to destroy that by phoning them and finding out that they’re a bunch of numbskulls who haven’t even considered developing on other platforms. I actually did phone and got through to the voicemail of a chap called Ben.

But it doesn’t look good for Ocado. Oh no.

Silicon carries an fantastically illuminating interview with Jon Rudoe, head of retail at Ocado. Here is Jon discussing why they launched their iPhone app:

Silicon: What was your business case for launching an app?
Ocado: “The [problem] that people are trying to solve is: ‘How do I get my cupboard stocked and my fridge full with the products I want? How do I find, select and retrieve my weekly grocery needs?’ When you look at the world like that then you almost become platform agnostic. So, rather than sitting there thinking ‘well, I must have a website’, or ‘I must have a supermarket’, or ‘I must have whatever’, you actually find yourself thinking ‘I must have a mechanism for people to fulfil that want/need/job’… And then all you have to ask yourself is: ‘Do people want to do that on this platform?’.”

So we must assume that the Ocado chaps sat around the conference table and decided that anyone using a Nokia, a Samsung or a BlackBerry was unclean. Dirty. And of course, dirty people wouldn’t want to use Ocado on their device, right? 😉

Here’s one more quote from the Silicon piece:

Silicon: How much research did you do before you launched the app?
John: “It was quite easy, at the stage we started developing, to look at the market and to look at where most of the phone usage was. We did some research and we can obviously spot which customers were visiting our regular website from which mobile devices and obviously we could understand general statistics about iPhones and other smartphone penetration. [An iPhone app was] a pretty obvious first place to start, basically.”

Goodness me.  This is why the mobile industry is screwed at the moment.

Numbskulls.

Ocado selected iPhone and for everybody else using a Nokia, a Samsung or a Sony Ericsson — or anything else — their message is (by default): If you want to order your toilet rolls on the train, sod off and buy an iPhone.

Unfortunately that isn’t a sustainable or sensible suggestion. It’s like suggesting customers trying to use Ocado Online from their Mac laptop should go and buy a PC first. Or vice versa.

Jon-from-Ocado goes on to point out that the iPhone now accounts for 2% of their online sales.

Let’s just stop there for a moment.

TWO PERCENT?

Their heads must button up the back.

TWO PERCENT of your sales go via mobile and you’ve limited that to ONLY iPhones?

What about Nokia?

What about Samsung?

What about BlackBerry?

It beggars belief, it really does.

The Cost Issue

Of course it’s expensive to develop on multiple platforms. Yes indeed. The kind of expense that small developers simply can’t cope with. And that’s entirely understandable. But if you’re an online retail giant — and TWO PERCENT of your sales are coming from iPhone already — what’s stopping you reaching out to other platforms?

Well it’s probably because it’s difficult.

That’s right. The one thing most digital agencies don’t tell their clients is that they don’t have a flucking clue how to develop for the other platforms.

Do ask your mobile agency about developing on Nokia. Or BlackBerry. Or Vodafone 360.  Watch their horrified look. Watch their faces screw up with mock disdain. It’s no longer possible to dismiss anything other than iPhone as ‘irrelevant’ or ‘not ready for prime time’.

This poses a real challenge for the Nike-wearing digital agency fraternity, who’ve had a really nice time knocking back the iPhone apps at pretty good rates.  Most of them have no experience with any other platforms. Most of them will — when your call comes in — be reaching for the phone number of that Eastern European mobile developer company, because the agency themselves — seriously — can’t tell a BlackBerry from a Samsung.

That’s going to become quite a business challenge for a lot of companies, soon.

It’s Not Just Ocado

Of course it’s not just Ocado guilty of this iFascism (“only focusing on the iPhone”) — the industry is rife with it. While everyone is busy competing with each other on the iPhone, there’s a land-grab beginning on the other platforms. It’s been ok to ignore these platforms whilst they’ve been busy struggling to establish themselves.

They’re established now.

And if you’re not developing for these other platforms, if you think they’re irrelevant — be very careful. They’re now coming of age and looking for their own superstars to rise up and dominate their charts. Heroes are being made on a daily basis across the other platforms. Even BlackBerry’s AppWorld has now started creating millionaires out of developers who were smart enough to get stuck in way before the hordes descend.

It’s time for me to calm down now.

Update: For the Americans, here’s the definition of ‘wet‘.

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49 Responses to Beyond The iPhone: A World of Opportunity

  1. @jaycoo March 15, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    I wholeheartedly agree. But what I find even more frustrating, after they have done their iPhone app, what do they do next? Android! Why I ask? The answer I get is ‘because it is the next big thing’, ‘its in the press a lot’, ‘everyone is talking about it’ and ‘they have an app store’. Short sighted to the extreme. I understand the wave the people are riding but when are they going to turn round and see the bigger one right behind them that they are completely ill equipped for.

  2. Guest March 15, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    Really interesting viewpoint – a company – Grapple can develop cross platform apps using simple web languages – check out the website: http://www.grapplemobile.com

  3. Anonymous March 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    Cross mobile apps made by http://www.grapplemobile.com – all platforms

  4. Mike42 March 15, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    Boss – let's develop a Symbian app! Massive apparent addressable market. OK, go to it, marketing, sell sell sell. Get that campaign machine rolling chaps!

  5. Ewan March 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    I'm not just talking about Symbian, Mike. Do you think there's anything addressable beyond iPhone?

  6. Antonio Jorge Ferreira March 15, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    Ewan, “Anyone calling themselves a geek and actually using an iPhone as their primary handset” will jailbreak it to release it ´s true potential…. I´m 34 by the way…

  7. ramtop March 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    You're missing several points, unless there is a conspiracy out there.

    first, development for symbian and blackberry is incredibly expensive, some like x20 times iphone or android dev for same functionality. This is partially due to the complexity of sdks but mostly to the fragmentation of the device market, the scarsity of skilled resourses and documentation. This means that if you want to impact a significant quote of the devices out there you need to test/develop on tens of symbian devices/bios. I have no experience with Blackberry myself but other dev told me it was the same there.

    the other factor is that rim and symbian users are much less prone to download and try app on their phones. I had several bad experiences on my Nokia E65 trying third parties apps, so I quit completely to try them.

    I'd would be curious to know how many downloads the most successful application for symbian and blackberry is doing.

    Said that I really hope that things will change in the future. That's why I had big hopes for Vodafone JIL…

  8. Mike42 March 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    Of course – Android is less rubbish than Nokia/SEM/LG by a long shot, but it's still niche/not quite there in the public eye. Blackberry will probably be the next best bet – the FB app from a year back was a good start for them.

    Ecosystem > App > Market, not App > Market > Ecosystem.

  9. Mike42 March 15, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    I disagree. Maybe with 1.0 or 2.0 but not now. There's just no need. It can already do way more than I can find the time to faff about with.

    Unless you get into geek snobbery.

    This geek likes the iPhone as-is, thanks.

  10. bamps March 15, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    Totally agree with you Ewan, especially being addicted Blackberry user, and seeing all these i-phone apps is starting to tempt me away from my Blackberry which was unthinkable 6 months ago. I also heard that it was so expensive and much more complicated to develop for other platforms.

  11. Ewan March 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    Have you tried the Ovi Store in the last few months Mike? Or BlackBerry's AppWorld? They're getting a lot better!

  12. Ewan March 15, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

    Ah I should have allowed for jailbreaking, good point Antonio!

  13. Ewan March 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    Off the top of my head Ramtop, Nimbuzz recently announced they did a million downloads in Ovi. And another off the top of my head — there's a radio app on BlackBerry that's down a coupla million downloads.

    The expense is definitely relevant if you're talking about an individual developer. But if you're making 2% of your revenues from iPhone, do you not think it might be useful to extend to other platforms and potentially boost revenues to 10% from mobile?

  14. Ewan March 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    How are you getting on with BlackBerry AppWorld?

  15. bamps March 15, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    It's rubbish! Very US-centric – very few UK apps.

  16. ramtop March 15, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    If this is the situation. Ovi is doing a very good jobs and things are quite different since 2 years ago.
    Still in the mobile dev community symbian (and javame) are still associated with long hours and nightmares…
    I hope they will change this.

  17. Ewan March 15, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    Oh that's a pretty negative response then!

  18. jamesgpearce March 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    Did it occur to anyone that a decent mobile web site might have worked wonderfully on all the platforms mentioned above? With barely more development time than any one siloed app would have required?

    No nasty download problems for the 'Yummy Mummies'… and possibly even re-use of the existing web infrastructure?

    One assumes the 'must work offline' argument is moot for er, online shopping. (And the 15-year old could have wrapped it up in an SSB to fulfill any irrational app store fetishes)

    Anyone?

    “Their heads must button up the back” – fantastic. Need to remember that one.

  19. Ewan March 15, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    Another good point James. The mobile web is generally forgotten — but in the case of Ocado, that might work rather nicely.

    (The heads-must-button-up-the-back is something my dad says..)

  20. Ewan March 15, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    As I understand it, there's still quite a bit of long hours and nightmares Ramtop, but this is set to change with the introduction of Qt. I need to get briefed on what BlackBerry, Sony and Samsung have got coming along too.

  21. Ewan March 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    Another excellent point, Jay

  22. rafeblandford March 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    Just to add to what Ewan said – the average person using Ovi Store has downloaded 12 things. Things have come on massively in the last 12 months. Ovi Store is now shipping with most new devices. There's work to be done, but if you look at the 1.5 million number that's an awful lot of downloads…

    … and more expensive is not necessairly true either. You can developer in WRT and be a first class citizen app on Nokia – all you need for that is HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

    The most sucessfull apps are the ones that get preloaded on devices. Quickoffice is on well over 100 million Symbian phones… something more recent like PsiLoc's World Traveller is on 15 million + phones (with about 1.5 million active users I believe). Plus there are several in the 1 million Ovi Store club…

  23. Mike42 March 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    Yup. Better. But still a world away from where they need to be, IMHO. Remembering that there are a ton of older Nokias out there. Maybe the mass app market will never get cracked until iPhone-esque handset capabilities are widespread. Come back in 5 years?

  24. rafeblandford March 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    Agree with this – and you can deploy an application accting as a shortcut to some of the stores too.

  25. Ewan March 15, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    You know what Mike I think we might be a lot nearer than that!

  26. Mike42 March 15, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    I doubt it. Apple got to shaft its partners into accepting their app store. I just can't see VF/China Mobile/Erascom/Telefonica et al accepting that sort of vendor-centric thinking for its entire 2+ Bn customer base (and that's what we are discussing – truly mass-market app stores).

    The Apple App store worked because one guy was in total freakin' control. Try replicating that level of co-ordination across 700 MNO's x 5 handset manufacturers x all their models x 200+ markets.

    Comes after 'cluster', rhymes with 'duck'.

  27. Ewan March 15, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    Clusterfuck, do you mean?

    😉

    I think it's actually getting there. By hook or by crook, folk are actually seeing some success on other platforms.

  28. El Greco March 15, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    People develop for iPhone because iPhone apps are:
    1. Downloaded
    2. Used
    Because app download and usage is an integral part of iPhone usage in a way that only Android approaches so far.

    Comparing numbers is misleading – iPhone is an order of magnitude better than the vast majority of Symbian devices – these are dated, small screen, non-touch devices which you would really not want to order groceries from. Reading emails is chore enough.

    PS the lack of backgrounding is a design decision, not a limitation. Occasionally it's annoying but it makes the 3GS fast and responsive like no other phone I've used. Design is all about trade-offs like this.

  29. jamesgpearce March 15, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    Hell, why not even put QR codes on the shelf so you can bookmark goods you like in the real store to appear in your virtual store for future deliveries.

    (ie. Who needs an app store when you have URLs?)

  30. Antoine RJ Wright March 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    Ah, there's the comment. I was going to comment the same thing. There's not as much a need for dedicated apps given the WRT/widget frameworks that the web alread asposuses. For those items needing something more dedicated, then maybe, but I'd guess that outside of a few heavy games, folks who are already being charged an arm/leg for data & voice would be hard pressed to see the difference between a well coded mobile web app and a native one – especially when they act the same.

    For me, that's one of the reasons that Google Reader (as a bookmark) took the place of Gravity. There was no difference for me in terms of what I wanted to do versus what the site offered versus the app (yes, I know it does more, but that part was really central towards me using Gravity).

    Great post (as usual) Ewan… now when are you going to make that post that says “websites should start with a mobile audience in mind and build their sites like a mobile app, rather than making RSS or a mobile app the next step” 😉

  31. penna March 15, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    I've had my 3GS jailbroken since the first week I got it (7 months ago) and couldn't live without some of the simpler stuff that jailbreaking adds (nevermind multitasking etc). It really improves the usablity of the thing…

  32. Ewan March 15, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    Good inspiration Antoine, I might use that for next week..

  33. Hillarious Troll March 15, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    Sounds like someone was pissed that his Andriod phone didn't get an Ocado app!

    Cry more for your tears sustain my life.

  34. rafeblandford March 15, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    Without getting into the iPhone is better argument…

    Nokia sold 10 million or so touchscreen phones in the last quarter (i.e. half of their Symbian devices.. and more than ayone else)… so no the idea that the vast majority of Symbian devices are dated, small-screened, non-touch is another misconception. Moreover surely small-screen / non-touch can be usable (look at Blackberry's) – it's juts a question of design.

    Ovi Store is getting 1.5 million a day (end of February – that's up from 1 million in December) and will presumably keep growing. An average Ovi Store user has downloaded 12 applications. So people are downloading and using apps.

  35. dani2xll March 15, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    Agreed, iPhone has limitations. What phone doesn't? I am a geek, and do own iPhone as my primary handset, I am over 45, do not live with my parents and I am not wet! Now that’s out of the way… Like other phone manufacturers, app development is a by-product of what the phone does not offer as a bought parcel. There are apps to use apps in the background or to multi-task for the iPhone. Just as we had the ram problem with the Nokia N95 and perpetuated in the vast majority of handsets, I have had to keep shutting down several apps to be able to open and run other apps. Firmware updates are slow to arrive and promises such as Skype for N97 has taken over 6 months to arrive and the software so poor that it caused me to have to dish-out another gbp500 for the iPhone just to be able to have a workable safari browser suited to my needs. Don’t mention flash as I have yet to miss it. Now let’s race forward to apps for iPhone. iPhone is not to blame and neither is Ocado. The problem lies with the phone manufacturers for not making their development procedures, or costs, or advertising, simple or attractive enough to grab Companies such as Ocado. Yes, Nokia sells millions of handsets, but they are so diverse with different operating systems and different functions that don’t all exist in any one phone., or example, gps, radio etc. Perceived from a company’s point of view such as Ocado… it’s what to produce and for what phone and how long will Nokia support that phone before their App or Service becomes dead in the water? If a bunch of consumers are picking the iPhone… phone companies have to ask themselves why and Ocado or any other company is not going to miss such a high-profile company such as Apple. Despite the app being for the iPhone, we have to remember that companies of course, recognise Apple, iMac, Mac Book, iPod, Shuffle and the rest down to iTouch, iPhone and latterly iPad. It is not their fault that the iPhone has become instantly recognised and to want to jump on the bandwagon. We all know Apple has patented the heck out of everything… but some things must remain for other phone manufacturers to work with, in an attempt to get the UI, and simplicity of use factor on to their phones. On the app developer however, no one is doing it for love! It’s all today with money and if I were an app developer it would be easier, of course to develop a million apps, as an example lol, for the iPhone, then pitch to Ocado and anyone else, about being able to create an app for them. We do not know if or how convincing or creative Nokia developers are at getting these big companies on board. Oh and by the way, I still love Nokia. I just wish they would hurry up with their e-series symbian^3. Therefore, to finalise, I have all the designer store apps, Ocado lol, Amazon, Ikea and the rest. Show me Nokia is heading this way. My Nokia E72 arrives in a few days…

  36. Antoine RJ Wright March 15, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

    Coolbeans… though I'll have to say that I jumped the gun and beat you to writing about it by posting it on my personal site this AM (when not at SXSW and using MoPress things like that can happen, hehehe).

  37. TerenceEden March 15, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

    “Blah blah blah! I love my iPhone! Wah Wah wah! All other phones suck.”

    Go take a look at http://amazon.mobi/
    Now take a peak at http://ebaymobile.co.uk/
    Not convinced? Try http://lufthansa.mobi/

    Brilliantly designed mobile shopping sites which WORK ON EVERY PHONE*. Go there on an iPhone & you'll get all the JavaScript bells & whistles. Go there on a BlackBerry or mid-range Nokia and you'll get a simple – but still well crafted – shopping experience. Go there with a phone you got out of a Christmas-cracker and it will STILL work.

    Those three sites don't reveal how much traffic / money they make from mobile. I'd wager it's more than from their iPhone app alone. If they do publish and I'm wrong, I'll spend a week with an iPhone without once complaining!

    As for “oh, well, everyone knows how to download an app” I've got two things to say to you
    1) Do some usability testing with people who've never used an iPhone. You'll be shocked.
    2) Much like Robson and Jerome – advertise something enough and people will think they want it. If sainsburys.mobi/ was plastered on every receipt, had a catchy TV slogan and was splashed all over the papers – it would be an overnight success too.

    But, no. Better to look cool than to make money.

    T
    *With a browser, natch.
    All views are my own. Who else would want them?

  38. Ewan March 15, 2010 at 10:12 pm #

    Points well made Terence!

  39. Alex Kerr March 15, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

    I'm sorry but the reply above just isn't accurate or balanced. Just to hilight a few points:
    > There are apps to use apps in the background or to multi-task for the iPhone
    Nope. The iPhone doesn't multitask. Full stop. Unless you jailbreak, which doesn't count because most of all the reasons people can't and won't do it. Maybe Apple will enable multitasking in v4.0 but the painful truth for all you Apple lovers is Apple simply haven't had the engineering skill to make iPhone OS multitask well. Heresy, but truth nonetheless. Symbian on the other hand is the best multitasking OS out there (note I said OS, not just mobile OS).

    > just to be able to have a workable safari browser suited to my needs
    Most people find the browsers on other platforms fine, so you're in a real minority.

    > iPhone is not to blame and neither is Ocado. The problem lies with the phone manufacturers for not making their development procedures, or costs, or advertising, simple or attractive enough to grab Companies such as Ocado.

    Nope. I have to agree with Ewan. Ocado IS to blame. Absolutely. They should be asking the right questions that gets their app into as many people's hands as possible – i.e. gets Ocado an agency that can achieve this for them. As suggested in the article and comments, it's also agencies that don't have a clue.

    > we have to remember that companies of course, recognise Apple, [insert Apple product here]
    What, and they don't recognise Nokia – world's largest handset company by miles? Or Blackberry?
    Come on… No excuses. Lame, lame, lame, shame, shame, shame (on the agencies who can't cope with development on non-Apple platforms).

    > Yes, Nokia sells millions of handsets, but they are so diverse with different operating systems and different functions that don’t all exist in any one phone.,
    This is just wrong. There's one OS, S60. End of story. Any *half decent* programmer can write code that covers different OS releases and different hardware features. Things like Python and the large variety of other development languages on S60 make this SIMPLE. What? You can't find a half decent programmer!? Oh well that explains it then…. 😉

    > We all know Apple has patented the heck out of everything…
    And is now getting rightly sued into the ground by Nokia for theft.

    > Show me Nokia is heading this way.
    The results speak for themselves – 1.5 million DLs a day from Ovi Store, several million-download apps, 12-app average downloads by Ovi Store users, rapid growth rate, huge global reach, blah, blah, blah.

    I agree with this article, no excuses for ignoring other platforms, other than, shock horror, you're not a good enough programmer!

  40. Johnson Rogers March 15, 2010 at 11:09 pm #

    Great points.

    > Go there on an iPhone & you'll get all the JavaScript bells & whistles. Go there on a BlackBerry or mid-range Nokia and you'll get a simple – but still well crafted – shopping experience.

    Agreed, but why one has to ask does the iPhone get all the JS bells and whistles? Given Nokias have more capable browsers, with full JS goodness (do Blackberrys?) using the same browser codebase (WebKit) serving something simpler to them is also terribly lame, and speaks of incapable programmers. Oh dear.

    > But, no. Better to look cool than to make money.
    Come on everyone. Lets stop mucking about and admit that this is, in fact the truth. There are three reasons iPhone gets the apps:

    1.) It looks cool for the company whose name is on the app
    2.) There's an awful lot of programmers out there who aren't good enough to program on anything else than an iPhone, or rather are scared of a development environment that doesn't babysit their every waking moment
    3.) They're chasing the pot of fool's gold at the foot of the iRainbow. Because fool's gold is about all you'll earn.

  41. Ewan March 15, 2010 at 11:47 pm #

    It's usually me and you sitting screaming at each other here, Alex. It makes a nice difference to be in broad agreement 😀

  42. Chris March 16, 2010 at 1:41 am #

    In total agreement with Ewan and Alex, I've ben talking alot recently with my 'normob' mates about the iphone and everytime i explain the bascis of multi-tasking i get a response of 'huh, didn't realise that'. Perceptions can and will be changed, thats what Marketing is for.

    Not to mention Nokia's release of free navigation…a platform for location based apps? Yup, a game changer right there. We've seen some serious early potential in Nokia's latest hardware, ie the N900, the polish is coming (as I'm sure it is for RIM, Samsung etc too) and I for one can't wait.

  43. Dean Morrison March 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Ewan: “Anyone calling themselves a geek and actually using an iPhone as their primary handset is universally acknowledged to be wet. Highly wet.”

    Well, not if you jailbreak it.

  44. Ewan March 16, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    Ah I don't know if that counts, Dean!

  45. El Greco March 16, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    Fair points but the article was throwing in various numbers such as total Nokia sales, total Symbian devices etc. and these can't really be compared with iPhone. Even touch screen Symbian is not necessarily comparable and is (I assume) dominated by the 5800 and whatever the other one was which were more or less given away in crackers.

    The N97/mini and X6 are probably the only comparable devices (like you, I'm avoiding the which-is-better argument, but I think that this is uncontentious) and their sales are small.

  46. rafeblandford March 17, 2010 at 11:52 am #

    Err why are all touch screen Symbian not comparable? All the touch devices are compatible in terms of software so they represent a single address able bloc. Yes the 5800, 5530 and 5230 are lower cost handset but they can run the same apps as the N97 and X6 (indeed you'll find a lot of people saying they have 90% of the functionality for 50% of the cost – the differences are in hardware like materials, camera megapixels etc.).

    As a developer you are probably best advised to segment not by price or some waffly defintion, but by what you can address with a single code base.

    Those using lower cost devices might be used by different types of people who might have different usage patterns (e.g. less likely to pay for apps), but that's a different argument (and doesn't seem to be clear cut given the average downloads per Ovi Store user).

  47. El Greco March 17, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    This is admittedly unscientific, but although apps may run, I'm quite sure usage would be much lower than on an iPhone because of the far inferior user experience (and I have used both so I know).

  48. ramtop March 19, 2010 at 8:59 am #

    “14% of them were iPhones. 4% were Android”

    looking at this data again… if really android phones sold one third of iphones in 2009 that would be a huge success. There wasn't any decent android phones till June 2009 and good ones came out only in 2010.

    Still the number of downloads of most popular android apps are less than a tenth of iphone's ones. Maybe we should consider also ipod in the pictures.

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