I switched to it from my Palm Treos and held on it for a long, long time ("root and replace the opening animation with a static image to free up 96k of RAM" kind of long time:-)
It reminded me of my first 286 computer when I was 9 or 10, when you had to know what every file did and mess around with ridiculous extended vs expanded memory constructs, just to get new things working on it. My Samsung Note (and to lesser degree, iPhone XR), mostly "just work" and I enjoy them as such... but I can never love them as much as I did that G1:)
I always thought that the BB-like prototype looked pretty neat too, if the keyboard and button bar could have been made more compact to make more space for the screen.
Now all the phones are exactly the same, there is very little experimentation or innovation except for small players like the fxtec pro (waiting for mine to ship)
Used the hell out of those things, I was REALLY impressed with their physical robustness. My partner dropped their phone ... and ran over it with a bike. There was a tire print across the keyboard AND screen, without no harm done.
It was only surpassed by the Samsung Sidekick 4G. That had nicely spaced keys for quick typing, and a decent sized screen for the time.
I regret not getting to try out a Motorola Photon Q, which might have been a very nice experience. But it was released only for Sprint. And every expensive at the time.
And now you can't get a decent physical keyboard on anything. I've gotten used to swiping and am decently fast at it after years of practice.
If you people really liked the keyboard, you would be praising the two last phones from blackberry.
physical keys, ctrl+a/c/v/z! it even have a gimmick that acts as a touchpad. and bloatware-less android (well, less than a pure-google anyway)
only downside of those phones is nobody managed to get root yet. But that is more an android issue. And some people might actually prefer a phone with no root entry points anyway.
Android being open source was a huge factor too but I probably would have stuck with the Treo 680 for a while longer if it wasn't for the keyboard.
And I do use a BB key2 right now :) At least until I get my fxtec pro1.
BB seems to have stopped selling the Key2 in the US a few months back so I really hope my current one holds out long enough.
Not necessarily. Steve Jobs was really pissed with Google after they launched Android because Android copied a lot of features from ios. And they could do so because Apple had given them early access to it to develop apps like YouTube (remember, the first iPhone / ios 1 came with the YouTube app bundled by default). Steve Jobs was also mentoring the Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, at that time, and they had unprecedented access to both him and presumably his company. That's why he believed that Android was the "stolen" property of Apple:
> According to Steven Levy's book, Jobs "concluded that he was a victim of deceit." He felt "he had been betrayed by the two young men he had been attempting to mentor. He felt the trust between the two companies had been violated […] Not only did he believe that Google had performed a bait and switch on him, replacing a non-competing phone with one that was very much in the iPhone mode, but he also felt that Google had stolen Apple's intellectual property."
(Interestingly, it was after Android that Steve Jobs very rightly claimed that Google's "don't be evil" mantra was plain bullshit).
Edit: Turns out I may have been wrong about the YouTube app part. While I do remember reading elsewhere that Apple did give Google access to early prototypes of ios and iPhone, this article claims that the YouTube app initially bundled with ios 1 to 6 was built by Apple themselves, and not Google - https://mashable.com/2017/06/30/iphone-youtube-app-story/ .
And I think all this "it was my idea and you copied it!" is just kinda dumb anyway. I mean, imagine you're an Android UI/UX designer from before the iPhone came out. You're doing your thing, and it's looking a bit like WinCE and a bit like BB, and who knows what else. Then you get wind of the iPhone, and you see how completely different the UX is, and it hits you: "wow, this is amazing and so much better than what we're doing". So what are you going to do? Sit back? "Well, shucks, I didn't come up with this idea, it's all Apple's... I guess they win and Android will ship as-is." No, of course not, that's insane. You step back, throw out the ideas of yours that weren't good, and adopt the new ideas that are better.
And frankly I still think there's a lot to the main launcher / home screen paradigm that Android has better. I love that I have an alphabetized app drawer listing all my apps, and then I get to make various home screens with just the subset of apps there that I want. I never understood why all apps on the iPhone live on one of the main screens and have to be organized, manually; it just felt like more work than I wanted to do. Android might be heavily heavily influenced by the iPhone, but it's not like they just copied it screen for screen, interaction for interaction, and called it a day.
The n770 had a better screen than the first iphone (800x480), actually ran apps (the first iphone was web only), and had an app store. In particular Maemo mapper was crazy better than anything apple offered for many years.
I remember following the development of the N950 and being thoroughly disappointed when Nokia killed it off and went all in on Windows Phone instead of sticking with Linux-based systems.
Jobs made amazing things happen, but he also had a Reality Distortion Field with the best of them.
So from that perspective, he is right to be pissed and they did "steal" Apple's "innovations".
If Google did not have the early access to the prototypes from Apple, an ios like Android wouldn't have come so soon after iPhone's success became apparent. Apparently, ios like Android was launched within a year of the first iPhone. If Google had no idea about ios, they wouldn't even have devoted so much resource to Android (which they had bought to put pressure on the carriers and use as a negotiating tactic). And if they had started developing Android after the iPhone, Android OS would have taken more time to develop and launch. And who knows, by that time, another mobile OS (blackberry or Windows) could have become the number 2 mobile OS.
The Android top bar was also totally different. The Android bar was a full UI widget you could drag down to reveal a sophisticated notifications system. iOS barely had a notifications system at all when it launched.
There were really quite a lot of differences. That's why Apple was reduced to arguing nonsense like "we own rounded rectangles" and "grids of icons are iOS IP".
Damn Shane about Xerox, they really we're sitting on a gold mine.
Apparently everything you typed was executed in a terminal, so if you typed "reboot" anywhere, including in a chat window, it would reboot your device.
So open up a chat app, type return, reboot, return. Tada.
I can't find some original sources, but there is a summary I found on Slashdot. https://mobile.slashdot.org/story/08/11/08/1720246/bug-in-an...
Aren't those The Thing though? I was in the peripheral Nokia/Symbian world at the time, had been working on smartphones for a few years, and... the G1 was amazing. Straightforward SDK vs. the insane embedded toolchains prevalent at the time (remember: there was no iOS SDK at all yet!), hardware specs similar to the iPhone... I mean, this thing was a breath of fresh air.
Obviously things got better, and in hindsight the hardware keyboard and trackball were silly dead ends. But none of that seems to have been obvious at the time.
Now, it's true that in terms of market share the G1 itself didn't do very much: it wasn't until Samsung launched all the Galaxy S variants ~2 years later running Eclair that Android took off as a platform. But I don't see much of that as an indictment of the G1.
Not dead ends, just a bit too expensive for the cut-throat competitive market. I loved the keyboard and trackball and I still miss them in modern phones.
While not Dream-bad, the first iPhone was really bad, but with a better interface than every other phone. It didn't have an app store, so the interesting things were maps and a web browser, but with only 2.5G internet, they were mostly unusable.
I couldn't disagree more. Sure looking back at what we have today it is easy to laugh at it but it was literally the only product of its kind for perhaps the first 9 months of its life. It delivered on pretty much everything IMHO. It was reliable and it performed well. It really did replace an iPod, phone and PDA with one device.
Honestly the only thing it lacked was copy and paste which I agree was dumb but never did I think it was "really bad" because of this omission.
People can rag on Apple for a lot of stuff but man they really killed it with completely new gen 1 device. Not even the iPod was as good a gen 1 device as it lacked PC compatibility, a physical wheel that could/would break, etc.
It took at minimum a year for any other phone maker to bring something even 50% as good as the iPhone to the market and it took them several years to match (and exceed) it.
I'm not saying the first iPhone was perfect, obviously it was not. There is still not perfect smartphone. However it was a great product and I feel calling it "really bad" is very unjust.
In every category except user interface the first iPhone was behind the times. Devices like the Nokia N95 could do everything the iPhone could do, plus a lot more, with great (for the time!) performance.
But it's also a demonstration of why UI matters so much. I was using a Symbian smartphone and loved it but none of my friends did because it wasn't as intuitive as the dumb phones of the time. iPhones were as intuitive as a dumb phone and had a whole raft of new features... but only when compared to those dumb phones.
So ya, it's UI, but most other phones were physically incapable of translating touch events into 60fps graphics like the smooth scrolling lists or mobile Safari's zooming interface.
Phones that did have PowerVR or something equivalent at the time didn't have a 3D accelerated double buffered GUI baked into the OS like what Apple had already developed for OS X.
I have vivid memories of getting frustrated with all Symbian smartphones, the N95 included. It was clunky and horrible to work with.
To me that shows just how good the first iPhone, and iOS, was. Even though it had no third party apps and was missing some common features it was so much more enjoyable to use that it made up for those short comings.
I tried for years to find a good "smartphone" (for the time). Palm, BlackBerry, Sony Ericsson, etc. I tried using a dedicated PDA (Palm Tungsten, etc) with GPRS(!) over bluetooth to a reliable phone (Nokia 6310i) and all that but it was still a horrible experience. Not because of the some what hacky ways you had to get things to work properly (that was a get it working and you were done one off) but because it never felt like good to actually use. Inputting data was awkward with a stylus, the UIs were poorly designed with no real thought put into users workflow for common tasks. Switching between apps was slow and you lose context or worse would lose what you had already input!
Then one day I had an iPhone in my hand and it did almost everything I wanted. It had a really good (for the time) mobile web experience, years ahead of any other platform. A great audio player with their iPod platform. The best YouTube and mobile video experience out there. A maps app you could actually use without wanting smart the phone. A solid email, calendar and contacts package.
Adapting to the on screen keyboard is easy for me, sure it felt different but I could never relate to people who kept talking about how they could never give up their BlackBerry with its "proper" keyboard. I hated those tiny physical keyboards. From sending my first SMS on an iPhone I knew I never wanted to use a phone with actual buttons again.
So yes the user experience was incredible on iOS compared to everything else before it however I stand by my reply that OP is being unfair to say it was "very bad but with a good user interface" because to me, and I am confident many others, that user interface is what defined the iPhone as being so good. Every other phone was instantly horrible to me because they didn't have such a good user experience. It didn't matter if some other phone had an hour long battery life or apps or a better camera or copy and paste. Every other phone had a garbage user experience which made it a worse phone.
I still think I'd rather zoom into a desktop page than deal with responsive designs, personally.
Up until that point, browsing on a mobile device was either horribly limited or various kinds of impossible.
The iPhone showed what was possible, and legions of people started to take mobile devices more seriously as full-fledged compute devices.
The security problems would trump most other considerations for my for a modern era smartphone of that vintage.
Though most of the stock apps on it don't work anymore, it's fine as an actual telephone, address book, very basic camera, and a few other things. A lot of the apps on it are no longer available, and since the App Store app is so slow as to be unusable, they don't get removed.
Safari works, but most sites look like they've had their CSS disabled. So it's kind of like WAP days.
It's a good phone for banging around with in uncertain areas, or where you need a phone that you don't mind getting wrecked.
In my opinion, the form factor is still unsurpassed. And it feels good in the hand -- weighty and assuring, but small enough to not get in the way.
The thing I use it for most, though, is the music player. Somehow it sounds better than the newer iPhones. But then, I also think the Shuffles sound better than the newer iPhones.
It's not free, which I understand, but it's also not nearly as likely to be immediately exploited by some of the various problems older phones have had (SMS hacks, browser exploit hacks, etc).
That's why I still use my trusty 1080p LCD TV and 1080p AV receiver. They were less than $85 total a couple of years ago second hand, and do exactly what they need to do with a cheap HTPC hooked up to them.
Also, the Blackberry was actually useful as a phone. IIRC the iPhones could barely make phone calls until the iPhone 4.
I used mine from a couple months after release until the 4S came out and have no experience supporting that - it was equivalent quality to any other phone I used during that period (pre-VoLTE). The main source of problems was AT&T's network but that affected all phones since it was do to them having massively underprovisioned their network.
(IIRC the iPhone issue was hypothesized to be related to an incorrect GSM power management implementation.)
I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to blame the phone hardware but given every other interaction with that company I would default to assuming someone got a bonus for “saving” money on network capacity and then had to play damage control for a couple of years. My previous phone only had sound quality as good as the iPhone because I had unlocked it and enabled the higher-bitrate standard GSM codecs which AT&T's default policy had disabled.
I feel like it takes an iphone release and a set of features for Google to even consider some taken path.
I've been a long supporter of Android, by buying pretty much every released OnePlus phone and a few Nexus phones before that... (before the price exploded).
For my next phone I will be going back to the more expensive iPhone.
Everything built into Android feels like a compromise or an afterthought. The only really well built app is Google Maps. All of the other apps, like ones for messaging, calling, even the google assistant, everything feels buggy for some reason. Maybe it's One Plus? (I don't know?)
Permissions seems to have gone through several crazy iterations, but I can't seem to mute my phone, but not my texts, or mute a specific app, but still get slack updates. I know there are some new break the glass features, but it's extremely confusing.
I wish there were just simply profiles that I could just say - hey I want everything muted except slack and text messages. At other times, like the weekend, I want all apps muted except text messages.
But I can't easily do this stuff, it's just really convoluted. I don't know if my mileage will vary on iphone, but I think that's just to get away from general bugginess, voice recognition issues, "map start issue", bad data drops even when my phone has a signal.
Oh, one last thing on Google Maps - if anyone is listening, Can you please stop routing me to staff parking lots BEHIND the store I'm going to? Use some machine learning if you have to and find the best destination point.
I feel very grateful to Android for bring the slide down notification bar, easy multitasking, multi-microphone noise cancellation, customizable background image, and more to smartphones. All these features were Android first, and I don't know how many of those iOS would have if it wasn't for Android.
2. Good maps app
4. SIP client
5. All the music you would ever need through Rhapsody
These came years, sometimes many years, to other mobile platforms. The downside with the N95 was the lack or touchscreen and the crappy crappy Symbian UI.
But in 2007, I could stream music from a subscription service while using mapping to navigate, then take a SIP call.
Palm screwed up by failing to replace their ageing OS in time. IIRC they bought the remains of BeOS, built a next-gen PalmOS on top, then panicked in the face of short term cash-flow, sold the development group, tried something else -- failed -- tried to buy it back again, and had to pulled out from under them. At which point the only way out was to buy someone else's OS. They gambled on Windows Mobile (in whatever incarnation it was at the time) then hit the buffers when a frankly rubbish OS running on the Treo phones (which were nice, for thumb-keyboard devices) ran headfirst into the iPhone.
(PalmOS 4+ was a moderately mac-like -- classic original MacOS, not OSX -- handheld operating system. Mac-like and crashed like a 68K Mac too, alas. But if they'd been able to build on their GUI/user interface chops with a modern OS they might have been able to get on board with the touchscreen trend.)
(I have both. Runs Android; desktop Linux port is promised: Sailfish also landed on the Gemini. If you want a modernized Psion 5 this is the biz, although caveat emptor: it's from a very small company and has rough edges on the software side.)
As for the Psion 5, its descendants only recently went away: Symbian (in all its flavours) was developed from the EPOC/32 operating system that it ran, after Psion hit the buffers and Symbian was spun out.
If you have the main strategy right, and execute well eventually, you can succeed despites a lot of despites.
Those early androids were pretty poor value phones. But... the overall approach/concept was right. The strategy was very right.
There would eventually be plenty of good OEMs. The market needed a msft. Apple was never going to supply the whole world with phones.
"Google products" is not how another knowledgeable HN commenter recently put it in another thread.
He said Google created Android to make Google the default search engine on phones.
A commenter on the tbray.com page says the same thing.
Given Google's line of business, online ad services, the cumulaitive search traffic sent to google.tld as a result of being the default search engine easily outweighs whatever value could be generated from other "products". The OS might be loaded with interesting things for users and industry commentators to "review", however nothing could be more important to the company's bottom line than search traffic to google.com. If that traffic were to die down, the company would be in crisis mode.
An entire OS created just to be the default search engine. Was this the first time this was ever done.
This is amazing.
Had there not been an Android, I'm pretty sure one of those incumbents would have come up with something.
Nokia, for example, had lots of nice Linux handheld devices before IPhone. They were encumbered by a degraded engineering culture and Symbian.
People don't remember but, what actually killed Nokia handsets in one stroke was one memo by their then CEO Stehphen Elop where he basically stated their platform as it is was dead in the water. Until then they had had a fairly good portion of the market, but that single statement just killed it. People who did not like IPhone moved from Nokia phones to Android after that.
Now, without Android, there might have not been such an obvious migration path, and Nokia might have kept some of it's customers. Nokia managed to get some great handsets out after that, but they had already lost market momentum.
Nokia was never a big competitor in the US market mainly because they refused to play the game by the operators rules, hence the operators did not really endorse them.
Without Android, once again, I think there might have been openings for Nokia to get into the handset market state side.
Or Blackberry or Ericsson might have come up with something.
The thing that commoditized handset market was not actually Android, but the availability of cheap radio circuits from Asia. Until then the radio technology had been the secret sauce of the encumbents, not software. When the radio stack became commoditized, the playing field changed fairly rapidly.
I'm pretty sure there would have been competing Linux enabled smart devices in one way or another without Android. Android just got there first.
Furthermore when the iPhone came out almost nobody in either the phone or the Tech industry in general appreciated what Apple had done and why it mattered. I must have read a handful of posts a month like yours back then trivialising the issue as just having to ‘come up with something’. Desktop OS systems like OSX and Windows at the time aren’t something you can just come up with. It’s this sort of thinking that doomed desktop Linux to the margins for decades, and without the Google Android team’s immediately realising what had happened and what they needed to do about it, handset Linux could very easily have ended up a footnote like desktop Linux. Nobody else in the industry seems to have had that insight back then.
What I think would have happened is Microsoft would have eventually got their act together and brought out a credible Windows Mobile and licensed it to the handset makers. Other than Google they are the only software company with the resources in talent and technical depth capable of it. Without Android to light a second fire under them it might have taken longer than it actually did, but they did do this in the actual timeline and without Android to compete with their strategy would have worked.
It was for this very reason Nokia bought Qt. They very much had a desktop class dev story going, and also some pretty solid mobile device cred. People seem to forget the Greenphone, which was sold as a development platform but you could actually buy it and it was a proper phone with the full dev stack, more than a year before the iPhone was shown publicly. Nokia absolutely had what was required to stay relevant. Without the hostile takeover, things might have turned out different.
Granted, Google was also just throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what stuck, but at least they are a tech company with multiple revenue streams - while Nokia wasn't either of those - so without a laser focus they were doomed from the get go. And they did not have it.
- toughened glass screen
- stylus-free interaction due to use of capacitative screen
- real web browser (not WAP)
- (US) escaping the control of carriers; nobody remembers the "iTunes phone" the ROKR. Also indirectly killing carrier's attempts to do nickel-and-dime billing and therefore turning internet into a bulk commodity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/300-page_iPhone_bill
- the marketing achievement of being a fashion device not a tech device (Tesla are explicitly copying this, to their advantage)
(again, I'm not claiming that they were the first to do any of these, but they did all of them well together)
Bear in mind the Windows CE kernel, used until Windows mobile version 8 in 2012, was a single tasking OS with severe fundamental architectural deficiencies. That’s why Microsoft never allowed ‘ordinary’ developers access to write in C++. That was restricted to selected partners, because it gave full naked access to the platform and required specialist knowledge and skill.
Meanwhile Apple could let anyone develop on their platform in C, C++, Objective C, it’s all fine and just upload it to the App Store because it had workstation class process isolation.
Also early CE devices were aimed at technical users that knew how to side-load apps and were much more tolerant of technical issues, but the later phones were aimed at ordinary consumers and so needed to be as reliable as possible. Hence the restriction to managed framework dev environments for general developers releasing to the App Stores on version 7 and below.
This is why Apple could open up their App Store to any developer with basic review, because the system was heavily locked down with robust system security, process isolation and networking models. Windows Phone didn't have that until version 8 in 2012, based on the NT kernel, and that's when the MS App Store started accepting apps developed in low level languages. That wan't a co-incidence or a capricious decision by Microsoft, but based on pragmatic considerations.
IMHO these two were the key standout killer features that made the iPhone a qualitatively different and better experience than every handset that had come before.
It was comical how previous designs slapped a desktop UI on a phone and expected you to emulate a mouse with a tiny, easy-to-lose stylus.
There were devices before the iPhone with multi-touch, but that doesn’t matter. Being first isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be if you can’t market it to the world.
> In other famous cases, Jobs’ exacting demands won out, to the eventual benefit of the final product. The screen of the phone was originally supposed to be composed of the same plastic that iPod screens were made of. But after a day in Jobs’ pocket, the prototype unit suffered from deep and permanent scratches thanks to his car keys. On a dime, Jobs switched the screen from plastic to Gorilla glass, even talking Corning into converting an entire factory in Harrisburg, Kentucky to produce the quantities Apple needed. This actually complicated things for the hardware team, since the multitouch sensors now had to be embedded in glass, and glass was an entirely different proposition from embedding in plastic.
http://www.internethistorypodcast.com/2017/01/the-history-of... (previously on hn https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13356003 )
Doesn't sound like the first gen supported multi touch
10 minutes later I needed to own one. My N95 immediately seemed completely awful in comparison.
Sorry, I was not trying to trivialize the complexity of the issue. Rather, I was trying to slyly refer to the other competetive handsets already on the market back then.
The question was if Android had not happened, would Apple rule the mobile ecosystem completely. I don't think so. Rather, capital chose Android as the most viable alternative.
There were viable alternatives back then such as Meego which had the combined expertise of Nokia and Intel behind it.
It was the market and business that sealed Apple/Android duopoly, not the lack of viable alternative tech stacks.
The final iteration of Windows Mobile was excellent, what killed it wasn't marketing but ecosystem. MS wasn't competing with just Apple or Google. If they were they could have stood a chance, they're just as big, just as technically adept, had just as good a platform (in the end) and just as well capitalised. They could go toe to toe with any company in the world.
They weren't just competing with Apple and Google though, they were competing with them, plus all the existing handset manufacturers that had invested in Android, plus all the developers that were developing or had already released apps on Android or IOs, plus all the companies providing services for those platforms. The ecosystem provides ~10x or more market power than the platform owner on their own. That is what you're actually competing with when you go up against a market incumbent platform owner. It's the crucial difference between a platform and a product.
Sinfosky was responsible for tanking Windows Phone.
Windows Phone 7 could have evolved from Silverlight/XNA models, while evolving the support, maybe adding C++ support in the mix (On WP 7 C++ was only available to selected partners).
Instead WinDev just killed it (similar to how they torpedoed Longhorn), came up with WinRT using an incompatible variant from .NET, that not only dumped Silverlight/XNA, it required multiple reboots (WinRT, UAP and then UWP) always asking us to rewrite the applications between each reboot.
MSIX, WinUI (desktop UWP), .NET 5, C++/WinRT are just the long roadmap of fixing those issues, while trying to make everyone happy again.
At least tablets seem to be doing fine.
This is why developer access to the system was so limited, it simply didn't have the sort of process isolation capabilities and the system services this enables that you need in a modern app platform. There's no way they could just open up low level programming to anybody to develop for it and everything would be fine, the skills and knowledge needed to develop for it efficiently and safely were highly specialised.
However the version of CE (6, released way back in 2006) that was released on Windows Phone did not have this restriction and version 7 released in 2011 also supported SMP.
Windows CE was really not an entirely incapable OS (and I personally despised it). Its real annoyance was having a completely non-standard bastardized/limited Win32 API which made it both an odd ball embedded RTOS and only vaguely similar to the API of Windows NT. Despite this it had considerable adoption in industrial computing — never a huge market though.
It’s hard to say this was a real problem though as no one considered OS X to be a phone OS before 2007 either. The bigger issue is that clearly MS wanted out from under CE before the phone was even released.
The limitations in Phone 7 were higher level, not due to the underlying kernel.
The WP7 stacks could have been improved to work on the new kernel.
That was the typical move from the WinDev vs DevTools that keep coming up since .NET exists.
Isn't it funny how things come around, in 2000s the big G became akin to MS of the 90s, in the mobile space instead of PCs.
They had a lot of money and a lot of market share. They could have culled a large part of the organisation, especially due to the insane policy of self-competition resulting in a lineup of almost-but-not-quite-identical handsets, either put more into Maemo/Meego or jumped ship to Android.
Instead they had an MS plant installed at the top who seemed determined to devalue the company then sell off everything to MS, who then just ran the brand into the ground while failing to get Win Phone to launch in any meaningful way.
Yeah, someone in Nokia engineering had made some company destroying miss calculations.
It's not like the didn't know what they were up against - it was race between engineering teams. And it's not like Nokia the company couldn't fund that race - they were a gorilla in the ring when it came to resources. They even saw the train coming at them, knew what it would do to them, did some awesome things like buy QT in preparation but it was nowhere near enough.
Blind freddy could see the pace of development happening on MeeGo and is predecessor (I forget what it was called) was nowhere near fast enough. Given the resources I expected Nokia to be throwing at it, either the team behind it was tiny, or they were tied up in some titanic tide of red tape go-slow goo.
It's not like it was an impossible ask. That was back in the days of Android Honeycomb and Gingerbread which were clearly something Google has slapped together in a rush. They were IMO barely usable. iPhone was barely more than a phone + ipod back then, granted with the best UI on the planet interface but even then the gulf between what Android would allow you to do what would be possible in Apple's walled garden was apparent, so there was space in the market for a different mix.
> The final iteration of Windows Mobile was excellent, what killed it wasn't marketing but ecosystem.
Well in that case it was obvious what happened. I've lost count of how many "throw it away and start again" iterations Microsoft went through. I do recall using one of their earlier attempts when they had very little competition. It was a Win95 interface crammed into tiny resistive touch screen, complete with start button. It was unusable without the stylus they provided. It had an uptime measured in hours - literally far worse than Win95, which was an amazing "achievement".
They threw major bits of it away and started again, and again, and again, each time with something that was 100% binary incompatible with the previous version so they never built up a customer and app base. Eventually they ended up on the NT kernel with an amazing GUI toolkit that as you quite rightly say was the best in class by any number of engineering metrics, but by that time the network effects of their competitors building up an enormous customer and applications by keeping compatibility completely annihilated them. Numbskulls.
Regarding Windows Phone, on one hand I was pleased to see what should have been .NET in first place, managed runtime built on top of COM, but the way it was rolled out initially incompatible across mobile, tablet and desktop (first WinRT iteration), it was just a mess.
Not only were Windows Phone 7 devs being asked to throw out their beloved Silverlight/XNA tooling, they were being told to rewrite the app three times with #ifdef, and in XNA's case to also move into C++ bare bones DirectX (here is when DirectXTK was born as XNA-like for C++).
As opposed to iOS or android? Isn't Windows known for the lengths they go to maintain backwards compatibility?
How so? It never achieved much market share AFAICT, despite being marketed heavily everywhere from slashdot to the tv.
It had to be relaunched each revision as the platforms were incompatible, it was always way behind on features and playing catch-up... and eventually MS ditched it entirely.
Sure, absent android it could have had a shot. But I wouldn't call the platform a success.
Microsoft phone OS 7 (the one that was adapted to the Nokia phones originally designed for MeeGo) was very polished and quite pleasant to use. I think it would have succeeded.
I say this through a clenched jaw though because I had just started working at Nokia during the time of the acquisition and was quite enthusiastic about MeeGo.
I don't think it's revisionist to call it a failure here in this universe where android does exist, like I say, if android didn't exist then maybe it would have taken off. Or maybe another linux variant would have had time to come to market. We shall never know.
I found the marketing campaigns for Win Phone 7 and Win Phone 8 to be quite offensive. It started months before general availability of even an SDK, with posters on popular tech sites like /. asserting that it was the best platform ever for developers, and trying to get that accepted as some sort of consensus before anyone could even try it.
Then Win phone 7 got unceremoniously ditched (screw you developers) seemingly only a few months later and the exact same people started singing the exact same praises about WP8...
It just smacked of trying too hard, and being underhanded.
And iOS which couldn't at the time either.
> Microsoft phone 7 that was pretty much ditched with an incompatible update in next to no time?
Due to no market-share. (Silverlight et al. was an abject failure)
I think it's fine to talk about it as if it's failed in the context of android existing; but the context here is iOS dominance in abstentia of Android itself, and I think there would have been other players (Windows Phone included) which would have contested it given the absence of android.
Windows phone was a contender and it just feels like it wasn't because Android not only won (and thus; you think of Android now vs Windows phone then) but won wildly.
Could it not?
Other phones could, and that seemed to be the expectation of two not-especially-technical friends/colleagues of mine at the time, and the answer being "No, you have to go to this special tool and cut out the first minute, then export in this format" led to both saying "what a pile of crap then, I should have got something else"
Maybe they had come from android...
I think "failing to capture developer attention" and provide the benefits of that to your users counts as failing. Its just unfortunate that the vendor (MS) doesn't get as much control over that.
I think when someone says it's revisionist to call WinPhone a failure, we're talking about this universe. There isn't really a history to revise in an imaginary parallel universe...
Windows phone sits in the minds of many as this "absolute failure that could never have worked" but the reality is that it could have worked had it not floundered so phenomenally in the wake of Android.
All of this is a bit subjective, but if I asked 10 friends and 10 relatives whether they thought Windows Phone was a failure, I'd expect close to 10 friends to say "yes", most of the relatives to say "What is Windows Phone?", and the rest of the relatives (if there were any left) to likely say "yes".
Personally, I'd call that a failure.
Yeah, I know I haven't actually asked the questions (and probably won't), but I think I know my friends and relatives well enough to guess what they would say (mostly based on prior technical discussions).
Yeah, I quoted your "contender" line in my previous response, but I was seeing that as basically equivalent to what you said earlier: "is very revisionist to call it failed" -- which I interpreted to mean that it was a dishonest assessment of what actually happened.
I'm not sure how you can call something "revisionist" if you aren't actually talking about what really happened in history, so maybe that's the source of disconnnect here.
I saw your comment as not being tied to the imaginary universe, but as an aside reflecting your opinion of the value of the Windows Phone in reality.
I suspect that if Android hadn't happened, it is likely that some other entity would have produced a phone that had an equal chance of stomping out Windows Phone. Not that it really matters, because like I said, my opinion is, that in reality Windows Phone was a failure, and I was just responding thinking you were saying that wasn't a fair assessment.
For years (and this may still be the case) the average smartphone user only downloads chat, social media, and games to their phone anyway (if anything at all).
Google did the same thing with Amazon Fire devices. I am frankly surprised they haven't been rung over for anti-trust lawsuit for how they seem to abuse play services.
Too bad the hardware was so mediocre.
Palm proved that people wanted computers that would fit in their hands and pockets comfortably; that instantaneous readiness to work trumped other aspects of speed; that battery life is really important, but being able to drop a new battery set in is the fastest recharge method available.
I still get to see the webOS logo occasionally when my television reboots. A bit of nostalgia every few months.
Too bad LG had to ruin the user experience with the stupid magic wand remote control. If you think voice control of TVs is bad, imagine a remote that you can't leave next to you on the couch because every time you move, a giant pink cursor pops up on the screen and a menu overlay slides in from the side over what you're watching.
OTOH it's also quite clear why Google would not have wanted to gamble on waiting around for somone else to get their act together, especially since it already happened to own the guts of an okay smartphone platform. Not only would a viable #2 have taken an uncertain amount of time to emerge, it could have turned out to be someone quite unfriendly to Google: it would very likely have been MS, after all. And after all (viz. __ka https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22287118 ) what other platform owner was ever going to be friendlier to Google search than Google itself?
And let's be frank, by the mid-2000s it wasn't really that bloody hard, from a purely technical point of view, to ship a decent mobile OS running on an adequate hardware platform. It seems pretty clear that in almost all cases, what was most sorely missing was someone with both the power and the taste to make an overall assessment of UX and say "no, this is shit, come back with something acceptable"; maybe to even make a few hirings or acquisitions if necessary to get someone competent on the problem. But this is one facet of one of the most remarkable and slightly strange things in the history of tech. Even by not too long into the '90s it was easy, for anyone with eyes to see, to look at a Macintosh on one side and a VCR blinking 00:00 on the other and see what the future of device UI was. But companies with massive resources and their very future at stake, including firms of impressive competence like Sony and Nokia, couldn't get there. Up to the early iPhone age it seems that the list of companies which could do good work in software-heavy/"smart" UI was roughly:
2) Microsoft, but only when Apple first provided them a detailed model to crib from. Not something to sneer at too much, because others couldn't do it even then
3) Some Mac/PC ISVs who could do good work, but purely in software and only inside the lines of the existing Windows/Mac platforms. (OFC by this time MS itself was effectively a Mac ISV with notions.)
4) Some device or HW startups who flailed around commercially (Danger, NeXT, Be, the set-top-box group at Sun which begat Java http://www.blinkenlights.com/classiccmp/javaorigin.html ...)
See also the iPod, Apple's Digital Hub strategy (Jobs' hope that consumers would buy Macs in order to make their consumer-electronics devices usable), Sony's catastrophic missed opportunity to turn PlayStation into an app and Web-browser platform https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22288538 , and the fear other companies felt towards MS even after Apple had been first to a hit smartphone.
By all accounts I've read, that someone was Steve Jobs. After Rubin saw what iPhone was, he apparently completely pivoted Android to go the same way. Before aiming for the full-handset touchscreen paradigm, Android was supposed to be able to handle all types of handsets, including foldables, keyboard slideouts, Blackberry paradigms, etc, all depending on what manufacturers wanted to make. Seeing the iPhone changed the game, so much that Steve Jobs had his "going thermonuclear" rant about Android stealing his stuff. Ironic for a guy who once claimed that Apple was shameless about stealing other people's stuff because great artists steal.
That also constrained Android's innovation significantly. Some people say Android copied iOS, which is only partly true, and of course iOS has also copied Android over time. But when I was at Google I did encounter quite a few stories of cases where the Android team came up with something really clever and it was shot down by carriers and OEMs who said "we want what the iPhone does". They had no vision at all.
In fairness to carriers though, T-Mobile's QA effort on the G1/G2 were pretty intense. At the time Android's QA was near non-existent and the carrier testing procedure found tons of bugs.
Helps to have someone on Apple board, you know
Apparently they had Eric Schmidt step out of the room whenever they talked about Apple phones.
Google didn’t take over the stock Maps until after 2010/2011 when Google and Apple had a big falling out. Apple wanted to keep pushing the app experience further, but Google wanted to own the app (and associated data collection) and so wouldn’t license more to Apple. This was exactly the reason Apple did their own maps and was forced to release too early. Apple couldn’t renegotiate the contract and their hand was forced.
Same thing applied for the built in stocks and weather apps. Yahoo provided the APIs, but Apple entirely owned the app experience and wrote all the code.
The impressive thing about the client on iPhone wasn't the maps themselves as such, other phones had maps, it was the ease and fluidity of navigation using multi-touch gestures, and the simple integration with system services such as location services. Bear in mind phones back then didn't have pre-emptive multitasking.
This was before the iphone, and years before google maps would work offline.
Did you ever use early Android? It was impressively bad.
Microsoft left it for years, believing they could still compete using their single tasking Windows CE kernel based platform. That's why Windows 8 with a true pre-emptive multitasking NT based kernel, able to run background services and run on multiple cores wasn't ready until 2012. By then Android had already had it's act together for a few years and it was too late for MS.
I remember ESR going on and on about how Apple was doomed any day now. He lost site of how the direction the world was going, wishing instead it went where he wanted it to end up.
NOKIA was used by Microsoft's investors as a way to get MS back into mobile game, unsuccessfully. It was an internal coup. With the revenue and world-wide market share they had, they could have survived for a few years, finally going full speed ahead with MeeGo, at the cost of never making it in the US, but continuing their dominance in the rest of the world.
There seems to be some foul play involved in ruining NOKIA as Elop had a bonus for the sale of a company in his initial contract and the chairman of the board publicly distrusted his own engineers as unable to compete with Silicon Valley.
Finnish economy is still in shambles from NOKIA's downfall and only Google/US profited from taking over the fastest growing market segment at that time from NOKIA. EU lost its only competitive tech company.
I might still be using mine if it didn't have an unfortunate bug, which always came back eventually, where SMS messages would show up under the wrong person. Nokia said they'd support it until 2015 but that didn't happen, I think the last update was in 2012. The community made some fixes for other bugs, but not for that one.
I would probably still use N9 as my 2nd phone if its not broken.
Sounds like it ripped off webos, like everybody else.
SwipeUI winds up very usable on a phone, but basically unusable everywhere else. This is in stark contrast to the webOS paradigm which is much closer to a macOS desktop (dock at the bottom, menu always at the top left, settings always at top right, and modified/improved deck of cards "expose"). Because of this, scaling webOS to tablets or even desktops isn't difficult.
If Steve Jobs had seen the webOS UI, the iPhone would definitely be using it today.
The N9 is a really sad story. I had one, it was great. It did get some "better than iPhone" reviews. It was in development for too long, and when it was released and it was great, Nokia was too cowardly to bet on it.
They had an unplanned stockholders meeting where the then-CEO was voted out and Elop was ushered in. He did a lot of good stuff like clean up five layers of middle management, got rid of build-it-five-times mentality as well as bring Nokia up-to-date with a bunch of modern practices.
But then he made a PUBLIC speech about Symbian being dead and that they would have an amazing Windows phone at the end of the year. This caused the Osborne effect (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_effect) to just eat up Nokia.
Nokia was ahead of the game in a lot of things, like platform security -- let's not forget the first iOS ran everything as root and had no App store, while Nokia was making secure boot and encrypted applications happen.
Nokia was five or ten years ahead of everyone else in technology (you can look at iOS history and tick off boxes when they catch up to Nokia), but they had massive problems in their company culture. Nokia could not have bet on the N9 because they just didn't have that sort of mentality.
They chose to maximize diversity of investment, while opposing widespread use of free beer software, that is Android as perhaps they perceived. That combined with Microsoft’s chronic inability to launch and stabilize new platform led to burnt ash of Microsoft Mobile.
Had Nokia adopted Android and had Google allowed them to maintain MeeGo, a MeeGo/Android/S60/Series40 train of platforms could have worked at least for a while.
IIRC that wasn't a possible option, thanks to Google's monopolistic practices that prevented other companies from shipping phones with Google's proprietary apps and at the same time shipping phones with alternative mobile OSs.
That was a mayor reason why technical people rooted against Android open-but-not-so-much and for any other available truly-free-software platform.
 Siilasmaa: Transforming NOKIA: The Power of Paranoid Optimism to Lead Through Colossal Change
If you lock down your app permissions and install the bare minimum of apps that you need or aren’t practical as web versions, you can absolutely limit your blast radius.
Changing your OS to sailfish isn’t helping you on its own. Sailfish can run Android apps, so if you installed an Android app and gave it those permissions, you’d have the same problem.
Big product companies don't die from one day to another, they take a slow long time to fizzle out.
Reading materials related to Nokia at that time period it was pretty dysfunctional as it was. The only mistake I can accrue for Elop was his "Burning platform" memo - which is basically paraphrazing crisis management 101. So he was clearly out of his depth when running Nokia.
I think the sale of Nokia handsets to Microsoft was quite the coup. At that time the value of that IP was close to zero and Microsoft paid billions for it.
If there was foul play intended then the players surely lost. The fall of Nokia was the best thing to happen to Finland. It was far too big an enterprise for a small country. It basically stifled innovation and entrepreurship accross the board.
Both Jorma Ollila (the Chair) and Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the CEO preceding Elop, were financial experts, not tech visionaries. The organization that had created the rise of Nokia was split to pieces before Elop took control with no understanding that you can't run an technology corporation like an investment bank.
There are two pretty good books exploring this topic:
"rendering all NOKIA employees sacrificial lambs for MS"
'Sacrificial lamb' is quite hyperbolic. The laid of people enjoyed quite good benefits. You don't become an instant destitute in Finland just because you are temporarily out of a job.
The way the handset business was going, Microsoft basically paid 8 billion for the privilege of a dead-in-the water platform and the nicety of laying off the staff .
If there ever was an evil plot to steal value from Nokia's shareholders then it was thoroughly botched.
It was having issues when Elop came in but still had potential for rebound and good market share.
Elop just stomped any potential for that in the ground making it dead in the water.
I just did some very superficial reading on the "Burning Platform" memo (the first time I had heard of it).
I'm intrigued by the idea that the memo shows Elop was "out of his depth". Is there something I can read to explain why this was such a terrible management move? What would have been a better response?
So everyone was putting the effort to move away from Symbian C++, J2ME into a more pleasant environment, and then comes Elop with that memo saying to everyone that all their efforts were gone to the trashcan and it was time to embrace Silverlight and XNA instead.
Also from internal point of view, this memo was very bad, because until then Nokia had an heavy anti-Windows culture, and now everyone had to suck it up, leave HP-UX, Linux, Symbian behind and embrace Windows.
If you read crisis management literature this "burning platform" metaphor is literally in the "For dummies" section (at least what I recall). It implies he was desperately trying to find something to drive a message trhough the organization and he grabbed the most obvious and stereotypical thing he could find.
The Nokia London office had an emergency Town Hall session in The Oval cricket ground building where execs tried to convince us that Symbian was safe. Those claims were met with actual laughter from the crowd.
The shockwave lasted 2-3 milli-millennium, and was observed as far away as Seoul from Finland, but not Tokyo.
(Chapter 9. https://medium.com/@harrikiljander/operation-elop-6f2b043f52...)
The N9 was a very complex beast to use and it was very laggy compared to the smooth graphics the iPhone offered.
Even in the markets where it was available, it was a very rare sight. But grey import iPhones were everywhere in Stockholm.
* iPhone: June 2007 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone
Also, patents. Microsoft earns from every Android sold (or at least they did for long time)
> EU lost its only competitive tech company
Spotify, Angry Birds (Finnish even), several Fintechs, sends their regards.
Compare to the US (2019 figures), it has Apple in 3rd place, Amazon on 5th, Alphabet on 15th, etc: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_companies_in_t...
For instance, the Obama administration blocked the takeover of Aixtron by a Chinese company because Aixtron was so key to national security.
The US Attorney General recommended a few days ago that the US take a share in Ericsson and Nokia, because they are the main 5G equipment suppliers besides Huawei.
A recent takeover of Kuka, an industrial robot maker, has caused a lot of concern as well. Germany has a lot of small to medium sized high tech equipment makers that are mostly privatly owned.
Robert Bosch, the largest car parts manufacturer in the world, is not a publicly listed company and not usually classed as a tech company, but it does make some of the most high tech parts that go in to cars. It's certainly no less of a tech company than, say, Facebook.
Then of course there are companies like ARM, SAP, Siemens, ASML, Amadeus Group, Infineon, Vestas or Airbus. No, they are not the size of Apple and ARM is now owned by SoftBank.
You see the pattern? Europe doesn't have consumer tech. It does have a lot of high tech equipment makers and parts suppliers.
Europe is really bad at selling to consumers (apart from France's and Italy's luxury goods makers and traditionally auto makers that are now suffering as cars become software platforms), and that's exactly where network effects have created those giant tech companies that now dominate US stock indices.
So yes, I think Europe is in a pretty bad place right now when it comes to tech, but it's not quite as bad as what you might think if you're just looking at the biggest components of stock indices.
They operated with losses the whole time.
One of their last products (SX1) was actually running Symbian, it also was Linux compatible btw
I certainly wouldn't complain if the EU would have comparable companies to FAANG ones in size.
Technology also applies for vastly broader fields (which I wont enumerate here).
The mobile handset is only one part of the multiplicity that creates the mighty FAANG product and service portfolio and Nokia never had strong offerings in most of them.
In what sense? By the size alone, off course you can't compare it to the american and asian mega companies. The ambition to be a european mobile tech leader was still around in the mid 2000s. At least in Europe Nokia arguably had one of the most dedicated customer crowds in the handheld devices category. To piss all that away in one move left a big stain...
Here is a slice of relevant context: http://www.edibleapple.com/2010/12/28/rim-was-in-disbelief-f...
Do not understate how ridiculous the iPhone was when it launched. You had to side load apps on your phone to use them. Remember getjar.com?
It looked ridiculous for for your average grandma but for young tech enthusiasts that was half the fun. That turned out to be detrimental for your average grandma but not the amount of cash that apple got at the bank. Did it matter that you could put SD card into your iphone , obviously not because you still can't.
So grandma of today doesn't have to worry, she will be using some chinese Android device anyway.
Remember, by this point it was 2010. The iPhone had already taken off like a rocket, Android had pivoted to be "iPhone-like" and other companies were riding its rocketship -- and Meego, Nokia's ostensible Symbian successor, was way, way behind schedule. The Nokia Communicator was a great "computer in your pocket" device for a certain kind of ubergeek, but it wasn't ever going to be a mainstream smartphone. I know there are people who still fiercely defend the hardware keyboard -- I was a Sidekick user and used to be one of them! -- but it was obvious by 2009 that "giant touch screen with virtual keyboard" was the runaway winner, and it was also obvious by 2009 that most of the incumbents had dealt themselves death blows by refusing to read the writing on the wall.
Elop's memo came about after he looked at the N9, what was supposed to be their response to the iPhone and Android, and it was clearly not just too little, too late, but at the time he saw it, it literally just did not work. You were lucky if you could get through a few hours without a fatal crash.
Anyway -- I don't think Apple would own the mobile space without Android, either, but I think there's a good chance they'd have a larger marketshare than they do just because nobody else would gotten a credible response to the market before 2011. Maybe it would have opened up space for Windows Phone and WebOS to keep existing, which would have been nice. (Although if we're playing "what if," it's possible that if Windows Phone had succeeded, Microsoft wouldn't have gotten desperate enough to go through its executive shakeup and, ironically, would have been in a worse place today!)
The strategic case needs to clear a very low "knowability" threshold in order to justify their conclusion. Great example of contingency-based strategy.
Google didn't need to waste a ton of cycles on the counterfactuals (would RIM/Nokia/others be a threat? Would Apple really box us out if they win? etc.).
Android was simply a way to de-risk a potentially catastrophic scenario and give them some optionality.
Perhaps things would have turned out differently without Android in the picture. I really liked WebOS
Palm (and RIM) has a kind of first-mover disadvantage; they'd build a fantastic niche, and people loved their devices, but that inherently prevented them from building something completely different like the iPhone which could take the mass market and be "imitated" by Android.
WebOS was the first to come along after the iPhone and make something competitive. Android took some time to catch up. I don't think your statement is correct about Palm -- they weren't like RIM, stuck with an old OS for eons unable to switch because legacy; WebOS and Palm Pre were launched pretty soon after the iPhone.
They just didn't do well in the market, because they couldn't keep up on hardware manufacture, and Android took the not-Apple ecosystem over despite being an inferior experience for many years.
I think Nokia might have eventually caught up, and I think the Windows Phones that came later could have been even more compelling. I thought Metro UX was really nice, but just missing crucial apps compared to iOS and Android... if MS had pushed about 2 years earlier with that OS, they'd be in a different position in the space.
These days, who knows. It's easy to speculate with some hindsight.
Just like Microsoft owned the browser market in the late 90's and 2000's, and it was a problem for Google. That's why they poured resources first into Firefox, then into Google Chrome.
At a much larger scale and with the US as a much bigger hold out, it's happening again now, very, very slowly. Before it was PC/Windows vs Mac now it's Android vs iOS.
† "Doomed" is hyberbole, they'll just never be the biggest player on a long term scale. But they'll make zounds of money along the way :-)
Gotta disagree with you there - when the burning platform memo came out the battle was already decided, even if it wasn't over.
Just look at the HN thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2195520 - it's 95% praise for the CEO clearly stating the reality of the situation.
> what actually killed Nokia handsets in one stroke was one memo by their then CEO Stehphen Elop where he basically stated their platform as it is was dead in the water
IMO, Nokia was infact dead in the water compared to Apple and Android, and Elop was just the one to recognize it in a culture of stagnated development coasting on past glories, and call it out loud enough that it might possibly change in time.
The key falling behind point, as I see it, is that Nokia just never got on board with making app development and distribution easy. Symbian phones in theory supported loading apps. In the many years that I owned one, I think I was able to install 1 or 2 total, which were mostly never used. IIRC, there was an app store with virtually nothing on it, and useful apps were usually downloaded from random websites directly. I don't recall the process exactly, and I never tried to look into building and distributing one myself, but it sure wasn't as easy as open the official store -> find an app that's useful -> tap "install" -> done, use the app.
The bigger issue, also IMO, is that their engineering culture just never got into the rapid cadence that the new-gen phone OSes brought - they were stuck in the appliance mentality. The first iPhone and Android were a little lame compared to the best Nokias. Nokia's development pace was always slow though. iOS and Android rapidly eclipsed them, while they essentially stood still.
I did also own one of the Meego devices. It was basically junk compared to Android. Nokia never had a chance. Elop might have been a MS stooge, but it was still arguably the best move they had at the time.
The way I saw that was that Elop was pretty much hired by the board to sell the company to Microsoft. Maybe he had some last ditch efforts in mind to save the company, but the fallback plan seems to have always been to lean on his connections to sell the place to a former employer. As a random example, he was allowed to keep his shares in MSFT, a direct competitor and eventual buyer, while working as the CEO of Nokia. This conflict of interest would likely have been blessed by the board of directors.
Android certainly make Nokia's life harder, but like, if Nokia couldn't negotiate subsidies from operators, they were going to be sold for parts regardless.
That's like saying that declaring the patient has pneumonia killed the patient.
Nokia was treading water, and everyone knew it. Their Symbian phones were plasticky slow devices with a stillborn ecosystem. Their Linux devices were plasticky hacky devices that only geeks loved. They were hooked on the feature-phone pipeline and couldn't decide how to face the smartphone revolution. They had dozens of competing models that splintered their development efforts and made them compete, ineffectually, with each other.
Elop told them the truth, didn't find a way to flip the behemoth around in 6 months, and sold the company. There absolutely is valid debate about selling the company, but people underestimate the difficulty of radically changing such a large company to effectively compete with the new existential threat.
I quit ST in January 2011, knowing (like all my colleagues) that the Titanic was heading for its iceberg. The "Burning Platform" memo came out in February.
True, and their partnership with Microsoft killed them all. When the 770 came out I bought it almost immediately; it was more like an expensive toy (1), but years before the first iPhone was being introduced it showed how Nokia had the technology ready.
(1) there was a way to navigate Google Maps (or how was called back then) from this mobile device before any Android and iPhone devices were produced. A small utility (forgot the name, sorry) allowed the download of Google maps as tiles, georeference and rearrange them in a bigger map on storage memory, so that thanks to an external GPS receiver paired to the 770 via Bluetooth I could have my Tomtom-like screen perfectly useable with maps of the entire city.
Oh, and the LCARS themed home screen was absolutely gorgeous!:)
Sadly it took too many years for Nokia to add a WAN chip to it, tragic. They had a good lead over Apple, but had no WAN chip, quite ironic for Nokia.
I wish that was the case. We'd probably have nicer Linux as a result and no extra Java bloat/performance hit on the devices that can do without it.
The Zune Phone.
I am convinced about the exact opposite. Apple interrupted so many different industries, all were sooner on the market with more resources and very good financial situation. Steve Jobs was extremely tough on staff do deliver what he wanted. He also had an extremely good 6th sense what people wanted. Combining all of these, you get Apple, lacking any of these you get the rest.
But Android was exactly created by others than Apple.
So while Apple surely performed admirably, I'm not sure how you can follow historical evidence to the conclusion that "without Android no one would have competed with Apple".
But I can't think of a single one where Apple in the long ran dominated in volume. Apple's goal was and is always to dominate in profit in a segment.
So, absent Android, I'm pretty sure there would have been another low end disruptor.