Feeds

OpenWave phone suite challenges S60, Symbian

Smartphones for the masses?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

3GSM You're a handset manufacturer. Why pay Symbian and Nokia license fees when you can have 90 per cent of the functionality running on much cheaper hardware? That's OpenWave's proposition, and the company that gave you WAP and the world's most widely distributed (if unused) browser has a fairly spectacular demo to prove it.
 
PhoneTools Version 7.0 sounds evolutionary but it's pretty revolutionary for OpenWave. Normally, I'd rather have gone to the dentist than attend an OpenWave demo (I'm kidding). I'd expected a browser like its predecessors - WAP is dreadful and the browser synonymous with green and black screens that only a QCOM shareholder would ever think was state of the art.
 
But soft, V7 looks spectacular. It's a suite including messaging, browser and file manager, and it's a very small chunk of code - about 1.4MB in all. But the clincher is the graphics engine.
 
"All the assumptions we had in 1995 were wrong," OpenWave's Tim Hyland told us. As you'd expect from a team led by Benoit Schillings, ex-Be and the former QuickDrawGX guy Mike Reed, it has some unexpected tricks - alpha blended previews of pictures of overlays, and a full transformation matrix that supports shearing and scaling. The graphics engine is about 50kb. Quite something.
 
Benoit told us that there's no Java VM in the package - "we're VM agnostic" - so evidently the customers have their own arrangements for Java. (Benoit had left his stationary gravity accelerator back in California.
 
Now you wouldn't have marked OpenWave and Symbian down as competitors at the start of the week, but they're almost bumper to bumper now. Nokia's intention is to move the very rich Symbian-based Series 60 down into the mid-tier, while OpenWave's little suite - it's not really a platform, and there's the rub - gives manufacturers a reason not to.
 
Opting for OpenWave might seem short sighted - it was none other than Juha Christensen who this week cited a report suggesting that operators get over 50 per cent more loyalty from smartphone users than users of the cheaper models - but they do allow the manufacturers to offer cheaper phones to cash-strapped handset manufacturers, who want to save money wherever they can, and if pennies saved today means quids foregone tomorrow, then so be it. OpenWave will probably argue this is a smartphone, on the cheap.
 
(OpenWave denies that opting for V7 condemns users to a world of WAP, which if the carriers have their way, is a walled-garden world of WAP, which is even more stupid and revolting. OpenWave says that the browser does real http now - so it's up to enlightened carriers not to turn this off.)
 
A theme of the week, as we have already suggested, is that carriers want to dictate terms to the handset manufacturers. And OpenWave's proposition plays very nicely with this.
 
Now this was a very good week for Symbian but the biggest competitive threat to its platform - as it has always acknowledged - isn't Microsoft or Palm but "mu", which is VoOS plus Java: where VoOS is the Vendor's Own Operating System.
 
Uh, look out! ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?