Feeds

Is that a PC in your pocket?

Mobiles a model for future desktops?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Symbian has been working hard over the last few years to make sure software developers know all about the changes, and both Series 60 and UIQ provide comprehensive guides to getting applications working, but no one seems to be taking any time to inform users. With these devices now on the streets, some users are being caught out by incompatibilities they didn't expect.

The Nokia N80 is typical; it runs Symbian 9 with Series 60 version 3, and offers enough improvements over the N70 to encourage people to upgrade, but when they do they are finding that even quite expensive applications aren't being supported.

The hugely popular TomTom MOBILE GPS system connects to a Series 60 handset which then displays a map and directions, but not on a Series 60 version 3 handset! According to TomTom, it's up to the customer to check their website for compatibility, and they won't say when, or if, they're going to support version 3 of Series 60.

Last time I bought a PC I don't remember checking with the producers of all my software to see if it would still work, but when you're buying a new phone you might want to do just that.

A quick check of SymbianGear reveals that the N70 (Series 60 version 2) has over 300 commercial applications available for it, while the N80 has only 75. In freeware, where resources for porting and signing are more restricted, the situation is worse with only 10 programs for the N80 while the N70 has over 210!

Symbian assures us that this is the last time it'll be doing this, and in future backwards compatibility will be maintained. There is good reason to believe this, but it may be too little too late unless consumers can be educated as to how compatible their handsets actually are.

It's not just end-users who are being caught out expecting their phones to work like PCs - developers can face unexpected difficulties too. The SavaJe platform is a mobile phone OS completely based around Java, and the company has commissioned the Jasper handset to enable Java developers to create powerful applications by taking advantage of APIs which haven't yet been formally standardised. Developers can buy Jasper handsets, and SavaJe hopes that soon the platform will be licensed to mainstream manufacturers.

The problem with creating applications for the Jasper is that those applications can't, legally, be distributed without breaking the Java license; until those APIs are formally approved by the JCP (the Java Community Process). SavaJe says that having Jasper allows developers to experiment with pre-release versions and gain valuable experience, and it points out that right now there is no standard way of distributing those applications anyway, leaving the developer doubly damned.

Network operators have seen the mess that is the modern internet; awash with viruses, trojans and malware, and will do anything to prevent their networks going the same way, even if that means restricting what users can do.

At the same time, groups such as the Trusted Computing Initiative are looking to mobile phones as a model for the desktop systems of the future.

The question here is not what the limitations of a phone handset should be, but whose responsibility should it be to inform the end users of those limitations, because right now it seems that no one is interested in letting people know if their new handset will actually be able to do anything more than making phone calls. ®

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
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
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
FCC: Gonna need y'all to cough up $1.5bn to put broadband in schools
Kids need more fiber, says Wheeler, and you'll pay for it
NBN Co screws lid on FTTP coffin
Copper and HFC dominate in new corporate plan
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.