May 26, 2012
I believe Nokia when it says that the company has no Plan B, or that Plan B is to make Plan A a success – at least for now. Perhaps it would prefer not to consider such an alternative until it saw that Windows Phone was failing to make inroads after an extended period of time. Of course, the big question is, how long would that period be?
The line from Nokia is that the ecosystem of Windows Phone must succeed for Nokia to succeed. But I’m not sure it’s so black and white. Apple, and for years before it, RIM, succeeded with no other licensees of its operating system. There was that brief window where PalmOne was the only successful licensee of Palm OS, owned by PalmSource. And, really, which major handset provider besides Nokia was wildly successful with Symbian?
Indeed, while few doubt that Nokia will be the most successful Windows Phone licensee, a successful ecosystem does not necessarily make for a successful licensee. Some would argue that, if Windows Phone proves a failure beyond Nokia, than Microsoft should just purchase Nokia. But Stephen Elop, in recounting the story of how Nokia came to license Windows Phone, says that that was never on the table. Indeed, Nokia would be about as comfortable inside Microsoft as Motorola Mobility still looks inside Google. Not needing the IP, or being able to leverage it without purchase, Microsoft would be loath to buy Nokia no matter how high its share of Windows Phone became.
Tags: ecosystems, Google, Googorola, licensing, Microkia, Mokia, motorola, Plan B, Tizen, webOS, Windows Phone
December 7, 2010
As it did with Eclair (Android 2.1), Google has taken the occasion of a new version of Android dubbed Gingerbread (Android 2.3) to bring out a new handset offering a “pure Android experience.” This time around, that purity is brought to you by Samsung rather than HTC, which produced the original Nexus One, a handset that stole some thunder (but few sales) from the Motorola Droid juggernaut.
Google has used the Nexus handsets for experimenting with distribution outside the carrier channel, even if it made the original Nexus somewhat of a sacrificial lamb. The superior distribution of Best Buy should certainly help with the push of the device.
However, the improvements in Android 2.3 may not do much to drive consumers to the Google-branded handset, at least for a while. Unlike recent Android enhancements that brought improvements such as more home screens, dramatically faster operation, and mobile hotspot capability, .most of Gingerbread’s improvements are under the hood. The marquee feature, NFC, could yield some compelling new applications, but the one most popularly considered – enabling payments – is hardly a magnet.
The “S” serving as the device’s surname refers to the Samsung Galaxy S family that is the foundation for not only the Nexus S design, but defines many of the key hardware characteristics for the Samsung Focus, which many consider “the Windows Phone to get.” With the Galaxy S, Samsung has pursued a strategy of ubiquity versus exclusivity, and so the Nexus S will compete with similarly priced and specced siblings at all four major carriers, including the Vibrant (as well as the faster G2 and MyTouch 4G) on T-Mobile’s own portfolio. Even though the Nexus S is an unlocked device, its (partial) optimization for T-Mobile’s network all but assures that it will be most appealing to customers using the smallest of the national facilities-based carriers.
The Nexus S may be less “a Nexus to perplex us,” but Google’s vanity handsets still seem like a bug in its diversification strategy, one that must be generating considerable head-scratching among Android licensees, particularly those that are not anointed to build a Nexus in a given cycle.. Google is still staying clear of going head to head with OEMs at major carriers, but while it is providing more serious competition this time around, the carriers are better armed as well.
Tags: Android, Google, HTC, licensing, motorola, Nexus One, Nexus S, NFC, OEMs, Samsung
August 11, 2009
Despite being a member of the Blu-ray Disc Association since 2005, Apple has lagged on integrating Blu-ray into Macs, pinning the blame on licensing issues and not being coy about iTunes’ competition with physical media. But if Toshiba has come to the point that it feels it needs Blu-ray to be competitive, than those licensing issues must be more like a landfill full of hurt than just a bag for Apple to continue abstaining.
True, Toshiba plays in the traditional CE deck business, something Apple’s not going to do, and Blu-ray becomes much more interesting in the PC market as a data archiving medium offering greater capacity than rewriteable DVD. Media prices will need to come down considerably for that to happen.. But even until then, many Mac users would probably benefit from Apple supporting Blu-ray even if they had no interest in the latest high-definition discs from Hollywood.
This is because Mac OS X (even, unfortunately, Snow Leopard, as I’ve learned) cannot natively handle AVCHD, in particular the MPEG Transport Stream (.MTS) file format. This is a significant disappointment given that it is used by major camcorder manufacturers such as Sony, Canon and Panasonic as the way video is stored on hard drives and flash memory. It is also surprising given that Apple is touting how QuickTime X is built on such a modern foundation and the role that Apple and QuickTime had in the development of H.264. And, finally, it puts Apple at a competitive disadvantage versus Windows 7, which includes native file format support for MTS.
MTS has been a headache for many users frustrated by its lack of support. Just (Disclosure: this verb sponsored by Microsoft) Bing it and you’ll see that many of the references to it are pleas for file format converters. Frankly, I don’t know how someone without an Elgato Turbo H.264 deals with a modern camcorder on a Mac (but Elgato, please add support for AVCHD Lite)..
So what’s the bugaboo around MTS? It comes down to companies being unwilling to spend the dollars to license officially or use some of the open source options. While I’m not familiar with all the details, it seems that to support MTS you need to license at least some portion of the technology needed to play back Blu-ray. Ergo, if Apple supported Blu-ray, it would probably have the IP needed to support MTS natively. If rumors about future versions of iTunes supporting Blu-ray turn out to be false, any Mac users hoping to deal with files from their modern camcorders as naturally as they do JPEGs should hope for Blu-ray Macs.
Tags: AVCHD, Blu-ray, licensing, Mac OS X, MTS, QuickTime, Snow Leopard, Windows 7