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An artist's mockup of Android on a Lumia device  (Source: Digital Trends)
Will budget Android phone see the light of day?

Phandroid and The Verge are reporting that multiple sources close to Nokia Oyj.'s (HEX:NOK1V) devices team have revealed the Finnish phonemaker was preparing a forked version of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Linux kernel-based Android operating system.  With Nokia selling its devices unit to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and stepping away from the phone business, it's now unclear whether the product will every see the light of day.  But the idea that Nokia had waiting Android devices hiding in plain sight raises a number of interesting questions, and forces a fresh look at the history of Nokia's relationships.

I. Pivotal 2009 Turned Nokia from Android to Microsoft

What is Project Normandy? Is it the long hoped for Nokia Android smartphone?  The answer is "sort of".

Much as the U.S. invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) marked a new chapter in a long war filled with twists and turns, the history of Nokia's relationships with Google and Microsoft is deep and complex.

Normandy -- and Android Nokia devices -- might have landed in 2011, given the market direction Nokia was headed around 2008.  But in 2009 something pivotal happened, which would delay that possibility, perhaps indefinitely.  That year, an executive would extend an olive branch to Nokia, a gesture that would eventually transform the Finnish phonemaker from a rival to a close partner two years later.

Stephen Elop was at the time the head of Microsoft's business software unit.  Unlike many at Microsoft, Mr. Elop recognized that smartphones were the next big thing.  While feature phones were still dominating global sales at the time, he envisioned an era in which users did many of their daily PC chores on a smartphone.  So he made a strong push for Office on the smartphone.

Office Launch
Stephen Elop and Microsoft's relationship with Nokia began with Microsoft Office [Image Source: Microsoft]

The only problem was that Microsoft's own smartphone platform, Windows Mobile, was looking increasingly long in the tooth.  Way back in 2005, Microsoft's Windows Mobile had helped to launch the smartphone craze after the company's OEM partners started adding cellular modems to PDAs.  

Smartphone market share 2005 through 2012
U.S. smartphone market share (2005-2012) [Image Source: comScore]

WinMo in 2007 peaked with a U.S. market share of over 40 percent of smartphone sales, and a global market share of around 12 percent.

Smartphone market share
Global smartphone OS shares (2005-2008) [Image Source: Needham & Co. analyst Charles Wolf]

But by 2009, Windows Mobile was in freefall.  At the time Microsoft had just released Windows Mobile 6.5, which while sound in functionality lacked the entertainment-geared app catalog of Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iOS-equipped iPhone.  And WinMo 6.5 looked downright Quasimodo-like in terms of its graphical user interface compared to the Android and iOS.

Mr. Elop wasn't a big fan of WinMo, and he urged Microsoft's leadership to commit to a bold redesign.  Between 2008 and 2009 Microsoft got serious about that project, which was dubbed Windows Phone.  But in 2009 with smartphone usage exploding, there was still no Windows Phone product.

Windows Mobile
Windows Mobile was looking somewhat dated in 2009. [Image Source: Geeky Gadgets]

So Mr. Elop decided that Microsoft's mobile Office build needed a new home away from the "burning platform" that was WinMo.  

His team reportedly briefly considered Apple, which Microsoft already had a hot-and-cold relationship with.  But Apple CEO Steve Jobs was lukewarm on the idea, given his own plans for mobile versions of the iWork suite.  And some at Microsoft feared that putting Office on the iPhone would deliver the market to Apple, killing any chances for Windows Phone.  So Mr. Elop looked elsewhere.  And he chose Nokia.

Nokia at the time was the biggest smartphone maker.  It was in the right place, at the right time.  The Finnish company might not have been the biggest name in the American market, but in the middle of the last decade it released a series of devices that came to define the emerging smartphone market.  Unlike Windows Mobile, it didn't treat mobility as an afterthought; it was arguably the first OS truly designed to offer a smartphone experience.

This pioneering role is reflected in Nokia's fearsome patent portfolio, which is widely regarded as the strongest in the smartphone industry.  Even Apple, after being sued by Nokia, eventually acknowledged that it had "borrowed" some of the defining features of a smartphone from Nokia, agreeing to licensing payments on it iPhone product in 2011.

Thus it wasn't surprising that Microsoft and Nokia -- veterans of the software and smartphone industries, respectively -- would decide to partner up.  What was more suprising is that the pair stuck to that plan as the fire spread to Nokia's platform.

II. Symbian -- Nokia's "Burning Platform"

In 2009 Nokia was starting to slow.  After being on top of the "smartphone" market since 1996, Nokia's smartphone operating system of choice, Symbian, began to fall, starting with the release of the Apple iPhone in 2007.

Smartphone market share -- Nokia slowdown
Smartphone market share (2007-2012) [Image Source: Gartner Inc. (IT)]

In 2007 Symbian had roughly 65 percent of the market; in 2008 its share dropped to under 45 percent.  Much like Windows Mobile, Symbian's sales were hit first by Apple and Blackberry, then later damaged even more by the emergence of Android as a dominant competitor in 2010.

smartphone market share
IDC estimates, smartphone operating system market share (2007-2011)
[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

From whence did the fall come?  Symbian wasn't nearly as clunky and unattractive as Windows Mobile.  But in 2007 and 2008 Nokia's Symbian devices began receiving weaker reviews.  Meanwhile a far greater problem lurked below the surface.  Mobile developers were finding Symbian C++ much harder to learn and develop for that Google's Java-based SDK or Apple's Objective-C based SDK.

This is a key, oft overlooked element of Symbian's fall.  You see, to Symbian's fans the operating system didn't look or feel grossly inferior to iOS or Android, and that was largely true in terms of the core OS.  But what casual users for the most part were unaware of was the struggle it was to develop for Symbian.
Nokia N8
By 2010 Nokia's faith in Symbian was weakening, as was its global market share.

Also, by 2009 Symbian had been largely abandoned by other OEMs besides Nokia.  Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930), Motorola Mobility (now a Google unit), and Sony Corp.'s (TYO:6758) phone business (then Sony Ericsson, a unit co-owned by Sweden's Ericsson AB (STO:ERIC.AERIC.B)) all made the switch from Symbian to Android between 2007 and 2009.

However, when Mr. Elop pushed Microsoft to partner with Nokia in 2009, the Finnish phonemaker was still the world's top smartphone and feature phone seller with sales far greater than Windows Mobile.

Was Mr. Elop's decision to place Microsoft's software to transplant Microsoft's software from its current "burning platform" onto a far bigger "burning platform", a mere coincidence or a prelude to trying to lure the veteran phonemaker away from its struggling Symbian?

III. Moving to Windows Phone

We may never know, but by 2010, Symbian's woes had taken a turn for the worse.

In April 2010 Nokia announced a facelift for Symbian -- Symbian^3 (S^3) and a new Qt based app platform -- which offered a much quicker path for new developers, albeit at the cost of a little less power under the hood.  Nokia even was talking about an even more ambitious makeover, Symbian^4 (later retitled S^3 "Belle") in early 2010.

But Nokia's board was impatient with these efforts.  Under pressure, Nokia executives in June 2010 made the decision to pull the plug on Symbian from its high-profile N-Series phones.

Nokia Meego
Nokia made the decision to move away from Symbian before Stephen Elop even arrived -- it announced in mid-2010 that its premium smartphones would no longer run a Linux variant, instead.

At the time one might expect Nokia to consider Android the leading candidate to displace Symbian -- given that's the choice Symbian's other former backers had made.  Instead, Nokia first turned to Meego, an alternative platform that combined the company's experimental "Maemo" Linux-kernel mobile OS with Intel Corp.'s (INTC) Moblin.

More changes quickly came.

A month later Nokia announced it would be booting Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, who had served as CEO at Nokia since 2006.  In September it selected Stephen Elop as his replacement.  A number of executives quit in the next couple months and the Symbian Foundation's director Lee Williams resigned.  In Oct. 2010 Nokia's CTO stated, "We will no longer be talking about Symbian^3 or Symbian^4 at all."

Stephen
But thanks to his deep relationship with Nokia, Stephen Elop convinced his new employer to embrace Windows Phone instead.  [Image Source: Reuters]

In Q4 2010 Android passed Symbian (and Nokia) in global smartphone sales for the first time.  In Feb. 2011 Mr. Elop gave his famous "burning platform" speech, in which he heavily criticized Symbian.  Two days later, backed by the board, he announced that Nokia was going to adopt Microsoft's Windows Phone (instead of Meego or Android) and would complete the phase out of Symbian that had been set into motion shortly before his arrival.  (Windows Phone 7 had quietly launched in Nov. 2010.)

III. Nokia Plots Secret Normandy Device

Microsoft paid Nokia over $1B USD to stay away from Android.  But the move did little to stop Nokia's fall -- in fact it may have accelerated it.  Nokia learned the hard way you don't announce you're phasing out a platform without having its replacement ready.  With a limited stock of Windows Phones hitting the market in 2011, sales plunged.

Smartphone global market share 2009 through 2013
A switch to Windows Phone didn't exactly help Nokia. [Image Source: BI Intelligence]

Still Nokia and Mr. Elop stuck to their guns.  Throughout 2011 and 2012, Nokia talked a whole lot of trash about Android.  One Nokia executive suggested that OEMs using Android were like children peeing themselves to stay warm in the snow, a bizarre analogy that stuck in the minds of many.

Given that rhetoric, a switch to Android seemed extremely improbable despite Nokia's struggles.  And yet in late 2012 the rumor spread that Nokia was eyeing an Android escape route, particularly after a Nokia executive suggested the company was formulating a "contingency plan" if Windows Phone failed.  Could Microsoft's "Trojan horse" CEO possibly be planning such a move?

Indeed, after publicly admonishing Android for so long, new reports indicated that Nokia began a secret affair with the Google-backed Linux OS in early-to-mid 2012.  The media took note that Nokia was hiring engineers with Android experience, but ultimately these reports were downplayed after Nokia executives claimed that it was simply looking to improve support on Android for its cross-platform HERE mapping service.

Now those hirings are seen in a new light, as reports reveal that Nokia was working on an Android phone.  According to sources Nokia was eyeing Android as a potential partner for Windows Phone.  Android would occupy the low end, replacing S40.



It's unclear whether "Meltimi" -- a rumored Linux-kernel based replacement for S40 -- was actually the Android build in question.  What is clear is that this was no garden variety Android phone.  Nokia was planning to cultivate its own branch on the Android tree, similar to Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) Fire OS.

Meltemi
Nokia hoped to revitalize its mid-range lineup with a quasi-secret new Linux OS. 

[Image Source: Symbian Tweet]

The secret Android device was dubbed "Normandy" and was pictured in a leak by @EVLeaks on Twitter, shortly before it was announced that Nokia's devices unit was being acquired by Microsoft for $7.2B USD.  The device may have been hinted at, as well, by Nokia's recent admission that it "kept secrets" from Microsoft.

Now the burning question is whether Microsoft will abandon the device -- and other potential low-end Nokia Android devices.  On the one hand Microsoft seems to have no clear alternative on the low end, where Windows Phone has yet to reach.  On the other hand it would be rather bizarre to see a Microsoft-branded Android ("Nokia" devices will be rebranded to "Microsoft" after the acquisition is complete).

Thus the saga of Nokia's secret affair with Android may be complete, or it may be poised to enter a new, more public chapter.  Either way, this intriguing tale illustrates that Mr. Elop might not have been quite as much of a "Trojan horse" as some depict him to be.  Sure Microsoft paid him handsomely after he delivered Nokia to his former (and new) employer, but he also appeared to entertain the idea of Android adoption, even if that product may never reach the market.

Sources: The Verge, Phandroid, EV Leaks



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low end WP8
By Samus on 12/12/2013 1:14:10 AM , Rating: 2
I think Windows Phone is a great OS for low end devices. It doesn't need fast hardware, its stable and easy to use, and most importantly, it is very energy efficient.




RE: low end WP8
By troysavary on 12/12/2013 1:42:26 AM , Rating: 2
It is a much better low end OS than Android. Every bargain Android device I have tried has been painful to use.


RE: low end WP8
By Mint on 12/12/2013 2:20:41 AM , Rating: 2
By most accounts the Moto G is a very good low end smartphone. But it isn't priced quite low enough for most of the next billion. I think WP could run well on devices in Nokia's Asha line.


RE: low end WP8
By Flunk on 12/12/2013 9:28:46 AM , Rating: 2
That's because most of the people in question can't afford more than about $50 for a phone.


RE: low end WP8
By Mint on 12/12/2013 5:15:17 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, that's the point, genius. We're specifically talking about the low end.


RE: low end WP8
By nafhan on 12/12/2013 7:53:46 AM , Rating: 2
I'd say that has at least as much to do with the available "bargain" Android handsets as it does the OS. They generally ship with terrible to mediocre hardware and an out of date OS (compared to Nokia phones in the same price range). The Moto G and Android 4.4 may signal a change in that trend. We'll see.


RE: low end WP8
By Gunbuster on 12/12/2013 9:53:19 AM , Rating: 2
The Moto G is being sold for $200, while the Lumia 520 is $60. Android "cheap phone" value still does not compute.


RE: low end WP8
By nafhan on 12/12/2013 12:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
does not compute
if $cheap = 60 AND $phoneprice = 200
then
print "phone not cheap"
else if $cheap = 200 AND $phoneprice = 200
then
print "phone cheap"
end if


Better? Seriously, though, $180 is a low enough price that I would recommend it to people over the Lumia. I couldn't have done that previously.


RE: low end WP8
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 1:20:57 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah who are all these people that absolutely cannot afford a phone over $80? You still have to pay for a data plan after that, it's not like you find a cheap phone and you're home free.

Furthermore who actually buys unlocked phones? Hardly anyone. The vast majority go with the contracts, where you can choose any phone you want. Or go with T-Mobile, where you can get any flagship you want for a bit more a month and upgrade as you see fit.

These Window Phone guys are just couching the argument in their chosen platforms favor without applying any thought. Who care about the low-end anyway? I've never before seen this tactic used, where people champion the LEAST ATTRACTIVE segment of the entire market as a victory.

The Moto G is a much better value proposition than the Lumia 520/521 by far. It comes out of the box with a much better OS and hardware. And it will still be getting updates from Google long after Microsoft abandons the Lumia 520/521's.

That's right, as soon as Windows Phone 9 gets released. Every Lumia 520/521 on the planet will become obsolete overnight and abandoned. Just like the Windows Phone 7's.


RE: low end WP8
By Mitch101 on 12/12/2013 2:48:50 PM , Rating: 3
You dont know Jack about Windows Phones.

Its not that they cant afford it its that they dont want to overpay for the same damn thing and be locked into a 2 year contract.

We pay $45.00 a month for the same coverage on a pay as you go plan which is much better than paying $70.00 for the exact same coverage and plan. $70.00 is with my corporate discount.

Unless you bring a phone over your choices are cheap Android 2.3 devices even they want $80-$130.00 for them.

While you want to brag about paying $80.00 for a phone your paying an extra $35.00 a month for the same coverage and forced into a 2 year plan. So you pay an extra $840 over 2 years than someone with a pay as you go plan with the same exact coverage and data plan.

We still have Windows 7 phones in use they work perfectly fine and are still updated. They don't play as many games but who cares.


RE: low end WP8
By nikon133 on 12/12/2013 4:01:10 PM , Rating: 2
So now, we have Android users with superiority complex, something that many Android users were previously always keen to tag iPhone users with.

Funny how history repeats, eh? Different brand, same old elitist bullcrap. Just give it a time.


RE: low end WP8
By Mitch101 on 12/12/2013 4:41:32 PM , Rating: 1
Yup whats humorous is the amount of Android elitists that feel the need to threadcrap every Windows Phone and iPhone article out there. I think they leave Blackberry articles alone now.


RE: low end WP8
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/13, Rating: 0
RE: low end WP8
By Mint on 12/12/2013 5:17:45 PM , Rating: 4
Find one single quote of a DT poster that claims "an $80 blows away any Android handset".

I challenge you.


RE: low end WP8
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 5:20:42 PM , Rating: 1
Wtf people are saying it every day here!


RE: low end WP8
By Totally on 12/12/2013 9:37:09 PM , Rating: 4
Then it shouldn't be that hard to find a few.


RE: low end WP8
By CaedenV on 12/13/2013 7:31:31 AM , Rating: 2
Nobody is suggesting that an $80 520/521 is going to beat out a $200 Android. BUT for under $100 you can get a WP with the full WP experience, great specs for the price range, and full store access, where on Android you simply cannot.

As for suggestions, I think you are a bit off the mark there too. I would never suggest a sub $300 phone to anyone who is looking for a true smartphone. That is just silly, and anyone who wants a decent phone is going to find a way to get one on a contract to make it affordable. In fact, I would dare to say that everyone who wants a good high end smart phone already has one. The people jumping into the smartphone race right now are the flip-phone and feature phone crowd who cannot afford a contract, or a mid-level device... but they can afford a $45/mo unlimited everything plan through a company like straight talk, and a sub $100 phone.

Lets remember too that phones break. If your $500+ smartphone dies 4-6 months outside of contract then what are you going to do? Are you really going to go blow $500+ on a phone to get you through a few months before getting another high end phone on your contract renewal? Not a chance for most people. You go out and find the cheapest device on the market and deal with it for a few months, and when the 520/521 can be found on sale as cheap as $60 then it is pretty hard to say no to as a temp phone or as a backup device.

You can talk about value all day, and in the end the best bang for your buck is actually on the higher end of the spectrum. I absolutely hate the iPhone, but even I can recognize that the iPhone offers the best value of any phone on the market (there are other factors other than apps, features, customer service, etc per dollar to consider there). The moto G is a good value... in a set price range. The 520/521 is a good value... at a lower price range. But what makes the 520 great is not it's value, but its ability to bring affordability to the prepaid markets.


RE: low end WP8
By Wolfpup on 12/16/2013 4:34:13 PM , Rating: 3
Owning both a Nokia 520 and $200 Android devices, I'd say yes, it ABSOLUTELY beats $200 Android devices.


RE: low end WP8
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 12:08:27 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
It is a much better low end OS than Android.


That's an opinion. And it's probably based on some experience you had years ago, like most Android criticisms, your information is outdated.

quote:
Every bargain Android device I have tried has been painful to use.


And what would those be? Why won't you list them and tell us of your experience? Details would be nice.

Every Windows Phone device I have tried has been painful to use as well. Again, just an opinion. The mess of a UI, the lack of key apps, and the lack of a Google Now type assistant feels like I'm using a phone from 2009.


RE: low end WP8
By Mitch101 on 12/12/2013 12:50:21 PM , Rating: 1
Most low end Android devices sold have Android 2.3 still and will never get upgraded past that so his experience with cheap Android devices is spot on. Not everyone wants to be under a 2 year contract.

Samsung has nice devices unless you have a problem.
Galaxy S4 Customer Posts Defective Phone Video, Samsung Demands Removal
http://mashable.com/2013/12/10/samsung-s4-burns-up...

He said that in order to receive a “similar model” replacement phone, Samsung allegedly asked that he first sign a legal document that would require him to remove his videos from YouTube, remain silent about the agreement and surrender any possible future claims against the company.


RE: low end WP8
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 12:58:56 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Most low end Android devices sold have Android 2.3


Yeah that right there is BS. Show me some proof, because I'm tired of hearing that nonsense.

59% of all devices connecting to the Google Play store are running Android 4.0 or higher.

These "low end" devices you mention are Chinese knock-off products I can't even buy here. That's not "low-end", that's black market!

quote:
Samsung has nice devices unless you have a problem.


Wow one users experience and you've turned this into an, off topic, Samsung rant?

Want to bet I can Google up similar stories about Windows Phones or Apple?

quote:
and will never get upgraded past that


So when Windows Phone 9 gets released, what's going to happen to all these low-end Nokia 520/521's? Ooops! They won't get upgraded either.

I recently flashed my old two year old Motorola Razr to CM 10.2 (Android 4.3). It's breathed new life into a device that would have been thrown away. Go try that with Windows Phone, get back to me.


RE: low end WP8
By Mitch101 on 12/12/13, Rating: -1
RE: low end WP8
By anactoraaron on 12/12/2013 4:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ive shown you before you just ignore the facts.


Facts? Like this nugget you share?
quote:
Look at every single pay as you go plan here in the US and almost every device is 2.3


False. There are 13 pay as you go phones on AT&T. 6/13 are not even smartphones. Out of the four that are Android, only 1 is on 2.3. http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/devices/prepaidph...

Let's look elsewhere... How about Verizon? 5 devices listed there, again none of them smartphones. http://www.verizonwireless.com/new/prepaid/pay-as-...

What about T-Mobile? http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-phones See for yourself on just how wrong you are!

Go ahead, check Sprint too! I did the first three links for you, you can get this last one for yourself.

Or better yet! Make S**T up and say it's a fact! You are some special kind of stupid.


RE: low end WP8
By Mitch101 on 12/12/13, Rating: -1
RE: low end WP8
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 4:57:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Look at every single pay as you go plan here in the US


Those are a tiny minority. Nobody does pay as you go relatively! Your entire argument hinges on THAT??

Plus those devices you mention barely even fit the definition of "smartphone". Get real.

quote:
Not happening to Android 2.3 devices.


You're just saying this without any knowledge, aren't you?

Google has smartly added features, security, and service updates to ALL Android devices without pushing a new software version download. Oops your theory is blown apart!

Malware? Less than a percent of Android devices in first-world nations are infected. I'm at a higher risk of being struck by lightning than my phone getting malware.

quote:
Show us other phone companies besides Apple/Sony doing the same?


The two biggest phone manufacturers? Hmm you think MAYBE you hear about those more because their marque brands and make bigger headlines?

And since when did this become a Samsung discussion anyway? It's like you just threw that in because...you hate Android?


RE: low end WP8
By Mitch101 on 12/12/2013 6:59:43 PM , Rating: 2
Your ass is not a fact machine stop pulling from it.

Total U.S. prepaid subscriptions shot past 100 million as of June , growing by 12 percent over the previous year

Prepaid accounts for 95 percent of cellphone handsets in India, 80 percent in Latin America, 70 percent in China and 65 percent in Europe
http://phys.org/news/2013-02-cellphone-users-prepa...

The vast majority of infected mobile phones run Android . Those running BlackBerry, iOS and other operating systems represent less than 1% of infected mobile devices, Kindsight said.

When calculated separately, on average more than 1% of Android devices on mobile networks are infected with malware, Kindsight said in its report .
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9240994/And...

You shouldn't go outside in a thunderstorm then.


RE: low end WP8
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 7:11:26 PM , Rating: 2
LMAO your numbers are ridiculous. You just blindly trust anything.

The entire US population is only ~330 million individuals. According to your joke of a source, a THIRD of the entire population is on a prepaid plan. Just..LMAO!!!

We're talking smartphones, remember? The only way your source makes sense, is if the huge majority of those prepaid plans are for feature phones. NOT smartphones.

I notice your article provides no breakdown (they only mention cellphones), but I'm calling it right now, there's no way over 100 million Americans are on a prepaid SMARTPHONE plan.

quote:
The vast majority of infected mobile phones run Android .


The vast majority of ALL mobile phones run Android. So this is a equally useless statistic when framed in a proper context and critical thinking is applied.

quote:
on average more than 1% of Android devices on mobile networks are infected with malware, Kindsight said in its report .


Yes and when you break down those numbers regionally, you see that nearly all infections are in China and developing nations, bring up the mean average for Android. In places like the US, UK, and Europe, infections are less than 1%.

Hey Mitch, you just got OWNED.


RE: low end WP8
By Mitch101 on 12/12/2013 8:36:09 PM , Rating: 1
Wow your the authority on PWNAGE?

According to you everyone can afford a $80.00 SmartPhone if so then why is the Pre-Paid Mobile Phone market so small at a mere 100 million plus?

How about the Los Angeles Times, Bloomburg, and Android Forum for references.

LA TIMES
http://articles.latimes.com/2013/feb/19/business/l...

Total U.S. prepaid subscriptions shot past 100 million as of June, growing by 12% over the previous year, while traditional wireless telephone services with monthly bills remained flat. About 1 in 3 U.S. cellphone owners now opt to pay as they go.

Prepaid Wireless Users in U.S. Top 100 Million, Report Says
http://go.bloomberg.com/tech-blog/2012-08-13-prepa...

US prepaid wireless subscribers exceed 100 million, postpaid makes a comeback
http://www.androidauthority.com/us-prepaid-wireles...

Its always somewhere else never here and Ill give you plenty of time for your next respin argument.


RE: low end WP8
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 9:12:16 PM , Rating: 2
When I said "nobody goes prepaid" it was under the clear assumption we were discussing smartphones. Subsidy vs unlocked.

You still haven't provided any data that suggests, for smartphones , people purchase unlocked non-contract SMARTPHONES in any large number.

Don't accuse people of moving goalposts because you can't grasp the context of the discussion.


RE: low end WP8
By nafhan on 12/13/2013 10:15:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The vast majority of infected mobile phones run Android
And how many phones is that?

A good hint that it's not a real problem is that the numbers are generally presented as a % compared to other mobile platforms. That type of "fact" is great for headlines and fear-mongering, but useless if you are actually concerned about making any sort of meaningful judgement. A statistically insignificant number does not become significant just because it's bigger than another statistically insignificant number.

That's not even going into the fact that most of the malware does not come from legit store(s), and is therefore a non-issue for most.


RE: low end WP8
By Reclaimer77 on 12/13/2013 10:24:23 AM , Rating: 2
You're letting facts get in the way of his witch hunt!


RE: low end WP8
By pandemonium on 12/12/2013 1:56:58 AM , Rating: 2
Essentially what Symbian was. As long as the development community isn't hindered, it'll do great on the higher end as well.


RE: low end WP8
By Flunk on 12/12/2013 9:27:12 AM , Rating: 2
It would need work, the minimum resolution is 480x800. The Asha line sports screens with half that resolution. The CPUs are also much much slower than the 1Ghz A9s that Windows Phone was originally designed for.

I agree with you that a cut-down Windows Phone is the best idea, I just think it's going to be a lot more work. Seeing as they are being acquired by Microsoft I can see it happening. Microsoft certainly has the resources.


RE: low end WP8
By YearOfTheDingo on 12/12/2013 12:07:16 PM , Rating: 2
Windows Phone is a full-feature OS design for the first world. It wouldn't work for the kind of market that the Asha targets. The Asha 501 has a mind-boggling maximum standby time of 48 days. A single charge will give you more than a week of regular usage. In places in the world where electricity is a luxury rather than an afterthought, such high level of efficiency is important. You can't get it from WP8 and definitely not Android.


RE: low end WP8
By flyingpants1 on 12/12/2013 10:27:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A single charge will give you more than a week of regular usage.


That's obvious nonsense. People should think before they make up random battery life numbers. It's a normal smartphone with a normal screen and battery, "regular usage" with the screen on and CPU active will kill it within a few hours, just like every other modern smartphone.

Lumia 521s are amazing, they are basically an iPhone at 1/10 of the cost. Specs really do not matter to most people. If my Android phone broke, I'd pick up a Lumia today.


RE: low end WP8
By Argon18 on 12/12/2013 2:57:17 PM , Rating: 1
"Windows Phone is a great OS for low end devices."

The operative word being low-end device. Power users are still going to prefer more robust Android and iOS solutions for their mobile needs.


Gotta have a contingency plan
By Mint on 12/12/2013 2:13:33 AM , Rating: 2
Not surprising that Nokia was developing an Android device in case MS decided to pull the plug on WP or got complacent.

But when you see companies like HTC with a huge Android share headstart making well reviewed products and still failing, and knowing that Symbian/Meego was doomed, you gotta think Elop made the best of a bad situation in choosing WP and MS's $1B/yr bribe. The ideal strategy would have been Nokia going Android in 2009, but he didn't have a time machine. Nowadays you're either Samsung or you're not in the Android world.

Windows phone is looking up now. I wonder how long MS will stick with the Nokia brand, as it's pretty powerful. The "next billion" market, i.e. India/China/etc, shows real promise for MS/Nokia.




RE: Gotta have a contingency plan
By wind79 on 12/12/2013 3:21:54 AM , Rating: 2
The reason HTC is failing has nothing to do with its lack of contingency plan. Its mainly due to its weak patent portfolio and being bullied by bigger companies like Microsoft and Apple. Nokia won't have the same problem like HTC had it adopted Android as its mobile platform.

I would love to see an Android Nokia with its PureView camera technology and Nokia Maps navigation system.


RE: Gotta have a contingency plan
By Mint on 12/12/2013 7:03:36 AM , Rating: 2
I wan't implying that HTC's failure was due to a lack of a contingency plan. It was an example of the brutal competition between Android competitors, and difficulty to create meaningful differentiation and customer loyalty. HTC was a leader, and made well-reviewed products, yet couldn't get anywhere.

You patent theory doesn't make sense either, because all Android handset makers had the same issue.

Nokia's task would have been even harder than HTC's, as they would be starting from zero share of the Android market. They'd have to take it from Samsung, LG, ZTE, Huawei, etc. Doing so would probably require developing unique software features and a standout skin to differentiate the UI (which WP provides in spades, whether you like it or hate it), needing time they didn't have when Elop arrived. They wouldn't be getting $1B/yr from MS, or free WP marketing.

PureView is great, but in the 808 it was too bulky to be mainstream, and the 920 didn't really have a clear advantage over everyone else. Even the 1020 is really only a niche product.

Obviously I can't rule out the possibility that Nokia could have stormed the Android marketplace despite a late entry. I just doubt it would have happened.


RE: Gotta have a contingency plan
By nafhan on 12/12/2013 8:16:13 AM , Rating: 2
You also see LG, Huawei, and Lenovo doing fairly well with Android... I think HTC's failure is a little more complex than you make it sound.

I'm also pretty sure a Lumia 520/1 running Android 4+ would have moved quite a few units. Even just looking at the specs, it's been beating most Android stuff in it's price range since it's release.
quote:
Elop made the best of a bad situation in choosing WP and MS's $1B/yr bribe.
Don't forget, he's a VP at MS, now. Job security may have played a part in his decision as well.


RE: Gotta have a contingency plan
By ritualm on 12/12/2013 11:22:50 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You also see LG, Huawei, and Lenovo doing fairly well with Android... I think HTC's failure is a little more complex than you make it sound.

While that is true, all three companies you mentioned aren't faring well with Android, just like HTC. Diversification is the key difference here.

LG is like Samsung - it makes more than just phones and tablets.

Huawei's primary business is networking (it's the Cisco of China), so poor phone sales isn't an issue.

Lenovo's primary business is the desktop and laptop computers it bought from IBM years ago, so poor phone sales isn't an issue.

AFAIK, HTC doesn't sell anything significant besides phones and tablets, not just a lack of patents. When the company hits a rough patch, it literally has nothing else to fall back on. The other three companies you mentioned can treat their phone/tablet division as a side business, however for HTC it just about sums up their entire product portfolio.

Considering the dire situation they're in right now, the best case scenario is for them to sell the entire company to a well-heeled competitor, as all other alternatives involve going out of business altogether.


RE: Gotta have a contingency plan
By nafhan on 12/12/2013 12:22:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
all three companies you mentioned aren't faring well with Android
In the context of WP market share/this conversation, they're doing great: they're each selling about as many phones as MS/Nokia.
quote:
the best case scenario is for them to sell the entire company to a well-heeled competitor
The best case scenario would be for them to make some kind of recovery. Unlikely, but still possible. A buyout by Huawei or ZTE might work, though; they don't have much presence in the US and could use some help on industrial design.


RE: Gotta have a contingency plan
By Mint on 12/12/2013 5:13:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but they had a huge Android headstart compared to a hypothetical Nokia that started selling Android in 2011.

Even Sony is really only doing well in Japan. Their US share is miniscule, and in Europe they're doing okay.


RE: Gotta have a contingency plan
By nafhan on 12/13/2013 10:28:13 AM , Rating: 2
There's a lot of people who don't have smartphones, and the big Android OEM's have not been doing a good job catering to those people. There's a lot of room for improvement at the bottom end, and Nokia has done a great job taking advantage of that. I have no doubt that the 520 released at the same time for the same price, but with Android, would have sold just as well or better.


RE: Gotta have a contingency plan
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 12:28:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Considering the dire situation they're in right now, the best case scenario is for them to sell the entire company to a well-heeled competitor, as all other alternatives involve going out of business altogether.


People were saying this about T-Mobile barely a year ago. Looking at the company today, you would never know it.

I don't WANT less diversification and more consolidation in the 'Droid universe. Why would you want HTC to bow out and give a victory to patent bullying and anti-competitive practices by Apple and Microsoft?

I for one hope HTC turns it around and returns to their former altitude as a leading handset maker.


RE: Gotta have a contingency plan
By Mitch101 on 12/12/2013 2:56:08 PM , Rating: 2
Its not about Apple and Microsoft its more about Samsung market share. Apple and Microsoft are just trying to get their share of patent infringement before HTC goes under.

Samsung would love it then the money they spent on hiring college kids to post negative comments about the HTC ONE would pay off for them which it already has.

Samsung would then get HTC's marketshare for those looking for a high end Android device. Big Win for Samsung having HTC go out.


RE: Gotta have a contingency plan
By ritualm on 12/12/2013 4:30:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
People were saying this about T-Mobile barely a year ago. Looking at the company today, you would never know it.

Apples and oranges.
quote:
I don't WANT less diversification and more consolidation in the 'Droid universe. Why would you want HTC to bow out and give a victory to patent bullying and anti-competitive practices by Apple and Microsoft?

What else is supposed to happen, hot shot? HTC has no other products besides phones and tablets (even so, I'd put a question mark on the latter).
quote:
I for one hope HTC turns it around and returns to their former altitude as a leading handset maker.

That requires money. Other companies have various revenue sources from which to funnel cash to a struggling phone/tablet division. HTC has no such luxury - the company simply is not diversified to weather a downturn, on top of a bleeding balance sheet because it has to pay patent royalties per physical phone sold to three Goliaths.

I hate to sound like a pessimist. I just don't think for a brief second that all of these optimist "I hope HTC will recover" predictions have any meat in it.


RE: Gotta have a contingency plan
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 5:10:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Apples and oranges.


Explain? It's EXACTLY the same. You can't just blow off counterpoints that defeat you with blanket clique debate responses.

quote:
HTC has no other products besides phones and tablets


Who cares? They don't NEED other products. They just need to be more profitable with the ones they do make.

Am I being optimistic? Sure. So what? I don't want to see less competition and choice with smartphones, is that so bad?

It's bad enough that MS owns Nokia and Google owns Motorola. We don't need even more consolidation here imo.


RE: Gotta have a contingency plan
By ritualm on 12/12/2013 5:24:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's EXACTLY the same.

It's not. Phone plans have significantly higher profit margins than phone hardware.

Also, it's you who keep moving goal posts. It's becoming your blanket clique debate response in its own right.
quote:
They don't NEED other products.

Not if HTC wants to stay alive.
quote:
Am I being optimistic? Sure. So what? I don't want to see less competition and choice with smartphones, is that so bad?

Because reality's a b!tch and often disagrees with your brand of fairy tales.
quote:
It's bad enough that MS owns Nokia and Google owns Motorola. We don't need even more consolidation here imo.

HTC will do a lot better being a subsidiary of another parent company than standing on its own two feet.


By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 5:38:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's not. Phone plans have significantly higher profit margins than phone hardware.


And expanding 4G coverage nation wide and making network upgrades is massively more expensive than making a smartphone. If you want to nitpick.

My point wasn't that their business models were the same. I was just illustrating that companies being written off for dead CAN transform and make the necessary changes to compete.

I don't believe it's written in stone that HTC must fail. It's certainly more probable they will, I freely admit that. But am I going to cheer for their demise like you guys? No.

quote:
HTC will do a lot better being a subsidiary of another parent company than standing on its own two feet.


Except Cher Wang already said they "wont" sell out to another company. So now who's spinning fairy tales?

You people are making HTC seem like OCZ. HTC is still profitable (barely), hello?


By YearOfTheDingo on 12/12/2013 12:40:16 PM , Rating: 2
These are also "too big to fail" firms, that enjoy considerable implicit state support. They can afford to run a profitless operation forever, since banks will keep floating them cheap loans. Competing with firms willing to accept a margin of 0% is not where one wants to be.


RE: Gotta have a contingency plan
By fic2 on 12/12/2013 11:32:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Don't forget, he's a VP at MS, now. Job security may have played a part in his decision as well.


I think he made something like $100M with the buyout. That probably overshadowed any thinking about job security that might have flitted through his brain.


By Captain Awesome on 12/12/2013 8:36:08 AM , Rating: 2
LG is also in the Android world, they made the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5.


By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 12:21:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Elop made the best of a bad situation in choosing WP and MS's $1B/yr bribe.


His choice led to Nokia losing their phone division to Microsoft. Sure they made money, but I have a hard time seeing how people view this as a "win" for Nokia.

quote:
But when you see companies like HTC with a huge Android share headstart making well reviewed products and still failing


In a world where HTC rise or fall was dictated by it's products, it would be doing fantastic today.

Unfortunately in this world, HTC can be bled dry by competitors like Nokia and Microsoft and Apple constantly patent trolling. Have their products banned instead of in stores. And pay exorbitant "license" fees for every device sold.

If you added all that up back into HTC's profits, today they would be right where they were before this started: A giant of the industry.

quote:
Nowadays you're either Samsung or you're not in the Android world.


Samsung is the largest and most profitable, yes. However at least they have competition, and Android has a diverse product portfolio.

Besides Nokia, which has essentially just been Microsoft for a while now, who exactly is getting on board with the whole Windows Phone deal?


By drycrust3 on 12/12/2013 2:55:18 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Much as the U.S. invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) marked a new chapter in a long war filled with twists and turns,

I guess it would be too much to ask for you to say "US lead invasion of Normandy". After all, there were other countries that had troops landing on those beaches at H-Hour.
According to the Wikipedia entry on D-Day, the British Second Army used approximately 83,000 troops involved (of whom close to 62,000 were British), while the US First Army used approximately 73,000.




Maemo/Meego
By Denigrate on 12/12/2013 9:13:16 AM , Rating: 2
Nokia screwed the pooch when they failed to develop Maemo. I had the Nokia 770 (way ahead of it's time), and later the N900 and they were great devices that were easy to use, and the OS was extremely fluid, better than anything else out there at the time. No idea why Nokia insisted on pushing the obviuosly inferior Symbian.

If Nokia had further developed Maemo, they would be atop the smartphone world.




windows mobile
By mmarianbv on 12/12/2013 2:57:05 AM , Rating: 1
i like more my mio pda with windows mobile vs the crap that is my lumia 710. after fail after fail (i still dont have a custom sip client for it, nor autentificators for major mmo's, nor aplication for major sites, to name a few) i got a nexus 4. instead of trashing ios/android, they could learn a lot from them. but is probably to late.
from my part, i will never touch a smartphone/tablet with windows.




“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads














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