webKit the official mobile browser?

Initially Nokia announced the decision of using the webKit browser in their mobile devices in the S60 series and they called it S60 Browser (running on the S60WebKit). That was already a landmark, I think.

Apple of course boosted the users of webKit and Safari releasing the windows version of Safari and then Safari in the iPhone.

Google followed announcing webKit in Android and now with Chrome.

MOTOMAGX is a linux platform by Motorola. They use it for some of their PDA’s. The other day I received their newsletter that among the other things mentioned widgets for MOTOMAGX and guess what? The official browser is the webkit.

A lot of big companies are jumping on the webKit band-wagon, but I think my original question still stands, Will Apple share ownership of the webKit? It’ll be especially interesting to see how Google will contribute and try to take control of the platform as now they have a lot of interest in making sure it goes in the right direction. So far it looks like Nokia did not have much voice in the project, at least from what I see.

More open questions:

  • Where does this leave Opera (Mini)? Will there still be space for them?
  • What about the Mozilla’s Fennec mobile browser? If you want to know my opinion, they might be late to the party.
  • What about other browsers like Skyfire and Teashark?

LiMo Foundation launched

Motorola, NEC, Panasonic, Samsung, NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone have launched the LiMo Foundation, to stimulate the development of Linux for mobile devices and most of all unite forces to make a common effort.

It looks like Vodafone lately is part of any possible alliance, .mobi, LiMo, the operators teaming to make mobile search engines

Anyway, I had already posted about linux on mobile devices (Mobile Linux, ever taking off?) and they still have to convince me that the manufacturers really want linux on the mobiles.
Apple, in my opinion, is demonstrating once again that if they want to take an open-source OS and make a solid product, they can do it. They did it when originally launched OS X bringing a GUI that *nix systems had never seen and they are doing it again bringing their BSD/OS X to the iPhone.
OEM’s like Motorola have been producing linux-based devices for years, but never brought it to the mainstream devices.

Is the LiMo going to change this?
Can a foundation like this change anything? Where is Savaje Technologies? Wasn’t it a company built with a similar spirit? Name 5 mobile devices that run their operating system.

Sorry, I’m skeptical.

MOTODEV, useless?

In the last couple of months I wrote posts about developers’ sites around the planet. I mostly wrote of updates or new sites that I found. Today I’m talking about a developers’ site that has been around for quite a few years, at least 3 or 4, I’d say. The site I’m going to talk today is MOTODEV, by Motorola.

While it’s been around for a long time and I have known it for a long time, I hadn’t felt like talking about it, yet. Why? Because there’s not much to say. Why? Because there’s nothing interesting to read or download!

Info about WAP capabilities is reduced to the VERY minimum and by minimum I mean that on most device spec pages (and files) you get something like “WAP 1.0” or “WAP 2.0”. Links generally target to OMA’s homepage or even the WAPForum’s.
Multimedia is sometimes described with very generic terms such as MP3-support, but nothing about other formats.
In general you can’t find accessory information about e-mail client, MMS (other than “supported”), messaging, IM.

The site in general is very poor.

Many devices are missing.

Downloadable spec files are generally a PDF version of the web page you were reading. 99% useless considering that you could save-to-file the page you’re reading.

Only thing that is decent on the site are specifications about J2ME capabilities, API’s and so on. This is decent, but not all devices have the documents available.

My overall vote to the site 4 out of ten and only because there’s J2ME information, otherwise it would have been a 2.

Something that clearly demonstrates the quality of the site. I tried to update my profile as it’s outdates, this is the result:

While writing this post I browsed the site looking for examples and re-check what exactly is available. The site has slightly changed the layout and some extra information has appeared. Looking at the device spec of the Motorola RAZR V3 we can now see the browser vendor that was not available in the past. As pointed out before, resources about J2ME are decent. The rest is mostly very similar to the end-user site, information about the generic support of SMS, EMS, MMS and IM. What IM, for example? OMA’s? AIM? ICQ? I have a V3 and I know it’s OMA IMPS (or Wireless Village), but data is still lacking.
I can see for example another V3 with CLDC 1.1, how do I distinguish the two models?

What I find disappointing in general is that all around the site there are very few details and it seems like the Motorola devices are 100% adherent to the standards and all the links are to the official documentation, while we all know that this is not entirely true, that all devices and implementations have their own peculiarities and in most cases this will not even put in evidence extra features the devices might have. Something you should actually put in the spotlight if you want developers and content providers to be able to provide the best for your devices.

I have to admit I have seen a slight improvement in the site and see new filters to search for devices that were not available 10-15 days ago when I had to do some research on them. Two weeks ago, in the handsets page there was a filter only by year. Now that filter is gone and new ones, more detailed and more interesting for a developer are present.

Related links:

Motorola open-source

I wanted to make this post about fifteen days ago, but then other things took over and this was left behind.

While doing my daily news-reading and “siteseeing”, I found a site that seems to mean that Motorola is into the open-source. Reading more deeply it is clear that they have open-sourced some parts of their J2ME implementation for mobile devices and the full software for some linux-based devices!

opensource.motorola.com offers a number of downloads. The most active, according to the published statistics are JSR’s in general and more specifically JSR 271 (Motorola ‘s JSR 271 implementation or the JCP JSR 271 specification).

Even more interestingly, there are links to access parts of device kernel, drivers and applications that are developed as open-source. You can access kernel and packages for the ROKR E2, A1200 or A780 and E680.
This is very cool.
The community is not very active also because it’s a very specific topic, but still it’s an initial effort. It’s incredible how much traction Linksys got after they released the full firmware of their WRT54g and later.

As a test I downloaded the firmware of the A780/E680, 72MB! It’s all RPM. There are many packages included and other packages are stored outside of the “firmware package”. It seems like there’s everything.

Why should I buy a greenphone, now that I have discovered this?
Hackers wanted to test these files and play around.

opensource.motorola.com announcement to the press.

feature-free mobile devices

via Fierce Mobile Content:”The company [Verizon Wireless] also introduced a new feature-free handset, the Motorola W315, designed specifically to court consumers with absolutely no interest in mobile video, music downloads or any other bells and whistles beyond voice and simple SMS.

This confirms the two diverging trends of devices with more features every day and devices that are going to lose features and go back to super-simple tools to make calls and basic features.

Some other interesting readings on the topic of making things simple and not flooded of features:
Google’s Plans for 2007
Apple’s iTV may extend “beyond streaming video”
Cingular’s Firefly
Vodafone primofonino

Motorola’s Parasitic cellphone

I just found this article on NewScientistTech about a new patent from Motorola.

In two words, according to the patent, when a cellphone is almost out of battery all non-vital functionalities will be turned off and instead of the standard radio chip it will use Bluetooth to comminicate with the network. SMS and other very basic features will be enabled. No calls, apparently. The device will use other nearby devices as proxies. Devices must accept to be proxies, of course.

I am sure many will be concerned about privacy and actually I would be concerned myself.

I can think of services in the city, by mobile operators, that would install little “bluetooth cells” to help you stay connected…. For an extra price, of couse!

Funny technology, anyway.