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  1.    #1  
    So i come here this morning only to find panicked speculation based on a few words from an article written in another language.

    Relax.

    Let's look at market situation for a moment, both past and present.

    So.. In the past few years, since the introduction of the iPhone, the mobile device industry always had a new trick up its sleeve in form of newer, more advanced hardware. That was a failproof way of making each consecutive generation of the device more attractive and desirable than last year's. It worked.

    But if you analyse how this was done, you would see that they've hit a ceiling of sorts. Looking at the iPhone, up until iPhone 5 it has retained the same form factor and physical dimensions of the screen, all while increasing memory, battery capacity, storage space, screen resolution and processing power.

    Then came the oversized slab phone trend, which allowed the manufacturers the cram laptop-like hardware specs into a phone that doesn't fit too comfortably in the hand. But here they've reached a point where increasing pixel density past 1080p and so on, doesn't give much of a noticeable improvement. A faster CPU feels too hot in the hand, a bigger battery feels heavy, like a brick.

    So inevitably they've reached a point when they can't really one-up each other's breathtaking specs, and a consumer doesn't necessarily use so much power for anything other than a trophy, a bragging right. The customer's incentive to upgrade runs out.

    There's a whole world out there that will keep buying whatever is new (and even old and used), but every company has to have a flagship product to dangle in their shareholders' faces, to say that the company is still viable and on top of its game. With the hardware advantage fading and relatively unknown manufacturers like Oppo using the same components to also produce eye-catching world-class devices, the focus turns to less tangible things like software and marketing.


    Android has been both a blessing and a curse for the industry, giving a software/service platform for the manufacturers to compete with Apple, but also turning many of its corporate customers into "me too" clones and Samsung taking lead as the "Apple equivalent" of Android, with the others trying to copy it. Another factor is that Android is provided by Google, who own Motorola Mobility and are no longer bound by a non-compete agreement starting next year (i think).


    So what do you do?

    Companies now have to leverage whatever is left, such as brand recognition (Samsung and Apple), brand loyalty (Samsung and Apple again), catchy marketing campaigns and innovation on the software/ecosystem side. The same stuff they had to work with before, but now with less of a hardware advantage.


    Companies whose product lines have become Android clones are aware that if they dropped off the map and disappeared today, the average consumer would not know or care. LG is one of those companies (no matter how good their products are), and this is primarily why we saw a VP of the mobile division saying publicly that it's time to branch out and not put all eggs in the Android basket (my words, not his). Even Samsung, whose Android devices hold a dominant and prestigious position continues to develop Tizen (which is their Bada OS, having also absorbed Meego [Nokia's Maemo + Intel's Moblin])



    Everyone knows that the market situation won't get any better, even the winners. Everyone is looking for their backup option. Android is the "generic" to Apple's "name brand", and they all see that Apple had the right strategy all along (even if i think the iOS UI paradigm is inferior to ours). With Google not having an iron-fisted monopoly over the Android app marketplace (there are other competing Android app stores besides Google Play) and the apps being usable on other platforms (via emulator), it's now possible to "live without" Android, to squeeze it out and throw it away, for those who are willing. Blackberry has their emulator, Jolla has licensed Myriad's Dalvik implementation for their Sailfish OS. The app infrastructure has "metastasized" so to speak...


    There's no clear cut answer, and i may well have lost my plot in the process, turning this into a muddled and inferior piece of writing... But...

    Don't panic. The market situation is turning in our favor. WebOS didn't die a closed-source death in the bowels of HP. LG bought webOS for their TV division, but they do in fact own the code and can transfer engineers around if they choose to.

    Neither panic nor unbridled optimism on our part really fit this situation, but please, don't turn good news into bad. Android has hit its limit of sustainable growth, and this is definitely something to celebrate.
  2. #2  
    "A faster CPU feels too hot in the hand, a bigger battery feels heavy, like a brick."

    Doesn't sound like you've ever had the Motorola Razr HD Maxx in your hands. It's actually quite lightweight. Not as light as an S4 but definetly as light as an iPhone 4S so please try it out before stating such facts because in 2013 your point is moot. Motorola is doing big batteries right.
  3.    #3  
    My point isn't absolute, but the simple fact that hardware alone can no longer carry a company. It's quiet chaos now, and everyone is trying to figure out their next strategy.

    And with replacement batteries being available, today's flagship phones will probably get five years of use, competing with the same company's lower spec phones in the process, sitting in the customers' hands longer...

    "Diamonds are forever", and so are Zippo lighters, so there is a very real possibility of over-flooding the market, others have done it before. When you couple that with lack of differentiation, you've got a dangerous situation for some manufacturers
    Last edited by Remy X; 05/28/2013 at 05:58 PM.
  4. #4  
    @Remy: I was only saying your big battery point was moot, not the rest of your post. I quite agree with most part actually.
    Remy X likes this.
  5.    #5  
    Thank you.

    Actually, most of the weight comes from glass and metal components in addition to battery... so i was just trying to illustrate a point that hitting the hardware ceiling is a very tangible issue
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by Vistaus View Post
    @Remy: I was only saying your big battery point was moot, not the rest of your post. I quite agree with most part actually.
    What is the amp-hour rating on that battery, any idea?
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  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by eblade View Post
    What is the amp-hour rating on that battery, any idea?
    for the razr maxx? I think it's around 3000, 3300 mAh pack IIRC
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  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by eblade View Post
    What is the amp-hour rating on that battery, any idea?

    Milli-Amp-Hours surely?

    Otherwise you would be carrying a Truck Battery around with you.. never mind a 'brick'!

    TP 32Gb 4G. 3.0.5 / CM10. ~ Pre3 16Gb GSM. 2.2.4. ~ TS2 BT Audio-Dock ~ HP iPaq. hx-2790b.
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    sledge007 likes this.
  9. ewl88's Avatar
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    #9  
    I think lots of your points are valid. Hardware is plateauing and no one wants to be a 3rd or later place Android groupie. But the bloggersphere still treats webOS as deceased rather than critically ill with a slim chance of resuscitating itself. I think Firefox (maybe Ubuntu also?) has some genuine supportl. You can argue that these OEMs are just hoping for another chance to win the mobile lottery in a new playground rather than playing for last place in Android space. Firefox in particular seems like it has enough professional support to succeed. Ideally webOS needs a strong patron who still believes in it and can overcome the failure stigma which I think snuffs out any spark that webOS needs to grow. Is LG strong enough or interested enough to push webOS forward outside of TVs? Or is webOS only a strategic hedge that will only get LG's support if Android market is ceded solely to Samsung? To my nondeveloper mind, there's lots of similarities between what webOS tried and Firefox and others are trying- HTML apps that work as well as native apps (in theory anyway) with low barriers to development and can easily be ported to other Os. But if you ask me there still is no compelling reason for players to embrace webOS over the current alternate mobile os's. Esp without any real contemporary webOS devices. I was thinking a small boutique company might be able to buy off some OEMs android phones and port open webOS to them and sell them to the passionate if dwindling webOS fans. Maybe LG can do them a favor and give them info for drivers so the porting effort is minimized. If this small effort succeeded then that could spark something. Maybe phoenix is looking into this?
  10.    #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by ewl88 View Post
    I think lots of your points are valid. Hardware is plateauing and no one wants to be a 3rd or later place Android groupie. But the bloggersphere still treats webOS as deceased rather than critically ill with a slim chance of resuscitating itself.

    [...]
    absolutely agree with your points...

    In fact, webOS has been mothballed for so long that it'll take some effort to bring it up to current standards.

    The browser engine has to be updated, and then some people also expect some of the fancier features like facial recognition unlock, etc


    But the fact that LG decided to take the whole webOS team with them tells me that they are serious about using webOS for whatever purposes they have in mind. This is not to say that they will jump headfirst into making phones, but there's a real possibility that if they are successful in one field, they may build on top of that success
  11. #11  
    I agree with so much of this. Thanks, Remy.

    I'd also chip in that they've boxed themselves in with the direction the mainstream mobile OSes have taken toward the huge slabs. Google and Microsoft have pushed both their platforms toward pure touch interfaces. iOS has always been that way. Now there's nothing inherently wrong with that, but it's pretty damned limiting to the form factor.

    Because sure, a 4.3" screen almost becomes the minimum for comfortable QWERTY typing at that point. (Do they have predictive T9 or SureType keyboards out there as reliable as the old BlackBerries and Nokias?)

    A cramped physical keyboard is somewhat more forgiving in this regard as you have tactile feedback to guide fingers in. Heck, many big fingered blokes even said the Pixi was easier to type on than the Pre.

    I took a stroll down memory lane recently. Nokia really had a diverse portfolio of hardware. All bullet proof, though old S40 couldn't keep up with new web standards and enterprise tech. Then they went to Windows Phone to incorporate all that. They're still chipping away at it with their Asha phones, with S40 slowly improving. I might pick one up, but phones like that and the BB Q5 are considered "for emerging markets," and not marketed in the States.

    And so it is that the Pre 3 is still king in the < 3.8" market, IMHO. It has all the necessities of modern hardware tied together with clean and contemporary software.

    So it was one thing when the market moved toward slabs. But the diversity has gotten SO choked out at this point, I have to believe someone coming in with a compact, long-lived device with some other form factor to accommodate data entry would corner a market. With webOS the only recent modern OS to try staying true to that standards, maybe with time it or something like it will crack things open again?

    (Take half of this as my love letter to the memory of T9 input. Though it was a bit vocabulary restricting at times, I swear I could type faster one-handed and without looking back in those days. But there are all of three respectable T9 smartphones, and they all run on dated OSes.)
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by Remy X View Post
    My point isn't absolute, but the simple fact that hardware alone can no longer carry a company. It's quiet chaos now, and everyone is trying to figure out their next strategy.

    And with replacement batteries being available, today's flagship phones will probably get five years of use, competing with the same company's lower spec phones in the process, sitting in the customers' hands longer...

    "Diamonds are forever", and so are Zippo lighters, so there is a very real possibility of over-flooding the market, others have done it before. When you couple that with lack of differentiation, you've got a dangerous situation for some manufacturers
    5 years is an eternity in mobile tech. Sure, your device may turn on and work for 5, even 10 years, but who wants to keep using a 5 year old phone even if it still worked and regardless of whether the device was a flagship one in its heyday. I still have every single phone I've used since 1999. Do I ever use any of the older ones? No. In 5 years, there will be something radically different, the ip5, GS4, HTC One of today won't even fit the bill to work within it.

    Point is, there's always room for great hardware and it hasn't peaked out.
  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by Remy X View Post
    But the fact that LG decided to take the whole webOS team with them tells me that they are serious about using webOS for whatever purposes they have in mind. This is not to say that they will jump headfirst into making phones, but there's a real possibility that if they are successful in one field, they may build on top of that success
    Before I go into this, I should probably mention I have an LG Optimus G and love the hell out of it. It's so well-built and buttery smooth with Android that I still recommend it or the Pro variant all the time. Heck, I own a lot of major LG appliances, even, for what it's worth. I love LG. But that doesn't dissuade nor preclude me from saying the following, either:

    I think the words "real possibility" are still quite loaded in this context. In fact, there's an enormous amount of money in the the details your post is glossing over. I would argue that it would take a massive undertaking from LG to shift those kinds of gears within a year, where your team moves from rebuilding the OS core from the ground up to suit TVs to then getting down with mobile devices. Yes, a lot of the gears can remain the same, but at the same time there are an enormous number of limitations television don't have versus phones and it all depends on how they architect Open webOS to handle a multi-platform transition by ensuring a lean, portable core and handling key optimizations that differ worlds apart from one form factor to the next.

    Until LG sees a real business case opening for webOS on smartphones and tablets again--whose entire ecosystem would require an enterprise-level (>$1B) investment in capital, engineers, developer and consumer outreach, and more effective advertising of the OS well beyond what it ever has been given--I wouldn't really expect much from that angle for a considerable time. And, let's face it, LG isn't known for its awesome advertising. The Optimus G ads were MST3K-worthy in my opinion.

    If webOS were to fail a 4th time--and yes, the Pre 2 "era" was the 2nd abject failure, that time for an unadvertised device few outside the community ever cared about no matter how much anyone might like to explain that away--it would essentially make LG an industry laughingstock for ever thinking it had a chance after the "3 strikes and out" webOS already suffered...and LG is already trying to rebuild its reputation in the market after a lot of dropped balls over the past couple of years. Keep in mind, to a company trying to make inroads into the U.S. markets against the likes of Apple or even Samsung, the stakes are considerably higher than usual. And with an underdog platform they'd be going it alone on? Good freakin' luck. Samsung can afford it; LG cannot.

    So, unless LG really gets a feeling, backed up by real financial and analytical numbers, that it could be really successful...it's not happening. No major manufacturer in their right mind would do it without serious data to indicate success, much less LG.

    And for the love of all that is good, if they do it they have to finally have a real, spotlessly-documented SDK for once if they ever hope to get any sort of developer support. Well, and to convince developers that they wouldn't effectively be supporting a zombie platform that feeds on their time and resources with virtually nothing in return other than what's left of the community telling them they need to keep supporting it. No developer that looks at the bottom line likes a charity case unless they have a lot of cash sitting around, and those are very few and very far between other than those that do it for the love of the platform (see: Astraware). It would take serious cash a la Blackberry's failed attempts to garner major developers to get a good signal-to-noise ratio on new apps to kickstart the engine toward encouraging new, quality developers to come on board.
    Last edited by dignitary; 05/29/2013 at 12:36 AM.
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by laoh View Post
    5 years is an eternity in mobile tech. Sure, your device may turn on and work for 5, even 10 years, but who wants to keep using a 5 year old phone even if it still worked and regardless of whether the device was a flagship one in its heyday. I still have every single phone I've used since 1999. Do I ever use any of the older ones? No. In 5 years, there will be something radically different, the ip5, GS4, HTC One of today won't even fit the bill to work within it.

    Point is, there's always room for great hardware and it hasn't peaked out.
    Anyone saying hardware's "peaked" obviously ignores over 100 years of computing history. (Much, much more than that if we want to get really petty and include counting fingers and the abacus.) Just because the hardware backing Android seems to be bordering on the absurd to the point of some alleged "peak", you can bet the software backing that hardware will keep up every bit as much as it can. One might consider this the cart leading the horse, but all the same it leads to innovation just as much as it was in the early days, the PC era, and now the era of tablets and smartphones.

    Nothing ever truly peaks in computing; it finds a way around every single time.
  15.    #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by laoh View Post
    5 years is an eternity in mobile tech. Sure, your device may turn on and work for 5, even 10 years, but who wants to keep using a 5 year old phone even if it still worked and regardless of whether the device was a flagship one in its heyday.

    [...]
    Me. I still use my LG flip phone (a nice one, stainless steel and not crummy plastic) that i bought the summer of '07.. My other phone is a Pre+, bought in April of '10, which i will keep using until Verizon drops CDMA or it gives up its ghost. If anything happens to it before then, i'll put the plastic screen of the Pre+ on a Pre2 and keep using that.. (for durability)

    Oh, and maybe a kid who is on a prepaid plan and doesn't have a job yet. Not everyone's parents can afford giving their kids all brand new top of the line phones on an unlimited plan, but i'm sure many hold onto their old smartphones to give to kids as "iPods"

    Quote Originally Posted by laoh View Post
    Point is, there's always room for great hardware and it hasn't peaked out.
    Room where? It your pocket?

    Just teasing

    I never said there was no room for improvement, but at this point, any improvement in hardware will have to be exponential to really shake up the market... because with today's hardware technologies, the manufacturers have pretty much run out of room to grow...
    Vistaus likes this.
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by laoh View Post
    who wants to keep using a 5 year old phone even if it still worked and regardless of whether the device was a flagship one in its heyday
    Also this guy: BBC News - Market for feature phone apps is low-tech goldmine
  17. #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by eblade View Post
    What is the amp-hour rating on that battery, any idea?
    You mean mAH? 3300.
    It really is lightweight enough, it only weighs 157g and given it has a 4.7" display that is not really hefty. In fact, it's even lighter than the Galaxy Note II (the gnote II weights 183g). And it's only 9.3 mm thick, 1 mm less thick than a GNote II.
  18. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by laoh View Post
    5 years is an eternity in mobile tech. Sure, your device may turn on and work for 5, even 10 years, but who wants to keep using a 5 year old phone even if it still worked and regardless of whether the device was a flagship one in its heyday.
    Me. Besides my Pre 3 I still use my Motorola Razr V6 Maxx (built in 2007) on a regular basis. The battery life is still really good and it never ever has failed me. I have Opera Mini on it so web browsing is possible with tabs to some extent. And when my Pre 3 dies I'll switch back to using my V6 full-time, just like the first few years I got it.
    ananimus and Remy X like this.
  19. #19  
    While feeling that I've been stuck in a 'Time Machine', I wonder if any of you webOS followers remember when Palm began to talk of "every item in each household could one day have the chance to share / speak with each other" and "beyond reliance of fixed computers, at desks...". Cloud, Tablets, Mobile Phones and slowly Automobile data is entering this environment, yet working with these goals can offer all levels greater chances of interaction. Alike the developing Neurosciences, IT-Computing can merge with its users and settings, in wider environments, purposes and eventual resources.

    webOS is not just a Product, but a Goal or ever-updating Ideal. With this belief, it will always be there - but 'Where is There?'.
    Palm m100 > Tungsten > Treo 680 > Centro > Pre 3 + TouchPad
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by Vistaus View Post
    You mean mAH? 3300.
    It really is lightweight enough, it only weighs 157g and given it has a 4.7" display that is not really hefty. In fact, it's even lighter than the Galaxy Note II (the gnote II weights 183g). And it's only 9.3 mm thick, 1 mm less thick than a GNote II.
    Now that batteries are routinely measured in thousands of mAH it almost makes more sense to quote in AH. My Pre3 has a 1.4AH battery for what it's worth and lasts a full working day. A top up during the day allows it to last into the evening. The only reason the latest phones have 2-4AH is that the CPU, screen and radio eat so much more power. We don't even have a usable 4G network in this country (UK) so that would not interest me for at least another year or two.

    (EE have a 4G network but there is no reception outside of major metropolitan areas, heck, I don't even get 3G at home.)
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