Pride and Prejudice: Smartphones

I laugh when trolls who come here seriously claim, “You get what you pay for”, implying that FLOSS is a broken model and that PCs running FLOSS are somehow second rate.“Android will undoubtedly remain the clear market leader among smartphone operating systems with share expected to hit 80.2% in 2014. Looking forward, IDC expects Android to lose a minimal amount of share over the forecast period, mainly as a result of Windows Phone growth. Android has been, and will continue to be, the platform driving low-cost devices. ASPs of Android smartphones were well below market average in the first quarter of 2014 and are expected to be $254 for full year 2014, dropping to $215 in 2018. Growth of Android phones is expected to outpace the market in 2014, rising 25.6% with volume just shy of 1 billion units.” According to what IDC finds, Android/Linux smartphones are taking 80% of the market shipments while having an average selling price ~$70 less than those other operating systems, you know, on Blackberries and iPhones.

The obvious advantage of FLOSS is that it is a cooperative product of the world and no organization has to pay the full shot. Further, there is no per-copy charge. So, OEMs can charge much less and make a sale and make a profit. Obviously, consumers love it. FLOSS works. It’s the right way to do IT. It will be the way software is prepared on nearly a billion smartphones this year, according to IDC. FLOSS smartphones are cranking out almost as many units per annum as M$’s total installed base and 4 years of production of those other operating systems.

See Smartphone Momentum Still Evident with Shipments Expected to Reach 1.2 Billion in 2014 and Growing 23.1% Over 2013, According to IDC.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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20 Responses to Pride and Prejudice: Smartphones

  1. M$ is like the zombie in your worst nightmare. As long as the evildoers who conceived the monopoly are still in charge, they will never willingly compete on a level playing field. They may tolerate FLOSS on the edges just to avoid offending big users but they will always lie to convince people everywhere that GNU/Linux and FLOSS is somehow second-rate software. Remember “technological evangelism”, EDGI, The Halloween documents, Get The FUD, Ballmer interrupting his skiing to threaten Norway, etc. ? Serial killers never lose the urge until they are killed or die of old age. According to their own plans, the battle is never over until the competing technology is equated with insanity.

  2. kukosdr wrote, “Care to provide any evidence?”

    Thought experiment: You are a dirt farmer somewhere in Africa. You grow beans/corn/something. There are markets a few miles away in several directions. Are you going to wander to each market with your goods to check out prices or are you going to value a smart thingy which gives you the information you need to decide? Your crop is worth a few $thousand and the increased profit from making the right choice will pay for a gadget several times over. Do you really care about anything except that it works and costs less than iThingy or Phoney 7? Further, Apple and M$ don’t have stores in your neighbourhood but there is this guy who goes around with a box of Android/Linux smartphones for $20… Oh, and all your friends/relatives/competitors already have one…

    According to StatCounter, if we count desktop, mobile phone, and tablet OS, Android/Linux gets 14% of page-views. In Kenya, it’s 28.73% and exceeds page-views of any other OS by a wide margin. Around October 2013, mobile Internet access became king in Kenya.

  3. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr end of active sync patents is April 10, 2018. By Linux/Unix world time frames 4 years is not long. Fat32 patent expire is 2016.

    Android itself can still mount usb keys.

    Apache Openoffice current development is IBM. Sun to contribute to OpenOffice you had to sign a “Contributor License Agreement” in other words go talk to your companies legal department particularly about giving code.

    Robert Pogson GNU project is funded by businesses just you need to dig a step deeper. http://www.gnu.org/help/help.html#funds

    FSF is the side that collects the money for GNU.
    kurkosdr exactly what is the difference between an Android laptop and a Android tablet with keyboard and mouse connected. From a software point of view nothing.

    There have been many android laptops just have not made very much market ground.

  4. kurkosdr says:

    Pogson, according to you, do users care about anything? Sure, they can get used to anything, but “don’t care”? Care to provide any evidence?

  5. ssorbom says:

    Offtopic:
    Mr. Pogson,
    I got this from my LXer feed today, Ithink you might be interested. I hope to god its true:
    http://www.cnet.com/news/dead-and-buried-microsofts-holy-war-on-open-source-software/

  6. kurkosdr, clutching at straws, wrote, “The domimant OS (Android) for said “small cheap computers” is controlled by one vendor, which has NO interest on the desktop or laptop, and any attempt to convert the OS to the desktop or laptop form factor is doomed to diverge heavily from vanilla android and play catch up with vanilla android when it comes to versions. Essentially, devices will always be months behind in version upgrades.”

    The world really doesn’t care about those things. The world wants small cheap computers. Android/Linux and GNU/Linux gives people what they want. The next billion users of IT will be getting IT and connectivity for the first time. Those small cheap computers are the cutting edge of IT in their neighbourhoods.

    Further, “one vendor, which has NO interest on the desktop or laptop”.

    Strange, when one considers that Google uses GNU/Linux on its desktops and ships ChromeOS which is GNU/Linux on notebooks. Also, Google uses the Linux kernel which is at home on various platforms. Android uses a virtual machine to run things so there’s an additional layer of device-independence, if anyone wants to run stuff on legacy machines. Also, Google doesn’t seem to go out of its way to limit what devices work:“Android powers hundreds of device types with several different screen sizes, ranging from small phones to large TV sets. Therefore, it’s important that you design your application to be compatible with all screen sizes so it’s available to as many users as possible.”

    Indeed, Google mentions all kinds of screen combinations, pointers and keyboards that should work with Android/Linux. They certainly don’t exclude desktops/notebooks. For example, they use “may include” for hardware keyboards and mouse-like pointing devices and GPS, compass, and accelerometers. The one awkward part is screen-orientation but they certainly don’t forbid a desktop reporting “portrait” or “landscape” without referring to an orientation-sensor. Lots of desktops already do that by configuration.

    Finally, Google allows remote-desktop thingies in Android Market…
    They even state it’s compatible with my device, Beast.

  7. kurkosdr says:

    In other news:

    http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/14/06/01/1828228/hp-re-announces-a-14-android-laptop

    Heavily customized version of Android that won’t see any upgrades (okay maybe one version, very late). Because forcing an OS in a form factor not officially supported by it’s developer, through the use of third-party hacks, is a totally good idea.

    So much about “small cheap computers” (aka “ARM computers”, I never understood why you say three words instead of two).

    The domimant OS (Android) for said “small cheap computers” is controlled by one vendor, which has NO interest on the desktop or laptop, and any attempt to convert the OS to the desktop or laptop form factor is doomed to diverge heavily from vanilla android and play catch up with vanilla android when it comes to versions. Essentially, devices will always be months behind in version upgrades.

    And Google doesn’t release any kind of maintenance fixes for exploits and bugs of all versions. Either go to the latest or stay with the exploits and bugs. Freedom!!

    Meanwhile, we freedom-haters will use Windows. Which allows to have an old version if we like it (Windows 7), with the latest bugfixes, exploit-fixes, and ALL the latest desktop apps the newest version runs.

    PS: “ARM computers” are essentially content consumption platforms (phones and tablets). How is this better than a Windows 7 computer?

  8. kurkosdr says:

    “which many readers have interpreted as permitting operating system vendors to implement FAT.”

    I don’t think the FAT32 patent is relevant anymore, unless you buy a phone with a MicroSD slot. Android doesn’t expose the underlying filesystem any more (since 4.0) to Windows PCs, it uses the MTP protocol (there is no “mount as USB storage” option anymore). This means that, internally, Android can use any filesystem it wants.
    https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120414110235AAnlGm3

    But, the Exchange ActiveSync patents are still relevant. Which are not going to expire soon.

    The good news about the Microsoft vs Motorola spat was that Microsoft had to expose which patents consider relevant to Android, because the fine folks at Redmond won’t tell you which patents exactly your product supposedly infringes unless they have to file a lawsuit (if you agree to pay up, you ‘ll never know, but Motorola didn’t, tee hee)

    “KUKU has it in for Libreoffice and Gimp, perhaps he lost money selling M$ Office and Photoshop to clients, that would explain his animosity.”

    Wow! What a thoughfull and constructive comment. Apparently I am a software seller now. So is anyone who curses LibreOffice and GIMP for being inferior. I also pirate software (MS Office and Photoshop included), but don’t let that cloud your judgement.

  9. dougman says:

    KUKU has it in for Libreoffice and Gimp, perhaps he lost money selling M$ Office and Photoshop to clients, that would explain his animosity.

    I say LibreOffice is better office out of SUN’s hands and into the rest of the world to develop.

  10. ssorbom wrote, “I don’t think we should be arguing for FOSS on the grounds that it is cheap. That kind of thinking WILL lead to second-rate software….The only reason why we don’t have to pay for what we use is that a major Fortune 500 Company is doing it for us.”

    There are many ways to pay for development of software. Smaller projects often start and are paid for by the efforts of a small number of developers “scratching an itch” or wanting to gain experience. If the project is valued, it will be maintained for years by the original author or following authors. Smaller code-bases can be managed by as little as one person. Bigger and more widely used projects do need some structure but it doesn’t have to be a business at all. Non-profits do quite well. Folks who want their pet project to survive the twists and turns of fate will set one up or welcome adoption by an existing foundation. Many times we see businesses or larger organizations choose to support a project they find useful but that is only one way to go. Because the licence allows sharing, it is naturally that a multitude support any widely used project. Having a single business support a project is quite dangerous because it can be locked down or neglected one way or another. Forking can save such projects. e.g. LibreOffice thrives even though Oracle did just about everything it could to kill openoffice.org. OpenOffice.org is supported now by several businesses but so is LibreOffice. I much prefer the way LibreOffice has developed while Apache was fiddling around cleansing the code of licences it didn’t like.

    I call FLOSS a cooperative product of the world. It is bigger and more diverse than any corporation and that stimulates diversity while promoting growth and vigour. A single point of control is a single point of failure. A consequence of shared development is that no one pays the full shot and shares FLOSS with the world. That is a very economical and efficient method since no one has to reinvent the wheel or pay dozens of licensing fees. Write once, run everywhere for very little cost is meritorious. It’s the right way to do IT. That other model tends to maximize the cost of IT, what no one wants.

  11. oiaohm wrote, ” You cannot find businesses behind a FOSS project it will have a short life.”

    That may be true for huge projects with many developers and many users. It has to develop layers of people and that does cost money, but many smaller projects are love-children of one or few developers and as long as they have the passion it will survive. e.g. http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/make/make-4.0.tar.gz. It’s not sexy. It’s widely used and has been around 16 years but has only 38 contributors in its AUTHORS file. Is GNU a big corporation? Is GNU a business? Nope.

  12. kurkosdr wrote, ” when the open source development model doesn’t have a viable way of generating enough revenue to hire paid devs, and yet OSS fanbois keep telling us how software developed almost entirely by volunteers is better than competing proprietary solutions.”

    He then offers LibreOffice as an example: “PS: Just look at Open\LibreOffice. The moment paid Sun devs stopped working on it, it practically stagnated”

    You mean while SUN did everything it could to keep others from contributing and Oracle followed that model? Look at LibreOffice now. See Page 9 where the loss of Oracle-contributors was more than replaced by new contributors from all over.

  13. kurkosdr says:

    (and then there is the marvel of the volunteer model, the linux audio stack…)

  14. kurkosdr says:

    (oh, and hiring one or two devs or consultants hardy changes everything, I am talking about a proper team here…)

  15. kurkosdr says:

    Nobody has a problem with the open source development method. After all, it has given us useful stuff like VirtualBox. What some of us DO have a problem with is when the open source development model doesn’t have a viable way of generating enough revenue to hire paid devs, and yet OSS fanbois keep telling us how software developed almost entirely by volunteers is better than competing proprietary solutions. You know, the kind of people pushing Open/LibreOffice instead of MS Office or KingSoft Office, GIMP instead of Photoshop, Octave instead of MATLAB, fall in this category.

    PS: Android has full time paid developers behind it, and is generating enough revenue for Google, through app sales and ads and gmail.

    PS: Just look at Open\LibreOffice. The moment paid Sun devs stopped working on it, it practically stagnated

    Bonus: Most of contributions to OpenOffice were made by paid Sun developers
    https://people.gnome.org/~michael/blog/ooo-commit-stats-2008.html
    https://people.gnome.org/~michael/images/2008-09-29-overall.png
    https://people.gnome.org/~michael/images/2008-09-29-active-both.png

    Please tell me how volunteers will make GIMP, Octave and the-know-abandoned-by-Sun/Oracle OpenOffice a roaring success without any help from paid devs. I am all ears…

  16. oiaohm says:

    https://www.debian.org/partners/
    https://www.debian.org/consultants/
    ssorbom even debian has companies and official consultants.

    All strong projects have a business or businesses behind them in the FOSS world. You cannot find businesses behind a FOSS project it will have a short life.

    I do like the statement that FOSS is like a Free puppy. If you don’t invest in its training and upkeep it can destroy your house.

  17. ssorbom says:

    I don’t think we should be arguing for FOSS on the grounds that it is cheap. That kind of thinking WILL lead to second-rate software. Wait, hear me out.

    We can get FOSS very cheap, but behind every successful project is a bussiness venture. Cononical, Redhat, SUSE, and others are in this for the money. I think the only reason Debian bucks that trend is because of very rigid community structuring. In most other cases that I know of, The structure and rules come from some entity that is setting an agenda (in this case corporations). Money is the motivator for people at corporations because they in turn must pay rent and keep their children fed. The only reason why we don’t have to pay for what we use is that a major Fortune 500 Company is doing it for us. But that in turn comes at a cost. It means they decide the direction of major projects in many (though not all) cases. We should look at Linux and related ecosystem like we look at PBS: its NOT free, and ultimately it is a choice whether we pay, (like public TV) or the corporations pay (like commercial TV).

  18. dougman says:

    Also, IDC: 87% Of Connected Devices Sales By 2017 Will Be Tablets And Smartphones

    Whom owns this market?? It sure as heck not M$ and its stupid Nokia phone.

  19. Mats Hagglund wrote, “Perhaps only negative thing was : patent troll M$ got some 10$.”

    I think the only reason OEMs settled was because the patents are about to expire:
    Wikipedia – “On December 3, 2003 Microsoft announced that it would be offering licenses for use of its FAT specification and “associated intellectual property”, at the cost of a US$0.25 royalty per unit sold, with a $250,000 maximum royalty per license agreement. To this end, Microsoft cited four patents on the FAT file system as the basis of its intellectual property claims.
    In the EFI FAT32 specification Microsoft specifically grants a number of rights, which many readers have interpreted as permitting operating system vendors to implement FAT.”

    1996 to 2014 is 18 years, the lifetime of a patent.

  20. Mats Hagglund says:

    Apple and Microsoft just can’t compete. Those who have bought Windows phones have found soon the lack of apps. Those using iPhones will notice to have paid too much just to be member of a cult. My wife got her Galaxy Trend at price of just 89 € and i have to pay only 149€ for my HTC Desire 500. Perhaps only negative thing was : patent troll M$ got some 10$. First time since 2005 me and my wife were

    paying to those gangsters.

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