If you had asked me six months ago what mobile OS would rule the world, I would have told you Symbian hands down, no questions. Today the picture is a bit murkier.
There are a ton of tiny and cheap CMDA phones that are coming on the market. Sure, they can’t do what a 3650 or a P900 can do, but their feature lists are getting better and better. On even the more modest phones you can usually expect downloadable ringers, wallpaper, and possibly even BREW/J2ME. It may not be enough for me, but it’s sure enough for a lot of people.
Another contender out there are the Smartphones of the Windows Mobile variety. They rarely support Bluetooth and other things that I think of as essential, but the interface is slick! I have a PocketPC 2002 device and having played around with the Motorola Smartphone, I can honestly say that the Windows Mobile interface is cleaner and easier to use than PocketPC. It behaves as expected, and you’ve got your little pocket version of your favorite Windows apps. Everything is there. It feels familiar, yet it’s a phone.
Do you remember Alice? This is a song about Alice.
So here’s the dirt on my bet on the Symbian horse.
I bought myself a book this evening: Symbian OS C++ for Mobile Phones. I stopped by my local Borders on the way to class and thumbed through the Hello World chapter. It seemed to fill in a lot of the “huh?” gaps that the Series 90 Hello World. It leans a bit toward developing for UIQ, but points out the differences and how you could change the code to develop for non-UIQ devices. Instead of “this is how it is” the book tries to go in to “this is how it is, and why.” There is definitely some funky embedded highly optimized C++ going on there, but too easy is no fun.
I will definitely post the things that I am learning as I am learning them.
With MIDP 2.0 in the wild, as well as extensions that allow access to the Bluetooth stack and multimedia/messaging components of the hardware, we are going to see some richer J2ME apps down the line. We’re going to see them for Symbian and non-Symbian devices. I still believe that the killer apps for Symbian platforms are going to come in native C++ form. I believe that Series 90 is going to kick some butt and give the other Smartphones a run for their money. The screen size is right, the user interface is slick, the possibilities are endless.
So hopefully with kick butt J2ME apps, a revival of OPL, and some of the best native apps that you can sort of stick in your pocket, my money is on Symbian and Series 90.