Day: April 8, 2004

  • What’s Wrong with iDEN Development

    Well, not “wrong” per se, but the way things work with iDEN development seems a bit backwards to me.  It’s definitely not hobbyist/shareware developer friendly.  After hearing Russ talk about it, I decided to check out the developer tools for the i730.

    I started at the Nextel Developer Program page where there was a huge link on the left hand side for the i730 SDK.  I clicked on it.  I was then prompted to sign in.  I took a few minutes, created an an account, and prodded on.  I was then presented with the sign in page for Motorola’s iDEN developer program.


    I tried logging in with the username/password that was associated with my brand new Nextel developer account.  No dice.  I tried resetting my password.  Nada.  The iDEN developer sign in page isn’t very helpful.  Quite the oppsite, actually.  My options seemed to be login, request new password, or reset my password.  Since I didn’t have an account with them, none of those options did me any good.  Luckily the developer home has a link to their registration page.

    I registered and tapped my feet while I waited for a confirmation email to arrive.  It might take up to 24 hours.  Luckily it didn’t, and I was rolling along in just a few mintes.  I found my way to the i730 SDK (requires login) and downloaded.

    For all of my complaining, it’s an amazingly capable java phone.  The SDK is different than your standard WTK/Nokia tools, but is quite usable.  I ended up setting things up in Eclipse using EclipseME and ALT-Tabing over to the Moto SDK to build and execute the emulator.  I jar’d and added the Moto-specific libs to my Eclipse project so that it would know what was going on.

    It’s a cool little phone.  The Location API that I first heard about in Sue and Tom’s excellent LBS article are really that easy to use.  It’s incredible how many extensions and APIs that Moto have managed to pack in to this amazingly inexpensive and relatively non-“smart” phone.

    Meanwhile back at the ranch, I was talking about what I think is wrong (or just not quite right) with iDEN development.

    Take a look at the iDEN Publisher Program (what you get when you click on “About the Program” in the iDEN Developer Community).  Here are the steps in the program:

    1. Register.  It’s not very easy and not very obvious, but I’ll get over that.
    2. Submit your application idea and title to Publisher.  I guess this is sort of like shopping around a screenplay.  Here’s my bit, would you like to give me money?  Do they ever say “Hey, that’s a great idea, do that in house”? 
    3. Carrier Approval. Lots of time passes.  The publishers shop the idea to carriers.  The carriers take lots of time to mull over the idea, conduct surveys, ponder if the idea can be done in house, etc.  If the carrier likes the idea, you will submit the completed app to the publisher, who will pass it on to the carrier.  More time passes.
    4. Submit you application to the Publisher.  Lots and lots of testing.  Strict compliance with the style guide (which has some quirks) is required.
    5. Payment.  The revenue split is 80/20, with you on on the 20% end of the deal.  I can’t fault the publisher, but the whole system is starting to feel a lot like the music industry.

    I’m sure that the process makes sense for everyone involved (well almost everyone), but it sure seems unfriendly to shareware developers, single developers, and maybe even small development houses.  It’s all very different than the Symbian community that I’m used to dealing with.

    While I’m not thrilled with the way things work, the i730 is extremely impressive, and I’d love to work with it more.  A simultaneous “hooray” and a “ho hum” are in order for Motorola.  I’m simultaneously impressed, excited, amazed, and bewildered about the iDEN ecosystem.

  • Lamo Sentencing Scheduled for Today

    Adrian Lamo, often refered to as the homeless hacker, is set to be sentenced today.  He faces 6-12 months or so and up to $70k in damages.  Via Marketplace, the bestest thing on the radio at 6pm Eastern.