The possibility is already lost...
Posted Mar 30, 2011 7:51 UTC (Wed) by khim
In reply to: It's kida a moot point...
Parent article: How Amazon could loosen Google's iron grip on Android (ars technica)
The possibility is already there, the question is when do you jump into it.
The problem here is simple: the question of "when" is critical. Windows took the world when previous paradigm shift happened - when PCs grew from 16-bit toy computers to 32-bit multitasking-capable workstations. Microsoft won that battle and was able to successfully fight off all contenders till the next paradigm shift. Everyone expected that it'll be 64bit transition. And whoever will win this battle will be "king of the hill" for the next 30-50 years.
Of course history does not repeat itself... but it rhymes. This time major change, surprisingly enough, was not 32-bit to 64-bit transition (Microsoft was able to predict that one and pass it quite smoothly). It was form-factor change: computers migrated from top of the lap to pocket and, may be, in backpack too. I think we still have two-to-three years before final outcome will be known, but anything after that will linger on the edge of obscurity - no matter how good it'll be.
MeeGo seems to be a possibility of that date being earlier, and actually in better pre-installed amounts than Ubuntu.
MeeGo missed the big opportunity already. End of story. It may be ready to capitalize on the next paradigm shift in 10-15 years time. If it'll survive till then.
But the whole free software ecosystem is also so much more mature nowadays that the date can be quite soon if UI work and modem drivers are done.
It's not just a question of UI work. Till you have ISVs on board you'll just have another niche player. Akin to "Linux desktop" in the last 10 years. And "Linux desktop" was able to survive because hardware was [relatively] open: we had a Wintel duopoly, but actual computer systems were produced by bazillion computer makers, not by Microsoft or Intel.
The mobile phone market really starts to be on the edge of commodity market, with Openmoko phones and reverse-engineered selected (older) Android-shipping hardware and Nokia N900 out there, plus the promised probably quite nice MeeGoish device from Nokia.
The question is simple: how long it'll last? And what the end result will be? The most probable outcome is Rockbox fate: something used by a few enthusiasts but not something significant on the wide scale.
It's still pretty interesting, but it's not something to really brag about.
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