[maemo-developers] [maemo-developers] Too busy to accept help? I'm not complaining

From: Shawn Gordon shawn at thekompany.com
Date: Wed Apr 19 21:59:26 EEST 2006
I've already got Nils slamming me privately because I dared to 
mention Qtopia, but let me provide some perspective as a company who 
was very successful with Qtopia and the Sharp Zaurus and what Sharp 
and Trolltech did both right and wrong that Nokia could learn from (I 
don't care if they use Qtopia at this stage, I just honestly think it 
would have been faster and cheaper than going the route they did, but 
I am not privy to the information that went in to making that decision).

Now by the time the Zaurus was commercially available, my company 
already had a dozen products running on it, maybe more, and there was 
a big and healthy open source movement that was also producing 
software, I don't remember how many apps, but it was a good amount 
and grew very rapidly.

What was done right:

Sharp actually located about 50 companies and individual developers 
(of which we were part) about 6 months before the release of the 
device, flew us all to San Jose, gave us a limo ride to the hotel, 
put us up with food and lodging, gave us a day seminar on the device 
and gave us devices.  They hired some people that were specifically 
meant to interface with the developers and actually were almost 
always available in IRC for immediate chat and feedback.

They worked with Handango to create a web site where commercial and 
free applications could be hosted.  I don't care for the site much, 
but at least it was a central repository that Sharp would point to.

Trolltech hired a liaison to work directly with the embedded 
community and keep the line of communication open.

What was not done right:

Sharp in Japan wouldn't trust Sharp Americas decisions and really 
pulled the rug out from under them.  One example was that while they 
got the device in places like Best Buy they never sent anyone out to 
the stores to educate the sales people, so consequently they steered 
people away from the device.

Sharp Americas support team kept getting gutted and the contact 
people in Japan kept changing till the point that you could no longer 
get information and it basically killed off any interaction between 
Sharp and the developers to the point that I was actually told by 
Sharp that they didn't want third party developers to do anything for 
the device.

Sharp Japan making major changes to the OS and backend engine without 
telling any of the 3rd party developers and we only found out after 
the devices were released and then documentation was thin or non-existent.

Confusing licensing - the Opie and OZ initiatives were really pushed 
by one of the people at Sharp US to try and commercialize his own 
embedded system, the problem was with the licensing because if you 
strictly followed the license, then a commercial application could 
not be legally sold for a device running Opie and OZ (I don't want to 
get mired in this again, I spent a lot of time working on this with 
lawyers at the time, and this was the end result).  It was confusing 
to the point that Trolltech couldn't even explain it.

Those are some bullet points of what we went through.  We still sell 
a good amount of software for the Zaurus and Archos every single day, 
even with these issues.  My point here is not advocacy for one 
windowing toolkit over another, it is to illustrate what works and 
doesn't work in this environment.  I'd be more than happy to have a 
really detailed conversation with Nokia on this and share more 
details of my experience.

At 10:51 AM 4/19/2006, Kasper Souren wrote:
>The product is on the market for less than half a year. There are 
>already tens of usable free software applications ported or created. 
>That's pretty impressive for the first 'open product' of such a big 
>company. I'm not complaining. I'm a pretty satisfied customer _and_ 
>developer myself.
>Just a little thank you to all the Nokia folks who made this possible...
>maemo-developers mailing list
>maemo-developers at maemo.org


Shawn Gordon

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