Please Don't Mistake My Apathy For A Lack of Understanding

There’s an interesting discussion floating around that a fanatical devotion to iPhone is blinding mobile developers to larger potential markets. And I’m amazed. Really, just freaking flabbergasted, that the conversation could even be taking place. How can anyone seriously say “well, you’re ignoring all those potential millions of handsets out there running Symbian” and keep a straight face? I’ve been working, for years and years. And years and years and years and years, trying to get out to all those handsets, trying to build applications or websites that were able to hit a critical mass of users on all those handsets out there. Or at least enough users to run a profitable business. Lots of us have been trying to.

And generally we’ve been working at it alone. There’s been little help from handset manufacturers, little help from operating system providers, and really no help at all from carriers (though they’ll be very quick to tell you otherwise). Whenever us developers would complain about it or attempt to change the way things worked there was always some excuse about why things aren’t better. We would ask for more capable browsers and the response was that battery life and network constraints make it impossible to create a browser of near desktop capability on a mobile device. We would ask for development tools that would make it easier to get started developing and make it easier to debug and we were told that mobile development is just too complex to try to make it simple. We would ask for a simple payment system that didn’t result in massive checkout dropoff and everyone would just laugh.

The entire system was deadlocked cause no one with the power to was really interested in shaking it up. We kept getting fed excuse after excuse justifying the general lack of forward progress on all fronts. But then something comes along that makes it easy, often profitable, and frequently even fun to develop for mobile again. Apple has exposed the fact that the lack of progress in mobile wasn’t something inherent in the system. That someone with the right motivation can really shake things up and get the train moving again.

So what’s the response from all those players who just got plowed under by Apple, sitting on the sidelines with egg on their faces? They start what sounds quite a bit like a FUD campaign cause they really don’t have any solid ground to stand on any more. Why should I start caring about the Ovi store now? I’ve done Symbian development in the past, I’m familiar with the handset lineup, I have an E71 currently, have been a long time user of Nokia devices, and I know what Ovi is the number of handsets out in the market.

You know what? I still don’t give a crap. And no, I’m not even sorry about not giving a crap. Actually I’m somewhat offended at someone impugning my foresight and knowledge of the market by saying I’m blind to other potentials cause I’m in love with iPhone. I know what’s out there. I’ve been running free events in the Bay Area for more than 5 years now to try to bolster the mobile community when nothing else would. I’ve been working in the industry for about three times as long. I’ve developed for just about every platform, and I know the ecosystem extremely well. It’s not that I’m blind to everything else. I know everything else that’s out there, and because of that I’ve chosen to develop for iPhone.

Stop lying to yourselves, and definitely stop lying to us. Is the Nokia store supposed to challenge Apple? Or Microsoft supposed to? Or RIM? You know what folks, you had your chances. If you want to impress me, if you want me to start developing for your platforms again, get your houses in order. Once things change, once you get your stores developed, released, and proven as a good commercial channels to end users – then we can talk again. Until then we’re all just going to keep laughing at you and developing for dragon tiger gate divx

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56 Responses to Please Don't Mistake My Apathy For A Lack of Understanding

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