Archive for June 16th, 2006

The crapped-up world of memory allocation on consumer cellphones

InfoSyncWorld posted a review of the Samsung SCH-A930 phone. They say that “while we had no trouble pulling down Web pages optimized for mobile surfing, the browser crashed while trying to download the lengthy New York Times home page.

This phone runs the 6.2.3.2 Verizon-modified version of Openwave’s UP.Browser. Openwave already licences their 7.x version which is better in terms of compatibility (although it requires a bit more memory in exchange for more features), and there is an even newer version of the 6.x branch, 6.3.0.8, which is better than the 6.2.3.2. However, Verizon sticks with that specific old version for ALL their phones. No matter what non-smartphone you buy from Verizon, you are going to get the same version, and end up at a similar crashing problem (here’s another review with the same problem, same browser, same carrier). In reality, the problem is this:

Openwave/Teleca: “Look! We only need 2 MB of RAM to gracefully operate our web browser with most sites, when Netfront or Opera require at least 6 MBs!”
LG/Samsung/Motorola: “Oh, really? Very interesting, well done! Here’s the thing though: I am only going to give you 512 KB of heap. Make it work if you want to have money to buy a turkey this Christmas.”

As you can understand, the thing will run out of memory, crash itself or even crash the phone too (if the phone’s OS has no protective memory) on large web sites. This is the case for most non-smartphones. They squeeze out every bit of memory and make applications run on their own pre-defined memory space. The browser is as comfortable to use on large pages as an SUV with 30 people inside.

If you are a person who uses GPRS and you are interested in browsing real-world web sites, never buy a normal cellphone. Always buy a smartphone with an OS that has advanced dynamic memory handling. And that excludes most PalmOS, Blackberry and Sidekick incarnations too. Opt for Windows Mobile, some Linux phones (not all of them), some UIQ devices (P990 is a good example) and the enterprise E-series of Nokia’s S60 3rd Edition (which have more RAM than the N-series).

To answer your question that’s in your head right now: “why don’t these people put more RAM in these phones?“. The answer is: “money”. If they sell 1 million handsets of a particular model and adding an extra 4 MBs of RAM costs them $4, they just lost $4 million dollars right there. And all that, for a feature (web browser) that only 11% of the phone users (occasionally) use. From their business point of view, it doesn’t worth it. And they can argue that if you want more power, buy a smartphone. And they will be kinda right on that remark…

Microsoft’s stab at iPod/iTunes

Microsoft is developing a music and video device to compete with Apple’s iPod and creating its own music service to rival Apple’s iTunes, sources familiar with the plans said on Friday. Robbie Bach, a rising star at Microsoft who headed development of the Xbox video game business, is overseeing the project, one source said.”

You can let EU shout as much as it wants, but if I was Microsoft, I would place that software in Vista by default. This would be the only way to succeed in a market where iPod+iTunes is already a monopoly. If Microsoft doesn’t include that software in Vista, or in a future Service Pack, then this initiative is doomed to failure.

And don’t give me that shit that “but Windows is a monopoly and Microsoft should not use their power to promote their products”, because in this case, it’s Apple that’s the monopoly. They have 90% of that market and the only way to either kill them (eventually, not immediately — that’s just business) or simply take back some market share and try balance the market, is only if Microsoft includes such software on their OS by default.

And if the EU has a problem with that, tell them to first ask Apple remove iTunes from OSX and then come and make their stupid and business-unfriendly demands from Microsoft.

Japan loses key whaling vote

“Japan lost a crucial vote on Friday at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission that was a setback in its long-term drive to overturn a two-decade-old international ban on whaling.”

Hopefully, they will completely ban the hunting of the cetacean animals. I find it utterly inhuman hunting animals that their language goes up to the scale of 5 in complexity (english rates 9) and they are much more intelligent than dogs and monkeys. In fact, I just don’t understand how some countries still allow hunting dolphins and whales in this time and age. Don’t these people have any guilty conciousness? Or their brains are full of dollars incapable of thinking straight?

I feel disgraced to be a human.