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Windows compact vs Symbian

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Hi, I'm new to the concept of smartphone OS's etc. hence the basic nature of this post I'm very keen on getting my hands on a smartphone, with the intention of developing software on it. It seems people are divided over whether symbian or windows is better for phones, with symbian clearly having market share, and windows having better computer syncing (which I would also want), and symbian having a better interface to program for, and windows apparently being less buggy (which I naturally find hard to swallow) and even linux appears to be in the running with motorola. I am possibly coming at this from a completely 'computing' perspective, but is it not possible to install whatever OS you choose on the phone? could I for example buy a windows phone and 'reformat' (again I'm coming from the computing perspective) it to be symbian... or linux? .... I mean, the OS must be firmware or something, not ROM... so presumably further OS's could be written for them?.... apoligies for the basicness of these questions, but all of the comparisons I've seen tend to focus on 'mp3 playing abilites' , 'can it run word/excel' etc. rather than with devlopment in mind...
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Original post by Kippesoep
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Original post by Tile and symbian having a better interface to program for, and windows apparently being less buggy
In my experience, this is the other way around. Programming for Symbian is an absolute nightmare. Primarily because of the way memory management is handled, especially strings. Two-phase constructors on almost every object. I hated it and ended up writing a custom allocator to handle this for me. It does, however, make Symbian very robust. On my Windows CE/Windows Mobile(/Windows Catchphrase Of The Week [tm]) device, I have to put up with crashes of the applications or the entire system every few days of use. In the 9 years that I've had Symbian devices (6 of 'em, all used much more extensively than the Windows ones), I've never ever had a single crash.
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I am possibly coming at this from a completely 'computing' perspective, but is it not possible to install whatever OS you choose on the phone? could I for example buy a windows phone and 'reformat' (again I'm coming from the computing perspective) it to be symbian... or linux? .... I mean, the OS must be firmware or something, not ROM... so presumably further OS's could be written for them?....
Well, Windows and Symbian tend to be run on a different category of devices and they often need a lot of drivers to match the hardware. Linux has the advantage of being compilable by the user to deal with that. That said, there are not that many Linux distros available for handhelds and one may not exist for whatever device you're buying. So, although it's often theoretically possible to switch to another OS, in practice you're pretty much locked in.

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In theory it should be possible to "reformat" the phone and install a different OS. But phone OS's have to be custom tailored for the phone, there are no real standards for the hardware so it's not like you can download appropiate drivers from the internet. So in practice you would need the cooperation of the hardware manufacturers which makes it highly unlikely to just install a different OS on the phone.

As far as programming on the phones, I have limited experience with the lower level programming, but Symbian programming definitely doesn't seem easier than Windows Mobile, especially if you already have experience programming for Windows on the desktop. I don't know about the bugginess, but I think what you heard (Symbian being buggier) refers to the Java virtual machines. On Symbian they do tend to be pretty buggy, while the few Windows devices I've used have had much better implementations.

shmoove

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The Dev environment for Symbian was a pain to setup. But in all Honesty, I didn't find developing for Symbian any more difficult than developing an application for Windows.

I can't attest to developing for windows mobile, however.

Ben

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I too would say that Symbian programming is no more difficalt than using MFC. After you get hang on two-stage constructor you do it automatically. Also if you want to use camera it's possible for Symbian nad not for Windows Mobile 2003 or earlier, though I have heared that Windows Mobile 2005 fixed camera problem too. However starting from Symbian v 9.0 there will be a host of new problems for Symbian. Big part of API (what part exactly I don't know yet - it's avalable only to registered developers, but seems very important part) will be closed if you don't pay for registration and sertficatioin. Sertifications is expensive - couple of hundreds dollars per binary build, and registration is on the order of thousands dollars. I think if you choosing platform to start Linux should be a safe bet. It will not go away and most porbaly remain open. Symbian may be a winner, but may become closed for hobbist/small developers. Windows Mobile/CE - no idea.

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