Thursday, August 09, 2007

The MAGX of Motorola

Today I spent some time with the MOTODEV team around LinuxWorld. I like the team and what they are doing, however I end up always hoping they would move much faster. I have the feeling they share my hope but there is not much you can do in a gigantic company (well, there is a reason why I like startups...).

This week, they did a magic trick. They announced something that is not available. And they called it MAGX.

I saw this before (remember Apple and iPhone in January?), so no surprises. here. However, it gets worst when you announce developer tools you do not have, instead of cool electronics for consumers. Consumers are friendlier than developers. Bullshit a developer and you risk of losing his/her forever. This is valid for Apple as well. "The first Software Developer Kit without a Software Developer Kit, also knows as browser" speech by Steve Jobs was insulting. But at least the device was cool.

What is MAGX? A Java ME platform (uuuuhhh, that's news ;-), a vague WebUI for Web 2.0 applications (are they going to announce a browser as well??) and a Linux API for building native applications. The first one is available, the other two only for "selected developers" in Q4.

As everyone else, I hate "selected" everything, as long as I am not selected...

Jokes apart, the cool thing here is the last one. A full Linux API, to build native APIs. What is missing in the iPhone, although we got a hold of one through hacking...

The issue is: when? We would need it tomorrow. It would put the MOTO phones ahead of the curve, with OpenMoko. Ahead of the iPhone. Ahead of Nokia (which, at least, has the N800 Tablet).

Unfortunately, I believe it is going to take a while... Let's hope it does not take too much. It smells a lot like Palm to me and time-to-market is supercritical in mobile.

Lastly, I played around with the RAZR2 V8, due later this year in the US (at&t? Directly against the iPhone? Or T-Mobile?). Nice phone, snappy user interface, SyncML, Opera browser. No wow, though. Nothing that would convince an end user to change its phone. Linux does not sell to end users. Cool applications do.

But you need developers for it. And developer tools. And you need them now... That's the MAGX.