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Podcast 584: Nokia and Third Party Apps

by commorancy / October 17, 2007 6:22 AM PDT

Molly and Tom,

I think you missed the point of 'Apps that trace back to known developers' issue with Nokia. It isn't that Nokia doesn't want third party apps on their phones from 'unknown developers' specifically. It's also not motivated as a way to lock out these third party apps. I believe that this idea is motivated by other more fundamental reasoning.

I suspect this reason. Because Nokia hasn't adequately done their job to protect the phone OS from 'unknown' developers, the phone is likely quite insecure. By allowing only 'trusted developers', Nokia is only required to do the bare minimum amount of work necessary to secure their phone operating system internally from sabatoge. A known developer won't knowingly sabotage the phone. Unknown developers, on the other hand, won't follow Nokia's rules to the letter and will then try to get the phone to actually do cool stuff and, in the process, cause the phone to become unstable or worse.

Effectively, this is security through obscurity. By limiting who can develop, as a manufacturer, you can drastically reduce development time on security in the phone OS and focus on other tasks. Of course, no one wins when devices are released without proper attention paid to security.

Mind you, I don't have any kind of inside track at Nokia, so this is speculation. However, I have used Nokia devices for many years (including the, dare I admit it, N-Gage QD). Based on the way all of my previous Nokia phones have operated and the fact that they crash relatively easily, I am fairly certain that this is the issue.

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other info...
by shawnlin / October 17, 2007 6:52 AM PDT

Nokia unlocks anti-Apple campaign
http://www.engadget.com/2007/10/01/nokia-unlocks-anti-apple-campaign/

Open-source:
I have the Nokia N800 and I found that Nokia is benefiting from the open source approach as there seems to be a groundswell of developers making content and neat apps (for Maemo, a mobile Linux platform; http://maemo.org/). Although, Nokia really needed some inexpensive help because it's own content development wasn't moving too swiftly.

Best,
Shalin

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wow I want the Nokia N810 - it has integrated GPS and maps!
by shawnlin / October 18, 2007 4:59 AM PDT
In reply to: other info...
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