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Symbian support?

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Does anybody have any knowledge if NI has any plans to supporting Symbian mobile phone platform, especially Series 60, the most popular of the few Symbian alternatives. There are currently more than 80 million symbian devices sold and the number is increasing rapidly at exponential rate.

I see two evident use cases. First remote controlling LabVIEW software running on some remote server so that the mobile phone would act as a remote control tool. LabVIEW for Symbian would make writing wireless remote control software easy and straight forward.

Second mobile phonses could be used as wireless data acquisition devices. No additional computer would be needed if the measurement software could be ran on the mobile phone itself. USB cable or Bluetooth connection could be used to connect the acquisition card to the mobile phone. Of course LabVIEW for Symbian would need to include the driver for the acquisition card and mobile phones need to be charged all the time. However phones consume so little energy that an external battery would keep data aquisition up and running for long times, so not even electricity would be required if somebody just periodically replaces the external battery. There would be number of telematic machine-to-machine applications that waits for an easy to use development environment. It would be extremely easy to write for example a logistic software for a transportation compnay with LabVIEW for Symbian.

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I think this would be totally impossible. As we all know LabVIEW is a dataflow language, sending values across wires. Mobile technology is wireless :blink::blink::P

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I think this would be totally impossible. As we all know LabVIEW is a dataflow language, sending values across wires. Mobile technology is wireless :blink::blink::P

LOL ... ;)

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I think this would be totally impossible. As we all know LabVIEW is a dataflow language, sending values across wires. Mobile technology is wireless :blink::blink::P

Hi bsvingen,

LabVIEW can also Bluetooh .This is also wireless :D:D

ohiofudu

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There would be number of telematic machine-to-machine applications that waits for an easy to use development environment...
There's the key to the answer - "a number of applications" is simply not worth it for NI to spend time on this. I know that's not what you meant by this sentence, but the point is that NI would only support platforms where it will be able to sell enough copies to cover its investments and make profit. Palm (at least at the moment) apparently doesn't qualify, since they discontinued support, and I suspect that Symbian wouldn't qualify any more than Palm.

I will say though that I have no knowledge of NI's plans, nor of how large the Symbian share of the smart phone market is, but in any case, it's likely that as long as NI has the Windows Mobile platform supported, it would probably be more cost effective for both NI and the users to have the users buy a WM smart phone or a WM cellular PDA than to have NI put efforts into supporting another platform.

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There's the key to the answer - "a number of applications" is simply not worth it for NI to spend time on this...

...NI has the Windows Mobile platform supported...

The number of Windows Mobile devices sold world wide is perhaps less than 1% of Symbian devices sold so your reasoning doesn't add up. Amount of Symbian users is also growing much faster than that of WM users. Perhaps NI just has strong trust in Microsoft in this field :P

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OK, I've looked at the Symbian site and it seems that most of the devices there are cell phones, not PDAs or smartphones. You should consider that LV has limited areas where it has advantages over other languages you can use for PDAs and phones - basically, it's easier to use and it allows you to connect to NI hardware easily.

When you add to that the fact that NI does not go for the general applications market and that LV PDA is (warning, understatement ahead) far from perfect, you can see why NI would probably stick to a platform where it can possibly make money. I still don't see NI, in their current M.O., promoting LV as a language for general applications and I don't really see people running serious applications (the kind you use LV to write) on regular phones.

In any case, I'm pretty sure NI didn't make too much money out of the PDA module so far (I don't think many people bought it), and I doubt they will throw more money in for additional platforms.

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OK, I've looked at the Symbian site and it seems that most of the devices there are cell phones, not PDAs or smartphones.

I've to correct you. Smartphone is generally defined as a phone device which has an operating system that allows third parties to develop software. Java support is not enough, the OS must support native third party applications. From this perspective all Symbian devices are smartphones. Anybody can write native software to them. Most symbian devices have much more functionality than PDAs or smartphones running Microsoft platform. I agree that they often look like phones, but that's because people also use them as phones. Take Nokia N80 for example. You have support for WiFi, GSM, GPRS, UMTS (3G) and BlueTooth networking. You have USB connectivity. You have web browser, email client, voip client, still camera, video camera, camera phone, video player, mp3 player and last but not least a normal phone. There are lots of third party software, take a look for example My Symbian website.

I'm just curious to know, what there is in your definiton of "smarphone" or "PDA" that for example Nokia N80 doesn't have.

-jimi-

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I'm just curious to know, what there is in your definiton of "smarphone" or "PDA" that for example Nokia N80 doesn't have.
To be honest, I'm not very big on any of the hand-held devices market and I've never used a phone with Symbian, so it's quite possible my terms were just wrong. If the device has enough power\memory and the proper hardware support (CF\USB) to run "LV Programs" and support NI hardware then I believe NI would support it if they thought they could sell enough to cover their investment. I don't know how many of those phones would qualify for that.

The main advantage in WM for NI, I suspect, is that it has Windows compatibility and that it is easy to compile the C code that LV creates with the PDA module using eVC (although Symbian probably has tools for that as well). The DaqMX base and VISA implementations probably also had to go relatively minor changes in order to be adapted for WM.

I don't know how many Symbian devices have support for BT/WiFi/CF etc. and the power to run LV programs, but I believe all WM based devices should be able to do that, so that's probably another advantage. As I said, since I don't know Symbian, it's possible that all this wrong, since much of it is only guessing anyway.

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Here's the low down:

Remember those pictures from NI with "future: LV on a sensor?"

If they want to target smaller targets, the symbian smartphone should definitly be of the targets to shoot for next.

BTW. Labview embedded may just make it possible already.

Fact is that Nokia smartphones dominate the world market with an over 50% market share. The devices are incredibly capable and make obvious strides to the next big thing: web based/centric services and applications.

I have a nokia 9300 myself and I haven't touched my PocketPC since. I have, say, 30-40 applications installed on it, most of which use the internet. They are written in script, java or C(++). I would be extremely exited to see Labview added to this list.

Symbian was bought by Nokia from Psion a couple of years ago. Psion was (and is) a venerable maker of palmtop computers and its Symbian OS is known for great quality and usability. Although currently the major OS for (smart)phones, it is a full blown OS with a solid background and, in my opinion, more sophisticated than WindowsMobile or CE.

Here's the trouble:

-The US have few Nokia smartphones due to CDMA, chip licensing cost disputes with Qualcomm and operator plan strategies. US customers are the victims here. Therefore, even some US technology watchers (and people in Austin?) have the notion that symbian (smart)phones are a marginal market. The US seems big, but in numbers of mobiles, it really isn't.

-The lack of IO. Being phones and all, these devices simply have no hardwareIO to get minimal size. Seems plenty of reason for NI to drop the case for a while. I believe this is a poor reason, though. The devices make up for it in many other departments. Hardware will become available and NI would be smart to start making some herself.

-It really must be pretty costly for NI to port (and support) LV runtime, as they are not even supporting professional OSes such as QNX.

my 2 cents..

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I think the marked is (semi) remote logging sending a file every now and then. Even today there are many applications that use mobile phone technology, especially in security (home burglar alarms for instance).

Anyway, it's not easy to understand business desitions. Palm for instance. I have a Tungsten T3 that I bought 2 years ago. It has everything i need (large screen, very powerfull CPU, lots of ram, bt) but it lacks a phone. Instead of adding a phone into that casing, Palm has chosen to go forward with their Treo smartphones. The problem is that the Treo is no match for Nokia and Sony Ericsson having much better phone technology and more functionality built into them. So no one is considering bying a Treo as a phone because it is a very poor choice compared with other manufacturers of smart phones, and no one is considering bying a Palm PDA because it has no phone.

Pretty soon, due to lack of a real Palm with a phone, my Palm T3 will be retired as GPS only device and my "old" :D 3G SE phone will be replaced by a SE/Nokia smart phone.

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Here's the trouble:

-The US have few Nokia smartphones due to CDMA, chip licensing cost disputes with Qualcomm and operator plan strategies. US customers are the victims here. Therefore, even some US technology watchers (and people in Austin?) have the notion that symbian (smart)phones are a marginal market. The US seems big, but in numbers of mobiles, it really isn't.

-The lack of IO. Being phones and all, these devices simply have no hardwareIO to get minimal size. Seems plenty of reason for NI to drop the case for a while. I believe this is a poor reason, though. The devices make up for it in many other departments. Hardware will become available and NI would be smart to start making some herself.

-It really must be pretty costly for NI to port (and support) LV runtime, as they are not even supporting professional OSes such as QNX.

The US not having a lot of cell phones and having most of them CDMA are good points for why NI might not have done this so far. Even if other countries have more phones and GSM, I believe that NI puts most of its effort into the US, and I don't know if they'll create a whole product which can only be sold outside the US.

I don't know wether the appropriate hardware will "become available", but if Symbian devices have support for USB and/or CF, I believe that should be enough on the device side (obviously, you will need drivers).

Last thing - while it is definitely costly to port and support the runtime engine, in this case it's irrelevant since LV PDA does not have a runtime. Instead, it translates your code into C (or C++, whatever) and uses eVC to compile it. That's the source of all the bugs in the PDA module and there probably are differences between the platforms which require making changes to the C code as it is generated. That, and considering that stuff that is installed (like the newly added VISA support) would need to be ported, would make this costly.

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-The US have few Nokia smartphones due to CDMA, chip licensing cost disputes with Qualcomm and operator plan strategies. US customers are the victims here. Therefore, even some US technology watchers (and people in Austin?) have the notion that symbian (smart)phones are a marginal market. The US seems big, but in numbers of mobiles, it really isn't.

An additional trouble may be pricing. In Finalnd, the operator I'm using have the following plans for GPRS/3G data transfer. 1

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That's not really true. There's pretty good data plans available in the US, too. Service may be spottier at times. Also, bandwidth of many services is at least as good as GPRS. Operators can be a pain, disabling certain BT profiles for example.

It's been announced that Nokia plans to gain its US market share. I have my doubts until they bring every phone they carry in CDMA also. Another issue is that US GSM carriers T-Mobile and Cingular still push bulk deal cheap phones instead of Nokia smart phones, which make them less money.

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Does anyone know if there has been any progress on the field of porting LabVIEW (real-time) to Symbian? Nowdays Symbian is a real-time operating system and would make a very attractive platform for mobile/portable LabVIEW applications, I think much more so than Windows CE. There are Symbian phones with WiFi, GPS, DVB-H, 3G, HSDPA , multi-megapixel cameras, multi-GB storage, biometrics, 3D graphics and tilt/acceleration-sensors. At the end of 2007 there were 141 Symbian phone models on the market. 77 million Symbian phones were sold last year. Symbian devices consume only a little power and would be ideal platforms for either remote controlling LabVIEW applications or as portable measurement stations.

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QUOTE (Tomi Maila @ Apr 15 2008, 03:15 AM)

Does anyone know if there has been any progress on the field of porting LabVIEW (real-time) to Symbian? Nowdays Symbian is a real-time operating system and would make a very attractive platform for mobile/portable LabVIEW applications, I think much more so than Windows CE. There are Symbian phones with WiFi, GPS, DVB-H, 3G, HSDPA , multi-megapixel cameras, multi-GB storage, biometrics, 3D graphics and tilt/acceleration-sensors. At the end of 2007 there were 141 Symbian phone models on the market. 77 million Symbian phones were sold last year. Symbian devices consume only a little power and would be ideal platforms for either remote controlling LabVIEW applications or as portable measurement stations.

I wouldn't know but have a feeling it is not on the list of things to do at NI. And I can understand them.

Adding a full featured LabVIEW embedded target to the LabVIEW development system is no trivial task. And that is without GUI support. Translating the LabVIEW GUI into plattform specific widgets is not something we could even do AFAIK as it requires direct intervention into the LabVIEW G to C converter and one of the reasons why LabVIEW PDA has a rather buggy reputation. It's really a taunting task to translate the LabVIEW widgets reasonably into the widgets an embedded platform would support and in some cases just impossible.

Developing support into the LabVIEW code base for a new runtime environment would help this problem since this runtime engine can implement their own widgets in the way that suits LabVIEW best but this is a very major undertaking especially since such a runtime is OS, Windows manager and CPU dependant and a few more things all at the same time.

Rolf Kalbermatter

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