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Wary of iOS-Android duopoly, LG & Foxconn turn to Firefox

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Apple's iOS and Google's Android dominate the mobile computing segment, running on more than nine out of ten devices, but now a major Android manufacturer and a major Apple supplier are beginning to look elsewhere in order to pull away from the duopoly,

ffos


The past several days have seen reports that Foxconn is diversifying its business in light of declining profits from its work as an Apple supplier. Foxconn is planning to produce its own branded accessories that would be compatible with Apple's devices.

Beyond that development, though, the Apple supplier is also teaming up with Mozilla to produce a device that runs the Firefox OS, according to Focus Taiwan (via Engadget).

The two companies will reportedly announce their new partnership on June 3, at which point they will also show off a device running Firefox OS, a Mozilla-built operating system with HTML 5 at its core. The Foxconn-Mozilla device is said to be a tablet.

In the Firefox OS alliance, Foxconn would be in the company of a number of carriers and manufacturers that are supporting the HTML 5-based platform. Another manufacturer, South Korea's LG, is also preparing to release devices running Firefox OS and other alternative OSes.

Much in the same way that Foxconn is looking to reduce its dependence on Apple, or at least to diversify its options, LG is looking to lessen its own dependence on Google's Android.

"The current duopoly of Google and Apple is not healthy for the market," LG Mobile vice president Wong Kim told Dutch site AllAboutPhones.

LG's smartphones run Google's Android operating system, but the company has struggled to step out of the shadow of Samsung, which sells the most smartphones worldwide and is second only to Apple in terms of profitability in the market. LG also bought WebOS ? formerly the operating system powering Palm's ill-fated devices ? from HP earlier this year, but that system will likely go toward powering LG's smart HDTV sets.

While the smartphone segment was once dominated by companies such as Nokia and Research in Motion (now BlackBerry), the emergence of Apple's iOS and, later, Google's Android largely relegated competitors to second-tier status. Taken together, the two account for more than 90 percent of all smartphones shipped worldwide.

Just as iOS and Android dominate the mobile operating system sector, so too do Apple and Samsung dominate the industry in terms of profit. Those two companies together account for 100 percent of the industry's profits, when taking into account the losses of their competitors' mobile businesses.

The coming year will see the release of a number of alternative operating systems in addition to Firefox OS. The Firefox platform is targeted at developing nations, but it will compete with phones running Samsung's Tizen, Ubuntu for Phones, and Jolla, developed by former employees of Nokia.
post #2 of 35

Oh goodie! Now we can add Foxconn to the growing list of former Apple partners turn back stabbing enemies.

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post #3 of 35
Not healthy for LG, that's for sure...

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post #4 of 35
They should just copy Android and remove Google services and call it a day.
post #5 of 35

Ubuntu is so much better and interesting than this...

post #6 of 35

And Tizen is so much more interesting than Ubuntu or firefox OS

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post #7 of 35
There is a whole list of companies that Foxconn assembles for and they are hemorrhaging business. Apple can only sell so many devices a year, I believe that the premise that diversification only due to falling orders from Apple is false.
post #8 of 35

Apple helps Foxconn build scale then Foxconn uses that scale to be a large competitor to Apple, this all sounds very familiar.

 

Given Apple and Mozilla give away and do all the developing work for software, it should be very easy to Foxconn to branch off into its own line of smartphones. The probelm for them is brand recognition. I'm sure they can produce a might cheap phone though.

 

Apple needs to keep an eye on this with a possible shifting towards Pegatron being the result. 

post #9 of 35
Microsoft
Motorola
Google
Samsung

Foxconn

Apple needs to write better non-compete clauses with its suppliers!
post #10 of 35
Interesting. First there's Ubuntu phones & tablets and now we're gonna see some Firefox ones. I guess from a tech-geek standpoint this is kind of interesting news.
post #11 of 35
Two things from this.

(1) FirefoxOS sounds a lot like webOS. LG bought webOS, hmm...

(2) Note to LG: release a kick ass webOS phone. Would be the only possibility that might get this heavy into the Apple ecosystem since the 80's iPhone user to switch platforms.

Other thoughts:
• Is Android as it exists today going to be around in three years? I am starting to wonder. With all these Android hardware manufacturers struggling to differentiate themselves, and Samsung working on its own OS, I can see it becoming a highly fractured and branched OS that ends up sharing only the basic functionality.
post #12 of 35
There's a fairly new article on Apple manufacturing strategy, Apple's old manufacturing efforts in Fremont, and why Foxconn became the better choice. Not a hard read, and as a pleasant bonus it generally makes sense unlike some other articles I've come across.
http://www.strategosinc.com/articles/apple-foxconn-strategy.htm
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post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

And Tizen is so much more interesting than Ubuntu or firefox OS

How so? From what I've seen Ubuntu seems more robust of a smartphone and tablet OS than Titzen which Samsung seems to be pushing toward their feature phones devices.

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post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

Microsoft
Motorola
Google
Samsung

Foxconn

Apple needs to write better non-compete clauses with its suppliers!

Yes, but Apple really isn't hurting that badly. They definitely need not to become complacent and they need to protect themselves against becoming the tech world's r & d dept, but their true weapons are their design, the quality and execution of their products, the usability of their software and services, and their marketing. Above all Apple needs to develop their primary weapons. 

post #15 of 35
"The past several days have seen reports that Foxconn is diversifying its business in light of declining profits from its work as an Apple supplier."

Apple's producing more products than ever via Foxconn, so please explain your claim that their profits are declining.

Or are you just mindlessly repeating the unsupported (and self-contradictory) claims of that WSJ hit piece?

What's next, is AppleInsider going to start calling Apple "beleaguered"?

Seriously, step it up, "Kevin Bostic".
post #16 of 35
Even though I dislike Microsoft and it's bug ridden and unintuitive OS it did standardize the PC world on one OS. Now it looks like we are going to have a real hodgepotch of mobile OS's all essentially trying to snare us users into their separate ecosystems/clouds to varying degrees. Well it should give us lots of jobs doing data transfers and compatibaility software

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post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

And Tizen is so much more interesting than Ubuntu or firefox OS

How so? From what I've seen Ubuntu seems more robust of a smartphone and tablet OS than Titzen which Samsung seems to be pushing toward their feature phones devices.

I read that Ubuntu was the overwhelming favorite among the tech judges who voted it the winner when comparing it to Tizen and Firefox at the recent Mobile World Congress.

 

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13970_7-57571750-78/ubuntu-touch-beats-firefox-os-to-win-best-of-mwc-from-cnet/

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post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Not a hard read...

Does it have the word "elephant" in it?

I always have problems reading that word.
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post #19 of 35

"A major Android manufacturer"? LG? Compared to Samsung? That's stretching it to the breaking point.

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post #20 of 35

Have read recently that Google wants to gradually dump Android and move to ChromeOS instead where it still has total control...starting in a big way around mid-2014. So there's another mobile OS coming to confuse things even more, in addition to all the others! This could be good for Apple - we'll see...


Edited by 1983 - 5/28/13 at 2:37pm
post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

There's a fairly new article on Apple manufacturing strategy, Apple's old manufacturing efforts in Fremont, and why Foxconn became the better choice. Not a hard read, and as a pleasant bonus it generally makes sense unlike some other articles I've come across.
http://www.strategosinc.com/articles/apple-foxconn-strategy.htm

Does not make sense, first Apple's factory in Fremont was open longer then 2 yrs it operated into the early 90's and when it shut down it was moved to Colorado  Second it was highly automated as well as their factory they had in Singapore. Those two factory actually had less hourly workers than the factory they had in Ireland (job program for Cork Ireland). Also most of the equipment Apple had in the Fremont factory was leased not owned like many companies did at the time, why manufacturing technology was rapidly changing at the time and Apple knew this and it allow them to swap out last years model for this years model if it made sense. They did not have to worry about the cost of disposing or selling capital equipment since they did not own it.

 

I would say the Apple Factories at the time were highly flexible since they could build any number of product on those lines from Mac of various configurations to Powerbooks. I can not tell you what the thinking was at the time to shut down all their factories, but it not what the article is saying since they did have manufacturing strategy at the time and it works really well. If they keep increasing their automation labor costs would not have been a factor today. Ask GE who was the largest producers of Incandescent lights in the world why they never sent it operations overseas. It is all automated and the labor cost and shipping cost would be too high (BTW, if you did not know, in China you can not automate what a human can otherwise do). GE did the cost benefit analysis many time on moving bulb production to China and each time it show China would not be cheaper but more costly. Yeah GE is shutting off the lights in those factories since people want LED and CFL which are all made in China by human hands.

 

The author for the most part is speculated about reasons, and I will tell you I had first hand knowledge with all of Apple factory and they did not have quality issue and burn in was not due to manufacturing quality problems but due to the fact component supplier was not doing what they need to do, not true to day.

 

I was to Spectulate why Fremond was such down it was due to labor issue, rumors about unions trying to work their way in. However, in reality it was the thing to do, move of shore and use contract manufacturing since it was the rally cry of the time. I remember they saying we have to chase the grass huts to get the lowest labor costs.


Edited by Maestro64 - 5/28/13 at 2:33pm
post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

How so? From what I've seen Ubuntu seems more robust of a smartphone and tablet OS than Titzen which Samsung seems to be pushing toward their feature phones devices.

LOL. Good one. Freudian slip?

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post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post

Two things from this.

(1) FirefoxOS sounds a lot like webOS. LG bought webOS, hmm...
 

 

Err, you do realize webOS is basically palmOS?  In what way is FireFoxOS like PalmOS...?

post #24 of 35
I think this shows exactly the complexity of trying to support a healthy market simultaneously with healthy workers' rights!

Apple devices out of Foxconn probably have some of the highest margins in the entire market. So if Foxconn is claiming their profits from supplying Apple are declining, I would guess they're really referring to the cost of labor standards that Apple is forcing them to address. The fact that Foxconn thinks it can claim more profit from building a low-end smartphone with a low-end platform - should cause great concern about what they intend to do on the worker environment side of the equation 1frown.gif
post #25 of 35
The name "Foxconn" has an extremely negative connotation for most people, deserved or not. Due to media hysteria and sensationalism (as well as Apple hit pieces) I'm sure most people think of "slavery", abuse, suicide, etc when they think of Foxconn. Not the best for branding of consumer goods.
post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

And Tizen is so much more interesting than Ubuntu or firefox OS

 

The fact that Tizen, Ubuntu, and Firefox seem to be popular with the techie crowd assures their utter failure in the marketplace.

post #27 of 35

It would be more appropriate (if less accurate) to say that LG & FoxConn are trying to get away from the Android monopoly than the Apple-Android duopoly. They don't have the option to produce non-Apple iOS devices. 

post #28 of 35
However it does it, Apple needs to get control of its own fabrication. China may be cheap, but it's the Wild West of the East, and the hanging judges over there will always protect their own. Apple is basically giving away its IP to the lowest bidder.
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post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by 65C816 View Post

Err, you do realize webOS is basically palmOS?  In what way is FireFoxOS like PalmOS...?

 

PalmOS has nothing in common with webOS.   The latter is a multitasking Linux kernel system, with an HTML based UI.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Creid1987 View Post

The problem for them is brand recognition. I'm sure they can produce a might cheap phone though.

 

HTC used to be a name unknown to most consumers, even though they designed and built many Windows Mobile and Palm devices for other companies.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

However it does it, Apple needs to get control of its own fabrication. China may be cheap, but it's the Wild West of the East, and the hanging judges over there will always protect their own. Apple is basically giving away its IP to the lowest bidder.
 
What IP is Apple giving away to manufacturers? 
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul94544 View Post

Even though I dislike Microsoft and it's bug ridden and unintuitive OS it did standardize the PC world on one OS. Now it looks like we are going to have a real hodgepotch of mobile OS's all essentially trying to snare us users into their separate ecosystems/clouds to varying degrees. Well it should give us lots of jobs doing data transfers and compatibaility software

I can understand why a manufacturer would want to differentiate its products from the competition, but there's no "win" in this for the customer. Why would I want to buy a phone from a company that has (1) no demonstrable quality customer service, (2) no profusion of apps, (3) and no ecosystems at all to add value to the hardware.

 

Witness the problem Microsoft and Blackberry have encountered because of a dearth of apps. And Microsoft had even PAID developers to write apps for Windows phone 8, and that didn't over cone the hesitancy of people to jump on board the Microsoft/Nokia bus, or even the Microsoft-Surface burning cruise ship.

 

Too many manufacturers think this is all about the hardware/OS, but the home/corporate/education buyers want the whole ecosystem and want to know that the product won't get orphaned in short order. 

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post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

There's a fairly new article on Apple manufacturing strategy, Apple's old manufacturing efforts in Fremont, and why Foxconn became the better choice. Not a hard read, and as a pleasant bonus it generally makes sense unlike some other articles I've come across.
http://www.strategosinc.com/articles/apple-foxconn-strategy.htm

 

Kind of a strange article, given that it draws speculative conclusions primarily from an old promotional video that Apple produced.  Yet, that same video disproves a couple of the article's central premises -- that Apple's Fremont Macintosh assembly facility closed after only two years and that it was too "impractical" to add new product lines.  Given that the video shows Macintosh SE and Macintosh II models that didn't come out until spring 1987 -- 1) the facility still operated more than three years after the original Macintosh's introduction; and 2) the facility readily adapted to the addition of two brand new models, one of which used an open architecture completely different from the other Macintosh models (and even though it shared the same exterior dimensions as the other compact Macintosh models, the Mac SE used a very different motherboard design). 

 

My understanding is that the Fremont facility operated into the early-90s.  When Apple designed the Fremont manufacturing facility, I recall that they dubbed it "the machine that will build the machine." 

 

Even the article itself had a disclaimer about the speculative nature of its conclusions:

 

Quote:
Some of our conclusions in this article are informed speculation rather than proven fact. The scenes are often suggestive of issues that, in ordinary consulting work, would be confirmed or dismissed with additional data.

 

Well, at least it was honest -- unlike a lot of the so-called analyst reports coming out of Wall Street nowadays.


Edited by Woochifer - 5/28/13 at 4:26pm
post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

Ubuntu is so much better and interesting than this...

I was thinking the same thing. The Ubuntu mobile OS is pretty amazing. Not sure how useful it would be without an app ecosystem but probably as many if not far more than firefox.

worse case scenario most ubuntu apps would be html5, just like ALL of those firefox apps.

post #33 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

However it does it, Apple needs to get control of its own fabrication. China may be cheap, but it's the Wild West of the East, and the hanging judges over there will always protect their own. Apple is basically giving away its IP to the lowest bidder.

And the USA just cares about those 160 billion and taxes, as recent events show. Maybe they are even more greedy and worse than China.

 

Apple's solution? Buy their own land and become independent. They have the dollars. lol

post #34 of 35
As much as I like Firefox the last thing we really need is yet another OS. The smartphone ecosystem isn't just Android and iOS. It also includes Windows Phone (joke all you want it is actually a decent OS and this comes from a person with many Apple devices), Blackberry (for now at least), China's version of Android (I forget the real name), and various other OSes that are still floating out there.


Just pick one of the others and start supporting it!
post #35 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


How so? From what I've seen Ubuntu seems more robust of a smartphone and tablet OS than Titzen which Samsung seems to be pushing toward their feature phones devices.


Market share is more important than feature set or current stability, or really anything else.  Firefox OS and Ubuntu are doomed from the start, only Tizen has any hope at all, since it will be used by Samsung.   Going with anything other than Android or Tizen is a waste of time.


Edited by e1618978 - 5/29/13 at 9:42am
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