Week in review: Losing their touch – Nokia, RIM and HTC

Week in Review

It's been a week of disappointment and elation, as several giants in the smartphone industry have risen high and fallen low.

Blackberry maker RIM announced its latest set of financial results, which didn't make for fun reading, while HTC sent out mixed, confusing messages to users of its Desire Android smartphone.

Meanwhile the confusing, incestuous, Kafkaesque and slightly meaningless series of patent lawsuits between various smartphone manufacturers took another twist this week.

Patently absurd

Nokia and Apple reached a settlement this week ending their acrimonious patent dispute. The end result is that Apple gives Nokia a small cut of money for every iPhone sold. It wasn't all good news for the Finnish leviathan though as it suffered a legal setback in another patent dispute.

One way of keeping track of all these legal shenanigans is to read the well-written, comprehensive and insightful FOSS Patents blog which is devoted entirely to software patent tussles. Another way is to squat in the corner of a room, rocking back and forth, crying oneself to sleep until someone with enough political will steps up and proposes serious, systemic, international patent reform.

Circling the RIM

BlackBerry manufacturer RIM's latest set of financial results showed a drop in both revenue and profits, as well as unimpressive sales of the new Playbook tablet this week.

Although the company remains profitable, it plans to slash jobs to cut costs. The company's share price took a kicking as a result.

As a reminder of the articulate and coherent leadership at the top of RIM, check out this quote from Jim Balsillie, the co-CEO of Research In Motion. Pithy.

You're hot then you're cold, you're yes then you're no

HTC just can't seem to make up its mind. At first, the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer disappointed the many owners of its original Desire handset by announcing Android 2.3 wouldn't be making its way to the phone. Why? The phone doesn't have enough RAM to handle both Android 2.3 and the HTC Sense user interface add-on.

The company then did a U-turn, declaring the latest version of Android would be coming to the Desire after all. HTC will apparently dump selected apps/features from HTC Sense to fit it into RAM alongside Gingerbread. Whether that will leave enough memory for the trifling matter of users' own apps isn't clear.

We'd just get rid of HTC Sense to be honest, but we're not paid huge amounts of Taiwanese dollars to make these life-changing decisions. That sniggering you're hearing are the chortling Nexus One and Nexus S owners whispering 'I told you so.'