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General cell phone game and app question

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gordon77
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Joined: 2007-08-14
Points: 0

I'm trying to figure out a little more about how cell phone games (and apps for that matter I believe) work behind the scenes. My main motivation for this is some frustration. I had a Motorola Razr V3i phone which I used it's browser to purchache 3 games. I told the phone to put the games on the 512Mb memory card. All seemed to work well on the V3i, expecting that it was a very slow processor phone. I noticed that most (all?) of the games brought up a JAVA splash screen before running, so I assume some kind of JAVA virutal machine was loaded on the phone to allow the games to work.

So I then upgraded my cellphone to a newer, much faster processor V3xx. I assumed (incorrectly) that I could just move the 512Mb flash card to the new phone, and the new phone would pick up my games, yet run much faster on the newer, faster processor. To my surprise, my pictures and video moved with the flash card just fine, but the games were no where to be found. Even if I conneted my "Motorola Phone Tools" PC app to the USB port and browsed the flash card memory, I could find no trace of the 3 games I *purchased* on the older phone.

I am curious to learn if this is just a plain and simple example of how the cell phone companies and cell phone game developers have structured the system: they simply have some method, behind the scenes, to key license the games so they only work on the phone they were downloded upon, and that cell phone users, like myself, need to realize that when you buy a cell phone game, you are only going to be able to use it for the lifetime of that phone; which in today's market will probably not be very long.

Is this just a conscious buisness decision or is it an inherent technological barrier? In other words, am I correct in assuming that my game *could* easily run on a JAVA VM on my new phone? Why can't I even see any of the game files when I browse the flash file structure? Are they hidden.

Maybe you get the gist of my question. You might understand too, that I come from a PC background where I have come to expect that when I buy a software license, once I buy a new PC (of course it will be faster) I will just move the software to the new PC. Except for incompatibility issues I have always come to expect that. Heck, I can probably run a fair number of MS-DOS programs even now under Windows-XP (maybe even Vista).

For what it's worth, I find the general landscape of the cellphone "extras" like games, apps, and web access financially exploitive and confusing.

I apprecaite any feedback that can help me understand technologically what the limitations are and what I can expect when I buy a cellphone game.

Regards,
Gordon

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Joe Bowbeer

On 8/14/07, gordon77 wrote:
> I had a Motorola Razr V3i phone which I used its browser to purchase 3
> games ... I told the phone to put the games on the 512Mb memory card
> ... then I upgraded my cellphone to a newer V3xx. ... To my surprise,
> my pictures and video moved with the flash card, but the games were
> no where to be found ...
>
> Regards,
> Gordon
> [Message sent by forum member 'gordon77' (gordon77)]
>
> http://forums.java.net/jive/thread.jspa?messageID=230910
>

If you actually installed the MIDlets (games) on your memory card, you
will be able to see some trace of them if you browse the memory card
in a card reader. If you can't find a trace, then you may have
installed the games in the phone's internal memory.

Even if you did install the games on the memory card, they may have
been encrypted ("forward locked") so that the original handset would
be required to play them. This kind of copy-protection is intended to
protect the content providers as well as their distributors (aka the
carriers).

These games are pretty cheap and also tend to be customized for the
specific handset, so buying new games for your new handset is a good
idea, and not too expensive.

Some carriers do provide an online "chest" where you can store your
purchases, and then download them and install them as needed, multiple
times (on the same handset).

More sophisticated MIDlets are authorized using a server, and they are
often able to move from handset to handset.

In general, though, the phone's application management lags behind
that of the desktop.

--
Joe Bowbeer

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morieris
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Joined: 2006-11-30
Points: 0

The v3xx has a much larger screen size than the v3i; you'd have to buy a version built for your phone anyway.

As far as who locks the apps down... manufacturers and developers care about it much less than carriers do, and we all have to play by the carriers' rules in order to get into the market. Carriers particularly like to make every chunk of data go through their network (rather than over bluetooth or usb, for example) so that they can charge for it.

Yes, it is financially expliotative, welcome to capitalism.

Robin Chaddock

I wouldn't attribute the unfair practices of the mobile network carriers as
a characteristic of capitalism ;-)
It'd be much fairer to say their explotative and unfair financial practices
are a symptom of the companies themselves being the scum of the business
world :-)

It still amazes me that so many mobile companies are stuggling to make a
profit in what is essencially a boom time.
I think (hope) the first significant downward economic turn will see a
radical restructuring of the mobile markets, and a heavy trimming of
proverbial 'fat'.

----- Original Message -----
From:
To:
Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 5:48 PM
Subject: Re: General cell phone game and app question

> The v3xx has a much larger screen size than the v3i; you'd have to buy a
> version built for your phone anyway.
>
> As far as who locks the apps down... manufacturers and developers care
> about it much less than carriers do, and we all have to play by the
> carriers' rules in order to get into the market. Carriers particularly
> like to make every chunk of data go through their network (rather than
> over bluetooth or usb, for example) so that they can charge for it.
>
> Yes, it is financially expliotative, welcome to capitalism.
> [Message sent by forum member 'morieris' (morieris)]
>
> http://forums.java.net/jive/thread.jspa?messageID=230980
>
> ===========================================================================
> To unsubscribe, send email to listserv@java.sun.com and include in the
> body
> of the message "signoff KVM-INTEREST". For general help, send email to
> listserv@java.sun.com and include in the body of the message "help".
>

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