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Sunday, 13 February 2011 19:24

Nokia urges developers to keep the faith in Qt for Symbian and MeeGo


If Nokia is to realise its stated goal of selling another 150 million Symbian based smartphones, and making a success of its MeeGo platform it will need the developer community to remain loyal to the Qt developer platform in the wake of its betting its future on Windows Mobile 7.

In the wake of announcing its alliance with Microsoft, Nokia has moved to reassure developers, with a posting on the Qt blog from the director of the Qt ecosystem, Daniel Kihlberg.

"The retention of Nokia's 200 million Symbian-users is vital and Nokia has targeted sales of 150 million more Symbian-devices in years to come," Kihlberg said. "To achieve that Nokia needs to continue the modernisation of Symbian in Qt - to keep existing consumers engaged and to attract new customers, either upgrading from existing Symbian devices to Qt enabled devices or entirely new to Nokia."

Nokia announced last October that it was standardising on Qt as the development framework for Symbian, saying it would develop its own future applications using Qt. In an interview with ExchangeDaily last November Kenny Mathers, Nokia's head of developer relations & marketing for Asia Pacific, said that Qt would shield developers from underlying upgrades in Symbian and enable them to produce applications with far fewer lines of code than developing in Symbian.

(He also said: "[New CEO Stephen] Elop's mandate was not to change our strategy, but to accelerate our transformation, and the implementation of that strategy. The first stage of that is [our standardisation] on Qt."!)

Qt, however, has an important role in Nokia's long term future. Nokia made it clear in its February 11 announcement that its new focus on Windows 7 is designed to enable it to face the immediate threat of destruction from the power of Apple and Android in the smartphone and tablet market, but that it is also looking beyond these market-changing forces.


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CEO Stephen Elop said. "The third pillar of our strategy is investing in future disruptions, asking people to examine what is the next disruption? What innovation do we need to introduce so we are leading in the next disruption in the future?"

MeeGo - which is moving to an open source system - is at the heart of this initiative. Kihlberg said: "Nokia also announced it will ship its first MeeGo-related device in 2011, which will rely on the Qt ecosystem - and then will continue with MeeGo as an open source project for future disruption. Nokia can't afford to be behind the next disruption again and Qt can play an important role in making sure it isn't."

He added "With Qt Quick and Qt SDK 1.1 releases in the coming months we are expecting the Qt developer community to continue to grow - adding to the 400.000 developers using Qt today. Qt is developed together with the community and we expect the pace of innovation to increase even further as the community grows."

And he claimed there was already huge momentum behind Qt, independent of Nokia or the mobile industry, saying: "We in Nokia are one of tens of thousands of companies in multiple industries actively using and contributing to Qt, making Qt relevant for both mobile, desktop and other embedded developers'¦Qt continues to make vast inroads into especially low end Linux devices and distros.

"Qt also continues to provide a platform for others to innovate and differentiate upon. For example DreamWorks switching all their internal animation tools to Qt and making cool movies like MegaMind and How to Train Your Dragon."

However while Nokia has the resources to use MeeGo to explore and prepare for potential future market disruptions, developers have more immediate priorities and the about face made by Nokia in backing Windows Mobile - to which Qt will not be ported - has done little to engender greater loyalty. Postings to Kihlberg's blog were overwhelmingly negative.

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