Shooting yourself in the foot

This is written on the back of increased frustration with commenter on various blogs saying things like:

Why are Nokia releasing symbian devices, isn’t it dead – give me Windows Phone already.

Nokia dropped Symbian and now sold QT, right as they were telling developers to get on board.

Who would buy a Symbian device now with it’s dead eco system / Who would begin Qt development now with it’s dead ecosystem.

You can see it on many Tech blogs, and often article writers, especially in the US do little in their articles to cut this back.  I saw that recently in a review of the Nokia E7, and almost every article on Nokia selling the commercial licensing side of QT to Digia suggested in the editorial bits that Nokia was selling all of QT.  It’s clear Nokia botched the message regarding Symbian, Maemo/Meego and Qt when they announced the Windows Phone partnership and has made comments like the above easy to make and understand. Nokia and the guys at the Nokia Conversations blog  have been trying to rectify this ever since, but find the sceptics and cynics in abundance who see Elop saying one thing and them saying the opposite.

So here’s my take on the answers to these questions:

Why are Nokia releasing Symbian devices, isn’t it dead – give me Windows Phone already.

Symbian is not dead. First off – what were they supposed to do – not release anything until they have their first Windows Phone device ready? Ditch all the devices they were already in the process of creating?  Of course not.  The first Windows Phone device by Nokia will not be available until late 2011 they have said, so in the meantime they are continuing to release Symbian devices and update Symbian 3, as they absolutely should.

Nokia dropped Symbian and now sold QT, right as they were telling developers to get on board.

They still hope to sell another 150m Symbian devices which is a staggering amount, and will take some time to do.  It will be around with new devices, updates and support for a few years yet.  As for QT, Nokia sold the right to sell commercial licenses to Digia, it didn’t sell QT.  QT can create desktop apps and work on a variety of platforms, not just Symbian and Maemo.  Nokia is improving it and will continue to do so.  It want’s people to create great mobile apps using the technology.  It doesn’t care about managing the corporate accounts for QT though, as many of these accounts are not people creating mobile apps, which you can make and sell commercially with the free version.  These are companies who need to customize the framework and want to keep those customizations proprietary and as such, in general, are not making mobile apps for Nokia Phones, but say, embedded development for military systems or something like that.  Nokia has no interest in providing support for these – it’s a mobile phone company, and so they sold this segment, just as they did with Symbian’s commercial licensing arm.

Who would buy a Symbian device now with it’s dead eco system?

People who like the phones should – for businesses, the E7, for people who want a great camera – the N8.  These devices will receive updates and support for several years to come and in most cases that is perfectly fine as people change phone every couple of years.  They are feature packed and capable devices – perhaps not intuitive as iOS, Windows Phone or Android offerings, but if you go to a phone store, try one out and if you like the way the system works, there is no reason not to buy it if it can do the key things you need for your lifestyle.

Who would begin Qt development now with it’s dead ecosystem?

The Qt ecosystem is not dead and will live on with or without Nokia – it’s an open source project and has many companies using it for desktop applications for Linux, Windows and Mac.  For mobile development, there is still a huge market for QT enabled phones, and I will be watching out for any news on pushing Qt to S40 devices as that would open up a huge number of devices for developers to target.  For people wanting to learn mobile development, QTQuick is great in my limited experience so far, and QtCreator is a great development environment for coding C++ applications, even if you don’t use the QT specific libraries – it’s a very capable IDE.  I do accept it would be harder now to convince companies to start out in Qt development for mobile apps if they don’t already have staff with some Qt experience, but  this doesn’t mean QT is dead.

Windows Phone?

So this is in the Microsoft category too and the reason for this is that today there have been reports that the Windows Phone updates for early March will now be late March, and the new Windows Phone version called Mango may be delayed as well.  It has been widely suggested that part of the reason for Nokia to not release any devices before the end of the year is to ensure that they will release with Mango and multi-tasking support for 3rd party apps.  If true this would push back Nokia’s potential release dates too – Another good reason not to ditch Symbian just yet.

However,  Nokia needs to get the message out about Symbian sticking around better than they have been, and for the partnership with Microsoft to be a success, they need to not fall foul of one of Nokia’s biggest criticisms – delayed releases.  Starting off with a delayed device, regardless of whether Microsoft or Nokia caused the delay, really would be these giant partners shooting themselves in the foot.

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About bluechrism

I am a software developer with most professional experience in the Windows .Net realm and I'm currently a WPF developer with Starkey Labs. However, I have wanted for some time to start the mobile developer journey properly and being an N900 owner, this was to be in the realm of QT. Job hunting, moving to Minnesota and changing jobs put my plans on hold 6-12 months but things are starting to settle now, just as I'm getting sorted to start some things, Microsoft and Nokia merge. This blog is about my novice mobile development experiences and hopefully will end up complete with links to download some apps on various platforms, but obviously by the name, Sybian, Maemo/Meego and Windows Mobile. In other stuff, I am English, I support Everton FC, I have visited Glastonbury music festival 5 times and recommend it to anyone. I am married and my wife and i have a dog called Friday.
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One Response to Shooting yourself in the foot

  1. therohan says:

    Hey guys Download Mobile Web Templates for Smart phones include components optimized for touch devices (including Symbian and Maemo™), and components optimized for Series 40 and S60 WebKit nontouch devices.
    This template has a lot of cool options like flexible buttons, form elements, data tables, a simple slide show etc. It also includes examples and graphical source files that can easily be adapted to suit your brand or color scheme.
    Download it from here: http://www.forum.nokia.com/info/sw.nokia.com/id/ba4e3f4d-3c65-4bcf-997b-406ff08207f9/Mobile_Web_Templates_for_Smartphones.html

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