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Monday, February 14, 2011

Nokia and Microsoft thoughts

Well, Friday, Nokia and Microsoft announced their strategical partnership. Nokia announced that they will adopt Windows Phone as their main smartphone platform. Nokia's services like the Navteq powered maps will be integrated into the core of Bing maps and many other reciprocally beneficial aspects. Now a few days after, when the dust finally settled this partnership raises a couple of questions in my mind:

1) What happens with Symbian now?
Stephen Elop said that Symbian remains in focus for the time being and will get updates and new content as promised. Well, since Nokia develops Symbian^3, and their WP integration developer force will be probably minimal, it makes sense. Still the future of Symbian is unclear, because right now, Nokia itself don't probably know if they're going to drop Symbian or not. It would be a bad move to run the Symbian ship aground at this stage before the MSNokia ship sets sail. First the WP Nokia phones must gain some traction, and only after that the future of Symbian will be decide.

2) What happens to Meego?
Well, the line is blurry at best here. Drop it or not? Nokia said they won't drop Meego, but they won't use it in the mainstream. It's a shame though, after so many developer force and time allocated, Meego will only be an experiment. Oh, well, that's life.

3) What happens to Qt?
Nokia said Qt won't be dropped, and will continue to grow. Somehow I doubt that. What Nokia is basically saying here is that devs should continue embracing Qt but prepare to maybe drop it in a year or two. No dev on his right mind would continue developing apps in a SDK that will surely die, in the mobile industry, in a few years. It's a shame Nokia and MS don't consider integrating Qt in WP. This integration would be beneficial to both Nokia and MS because there are devs out there that hate .DOT's guts, and would prefer to write apps in a C++ based SDK. Merging the developer base of Qt with the developer base of WP, would only lead to more apps for the new OS. Dropping Qt for Mobile would only lead to devs dropping Qt and every Nokia related SDK. Why? Because Nokia told 2 years ago to developers who were writing apps in Symbian C++ to learn Qt because that's the future. Now, they say that Qt has no future in the mobile industry. So those devs were screwed once when they were told to learn Qt, and now to add insult to injury, they are told to move to another entirely new platform, because Qt won't have a long life on mobile. I think that's a bad move. It's clear to me that Nokia had to adjust bearings, but to throw away something that's good, seems reckless. Porting Qt on WP would have brought benefits to the Symbian platform too, more apps in Qt, more apps for Symbian users. Maybe powered by Qt, Symbian would have risen at the top of the OS food chain. Who knows? It would have been worth a try.

These are the first thought that came to mind after the partnership was announced.