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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Windows Phone 8 and what it means for Nokia - Rant

This is an article I hoped I would never have to write. I do, however, have to.

Nokia has had a special place in my heart for a long time. Some may have called me a fanboy, may have said I lost my objectivity, well, I don't think so. I love the brand, but I don't like what's happening with it.

On February 11th 2011 Nokia and Microsoft decided to team up and boost Windows Phone 7 to new heights. That involved Nokia services being integrated in the Windows Phone ecosystem, special support(both money and resources) from Microsoft to help Nokia build WP devices faster, and lowers specs for upcoming phones so that Nokia can tackle it's traditional market, the low-to-mid range. The financial aspect of the deal involved Microsoft paying Nokia a decent amount of money upfront with Nokia paying it back later for each phone.

Nokia's newly appointed CEO at the time Stephen Elop set Symbian on fire and MeeGo down the drain on the same day when the shift to WP was announced so Nokia had only one alternative left, Windows Phone.

Nokia has had a really bad history with software updates. None of the S^1 devices ever saw Symbian^3, but Nokia realized that and changed the way it was thinking about updates. The result was that even the first Symbian^3 device(the N8) got the Nokia Belle OS running, two years after it was launched. That means 2 major OS updates in two years. In my eyes that meant that the Nokia SW division was healing, that they finally got the point, and everything would be OK.

But then Windows Phone 8 happened. Microsoft practically told everyone, every single adopter of Windows Phone 7 that they're screwed. It's bad enough that the current Windows Phone 7 devices won't get the Windows Phone 8 update, but the worst thing is the applications backward compatibility. In order to reach more developers Microsoft switched to C/C++ apps, screwing it's customers, it's believers in the process. In plain talk this means that any app developed by a new developer that just adopted Windows Phone 8, won't be available for Windows Phone 7 devices.

To boil it down to a couple of words you won't get any more major updates, you won't be able to run the newest apps, you'll only be able to run legacy apps.

Bottom line, Microsoft screwed Nokia. If Samsung doesn't sell one Windows Phone they won't care, they have an army of droids behind that can take the hit. Same goes for HTC. But if Nokia doesn't sell Windows Phones they're dead in the water. And with an announcement like the WP8's, who's gonna buy the beautiful Lumia 900 knowing that in a couple of months it's gonna become a legacy device? Who Mr. Elop? Who Mr. Balmer?

So Symbian devices will be getting a new update, and even the first generation launched 2 years ago, but the Lumias launched THIS year won't get an update that will be released the very same year of their launch. What a bitter irony...