A couple of weeks ago, Nokia announced something big. They decided to enter into a partnership with Microsoft and have the Windows Phone mobile OS as their primary smartphone OS. It was a good move for Nokia who admitted that they are falling far behind iOS and Android with their Symbian OS.
This also led to a lot of questions. Why Microsoft? Why not Android? What will happen to Symbian and its developers? Where’s MeeGo in the picture? Are Nokia Windows Phone replacing Symbian phones?
Nokia invited us over for lunch earlier so they could answer some questions popping up here and about. Mr. Nicholas Foo, head of Forum Nokia’s technical services and consultancy team in Asia Pacific was present along with other reps from Nokia Philippines.
So why did Nokia choose Windows Phone over Android?
I know a LOT of people would love to see a Nokia handset sporting Android, myself included but I know that it won’t happen. Nokia explains that they didn’t want to simply be a vanilla hardware player that uses any OS in the market. They value the whole ecosystem they created from the start and they saw that Microsoft is the best partner of choice that could further grow their business given the ecosystem goal in mind. In addition to that, some Nokia services will directly compete with their Google counterpart so a partnership with Microsoft will provide a win-win solution for both companies.
In short, Android is not coming to Nokia. We directly asked them that as well.
What will happen Symbian? Will it still get support in the future?
Or another way to put it is, should I still go with a Nokia N8? Or, should I still continue developing Symbian apps? Should I still invest in studying Qt to develop for Symbian?
Nokia assured us that Symbian (they dropped the “^3” and plainly calls it Symbian by the way) development will still continue. There will still be Symbian devices coming out and they will continue to evolve and innovate the platform. So if you’re unhappy with the current performance of Symbian, don’t worry because it will still improve in the future.
Now here’s the thing. Nokia didn’t discount the huge possibility that Nokia Windows Phone will eventually be the handset of choice over Symbian in the future. If this happens then yes, what’s the point in investing more on Symbian. Still, they don’t see it happening this year or the next. In fact, they are expecting about 125 million Symbian handsets to be shipped this year so there’s still a lot for Qt developers to work with. Nokia will also have a hand in helping developers make the transition to Windows Phone since Qt won’t run on it.
What about MeeGo? Or Series 40 phones?
Nokia calls this a disruptive platform meaning they will invest in the development of MeeGo but they have no definite direction yet on where to take the platform. However, we were told to expect a MeeGo device to be launched this year. They’re being secretive about it but I think it’s going to be a tablet.
S40 will still continue to rule the low-end market for Nokia and they continue to encourage developers to distribute Java apps to approximately 600 million Series 40 devices.
When will the first Nokia Windows Phone arrive?
Mums the word. It’s either they don’t know or just won’t tell. Nokia and Microsoft just made the announcement this month so we won’t see it anytime soon. I do hope that they make it in time for the holidays.
What I do know is that it won’t be your vanilla Windows Phone like what other manufacturers have. There’s a Nokia touch in it and Windows Phone Apps made specifically for Nokia will be made available (via Ovi Store).
So what Nokia wants to tell us is to trust them on their choice of Windows Phone as their smartphone OS. Don’t worry about the state of your N8 or other Symbian devices like the upcoming Nokia E7, they will continue to develop the platform. There’s a strong possibility that Windows Phone will be the better choice eventually but that’s still a long way and Nokia won’t take out Symbian easily. Think Windows XP.