Nokia's Elop keeps pumping Meego and Symbian – but what developer will now bother creating those apps?

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Steve Jobs On The Apple Campus Is Like A Double Rainbow

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has been on stage tonight at a Mobile World Congress press conference talking about Nokia’s future relationship with Microsoft. Various blogs have been live blogging (here’s a post from Engadget). But sitting back and listening to Elop’s explanation about how Symbian devices will still be shipped and a Meego device, due to ship this year, will be used for experimentation and “disruption”, one has to ask the simple question: Where are the apps?

While the first MeeGo product will ship this year with a Qt framework, Qt is unlikely to go onto Nokia’s Windows Phone, thus killing off all those developers who studied Qt. “If we encourage a fork in Windows Phone’s development platform, we could create a situation where we confuse developers and consumers,” said Elop tonight in Barcelona. Bang goes that talent base, then.

So the Nokia content environment will be within the Windows Phone Marketplace. Microsoft brings that, while Nokia brings the carrier billing relationships around the world. Whoop!

But again – where are the apps? Where is the eco-system? The simple answer is it’s now a Windows Phone eco-system. While admittedly the Symbian apps eco-system deserved to be killed off, the Meego eco-system had not even started. And Nokia still wants developer to create apps for Meego? Is he kidding?

The simple answer is that there is no longer any point in developing for Nokia unless the apps are Windows Phone apps. All fine and dandy – but this insistence that Symbian and Meego will remain part of Nokia’s strategy is laughable. With no mass adoption of Meego devices (because the future of those handsets looks shaky at best) and Symbian dead in the water, there is no incentive for developers, so there will be new apps to go on these devices, pure and simple.

And with the entire eco-system controlled by Microsoft there is little point in startups and developers paying any more attention to Nokia, beyond what hardware they bring out that might enhance a Windows Mobile app – which will of course run on other Windows devices anyway. Thus Nokia joins Samsung, Sony Ericsson etc as mainly devices makers but little else.

I would be happy to be proved wrong in the comments, but that’s how it looks right now.

  • Asdfgge

    Well I don’t know. There’s lots of Qt coders, 250millions of devices will be still shipped (most of the Nokia customers don’t even know what Symbian is or whether it’s going to die) and Qt is the most easiest platform out there currently. So I would say we will see apps. Also Elop was almost changing his opinion about bringing Qt to WP so we might see it there. It’s strategically good move if he makes that, I’m sure he will figure out himself as well.

    • http://www.symbiandreams.com Symbiandreams

      It is true ,that the general Nokia users never know about Symbian and QT ,so Nokia will be able to keep selling Symbian based devices until it decides to stop,to the mid and low level market. But geeks know that it will now go longer ,so will not pay much interest on developing solutions for a dieing platform.

      • Asdfgge

        250 million upcoming devices (plus 100million that are already Qt compatible) is more than there’s iOS devices. Do you develop on iPhone?

      • Guesty

        Doesn’t the average iOS user buy/download 30-50 apps and the average Symbian user buy/downloads 3-5? Unless there are 1B symbian devices, iOS is the better ecosystem to develop for (more so now that Symbian is dead.) Also how the hell are they going to sell another 250M Symbian devices? It’s market share is dropping like a rock. If they were really going to sell another 250M devices I have to question whether or not the WP7 surrender was necessary.

      • Nur Sah Ketene

        Yes they are going to sell 150+ Symbian devices but the problem is it is for low-mid end consumers that means the profit is really small. And those consumers who buy symbian devices are not really in to downloading any apps. So the profit margin compared to iOS is really small. Thats why Nokia jumped from MeeGo to WP7 (Which I think it is going to end up being a huge disaster) to get more profit.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ryanisjones Ryan Jones

        I simply do not understand what Nokia gains by this, they have shot themselves in the foot. They are aligning themselves with simple hardware manufacturers and thus killing any chance of being as relevant as Apple or Google. In fact they will now become less relevant than RIM or even HP (Hello Web OS).

        Nokia’s biggest problem has been quality of execution. Anybody who has remotely studied Business can see this. They do – sorry did – the right things (first to introduce apps), they just did them poorly and painfully slow. All Elop had to do was focus EVERYONE on MeeGo, and let Symbian die slowly. Qt was the best idea they had in a long time, and if it allowed native Android apps to run on their phones as has been shown recently, they would not need to worry about their ecosystem for even a second. Developers would simply upload to the – also currently poorly executed – Ovi store, and bang, 100,000 apps on launch overnight!

        Nokia could then differentiate it’s usually superior hardware from other vendors by adding extra Nokia security and features to it’s MeeGo OS, and reclaim the market share lost to Android with ease. At which point HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson et al would be asking for licenced use of the MeeGO OS.

        2 things then. Focus on quality, focus on speed. The only changes which were required at Nokia. Elop is coming across like a Microsoft puppet, as all this move does is increase exposure to their OS by living off the Nokia name. Adding WP7 to Nokia’s handsets does nothing for Nokia.

    • Anonymous

      Its true that the average Symbian user may have been clueless to the Symbian ecosystem. They certainly seemed to the excellent alternatives. But then Elop comes out HAIR ON FIRE…. with his PLATFORM ON FIRE memo and ever Symbian user south of the Arctic Circle is aware of the dead in the water status of Symbian. This kind of circus atmosphere leads to the dreaded unintended consequences syndrome. And surely thats what the stock markets in the US and Europe reflected on Friday.

    • Anonymous

      Its true that the average Symbian user may have been clueless to the Symbian ecosystem. They certainly seemed to the excellent alternatives. But then Elop comes out HAIR ON FIRE…. with his PLATFORM ON FIRE memo and ever Symbian user south of the Arctic Circle is aware of the dead in the water status of Symbian. This kind of circus atmosphere leads to the dreaded unintended consequences syndrome. And surely thats what the stock markets in the US and Europe reflected on Friday.

    • Anonymous

      Its true that the average Symbian user may have been clueless to the Symbian ecosystem. They certainly seemed to the excellent alternatives. But then Elop comes out HAIR ON FIRE…. with his PLATFORM ON FIRE memo and ever Symbian user south of the Arctic Circle is aware of the dead in the water status of Symbian. This kind of circus atmosphere leads to the dreaded unintended consequences syndrome. And surely thats what the stock markets in the US and Europe reflected on Friday.

    • http://twitter.com/matthewcp matthewcp

      most easy? Can you even write Qt apps (for phones) in high-level languages? Or are you forced to use C?

      • Nur Sah Ketene

        You can use Python

      • Ross

        …and with QML, which is just like javascript

      • Ross

        …and with QML, which is just like javascript

  • http://twitter.com/zc456 Squeaks

    Shot yourself in the foot here, Nokia. I’m willing to get a MeeGo-based device. At least if Nokia ever stops supporting it, the community will take over thanks to it’s open source nature.

    • MeegoMan

      The Meego Community help is needed now! The sooner Meego comes alive and kicking, the sooner Nokia can built product on top of it. Once first product is out nexts are easier to make on top of it.

      • George Balayan55

        MeeGo is the heritage of Linux, and Nokia wants to take advantage of it. I think thing it will not work out. It is very similar to what Microsoft wanted to do with Windows Mobile, a scaled down version of Windows.

      • George Balayan55

        MeeGo is the heritage of Linux, and Nokia wants to take advantage of it. I think thing it will not work out. It is very similar to what Microsoft wanted to do with Windows Mobile, a scaled down version of Windows.

  • Guest

    Meego is shaping up to be the OS of choice for a lot of embedded guys (car info systems, etc). Also, Qt is the best way to create cross-platform desktop apps – just look at Skype or Google Earth as examples.

    You could say that Qt never really started as a mobile system, so nothing is really lost there.

  • http://twitter.com/milo_lewko ml

    Shitty OS, stupid name…Android FTW

  • droitwichgas

    It seems historey is repeating itself with the N900 where any decent apps development dried up once meego was announced. N900 owners are still awaiting for Nokia themselves to release a fully working Nokia/ovi maps!!!

  • http://topsy.com/eu.techcrunch.com/2011/02/13/nokias-elop-keeps-pumping-meego-and-symbian-but-what-developer-will-now-bother-creating-those-apps/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention Nokia’s Elop keeps pumping Meego and Symbian – but what developer will now bother creating those apps? -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TechCrunch, LolCrunch, Tech News, MocaBear and others. MocaBear said: Nokia’s Elop keeps pumping Meego and Symbian – but what developer will now bother creating those apps?: Nokia CE… http://bit.ly/dU6pXG […]

  • http://twitter.com/itsdeshazer Michael De'Shazer

    I won’t.

  • https://launchpad.net/~craig.box crb

    1. Write a Qt app. Target 200 million existing devices, and 150 million more coming.
    2. Your app works on MeeGo, if MeeGo actually happens.
    3. Profit.

    You could ignore the fact that Nokia make devices on both Symbian and WP7, and just say “I need an iOS app, an Android app, a webOS app, a BlackBerry app, a WP7 app and a Qt app”. Did I forget Bada?

    • http://twitter.com/matthewcp matthewcp

      Which devices are you talking about?

    • http://twitter.com/matthewcp matthewcp

      Which devices are you talking about?

    • Noah

      Of course, it worked for Java, right?
      Oh wait, no. Java for end-users was a disaster, poor usability and compatibility, dozens of different profiles to target ANYWAY, harder to trace handset problems, etc.. It was great for back-end server developers, but good user experiences need more than write once run anywhere, and honestly, HTML5 is what’s getting that attention, not Qt.

    • http://keksbaecker.myopenid.com/ keksbaecker

      2.2. Your app also works on webOS.

      • http://eothred.wordpress.com/ Yngve

        Say what, webOS will incorporate Qt? Cool! :)

  • http://twitter.com/shaunshull Shaun Shull

    I welcome the change since developing for Nokia was a nightmare anyways. Trying to decipher platforms, legacy compatibility, and beta libraries was one of the worst development experiences I ever had. Nothing is more frustrating than creating a cool Qt Quick application only to find out that Qt Quick isn’t supported in the Ovi store yet and no specific timelines have been set for when it will be supported. This wasn’t made clear and there is so much old and conflicting information on Forum Nokia that trying to make sense of it is quite difficult. The real irony is that Qt Quick is a pretty good UI codebase and I was finally able to make smooth animations and transitions in my Nokia app giving it a higher-quality “iPhone” or “Android” feel. In my opinion given some time Qt Quick might have made Nokia applications more competitive with the other smart phone apps although the Symbian ^3 OS was still not even remotely competitive with iOS or Android.

  • Anonymous

    Nokia aren’t a burning platform company. They’re a no platform company.

    The latter is worse.

    • http://twitter.com/amigaluv Hisyam Yacob

      Spot on! Can’t say any better

  • Aa

    Well it’s open source so surely there will be apps.

  • Jpwelsh3223

    Fuck, I hope QT lives on. Meego could really have been great. Nokia really fucked up here, and they’re just going to be another HTC, LG, etc, hardware maker with no differentiation.

    Sure, they have global distribution, global brand acknowledgment, and global presence for phones, but in 5 or so years from now they’re going to lose footing to AGAIN HTC, LG, Motorola, etc.

    Meego was going to seperate Nokia and QT is an unbelievable platform. What the fuck is Nokia thinking? Oh yeah, it’s this stupid Microsoft CEO who is only looking at Microsoft interests considering he’s the 7th largest holder of Microsoft stock. Why did the Nokia board appoint this guy as CEO. Fuck fuck fuck. I hope the QT environment is still profitable for developers, my livelihood could very well depend on it.

    • http://twitter.com/zc456 Squeaks

      They have no choice to support or give it to some other company or foundation. The framework is already used by major corporations and agencies.

      • Anonymous

        I see a sale of Qt and other Linux pieces to Red Hat in the near future.

      • http://eothred.wordpress.com/ Yngve

        To my knowledge Qt is now LGPL (honest thanks to Nokia for that!), so what is there to sell? What is probably happening is a fork by a FOSS foundation I’m guessing.

    • http://twitter.com/zc456 Squeaks

      They have no choice to support or give it to some other company or foundation. The framework is already used by major corporations and agencies.

    • http://twitter.com/kurtisharms Kurtis Harms

      Meego wasn’t yielding results fast enough to be a viable option as a new entry to the mobile OS market. Therefore, I understand that Nokia looked for an alternative. That said, I do think it is a HUGE conflict of interest to partner with a company that your CEO has a large investment in.

    • http://www.techweez.com Techweez

      I believe he said that Symbian S40 and S60 will still be operational for low end phones. Most of phone users in Africa still use that. As for Symbian ^3/WP7 problem, he felt they were making a negative progress, i still havent used windows phone to tell the difference btw it and Symbian^3

  • http://www.digitalundivide.com/music---listen-to-select-songs donfelipe

    It makes a lot a sense for Nokia to gradually kill off the small players such as MeeGo and Symbian. Nokia survival depends on a strong alliance and Nokia chose Microsoft. Microsoft has gained famed from coming from behind and demolishing its competitors. Just look at Bing closely and you will notice a huge improvement from what it was several months ago. Phone 7 software will evolve into an exciting platform because Microsoft is totally focused on making it become the number one and close to number one cell phone platform.

  • MS-Nokia DOA

    Elop (The Microsoft Belluzzo mole at Nokia) is just giving lip service to Nokia employees and developers so no one looks too hard at this deal until it is too late and Nokia is completely in Microsoft’s pocket.

  • Amehaye

    Too bad Nokia didn’t go the Android way. I would have bought an Android-powered Nokia device – a good combination of hardware and software. Windows Phone is just not my cup of tea.

  • Salocin

    I have to disagree with the previous comments. Developing for MeeGo, in comparison to iOS, Android, WP7 and yes, even, BlackBerry, is a pain. One simply cannot expect 3rd party developers to go through the hassle of having to recompile the kernel every time a new update is released! I agree that Android would have been appealing right now, mainly because we all know how polished Android is right now. But don’t count Windows out yet.

    Nokia has a lot of work to prove its worth right now, yes, as does WP7. But, it’s not insurmountable. Far from it. In tech, the giants of yesterday become the minions of tomorrow. And wp7 has a good, polished UI and integration with XBox Live, something not many other platforms can boast of.

    Besides, would you have really preferred that this was a 2-horse race?

  • Salocin

    I have to disagree with the previous comments. Developing for MeeGo, in comparison to iOS, Android, WP7 and yes, even, BlackBerry, is a pain. One simply cannot expect 3rd party developers to go through the hassle of having to recompile the kernel every time a new update is released! I agree that Android would have been appealing right now, mainly because we all know how polished Android is right now. But don’t count Windows out yet.

    Nokia has a lot of work to prove its worth right now, yes, as does WP7. But, it’s not insurmountable. Far from it. In tech, the giants of yesterday become the minions of tomorrow. And wp7 has a good, polished UI and integration with XBox Live, something not many other platforms can boast of.

    Besides, would you have really preferred that this was a 2-horse race?

  • http://twitter.com/#!/XNoArchive BrianD

    There will be a place for legacy.

  • http://ohsugar.com.au/2011/02/13/nokia-keeps-pumping-meego-and-symbian-%e2%80%93-but-what-app-developer-will-now-bother/ Oh, Sugar! » Nokia Keeps Pumping Meego And Symbian – But What App Developer Will Now Bother?

    […] Read the rest of this entry » […]

  • http://shoutreview.com/technology/nokia-keeps-pumping-meego-and-symbian-%e2%80%93-but-what-app-developer-will-now-bother/ Nokia Keeps Pumping Meego And Symbian – But What App Developer Will Now Bother? | ShoutReview

    […] Read the rest of this entry » […]

  • George Balayan55

    Nokia considers Symbian a “burning platform”, WP7 – icy waters. But the man can not live in icy waters, therefore he should build a new platform, MeeGo.
    The problem here is that the icy water can just rescue the man from the fire, merely deferring his death. He will be either frozen to death or eaten by hungry sharks. It is also unrealistic for him to build a new platform while being in the icy water.

    • Anonymous

      sharks dont live in icy waters.

      • Metrolad

        wiki “Greenland shark”, but you could count yourself as damn unlucky if you were bitten by one!

        Annoying unrelated estimate: humans kill 100 million sharks a year. Good news if you like squid; bad news for everybody else.

  • http://x.co/J9cm PortablePay.com and PhoPay.com

    none

  • http://twitter.com/ronnqvist Simon Rönnqvist

    With all (soon to be) ex-Nokia developers plus all others that Nokia lured into coding Qt for mobile, and an almost ready new open source platform there’s surely potential for start-ups. The soon to be released Alien Dalvik could help in keeping MeeGo attractive to consumers, since they’d have access to Android apps plus the more ‘real computer’-like features of MeeGo that no major platform offers. However, Alien Dalvik doesn’t help Qt-developers much… only indirectly by potentially helping MeeGo grow. I really hope and feel that something really good will grow out of what Nokia threw away, there is a need for an open (non-Google centered) mobile computing platform!

  • Charlie4CrunchiesNomNomNom

    Since Johnny Lee went to Google, it looks like the three or four “really good” programmers at Microsoft won’t be developing Kinetic games for much longer.

    Instead this crack team of three or four “really good” programmers will be re-tasked with copying thousands of the 300,000 apps to WindowsPhone7 platform.

    I hear one of the first out the gate will an “Angry Birds” clone.

  • MyNameisPrivate

    As for Symbian i already thought replacing it with Windows Phone would be better for Nokia, but MeeGo? it was the one i was waiting for! i don’t know how Elop made this decision, after this announcement i see Nokia as something less than Samsung which has Android, Windows Phone and Bada, also HTC is competing with them with Android and Windows Phone, so other vendors will have more flavors OS wise while Nokia will have to differentiate with its handset designs which still won’t be enough. Again, returning to the platform issue, i thought Nokia will push Symbian down market (for a while) and replace it with Windows Phone, and continue to develop MeeGo at a faster pace and use it on high-end:

    looks like this:

    High End: MeeGo (a key differentiator to make Nokia compete with the likes of Apple with a unique experience)
    High End & Midrange: Windows Phone (Good platform – but many manufacturers will have it)
    Low End: Symbian S60 replacing S40 until the platform really burns.

    i also thought it would be a good idea if Nokia just made QT able to develop for Windows Phone, by this it will not throw developers in the dust and could very well benefit from Windows Phone Developers building for Windows Phone and MeeGo at the same time, this would have at least gave a push to MeeGo’s eco-system… but damn, Elop just screwd all that, and now Nokia is lost! i think people will come asking to fire Stephen Elop like Chris Bangle… Are Americans a Trojan-Horse to European Businesses? Maybe!

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