Sunday, February 13, 2011

Symbian, Maemo, Meego and now Windows Phone 7? Where is Nokia heading?

Its been a rough ride for Nokia after Apple iPhone and Google Android started to take over the smartphone world. Nokia has been a manufacturer of great smartphones in the past. I remember the days when i used to own a Nokia NGage QD (a smartphone) in 2004-2005,it was a great feeling to hold a gaming smartphone with 3d gaming capabilities. I remember the UI being very dry and naive but didn't feel so as I never knew what iPhone was. It was J2ME enabled phone (what is that says today's Y generation). I remember I used to download .jar files from to my sdcard and install "apps" from it. There were also the .sis files (compared to .apk files in android) which were the "apps" for a S60 OS of a Nokia phone.

I feel sorry for Nokia as it finally abandoned Symbian recently after trying Meego and Maemo. Nokia first supporting Symbian (also supported by Ericsson, other companies), then acquring Symbian, open-sourcing the platform and nothing seemed to help Nokia. For Symbian app development in Qt(C++), there were no developer friendly documentation to build good apps. This was where Nokia lost it, if Nokia would have extended Symbian development for other platforms which had wide developer support, good UI it might have had some impact.

I like the way android was persented to the developer community (java, dvm) which was very helpful in gaining developer support for the platform. Android apps were written in Java and recently support for Native development was extended (with Java Native Interface) and there is also active development on Android for executing python scripts. This significantly extended the diversity of developers to support the platform. I think Google being a software, services and .com company listens carefully to what developers have to say (the guys who create great applications for phones) and constantly updating OS support with their and community's consent (opensource).

I think Intel should be finally letting go of its plans to dominate the mobile world with its processors with competetion coming from all sides. Face it Symbian, Meego, Maemo are dead. TI's OMAP processors, Nvdia's Tegra processors (with now reaching dual core and announcing the quad core processors), ARM's cortex and dual-core Cortex processors.

I also am a fan of the Zune HD and the Zune music subscription service which I use regularly. I liked the idea of Microsoft to extend the interface to Windows Phone 7. Everything seems to be fine except for Microsoft needs to takle the problem of lengthy menus (scorlling up and down seems to be very irritating to many Windows Phone 7 owners).

Nokia adopting Windows Phone 7 still has some shortcomings, like they have to wait for atleast to roll-out their first Windows Phone 7 handset with customized UI (if Nokia decides to as Windows Phone 7 OS is licensed to other Hardware manufacturers).  Nokia and Microsoft have a lot to do to ensure good performance from their platform in the market.. Though, the concept phones from Nokia look gorgeous. Many of traditional app makers for Symbian might completely jump into the bandwagon of Android of Apple iPhone for quick money.

The only key to making is a great Smartphone is to make the Developers happy, have some elegance in the UI with userfriendliness and of course cheap handsets. Microsoft has to meanwhile outsmart, outperform quality and quantiy of all the webservices Google is providing on Android (mail, voice, maps, etc). This will be good for Microsoft and Nokia (of course, the other Hardware Manufacturers).

Keeping my fingers crossed!

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