Has Nokia gone mad? Probably not.

The alleged (it may be using this word a lot today) shock and horror this week comes from Nokia.

Since Nokia have allegedly ditched Symbian in favour of Maemo (a Linux-based mobile OS), as was put down by the “Symbian-Freak” in Sept. 2009 they have started sticking Maemo onto their newer smartphones, like the N900: maemo.nokia.com (the N910 is meant to be worth waiting for).

S-F alleges that the older, now Open Source (at great cost to Nokia) Symbian will generally out-last the competition, thanks to Nokia’s reach and its out-sourced development to partner Accenture (www.symbian-freak.com/news/011/04/nokia_plans_to_reduce…) as announced this week (and retweeted furiously!): www.allaboutsymbian.com/news/item/12830_Nokia_to_transfer_Symbian_soft.

I wonder if the S-F has it wrong. True, Nokia now doesn’t have to quibble with Microsoft over licenses: should it have to fill its high-end phones and its tablets with a “free” OS it now can do so. If it chooses to compete with “Samsung and RIM” over the quality of its hardware: fair enough: the N95 was a deal-breaker, showing this off. With the expansion of Ovi (allegedly with Qt) onto all Nokia devices they even have an iTunes rival. However only time will tell whether Apple will run scared from a platform in its infancy run by a company that has never caused rows with Adobe (re: Flash Player on phones) or Google. Since the latter, who easily have enough “services” (providing a needed boost to the SaaS market and Open Source initiatives simultaneously) to fill many a blogger’s time (much like google-freak.blogspot.com). Oh; I forgot to mention Google, with the assistance of the Open Handset Alliance (another intriguing organisation!), creating an iOS (and therefore Symbian / Maemo) rival as if by magic. You’ve probably heard of it, but I’ll give you a hint: www.google.com/mobile/android/. In case you didn’t know, version 3 of said system may be dual-core mandatingand will most likely “trickle-down” single-thread friendly features to 2.3+. If they don’t, more of the madness is obviously catching.

However the alleged loss of jobs will not incur public favour at Nokia in this economic climate. Quite the opposite, I may guess. Since Accenture’s otherwise very pretty website doesn’t have the look of a mogul trying to act friendly and welcoming, honest; I’m sure there can be many early and therefore biased conclusions drawn about what they plan to do with at least two-thousand more people, all working on an operating-system that only has a single page basically still announcing it’s still Nokia’s bitch: licensing.symbian.org. They didn’t even pay for the hosting!

My ten-pence

I believe Nokia is doing the right thing by giving a huge (in more than one sense – it is a decade-ish old) piece of software to the people.

The question is whether those people will do anything with it; how well Nokia will keep tabs on what appears to be their strictly low-end product, providing a kick in the bum when necessary (I’m hoping there’ll be more carrot than stick in this case); and if Qt does become another Linux-based hit, make sure they do involve all the above together.

The reason for me not providing a fairly obvious reference to a “Maemo vs Symbian” style content, is that I simply can’t find any that are:

  1. Solely text-based;
  2. Focussing just on the software and don’t drivel about features of very particular phones that will probably be superseded in two years [gasps for breath]…

😦 Yes, that’s right: cue sad face. I hope that this changes once Symbian version 4 arrives…

Other related Good Things

I should mention MeeGo at this point: yet another Linux offshoot, this one encompassing a lot of good stuff from the now defunct Moblin project, hopefully without any of the bad stuff. Acer is now stuffing MeeGo into its netbooks.

A bit of pimping  now too: The Motorola Atrix is very nearly available on Orange and T-Mobile in the UK, sadly not quite the same for the HTC Wildfire S. More sad faces from me, specially since Amazon are reporting it available in white (“bleugh!”) for more than £200!

…and another thing!

The possibilities of a modular-based framework are exactly why:

  1. Eclipse (an IDE) has been ticking over quite happily for years;
  2. Canonical has actually started to make money (more hoorays for free stuff!);
  3. and perhaps why the software big-wigs have (finally) seen sense and made good use of Open Source initiatives and manpower.

Next Google will be giving away Ad-Words vouchers, and Nokia throwing phones at new developers!

What?! They do already?…

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About Nick

Professional bureaucrat, ex-KUSECWB, graduate & techie-monsta / computer-wrangler; at your service.
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