Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Can N900 and Maemo save nokia?

I absolutely love android, don't get me wrong but strong competition is a good thing. And android's only solid competition seems to be the one coming from Apple. Even though Nokia practically owns over one third of the mobile phone market, it is way behind technologically in the prestigious smartphone sector. Symbian series 60, is considered old and boooooring... Maemo is still wearing diapers (it is in my opinion, more immature than android was when it launched one year ago). So what steps can be taken by Nokia to improve the situation? Here's my short list:

1. Abandon Symbian series 60 models in favor of Maemo.
2. Keep its series 40 line for dirt cheap mobile phones.
3. Develop a series 60 emulator that can run series 60 apps on Maemo phones.
4. Radically improve Maemo development tools. Let me elaborate on this. Compared to android and iPhone developer tools, Symbian series 60 tools have been really difficult to use. An entirely different sdk should be downloaded in order to support specific features found in specific models. And the SDK's were practically running only on Windows (and very specific versions of windows that is). Now, the new Maemo SDK is linux only, and it requires a lot of setup steps compared to android. So Nokia developers should make a move from windows to linux and from symbian to maemo. Whoa, that seems like a lot of work!
On the other hand the android SDK runs on windows, linux and MacosX, is simple to setup (at least compared to symbian and Maemo) and the emulator and the IDE are really simple to use and quite fast. In only one year android has 10,000+ apps and a lot of them are very good. Of course Nokia is starting to make some moves on the right direction. One of those moves is QT Creator, a very good cross - platform IDE, that can create QT apps that can be compiled for mobile platforms like Maemo, in good, old, speedy C++. But until Nokia bundles a simple to use QT Creator and Maemo SDK combo, I don't see developers fleeing their way.
However, N900, the first Maemo smartphone device, looks cool and packs a lot of power. But as we all know, the apps count, so Nokia should help developers write some cooool apps or it may be heading palm's way.

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