Nokia and Qt, I Choose You!

Since I commented on this post about MeeGo here, I really should explain.

I went to a Wavefront/Nokia seminar about Nokia’s Qt and Ovi store on Friday.  Partially out of curiosity, partially to network and partially to perhaps win a brand new spanking N8.  Not that I want to hand in my N900, but I like new kit.  And as a research & development mobile developer it is my responsibility to learn about the whole of the mobile ecosystem.

First of all I want to say is that I am amazed by the pains that Nokia goes through to maintain being a market leader.  Not to sound like a PR person for Nokia, but the number of countries and languages that Ovi is available is astounding.  And for anyone wanting to integrate their app purchases with a carrier’s billing system Ovi is the only way to go.  Why?  The Google Market integrates with 2 carriers.  Nokia’s Ovi Store integrates with 99 carriers.  So while Apple iOS and Google Android do a remarkable job, they don’t scale like Ovi does.

Another thing that Nokia does well is compete in various markets against various vendors at the same time.  In the superphone market it is up against Apple, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Microsoft, Google, etc.  In the business space against RIM’s BlackBerry.  And it wipes the floor in the feature phone market.  Yes, the superphone market is proving difficult for them.  Hopefully MeeGo will change all that.

Qt is amazing, and Nokia is pushing Qt hard.  Very, very hard.  This is awesome news for the KDE community.  And it also provides a glimmer of hope for developers who would love to learn one framework very, very well and use everywhere.  Java failed, and if Android (which ONLY works on smartphones or smartphone-like handsets) is the best we can do then we have failed.  This is coming from someone who earns his bread and butter as an Android developer.  I love working in Android, even with all of its quirks and oddities.  But Qt… thats a whole new level, especially if the market accepts MeeGo.

So know there is a bunch of speculation about Nokia CEO Stephen Elop dropping a platform and merging with something Microsoft.  And everyone is speculating Symbian, Symbian^3 or MeeGo.  Symbian is not going away.  And I don’t think MeeGo will go for three reasons: it took years to get MeeGo to where it is.  Second is that already most of the up and coming in-vehicle interface systems will run MeeGo.  And third is this interesting tidbit:

Audience: So when is the next Qt training session for Toronto?

Nokia Rep: There is one in March for Montreal.  There will be one in Vancouver in April.  And there will be a whole new set of sessions including Toronto, around MeeGo devices.

That and other comments at the seminars point to MeeGo device appearing sometime before May.  So what about this mysterious announcement?  Well everyone seems to have forgotten that Nokia has a gaming platform: NGage.  Yes, that NGage.  The one that is not doing so well.  So how will they compete in the mobile gaming space with the iPhone/iPad and Sony’s next PSP that is Android based?  How about bringing Microsoft’s XBox to mobile devices?  Hmm…


As a sidenote, I’m planning to learn Qt while working on my current work project.  I can’t wait.