Nokia released a new version Wednesday of the Qt application framework, and the 4.6 beta includes support for new platforms and improved performances.
The Qt framework can be used to create apps and user interfaces for a variety of devices like computers, mobile phones, and set-top boxes, and it is based on C++. Nokia said the most attractive feature of Qt is its cross-platform nature, and it is used with multi-device apps like Google Earth, Last.fm, Opera, and Skype.
The latest version of Qt adds a port to the Symbian and S60 frameworks, which means developers can target apps at a wide variety of Nokia devices like the N97 and E72. Nokia also recently said it was porting Qt to the Maemo mobile operating system, which could make Qt a ripe environment for mobile development because it also works with the Windows Mobile platform.
The 4.6 version of Qt also includes support for gesture-based inputs, as well as multi-touch input. There's also improved animation frameworks and support for advanced graphics effects. The overall performance has also been improved thanks to WebKit integration and new support for hardware-accelerated 2-D vector graphics.
The mobile app ecosystem of smartphone platforms is becoming increasingly important thanks to the success of the App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Apple users have downloaded more than 2 billion apps in a little more than a year, and developers have flocked to the iPhone to try and capitalize. But some developers cannot afford to build or support apps for the numerous smartphone platforms, which could mean Qt plays a stronger role in the mobile app space.
Nokia also released a beta of the Qt Creator 1.3, a cross-platform integrated development environment that's aimed at getting Qt frameworks up and running quickly. Both betas can be downloaded from Nokia's Qt Web site.
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