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3/30/2011
09:01 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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End Of The Road For Symbian In 2012

When Nokia decided to partner with Microsoft and use Windows Phone as the platform for its cell phones, many questioned what would happen to Nokia's existing products, Symbian, Meego and Qt. Nokia has confirmed that Symbian will last be used in smartphones in 2012.

When Nokia decided to partner with Microsoft and use Windows Phone as the platform for its cell phones, many questioned what would happen to Nokia's existing products, Symbian, Meego and Qt. Nokia has confirmed that Symbian will last be used in smartphones in 2012.A developer has posted a letter that Nokia Vice President Prunima Kochikar sent out. Nokia plans to release new phones between now and the Windows Phone 7 rollout. "We will have a strong portfolio of new products during our transition period - i.e. 2011 and 2012." Once 2012 is here though, Symbian based devices will be phased out. 2013 will be Windows Phone only according to the current plan.

That's fine for carriers interested in selling devices, but what about developers? You have a choice of developing for iOS, Android, webOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry and Symbian in the smartphone space. How many will choose to develop for a platform that has at most an 18-24 month life?

Interestingly, Nokia is still improving on Symbian. A number of changes are promised for this year.

"The first major update will arrive in summer, delivering a new home screen, new flexible widgets, new icons, a faster browser, new Navbar and a fresh look and feel to Ovi Store and Ovi Maps, including integration of social media services in Ovi Maps."

Again, the carriers will like this. Fresh hardware and software always makes it easire to sell a phone. Just ask any carrier that was trying to sell Windows Mobile 6.x devices.

Qt remains "critically important" to Nokia, but it looks like it is mostly for support of sale of the Qt Commercial software licensing and professional services to Digia, a transaction that should close any day now.

The letter doesn't touch on the future of Meego. They plan to launch a Meego device or two this year, but the future of that platform in Nokia's portfolio looks bleak.

You can read the full letter here. Are any of you developers this letter is targeted at still planning on doing significant development for Symbian or are you just going to maintain apps enough to satisfy existing customers and then move on?

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