Device operating systems

OS Watch: Developers Rally for Symbian

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) laid out a load of stats yesterday on how its mobile app repository, the Ovi Store, has fared. Developer support for the app store has grown to 400,000, and Michael Bramlage, Nokia's director of media believes that's a positive sign for both MeeGo and Symbian Ltd. (See Ovi Store Picks Up Steam.)

What's making both OSs more attractive to developers is Qt, the app development framework Nokia acquired and the software development kit (SDK) it makes available to developers to build apps for both. Bramlage says it takes 70 percent fewer lines of code to develop for Qt versus native Symbian.

All new Symbian phones will run Qt apps, lessening the effects of fragmentation. Nokia will create content for Qt as well, he says.

"We understand some of the downsides of fragmentation and that's why acquiring Qt and commercializing it into the SDK and committing to it to support MeeGo and Symbian -- all of these are important to making fragmentation a non-issue," Bramlage says. "This is the power of Qt and the fact that it is cross-platform."

  • Frag Watch: Angry Birds was Ovi's top-selling paid app, but the Birds were actually angrier over on Android. In a blog post to developers, the team behind the Rovio-built app apologized to its fans who couldn't run the app on their Android phones. Rovio said it cannot support Android platform version 1.6 or lower, along with 17 other Android phones.

    The company said that it wanted to avoid having to create multiple apps for Android, but will have to develop a lighter solution to work on the lower-end handsets, which run on less processing power. The company didn't call out fragmentation, but the case of the angry birds certainly sheds a light on the issue and how much of a challenge it creates for developers. (See OS Watch: Android's Fragmentation Makes Friends and Android’s 5 Flavors of Fragmentation.)

  • AMD Backs MeeGo: Not helping the fragmentation quagmire is the fact that Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) is backing Nokia's MeeGo. AMD says it will provide engineering expertise for future releases for the OS, optimized for tablets and other non-smartphone devices. Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) has also expressed interest in the open-source platform, meaning Intel may have a run for its money for the OS it helped to create. (See AMD Joins MeeGo Project.)

  • Android ads up to iOS: Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s grip on the smartphone ad market is loosening and Android's reaping the benefits, according to a Millennial Media report. Android rose from 17 percent ad impression market share in June, compared to Apple's 56 percent, to now match the iPhone maker at 37 percent each. BlackBerry trails behind at 20 percent, followed by a three-way tie between Symbian, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), and others.

  • Verizon tweets about WP7!: It's been officially Tweeted that Verizon Wireless will be carrying Microsoft Windows Phone 7 devices, despite its initial lukewarm response to the new OS.

  • Woz up with that?: In other web chatter news, there's been reports that Apple co-founder, 'the other Steve' Woz, said Android would become the dominant smartphone platform, but Engadget got the true story and shared its audio of the interview to prove it.

    Woz said that almost every app he has runs better on the iPhone. And that, based on what he's read, he thinks Android will be a lot like Windows. Meaning, "it can get greater market share and still be crappy."

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

  • sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:17:54 PM
    re: OS Watch: Developers Rally for Symbian

    I think MeeGo is smart to look beyond smartphones. Symbian will have a lot of stiff competition there. I wouldn't write them off until we see what's in store for next year, but, yes, without real details to go off on the device front, it's just hot air at this point.

    ycurrent 12/5/2012 | 4:17:54 PM
    re: OS Watch: Developers Rally for Symbian

    Impressive steam for Ovi... but is it too little to late for Nokia's OS/app dev platforms given the growth trajectory/shares of rivals, despite Qt's momentum and productivity?

    melao2 12/5/2012 | 4:17:53 PM
    re: OS Watch: Developers Rally for Symbian

    This pie chart only considers the US market isn't it?

    Symbian should be the global leader Smartphone OS. 


    I do not think it is too little too late for Nokia. They are very well positioned globally. 

    ycurrent 12/5/2012 | 4:17:53 PM
    re: OS Watch: Developers Rally for Symbian

    MeeGo gaining support beyond Intel is a big deal and potential game-changer for shifting off mobile phones... we'll see.

    stelabokun 12/5/2012 | 4:17:29 PM
    re: OS Watch: Developers Rally for Symbian

    During a Nokia Webcast (Nokia Talks Qt Quick and Symbian) on Nov 9, 2010, Sebastian Nyström, their Vice President of Qt Software said that, with Qt, 50% less code is used. Bramlage is saying 70% practically at the very same time when Nyström is saying 50%….Who to believe I wonder…

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