Nokia confirms future plans for Qt platform

Nokia Qt Frameworks has set out its formal position in the wake of its parent company entering into a so-called “broad strategic partnership” with Microsoft to develop a new global smartphone ecosystem.

After a series of keynotes and meetings with Nokia CTO Rich Green and Nokia’s vice-president of application services and frameworks Sebastian Nyström, the official blog for the cross-platform application and GUI development framework confirms that, “Unequivocally, Qt is not dead – Qt will continue to live on through Symbian, MeeGo and the non-mobile Qt industries and platforms.”

Nokia’s Green reiterated the following statements, “We will continue working on Qt, enhancing it. In the mobile phone segments we are going to be examining Qt technologies. Qt Quick (the company’s Qt User Interface Creation Kit) is proving to be an incredibly productive platform – remarkably productive and powerful – and this will continue.” Referring to Symbian, Green also says, “We will update devices with later versions of Qt and Qt Quick.”

At a press conference, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop also addressed Symbian, saying, “We will continue to invest in the development of Symbian and continue to release devices based upon it.” He stated that Nokia will still ship a large number of Symbian devices over the next couple years (150 million being the current prediction) in addition to the millions of existing Qt-enabled phones already on the market. The Qt blog has also stated that the company is moving ahead with the Qt SDK 1.1 and that this will be the first time it ships Qt Quick in a combined package.

Daniel Kihlberg, director of Qt Ecosystem also says that despite Nokia outlining its new platform strategy for smartphones to align with Windows – and the fact that Microsoft’s tools will be used for Nokia Windows Phone application development, there are still plenty of positives to look forward to with Qt.

“Qt will continue to play an important role in Nokia. Consider the fact that the retention of Nokia’s 200 million Symbian users is vital, and Nokia has targeted sales of 150 million more Symbian-devices in years to come. To achieve that, Nokia needs to continue the modernisation of Symbian in Qt – to keep existing consumers engaged and to attract new customers, either upgrading from existing Symbian devices to Qt enabled devices or entirely new to Nokia,” says Kihlberg.

Kihlberg also says, “Nokia also announced it will ship its first MeeGo-related device in 2011, which will rely on the Qt ecosystem – and then will continue with MeeGo as an open source project for future disruption. Nokia can’t afford to be behind the next disruption again and Qt can play an important role in making sure it isn’t.”

With Qt Quick and Qt SDK 1.1 releases in the coming months the company is expecting the Qt developer community to grow further – adding to the 400,000 developers using Qt today. Speaking to Computer Weekly at Mobile World Congress 2011, Qt was not able to confirm the total number of UK developers currently using Qt, but the company did point to Orange UK as an example of a prominent British-based company working heavily with its technology.

Adrian Bridgwater, Computer Weekly

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