More than ever, Nokia views developers as key to its re-emergence in the smartphone market.
LONDON - As incoming
Nokia CEO Stephen
Elop said as he addressed developers at the Nokia World 2010 show
here, developers are central to the success of Nokia going forward.
With that in mind, Nokia announced several initiatives and major
improvements in developer tools making it simpler, easier and more lucrative
for people to build innovative apps. For instance, the company made significant
enhancements to the Nokia Qt SDK (Software Development Kit) resulting in a 70
percent reduction in the number of lines of code required when developing for
the company's family of Symbian smartphones.
In addition, Purnima Kochikar, vice president of Nokia Forum,
the company's developer outreach arm, said Nokia has delivered improvements in
the Ovi Store user experience including a new look and feel, making it faster
and making apps easier to find.
Kochikar also said Nokia has lowered the barrier of entry and
increased monetization opportunities for developers, including free Java and
Symbian signing, in-app purchase, improved revenue share and advanced
"Our announcements will certainly bring more great apps to
Nokia products, especially our new family of Symbian smartphones announced
today," Kochikar said. "We have made it much simpler, removed
obstacles and made it more lucrative for people to build apps for our phones.
We believe that this will convince more developers to build apps for the
millions of people, in more than 190 countries that are using the Ovi Store on
their Nokia devices."
For instance, today, developers can distribute apps to
approximately 175 million Nokia Symbian smartphones -- the largest smartphone
user base in the world. Qt is preinstalled on all new Nokia smartphones and
downloadable to millions of smartphones people are already using. Using the
Nokia Qt SDK to build their apps, developers will discover a complete,
easy-to-use tool that brings a shortened workflow, simplified development and
intuitive UI libraries resulting in 70 percent fewer lines of code, cutting
creation time dramatically.
New opportunities for developers will include in-app purchase,
enabling a wide range of app pricing options in Ovi Store such as subscription
models, micro-transactions or "try and buy." This means if
people enjoy the free version of the app, they can easily upgrade to the paid
version. It also allows developers to build added value into their apps such as
the sale of virtual goods, additional levels for games, or enhanced or
localized in-app features.
Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio, the company behind one of the world's
most popular mobile games, Angry Birds, appeared at the conference and said he
is pleased to bring the game to Nokia devices. Speaking about the new in-app
purchase feature in Ovi Store, Hed said, "We now have an elegant mechanism
for providing premium content within games, like Angry Birds, in a way that
doesn't interrupt people playing the game."
With the Nokia Qt SDK, developers can also future-proof their
app by easily adapting them to run on future mobile platforms such as MeeGo,
while taking advantage of any additional features or APIs those platforms
Moreover,Nokia will focus on making developers more
money by leveraging the largest operator billing footprint available and
greatly improving the operator revenue share for payments made after Oct. 1.
Nokia has also removed the time-consuming and costly step of app signing. With
one click, Java and Symbian apps signing is complete.
Nokia's acquisition of Motally provides rich in-app analytics
for developers and publishers to better track, report and monetize their
content; these capabilities will be extended to Qt, Symbian, MeeGo and Java
The reach of Ovi Store provides opportunities for developers
with an active user base in more than 190 countries and strong local
relationships with 91 of the world's top operators. More than 50 publishers
have seen more than 1 million downloads each, with some - like Offscreen -
reaching more than 43 million downloads.
"Fizwoz was launched as a Qt-based app at the beginning of
the year and featured in the top 10 Ovi Store apps for the Nokia N900 for just
a week," said Andy Sheldon, CEO of Fizwoz. "During that time, it
received over 9,000 downloads from 91 countries, and when we put it on Symbian
smartphones in early May our numbers on Nokia shot up. We now have almost
41,000 people using it in 167 countries and add 200-300 new people every day.
In fact, it took just two months for Nokia to catch up with our user number on
a big competitor's app store with a predominantly U.S. distribution footprint.
Nokia is truly worldwide."
Meanwhile, in addition to the refinements with the Nokia Qt SDK
for smartphones and mobile computers, Nokia also announced an SDK for Series 40
Touch and Type - the industry's first touch SDK for mobile phones.
Last year, Nokia shipped 364 million mobile phones - around one
million devices every day. The new Series 40 Touch and Type SDK brings the
benefit of a touch interface to a new global audience. The SDK, available for
download from forum.nokia.com,
will make development for these devices extremely simple and allows easy
porting of existing apps created for current Nokia smartphones.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.