Nokia is promoting MeeGo at developer conferences this week, reaffirming its belief in the OS, as well as in Symbian, despite its rivals betting big time on Android.
Nokia is promoting its MeeGo operating system at developer conferences in Europe this week, the Wall Street Journal
reports, following the decision of new Nokia CEO Stephen Elop to pursue
the Symbian and MeeGo operating systems despite the steadily rising
popularity of Google's Android.
While Nokia has yet to release a handset running MeeGo-the result of
Nokia combining its Maemo with Intel's Moblin-it has long promoted
Symbian, the leading--though slipping--mobile OS, even as others have
abandoned it. During the third quarter, Symbian's global market share
fell to 37 percent, from 45 percent a year earlier, according to
Gartner, while Android's market share over the same period jumped from
just 4 percent in third quarter of 2009 to a whopping 26 percent,
sending it leap-frogging over industry leaders Apple and Research In
Motion into second position behind Symbian.
Not so surprisingly, then, Sony Ericsson and Samsung-each of which
has been filling out its portfolio with Android-running
smartphones-announced that they will stop supporting Symbian
Even the Symbian Foundation, in a Nov. 8 statement, took a step back
from the platform, announcing that it will transition to acting only as
a licensing operation. Nokia responded
with a statement, saying it will continue to invest resources in the OS.
"The platform powers hundreds of millions of smartphones-including
our own-and we expect to deliver ongoing support and innovation
benefitting the Symbian ecosystem in the future," Jo Harlow, Nokia's
senior vice president of smartphones, said in the statement.
In a rare show of support, Fujitsu and Sharp the following day unveiled 11 new smartphones running the OS, Reuters reported.
As Nokia's overall handset market share has also dropped-to 28.2
percent in the recent quarter, from 36.7 percent a year earlier-it has
introduced a number of high-end smartphones running Symbian 3
that are central to its strategy for getting back on top.
By going its own way, instead of choosing to adopt Android, as some
analysts have suggested, Nokia executives believe they have a better
chance at differentiating the brand, particularly as the stakes rise in
the growing smartphone market.
"Frankly, some of these alternatives in the market are not
necessarily providing a lot of opportunity for innovation, and that is
what we hear from people who are using those platforms at the moment,"
Alberto Torres, Nokia's executive vice president for MeeGo computers,
told the Journal, referring to competing handset makers that have
The Journal adds that Nokia's decision to support MeeGo over Android
is also due to its ability to support additional products such as
tablets, televisions and even in-car systems-a seemingly popular next
step for mobile operating systems. (A version of QNX, the software
behind RIM's PlayBook tablet, is currently in the dashboards of millions of vehicles
Analyst Jack Gold, with J. Gold & Associates, said that in order
to compete with Android and Apple, Nokia needs to capture more
developers to create apps for its Ovi Store. In moving to the Qt
development platform, which is said to be easier to develop on than
Symbian, Nokia is looking to do exactly this. Whether Nokia can get
developers to move to Qt, says Gold, remains to be seen.
"Nokia must aggressively court them if it wants to stand a chance,"
Gold wrote in a Nov. 4 report. "The way to do that is to make Qt
support development for Android and WP7 as well as Symbian and MeeGo,
thus centralizing development to one tool that can deploy to many
platforms. However, Nokia must do this quickly if it wants to have any