Nokia Open Platform Spurs Mobile Apps

Nokia says its open S60 platform enables developers to innovate faster, better.

LONDON—Nokia is broadening the reach of its mobile development platform with support for traditional as well as emerging technologies.

At the Symbian Smartphone Show here Oct. 15, Craig Cumberland, director of technology and applications marketing for software platforms at Nokia, said the company offers solutions for traditional C++ developers, Java developers, dynamic language developers, an emerging market of open-source developers, as well as the burgeoning superclass of Web developers.

Nokias S60 platform, which is based on the Symbian OS and supports Java as well as C++ and other development environments, is the most broad-based development platform for developers of mobile applications, and the Helsinki, Finland, company wants to provide the tools developers need, Cumberland said.

"To be a true platform, you have to provide the foundation," he said. "And if we see that down the road we may have to provide x, whatever x is—and that might be Ruby on Rails—we will provide it."

As Nokia is aware that there will be enterprise developers building enterprise applications for Nokia devices, "we know there are going to be people who will do things because of their existing enterprise legacy applications," he said. "But there are also people who want to do lighter-weight apps."

With its Open C development environment, Nokia leverages the flexibility of open-source software to reduce development costs, Cumberland said.

Open C is a set of industry-standard Posix and middleware C libraries for S60 on Symbian OS, Nokia officials said. In addition, the Open C SDK (software development kit) plug-in brings the familiar standard C function libraries to S60 on Symbian OS, so developers can reuse existing code and tap open-source projects for fast time-to-market, according to Nokia officials. In short, Open C makes smart-phone application development easier with standard interfaces and programming models.

"It reduces time to market by taking advantage of existing components and open-source projects," Cumberland said. "Its all about not having to teach a new tool … and drawing upon a large pool of qualified developers."


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In essence, Open C is Nokias first step in developing an open-source project, he said. "If you believe something is at the core of any platform, then going open source is a good idea," he said.

Cumberland said the Nokia S60 is the worlds leading smart-phone platform, with 53 percent of the market. "Pushing down into the midtier phone segment is our growth opportunity," he said. To date, there have been more than 65 S60 device types launched and more than 100 million devices shipped, he said.

It is the openness of the S60 platform that gives Nokia its advantage over the competition, Cumberland said. "It is openness that fosters innovation to deliver the next wave of Internet applications," he said.


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