Looking back at Singapore Nokia Connection the focus was very much on the Nokia N9 with little being mentioned on anything else. Something that was mentioned was the importance of Qt and that Qt would shape the Next Billion devices and the Nokia N9 should be considered as a Qt device. I didn't really realise the significance of those words. On reflection I do.
I've been tracking MeeGo and Nokia for a while now. Talking to various people at various events and I was still clinging onto the idea that MeeGo was part of Nokias future even past the Nokia Feb 11 announcement. "If the Nokia N9 is a brilliant device then we are back in the game", that is the message that I was told then with a wink and a nudge by Nokia. Now, it seems its not true. Nokia will NOT be making anymore MeeGo devices or Symbian Series 60 devices. The Nokia N9 will be the last one. Which is what is confusing. By all accounts Nokia have done the unthinkable and I do mean unthinkable, It is early days yet, but they have captured public and developer interest / imagination with the N9 and Nokia is not capable of that or should I say were not capable of that.
In the now second famous story of Elop and Nokia, the "Oh sh*t moment" when apparently Nokia discovered :
At its current pace, Nokia was on track to introduce only three MeeGo-driven models before 2014
Look at the above statement. This was given as the primary reason of Dropping MeeGo. Having seen the quality of firmware on the Nokia N9 and the hardware it lives on I find it almost offensive that someone can say that Nokia could not do a further 2 handsets before 2014 ? Not even 1 a year. Some of the things mentioned in a post by Felipe Contreras are quite interesting in his My disagreement with Elop on MeeGo. If you look at the hardware history of Nokia they tend to stick to the same or very similar hardware. For years I used to pray they used something different and they never did. Why shouldn't they use similar hardware for all their MeeGo devices ?
So Nokia is not going to be pursuing MeeGo but then they are still spending a pretty penny getting the Nokia N950 Phone into the most deserving developer hands. This is so that Apps can be developed for the Nokia N9, but hang on now, thats the end of the line for that Operating System for Nokia, so were do these Apps live on. Well Elop did say that "... the user experience you see here is something that will live on as well"
The next Billion handsets can only be Symbian Series 40 (S40) device as Nokia has not got any other OS to put on them, but S40 can not in its current form support Qt and as we remember "Qt would shape the Next Billion devices". So does this mean that there will be a newer version of S40? Yes. Nokia are working on a Qt for S40. It has also been confirmed that Nokia are working on a full touchscreen experience for S40 handsets. Apparently it is cheaper these days to develop and mass produce these type of products opposed to traditional devices with "Moving Parts". One interesting bit to note is that we will never see Qt products developed for Windows Mobile. MicroSoft will NEVER allow Nokia to develop a Qt framework for Windows Phone and this is the only bit that I love MicroSoft for, So thank you MicroSoft.
The Nokia N9 is a device that will facilitate in getting the Qt ecosystem kicked off and whilst it is here it will get looked after during its lifespan with active development. There will also be a standard MeeGo N9 Community Edition that will start being deveoped for people that want an alternative Operating System on it.
So what are the positives for the MeeGo Community in all of this ? Well the N9 shows what can be done with MeeGo and that MeeGo can be developed for handsets. The Apps being developed will be Qt based and these will live on as MeeGo compatible apps and a welcome addition to the MeeGo App ecosystem. The Loss, well we loose Nokia but I don't feel any malice. Its time for us to part and go our separate ways.