Nokia: We will define 'open' for Symbian

Summary:Nokia smartphone chief Jo Harlow tells ZDNet UK what the company intends to do with Symbian now it has complete control over its development, and explains the differing strategies behind Symbian and MeeGo

... develop a roadmap. The difference is that typically when we've introduced a new range of Nokia devices, maybe they got one or two updates. Now, for the whole lifetime of the devices, there will be updates. It's an opportunity for us to bring new content and further improvements to the UI.

How will the Symbian UI change? Will it become more like rivals such as iPhone and Android, or will it become something new?
MeeGo will be a new UI paradigm, and thats all I'm going to say. For Symbian, we will make it more beautiful from a visual perspective and as a total experience.

So MeeGo will be very new and Symbian will just be tweaked?
The UI framework we have for Symbian will be improved upon. MeeGo is being developed to establish what is the high end of innovation in smartphones as well as other devices. What happens after MeeGo is yet to be determined.

What would you say to Symbian developers who may be worried about Nokia taking complete control, seeing as it also has a finger in the MeeGo pie?
We're now providing the ability for developers to develop for both platforms with ease, with the unified development platform of Qt and Qt Quick. It's a much easier platform to utilise than certainly the old Symbian tools, and the ability to port an application developed for Symbian or for MeeGo to the other platform becomes much easier. My message to developers is, "You now have an unprecedented access to scale that we've not been able to deliver before."

What with Nokia's focus on Symbian and MeeGo, do you intend to ditch the S40 platform you use in your low-end devices?
The world has not gone all smartphones yet. There's still a billion-and-a-half consumers who don't have a mobile device. The number of consumers using feature phones today is enormous and, yes, there's a huge desire to use a smartphone, but there are also affordability issues in the Western world and in developing markets. S40 gives us a powerful platform to be able to appeal to that consumer. Feature phones are becoming more and more attractive at lower and lower price points for serving the whole world and not just the Western world.

That said, do you think Nokia is facing serious competition from cheap Android handsets such as those made by Huawei and ZTE, which offer smartphone features at very low prices?
The consumer will vote on that, based on the experience that they actually receive. Yes, the platform there is the full Android platform, but performance-wise it's quite different than what some people may expect from that platform. That's the battleground — what experience a consumer gets at what price point.

Topics: Mobility


David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't be paying many bills. His early journalistic career was spent in general news, working behind the scenes for BBC radio and on-air as a newsreader for independent stations. David's main focus is on communications, of both... Full Bio

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