Thinking that Nokia is planning to ditch MeeGo?

| January 31, 2011 | 20 Replies

Credit for a lot of the information posted here goes out to talk.maemo.org’s  maluka whose forum post triggered a bit of extra reading on my part if only to verify the points he raised.

Here goes.

1.

Stephen Elop’s recent comments on Nokia’s Q4 earnings call opened a proverbial pandora’s box of speculation, where pretty much every single blogger, mobile analyst and follower of Nokia’s fortunes for the past few years jumping and screaming at the top of their lungs about Nokia adopting everyone’s favorite Android platform. While the former management have clearly debunked such an idea, it is thought that Stephen Elop’s new-found power at the helm of the company may see Nokia undertake a dramatic shift and pick up one of the OS’s controlling a lot of the media headlines; Windows Phone 7 and Android. What a lot of these individuals have CLEARLY decided to ignore are a few questions posted during the Q&A segment of the call where Stephen Elop highlighted both the importance of simplicity of any new strategies as well as the ability to add value to whatever choice of platform they make as well as the ability to differentiate themselves. For quite obvious reasons this precludes the use of Windows Phone 7 and severely hampers the likelihood of Android adoption.  These points on their own have done little to dissuade speculation so lets move on to point two shall we?

2.

Work on MeeGo continues at a fast and furious pace with bugs being reported and quashed with rapid frequency. These bug reports are the source of most of the information we have to date on the dev platforms currently being used to test MeeGo in the run up to the 1.2 release. Of  important note is the fact that little to none of the work being done in the open is occurring on new ARM architecture. From my searches, the vast majority of ARM based bugs and issues have been tried and tested on the N900 with little other ARM based architectures being used. That’s not at all to say that there is no ARM device inside Nokia headquarters being tested and used. But it does lower the likelihood of that being the case. While Android does indeed support x86 architecture, the correlation between significant increases in the prevalence of Intel Medfield based devices in these bug reports and Nokia’s involvement with the MeeGo project is NOT coincidence. Furthermore, the rumours that at least one of these devices is Nokia’s own engineering prototype lends further credence to Nokia’s deepening involvement with MeeGo. (Before people go slagging off power consumption fears with the Intel platform,  with Medfield we’re looking at a rumoured power consumption equivalent to or possibly less than Tegra 2 with roughly equivalent performance.)

3.

Point 2 is obviously not going to do much to dissuade the masses from speculating about Nokia picking up Android or Windows Phone 7  (WP7), so the next question is, when was the decision to switch made, what is the timeline for picking up this new “ecosystem” and how many people have they brought on board to help make a push towards this new eco-system. Recent job postings by Nokia would be an obvious giveaway to any big moves being undertaken right? Well, in the past month alone there have been ~70 new job postings made by Nokia and NONE of them have to do with C#, .Net, Java, Dalvik or anything other than MeeGo, web-design or administrative jobs. Don’t take my word for it though, the proof is in the pudding as they say, take a gander at the job postings yourself. Oh and speaking of new jobs at Nokia, remember Peter Skillman? Well he’s one of many VP’s that left Palm after their acquisition by HP in 2010. Funnily enough, Nokia acquired quite a few of those same VP’s.

Here’s a short list of the higher-profile VP’s currently working for Nokia and likely  with Peter Skillman and Marko Ahtisaari on this same MeeGo project.

  • Rob Haitani: Distinguished UI/UX Architect, September 2010 – Present
  • Radhika Sarang: Senior Product Marketing Manager, May 2010 – Present
  • Karl Townsend: Distinguished Hardware Architect,  August 2010 – Present
  • Phil McClendon: Senior Product Marketing Manager, 2010 – Present
  • Jenny Schroder: Senior Product Marketing Manager, 2010 – Present
  • Matt Crowley: Head of Nokia Connect at Nokia Research Center, August 2010 – Present
  • Certainly a non-exhaustive list of important acquisitions made in the past few months. Before some of you go off ranting about their lack of performance etc, note that these people have had MINIMAL involvement of anything released up to and including those products announced at Nokia World 2010.

    4.

    Nokia’s involvement with Qt is both deep and continuing. With the Release of the Nokia Qt SDK in April of 2010, the release of Qt Mobility 1.1 in November, The Qt 1.1 SDK  a few weeks back and numerous other additions to Qt over the past year or so. None of which points to a deprecation of Qt as the PRIMARY way forward for Nokia and their ecosystems. Furthering the belief that Android is not to be adopted by Nokia is the lack of OFFICIAL support for the Lighthouse project. The Lighthouse project being an addition the Qt codeline that would allow for easy(ier) porting of Qt to other OS’s and platforms. While Nokia has not stunted such progress, there has not been any official support on their part. This is of course without considering the significant investments Nokia has made towards increasing the number of available applications and ports of existing applications to their mobile devices via porting competitions and Calling All Innovators competition. Let’s be real, companies don’t toss millions of dollars away like that, regardless of whether they’re Apple or Nokia.

    There are so many red flags pointing towards this NOT happening but yet still people the world over are in fits and panicking, trying to justify their beliefs that huge changes are afoot. I’ve posted both mine and other individuals’ opinions and conclusions on the matter in a fashion that should leave little doubt in the minds of those visiting this blog.

    Having said all of this, I could, of course be dead wrong and Nokia and Elop could come right out and announce something straight out of left field. There is however, a lot of information pointing towards significant commitment to their old plan(s) with only minor modification and necessary modification being the only changes of note.

    Ah well, roll on February 11th and MWC!

    Tags:

    Category: Maemo, MeeGo, Nokia, Qt, Rant, Rumours, Symbian

    About the Author ()

    So you've read something I've written. yay!! As you already know, my name is Andre and I'm currently a student based in Atlanta. Much like Jay, I pretty much blog here in my free time. Follow me on twitter @andre1989 or contact me directly at Andre(at)mynokiablog(dot)com. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.

    Comments (20)

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    1. Jim says:

      it’s not ditching meego. One of the reason is that this was posted today: http://labs.qt.nokia.com/2011/01/31/well-be-right-back/

      nokia made all their code open, but this time will close the door on meego UI development. They said that will release the code but not as soon. One of the reason is they don’t want for others(competition) to know how their UI will look like and what features will have. The qt guys said that the qt- quick components is entering alpha stage so probably in a few months will be ready.

    2. hary says:

      Andre, your post and your arguments are valid. But I think you have also missed one imp. point in Elop’s comments. There is still a chance that they might have considered or are considering to adopt some other OS in markets where they are not strong like U.S. That doesn’t mean they will ditch Meego or Symbian, it’s just about adopting one more OS and that can be possible though as you said unlikely. But you can’t ignore the possibility of Nokia using Symbian and Meego in Asia and Europe and Middle east and WP7/Android in US/Canada/Japan,etc.
      Job postings can come up anytime and also there might be enough people inside Nokia who can handle the Android basics. (WP7 can be taken care of by Microsoft or even Android by Google) if some big partnership happens between Nokia and them.

      So anything is possible.

      • Andre says:

        Android basics?? It takes more than one or two people familiar with Java to engineer a device or OS of this magnitude and it doesn’t happen overnight and it doesnt happen without YEARS of planning and foresight. Hence the likelihood of this happening being very slim for the time being.

        I’d be more inclined to think that the ecosystem they refer to being partnerships with content and service providers in the US so they can better support and cater to those markets.
        A partnership with Amazon or netflix for movies, paypal for NFC payments and the like…. each of those companies/ventures constitutes an ecosystem either being built or joined. These OS’s are NOT that.

        Added to the fact that they’re seriously finalizing some MeeGo related UI stuff in the near future I’d be willing to bet that there won’t be any adoption of external OS’s

        • GS65 says:

          Agree, what Elop hints at with joining an Ecosystem is probably other things than Android or WP7. BUT, on the other hand it’s not impossible to run three OS:es. Samsung do run two versions of Android, WP7 and Bada. They might not be ready to launch a phone in a couple of weeks, but he might reveal the strategy to join Android or WP7. But I don’t know if that is smart. This is very exciting.

          • Andre says:

            Bit of a different situation with Samsung.

            They support but not necessarily contribute to or develop 3 OS’s. They only have active development and deep involvement with 1, Bada.

            While they obviously have to do work with regards to drivers and a bit of stuff on the top with their TouchWiz, the amount of work involved in supporting Android and WP7 is significantly less than Symbian and Android

        • Johnny Tremaine says:

          Maybe.

          The main problem with Meego as a platform are obviously not technical.

          It’s a market traction, content problem and branding problem.

          I know that Nokia has pinned its hopes on Meego for a return to the U.S., but without relevant U.S. content for American consumers, I can’t see how consumers would adopt it.

          I mean, you can’t even read Kindle books on Meego (yet), the dominant U.S. ebook format, or stream a movie. The entire Ovi ecosystem doesn’t have a single NFL/MLB app.

          You couldn’t hit an app from Ovi and find information about, say, the Super Bowl or see what the betting lines for the game are in Vegas, etc.

          Nokia also doesn’t have much of a history of outside content partnerships; they usually like to do stuff in-house. Why would they start now?

    3. larryg968 says:

      Well argued, lets hope they stick with symbian and meego and showcase the device at mwc

    4. IMarius says:

      Nice Article , and yea roll on February 11th and MWC!
      Meego baby its simply the bees f**king knees.

    5. Shmerl says:

      Not supporting Lighthouse and Qt portability to other OSes doesn’t make a credit for Nokia. Of course it’s by far not as Apple who use every other method to control their “wallet garden” through developer tools and draconian SDK agreements. Still, Nokia could be more helpful with Qt ports.

    6. Leon Zap says:

      My hunch is that Nokia is hiding the flashy Nokia Meego UI and will showcase this in MWC. This is defintiely hush hush and even people working within the circles have yet to be a part of a deeper inner circle to know what’s going on. QT is really powerful and at the same time a great development environment. You can do a lot more in QT/C++ than you can in othe Java. Meego.com will not tell you anything that Nokia has in store.

      I am really rooting for them. I have a phone from Nokia that survived 2 weeks outside in wet and moist decaying grass and still works, and I want HW of that caliber. Meego + Medfield — I really hope this works. Even with throttled down Medifled prototypes, reports from CES said the performace was fantastic.

    7. droitwichgas says:

      It seems Maulka’s post was in reponse to one I started on TMO @ http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?p=932855#post932855 which is the otherside of the arguement.

      I don’t think the question is whether MeeGo is being ditched but is Elop also working on another OS tie up of some kind, as he’s decided Nokia need more than just MeeGo to crack the US market?

      Could it be either Android or WebOS sitting on top of a MeeGo OS?

      • Andre says:

        WebOS supports Qt btw :)

        Either way, I doubt there will be any OS tie ups….too late in the game and too much work involved to do so.

        Service tie-ups are much much more….

        You guys should frequent here more often, we LOVE to hear dissenting arguments (provided they’re well written)

    8. webby says:

      Great post, Andre!

      Oh and don’t listen to the naysayers regarding your N8 review. I for one (and I’m sure many others) am looking forward to reading it and it’s not as if everyone who was going to buy an N8 has already done so.

      The more reviews this place does the better!

    9. Jono says:

      The interesting thing about switching to Intel is that Qt is a “write once compile anywhere” framework not a “compile once run anywhere” like Android. All Qt apps will need to be compiled multiple times for MeeGo/Arm, MeeGo/x86, Symbian/Arm, Symbian/x86(??).

      Actually maybe this is partly why they have their servers now where they can compile your code for you.

    10. Ouza says:

      MeeGo will surprise all the haters and damn analysts, MeeGo will amaze the industry.
      And well i doubt Nokia will even consider WP7 as Microsoft is all about closed platform, and that ain’t Nokia’s flavour.
      Nokia has pride and it should keep it, we ain’t going for another OS, we’ll push MeeGo till everybody eats it…lol.

    11. John Ash says:

      To all you OS changers:
      It is the UI, stupid!
      Meego can handle ’bout all apps and so will Symbian through Qt.

      So, what Nokia has to do is polish its user interfaces.
      That’s what they’ve been up to for a while.
      There are already some interesting UIs available (just to mention bubble, rotating menus)

      With some programming they are able to use Android apps just like native Qt. No question whether there are enough apps, then!

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