Qt’s future for Nokia: Bringing apps to the next billion. Qt for S40?

| June 21, 2011 | 37 Replies

Amidst the excitement over the Nokia N9, one thing overlooked was the possibility of Qt on S40 – or the Next Billion. Whilst never explicitly mentioned as such, it suggests that might be the way forward for Qt and S40.

Over at the Qt Blog they have a post about Qt being a core component to the app strategy of the next billion.’s-future-for-nokia-bringing-apps-to-the-next-billion (cheers for the tip, Jim!)

Currently there are already 100 Million Qt enabled Symbian devices. Qt on S40 would mean Qt for the next Billion (remember, waiting on Qt for Symbian would only bring 150M more Symbian handsets – a bit far from a billion)

With a ‘dumbphone’ platform like S40, why would you need something like Qt? Well to turn it into a smartphone perhaps. We had some hints at S40’s transition when we heard about possible 1GHz devices (of course that didn’t appear), but imagine the possibility should Nokia ramp up the power in S40 to be able to fully use Qt? Nokia ships about half a billion phones a year, 400 million “dumbphones” though split to S30/S40. Pricing is a big reason for going S30/S40 – one of the drawbacks of higher specifications might be price.  Touch and Type S40 are around 100-130GBP, at high enough volume perhaps Nokia might be able to put more powerful processors in (perhaps not 1GHz, that’s not exactly necesary).


Here’s a comment from established MNB Reader, Ninja aka Smith :p

But by far, BY FAR, the most important announcement of the Singapore event was Qt on S40.

SUDDENLY, S40 becomes a de facto smartphone platform.

SUDDENLY, Qt effectively will become (from an app point of view) the biggest smartphone platform in the world by a LOOOONG way. Bit of a shock to all those who thought that Android was on the way to the top 🙂
As an OS it may be, but a software platform for developers Qt will be the biggest by a long way.

Note that iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch) have 150 million devices total to date. Android has 100 million total to date.

Qt, considering current S^3 device sales, future Symbian sales and the fact it can be run on older Symbian devices with Qt Smart Installer, will be addressing roughly 250 million Symbian devices. Then add in S40 sales running at 350 – 400 million PER YEAR. Then factor in the efforts to put Qt on Android.

And later when someone mentioned Qt on S40 not mentioned

I was expecting someone to say this :). I watched the relevant portions of the event carefully before posting, and even though they didn’t say the words “Qt on S40”, it was VERY clear this is exactly what they meant.

They clearly said S40 powers their mobile phones, that mobile phones (not smartphones) are the key to the next billion, and multiple times said “Qt is the core to this next billion”. That definitely equates to Qt on S40. Incidentally others like AllAboutSymbian are saying the same and they’re very careful about what they put out.

The primary smartphone platform as Elop noted is Windows Phone. Imagine though that S40 could somehow weasel its way in (with some inspiration from Harmattan UI – Nokia said it will live on in future devices). That would be pretty disruptive – midranged, mid-priced handsets with a gorgeous UI and possible App support. Corner emerging markets and leave the high end for Windows Phone (and for this year MeeGo). The only thing that would make it better is if somehow Windows Phone supported the Qt ecosystem (though for now, that is seen to be detrimental to its development)

Here’s a comment from Mac discussing the possible feasibilities (in reply to the post about 1GHz S40 phones)

The only way this could happen is:

1. They found the code in s40 to be intact and not fragmented so hence easy to work with.

2. They changed the ui somewhat to make it more eyecandy like to appeal to the masses.

3. They include qt into the phone and enable it to do what they’ve been trying to achieve with s^3 that being a complete ui built on qt. Also maybe the reason for increased memory.

4. They plan on increasing hardware specs to utilise the better memory and ghz available to the phone or else its just wasted.

5. They maintain the price at a competitive level so that the consumer just buys these without even thinking about any other phones.

6. They increase the ‘smartness’ of these phones so that they have more ability than currently and cross that part from dumbness into borderline smart or maybe virtually the very same as smart.

Either way, if planned out correctly and executed perfectly, we could have a real disruption here that nobody and i mean nobody, would have expected. That said, imagine a smartphone that is that affordable and then wp7 fits in just above that. Sounds to me that maybe is what is planned for that next billion. You want a top notch nokia then you’d have to buy a wp7 device. For everything else, buy an s40! S40 looks to me like they havnt messed up if they have actually planned to do this.

Lastly, if Elop has conjured this up and makes it work, i applaud him cos that is smart. You have that market and to tell you the truth, if i had a choice between a cheap s40 device with the above specs and a cheap ZTE, what you’d think i’d choose? World renown brand or some brand that will always be classed as ‘from china’ and hence a ‘cheapo’. (Sorry no disrespect intended to the chinese but for some reason poor quality is always associated with china which is not entirely true, i mean look at the iphones made in china and sold through the world for an arm and a leg!!)


Category: Nokia

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