After seeing MeeGo, and knowing full well that Windows Phone will eventually occupy the niche that Symbian (especially Symbian^3) inhabits coupled with the fact that S40 is now being given the Qt goodness, one has to wonder what Symbian’s place in the grand scheme of things is. Stephen Elop stated proudly at Nokia Connection that 10 new Symbian devices would be coming in the next year (I’d imagine that they’re all Symbian^3) and while that will likely increase the target market for developers coding in Qt S40 could serve that purpose just as well. Symbian Belle doesn’t even have an arrival date and anyone likely interested in that would certainly be eyeing and weighing up one those new-fangled N9’s.
So MeeGo for the high-end and enthusiasts means Symbian no longer fits there, S40 is slowly creeping up into the lower-midrange space and with Qt integration on the way it’ll not be long before they take over the realm that S^1 used to control and a region low-cost Android’s are invading leaving just the upper mid-range. Sadly, Symbian no longer dominates this area as more and more users switch to the iOS and Android ecosystems and hardware manufacturers continue to step their efforts up on that front. It also doesn’t help that as a mid-range, non-bleeding-edge solution Windows Phone will bring 80% of the functionality of Symbian with 150% the user experience and an increasingly worthwhile ecosystem.
My Perfect Scenario for Nokia (consumer perspective)
In my perfect little world, Nokia would put resources behind MeeGo as a skunkworks/concept car type of development to showcase the best and brightest of the technologies and ideas at Nokia. This would give Nokia a name, an identity as producing the best available hardware and software and certainly directing where the mobile industry goes just as Apple helped direct the touchscreen paradigm. Other manufacturers may adopt technologies that Nokia pioneers if it’s done well enough leading to benefits for Nokia in the long run re: patents and royalties. A device based on MeeGo or in a similar vein of development would be released once a year.
In addition, Symbian development would continue to the Belle stage but there would not be another Symbian device announced or demo-ed after Q3 2012 (even that is being generous IMO). Support would likely continue in a rudimentary fashion but it’d be more or less EOL-ed.
Windows Phone would move into the middle -to – upper range of what is now Symbian territory at least for the next 2-3 years while Nokia builds their next big thing to conquer what will likely be a very different market.
S40 will keep doing it’s little thing in emerging markets and as a start for a vertically integrated Nokia solution.
What do you think? Sound off in the poll and comments below.