Qt 5 Alpha is here – providing a taste of the future

| April 4, 2012 | 54 Replies


There’s a blogpost Qt fans will want to check out over at the Qt Blog.


With Qt, Nokia simplifies and unifies their development platform. Nokia is firmly committed to Qt. Qt will be powering the next billion. Qt was seen for Meltemi. Nokia are very much still showing Qt off for N9/Symbian Devices. There’s a possibility for Qt to crop up in W8/WP8 (though just as there’s a possibility for even the most rare event). Today is the first joint release of Qt 5 Alpha under the Qt Project umbrella.

Trolltech released Qt 4 almost seven years ago, and today the community is celebrating the first joint release of Qt 5 Alpha under the Qt Project umbrella. Nokia continues to be a key stakeholder and now the work done by Nokia is increased and supplemented by the efforts of Qt developers in other companies and contributors. As a consequence, more investments than ever go into Qt, and we are looking forward to an easier to use and more powerful Qt than ever.

Qt 5 reflects the changing landscape. The web and mobile devices have changed our lives. User interface technologies have moved from static widgets to a fluid touch based experience. The Qt user base has grown from primarily targeting desktop “only” to now targeting various desktop, embedded and mobile platforms – and with a strong need to provide a seamless interaction with the web and the cloud.


In this alpha release the first signs of Qt’s next generation are available for testing and feedback. For the Alpha we have focussed on delivering the foundation for Qt 5 – Qt Essential modules – and not the entire expected feature richness of Qt 5. The final release of Qt 5 will strengthen Qt’s position as a leading edge development framework for multiple industries, and offer a straightforward way to port Qt 4 applications to Qt 5.

Qt 5 will make it easier and faster to create
•    Smooth, accelerated graphics performance with limited resources by making better use of the GPU resulting in better performance on inexpensive hardware.  Qt 5 on Raspberry Pi is a nice example
•    Advanced UIs and applications with QML and Javascript. See the Qt Media Hub as an example
•    Powerful apps connected to the web.
•    Product variants through lightweight, project-specific builds.

With Qt 5 it will continue to be easy for you to maintain code as well to jump on new market opportunities on other desktop platforms or by targeting industries like Medical and Oil and Gas or Home Media link to IPTV blog post, and Automotive Infotainment by re-using code for different targets. We believe that the amount of maintained ports will grow beyond the Windows, Mac and Linux Wayland/X11 ports.  The QNX and Android ports, created by the Qt community, give a glimpse of what is possible. Qt 5 aim to offer the best possible functionality on each platform, while still offering efficient re-use for the majority of the code across platforms – with a focus on the back-end….

More at

You might also want to check out:

Thanks Jim for the tip!



Category: Nokia

About the Author ()

Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]
  • Nazty111

    any news on if it will be coming to first gen symbian, ie. n8?

    • Viper

      N8 is Symbian 3, N97 on other hand has Symbian 1

      • Nazty111

        first gen symbian 3 then smart guy! i wrote n8. some people have way too much time on their hands..

    • No, Qt 5 won’t support Symbian at all, and in fact all the Symbian-specific code has been removed for long.

      • Sonny

        that’s a bummer!

  • Lloydo

    With the news that Qt 5 will never come to Symbian, I have to finally accept that Nokia have abandoned the platform 🙁

    • Dionysus

      It won’t keep me from buying the Nokia 808 though. Especially considering how well the N8 has served me so far.

  • lordstar

    Wasn’t support for qt 5 removed from Symbian??

    • JD!

      Correct. Flop will never let Symbian survive.

      WP is best OS in this world for him! Who cares about other customers…

  • Alvy

    Will Qt 5 never come to Symbian???????????????
    Please answer

    • Jill

      Bcoz Symbian probably will make way for Meltemi.

  • Saul


  • james

    I think it’ll happily comes to N9 (MeeGo) right?!

    • No official support for N9, unfortunately 🙁 But there’s some community effort:

      • Saul

        No I’m pretty sure it’s official.
        There’s some very good reasons that I cant recall OTTOMH.
        I will try to dig up….

        • james

          I wish it is official for my phone because it would be really embarrassing
          I’m actually loving my N9

        • Saul

          Hmm, I couldn’t find what I was reading.
          Even if it is purely community based…
          As others mentioned the way it’s geared it may as well be officially supported.

        • No, the reason being, there’re quite a lot of modules using Harmattan specific code and nobody is officially maintaining them 🙁

      • Ebon & Unicorn N9s

        That community effort will be as good as the official since X11 code can be easily build for Harmattan. Moreover, Meltemi is supposed to be built on Harmattan and will get Qt 5..

        • noki

          The “community” will be the Qt guys nokia staf, oficial would need to be the meego guys all 3 of them…
          As it is nokia needs to make it work really well on the n9 or the only devices sporting it on the mobile space would be androids and the new blackberry (this one officially supporting Qt as a the first class citizen)

    • no

  • Sonny

    after the 808 I will never buy a nokia device again! I wont ever let them force me to use WP [PROFANITY REMOVED]

    • Dionysus

      Nokia 808 might be the last one for me too, although I’m kind of curious of WP. Alas, at this point in time it doesn’t really cater to me as much as Belle.

      Unless there are future Meego or Belle devices I think I will switch to Android unless WP catches my eye before the end. This partnership is temporary though so I suspect there will be future devices.

      I’m hoping Nokia will come with a surprise or two sooner or later. lol, if they got Morph going on Meego or something next year (or after that), they are certain to conquer the world, but that seems rather unlikely.

      • Saul


        What’s “Morph”?

    • Ebon & Unicorn N9s

      Don’t discount the future Meltemi devices.. The talk is Meltemi will have most of the features of modern Smartphone for feature-phone specs.

      • Doffen

        No top end Meltemi device = I don’t buy it.
        WP with a lot of artificial restrictions = I don’t buy it.
        Symbian and MeeGo declared dead = I don’t but it.

        I seems to me that Nokia is after some other type of customer than me and I wish them happy hunting.

        • buzzinga / jody

          question, what specific phone are you using as of yhe moment?

          • lordstar

            Well I hope Nokia creates a mid/high meltemi device. Belle users would feel like they’re downgrading if meltemi has smartphone features but at lower specs

  • Ebon & Unicorn N9s

    Qt5 will definitely be supported on desktop version of Windows 8 just like it did on all the previous versions. The question is will MS allow Qt to tablet version of Windows 8 and WP8??

    • Doffen

      Maybe for the Intel processor tablets as it is the same OS as on a PC. On Arm variants, not likely as MS wan’t full control of what you buy, how you load it on the device etc, etc. Totalitarian approach at is prime.

  • spbond

    So Raspberry Pi with its 700 mhz arm11
    will get Qt5 but not symbian 3
    ???? OFF Elop!

    • noki

      ooooo and it flies there its amazing, Qt is becoming the embedded toolkit standard.

  • Janne

    Have you any idea how hard and costly it is to develop anything in Symbian (below Qt apps)?

    On Symbian and Qt5, some messages here:

    This is one of the main reasons why Nokia dumped Symbian. It was too hard and costly to maintain Symbian’s weird Psion legacy (far removed from modern platforms) and fragile codebase that required stuff completely different from other platforms.

    Stop blaming Elop and start blaming Symbian and past Nokia that wouldn’t see the light early enough and go Maemo full-steam years ago. Really, Symbian needed to go a long time ago.


    • GordonH

      WP7 is still based on win CE. The foundation or pillars of symbian as an OS are certainly much much much much better then win CE.
      It was about getting the right engineers or coders to work on Symbian. Streamline the coding process and symbian production would still be cheaper then licensing WP7.
      Elops a mole and his work at Nokia seem to be proving it.
      ps.I love throwing in this link

      • Janne

        Yeah, and Symbian is based on EPOC32. Very modern.

        I stand by my comments on Symbian. Reality supports them.

        As for Elop as a mole, his performance or rationale as a CEO is a separate issue. No matter, Symbian had to go.

        • Jiipee

          Are you a developer/coder?

          • osg

            That standpoint looks like “generic symbian rant” from WinCE/Droid fan reading WinCE/Droid developer’s nightmare stories about porting an app to Symbian.

            There were many complains from Windows coders regarding Symbian coding standards and C++ implementation. It was not straightforward to port windows app to Symbian, true. Old toolchain was complex, simply said, also true. Certification was way to complex, true again. Plus more things in the past (that are past).

            But, as of today, symbian is different story. Development in QT is (as many said) very simple. Publishing apps is also much simpler with Nokia Store. Porting from Android, iOS, WP to Symbian is simplified using dedicated porting libraries. Therefore who claims those 3-4 years old things of symbian development clearly does not have much experience or knowledge.

            “Reality supports them” – Symbian end of life announcement puts even more oil into that fire trying to support that claim, but it does not make it true.

            Of course, Janne can be more specific and unveil what is fundamentally wrong in Epoc32 or Symbian OS v9.x. How deficient it is comparing to WinCE.

            • Janne

              I will get back to this topic, but a quick word:

              I am a developer and I do know how much easier Qt made developing *apps*.

              But how about developing Symbian itself? Or coding new versions of Qt itself? Or porting major native frameworks like WebKit to Symbian? These are still as painful as ever. And slow and costly because Symbian (its roots in 1980s pocket computers) is wired so differently.

              • Janne

                Out of time to write more now, but I just quote my answer to yasu from another thread to give some perspective on how I see this:


                I doubt we can bring this discussion to a level where we could agree, but I will try to give an overall idea as to what I was trying to say. I hear you in the sense that Symbian clearly has unique or rare abilities, which means it must not be impossible to bring them to Symbian.

                BUT my point was not whether or not it was impossible, but at what cost. Sure, Symbian had a year or two ago more employees developing it than probably the competition combined. Huge staff. Also it was older, so it had time to accumulate things whereas things like iOS and WP7 cleared much table to start anew – and hence it has taken time for both to accumulate features.

                The problem with Symbian was never lack of features. It has always been quite feature-complete. What I argue it has been lacking is a modern, easily developable architecture that would make it reasonable to compete with the user experience and technical architectures of things like iOS and Android.

                Even today, Nokia Belle is far from fluid and the browser is what it is. Porting other browsers is not that easy due to the nature of native Symbian code. Sure, Qt apps are nicer to develop, but native code (e.g. making Qt 5 for Symbian) is still as horrible as it once was. Add to this bad management over the years for the code and you have a very buggy and fragile thing to work on.

                This brings me to my final point. I continue to argue that these reasons are behind Nokia not having competitive hardware specs in Symbian and why increasingly each generation it was harder and slower for Symbian to try to keep up.

                Symbian is based on EPOC32, which itself is based on EPOC16… These were originally for 1980s (!) pocket computers with very limited memory. Thus the architecture, coding style and things like that are far different from competition that came from desktop to mobile.

                Ironically, one of the things still holding back WP7 in hardware specs is the reason that it too has mobile legacy like Symbian (from Windows CE). The difference being, it is not a 1980s British Psion legacy like Symbian’s weird shit (trust me, it makes huge difference) – and Microsoft have pretty much started over, completing the revamp with the new desktop-originating multi-core kernel in Windows Phone 8.”

                • osg

                  Sorry Janne, writing Epoc32 is based on Epoc16 makes whole reading of your post a waste of time… You are repeating yourself without any technical inside why is Symbian bad and what specifically is that difficult in it.

                  BTW, Linux architecture is even older, Unix stared 1970 in Bell Labs. Linux went live in 1992.

                  Get some book for your study to better understand what Symbian WAS about. It’s interesting reading including history of the OS development. You’ll also find there how much you are wrong about Epoc16.


                  • Janne

                    osg: Look, don’t take it too literally. I am familiar with both EPOC16 and EPOC32. While they are different, the mindset is important here – what Symbian was originally designed for. It was designed for very constrained devices and that legacy goes back to the 1980s. That was the point. The type of devices it was originally made for.

                    And even ignoring those year numbers, Psion came up with one of the most perverted ways of doing things – but of course it was also more efficient. This was more necessary back then. But on the other hand, it is arguably far more difficult than, say, Windows CE which is not universally praised either.

                    Or do you disagree with the fact that Symbian’s legacy is in pocket computers and that the way things are developed on Symbian differ greatly (to the detriment of it today) from other operating systems?

                    “BTW, Linux architecture is even older, Unix stared 1970 in Bell Labs. Linux went live in 1992.”

                    I am a software developer too. I know all this, you don’t have to teach me. As for the Linux, my point was this: it comes from the desktop, even server environment. The structures that now make up the foundations of, say, Maemo or Android beneath Dalvik are desktop or server-grade stuff. The stuff beneath Symbian is a decades-old pocket computer.

                    And look, even a decades-old server is closer to a current mobile device, than a decades-old pocket computer is. That was the point. The UNIX/Linux way of doing things, even the modern Windows way of doing things, fits these devices better than the old EPOC32 way of doing things. That has become a hinderance for Symbian development, even if higher-level app-writing has gotten easier thanks to Qt.

                    • Janne

                      Add to this the shape in which Nokia’s Symbian codebase (and development structure) is, and you’ve got the major reason why Symbian couldn’t be kept competitive and had to go.

                    • osg

                      “The stuff beneath Symbian is a decades-old pocket computer.”

                      Funny, that Psion pocket computers were decades ahead of the time 😉 I still have mine, I still value true multitasking, microkernel architecture, memory protection and all that PR stuff that WP, iOS does not need. Have you actually used Psion PDAs longer than a day?

                      Have you actually tried P.I.P.S., Open C and Open C++?

                      I think we won’t agree on Symbian fundamentals. Nevertheless I agree with your point about Symbian codebase at Nokia. Main issue I see in the product fragmentation, (n,e,c-series), product management and driving individual development teams. Nokia took terrible approach to develop simple product, they broke platform into pieces making integration very difficult. It slowed down development and platform competitiveness.

                    • Janne

                      I get it, I get – Psion, nor Symbian, was not completely without its elegance. For years that translated into very low system requirements (although at the cost of large R&D costs). But even you have to admit Symbian C++ is quite perverse, no? 🙂

                      Personally I wasn’t a Psion guy, some Sharps in the 1980s and Palm in the 1990s. I think I’ve played with Psion stuff at some point, and definitely with the developer tools, but I haven’t owned one. My knowledge of Psion comes mostly from early Symbian training courses and of course books. I will gladly concede you know them better. I am aware of the Symbian extensions you mention.

                      Anyhow, could Symbian have transitioned to the post-2007 smartphone world better from its roots? Sure, perhaps it would have been possible. I never saw Symbian^4, who knows could it have fixed everything. My arguments have been mostly about how much it would have cost and taken time? With better management, maybe Nokia or Symbian Foundation could have turned it all around and made Symbian evolve far, far away from its roots.

                      But it just didn’t materialize. And today Symbian is seems to be such an archaic mess compared to where the competition is technically. The UNIX/Linux and Windows-based competitors are just much better suited to the modern requirements of post-2007 smartphone world, which is a transformed desktop in your pocket. Symbian is a child of the old world, where resources were scarce.

                    • osg

                      Well that large R&D costs are again caused by Nokia’s fragmentation.

                      The whole Psion Epoc32 platform was developed in a team of 200 people. That includes hardware team, OS, SDK, connectivity suite. That was really great achievement.

                      UIQ team was also quite small (up to 100 people in the final stage). If we compare that with Nokia’s S60 team counting hundreds if not thousands of developers.

                      I think S^4 was a better strategy. Somehow it makes clear cut between OS versions and it enables faster (r)evolution. Similarly Microsoft did this cut between WM6.5 and WP7.

                    • Janne

                      I appreciate your knowledgeable comments, osg, very much. Thank you for them.

                      I guess we’ll never really know could a Symbian rewrite been the salvation. As far as I know one downfall was that Symbian^4 still didn’t rely that much on Qt, so it was one more distraction.

                      I guess going Maemo early enough could have been the real deal, though. That is a strategy I would have supported wholeheartedly. Nokia just tried to make Symbian work a little too long for their capabilities.

                      Perhaps a small, local, Maemo-like team could have fared better with Symbian – but now it is in the shape that it is… So, bye bye I say.

                      Oh well, we have charted our opinions and the differences therein. I have no quarrel with people like you who know what they are talking about. incognito is another whose point of view I respect, while we have our disagreements too.

                      Unfortunately most of the time usual antagonists here wouldn’t know Symbian code from Visual Basic.

                    • osg

                      Thanks Janne, it’s also nice to discuss with you. World is not black and white at least.

                      There are lost opportunities in Symbian history. I, as Psion enthusiast, feel that Nokia drove the development in the wrong direction. S90 and UIQ has Psion fingerprints and Nokia killed both frameworks in favor of ill-fated S60.

                      I fully agree, smaller, dedicated and focused team could be faster, more efficient, innovative… all what Nokia lacked in Symbian development using 6000 R&D people.

                      There is one thing, David Wood. He is one of the former Psion key persons behing symbian development. Today, David Wood is responsible for mobile devices at Accenture… Who knows what happens with Symbian once it’s back to his father.

                    • Janne

                      osg: You make a very good point with S90/UIQ. I have often wondered how much of the responsibility for Symbian’s eventual downfall rests actually on the shoulders of S60 than Symbian “proper” if you can call its Psion roots that. Sadly the S90/UIQ direction is not what Nokia or the foundation eventually took. Maybe it would have made a difference.

                      Enough? Hard to say. Even with certain upsides, the landscape changed dramatically after 2007. I can see that you probably would have been more optimistic on that then I would be. 🙂 But that is jolly good difference of opinion to leave it at. Especially because I doubt we’ll ever know which one of us would have been right? 😀

                    • osg

                      Janne: yeah, we never know. I tried S90 emulator. It feels quite familiar experience to Psion’s Eikon UI. In fact, team behind S90 were ex-psion UI egineers. Nokia dropped S90 in favor of S60, but later utilized that framework in Maemo UI (called Hildon). Well, Maemo is quite good, isn’t it. And imagine that UI came from Symbian…

                      I don’t have that deep inside into S60, but looking from the window – yes, I would say that S60 caused downfall of Symbian at first place. Symbian was touch enabled since version 1 (Psion Series 5) – and it worked very well. Nokia spent hundred man/years bringing S60 to touch, while S90, MOAP, UIQ already did it years before. S60 was Nokia’s child, largest team, largest installed base, but still the worst platform ever.

                      Let’s move on. We’ll meet in another thread again. Bye for now.

                    • Saul

                      [“In fact, team behind S90 were ex-psion UI egineers. Nokia dropped S90 in favor of S60, but later utilized that framework in Maemo UI (called Hildon).”]

                      Yup, there was an excellent write-up of all that at TheRegister IIRC.
                      And thankfully ‘elements’ of that DNA passed on to Maemo6x (Meego-Harmattan).

    • Actually, the kernel of Symbian is well designed, and I would say it’s way better than e.g. Linux. Read this

      • Saul

        I highly doubt that….
        The Linux kernel’s an entity that’s constantly evolving on a massive scale.
        It’s fingers are literally everywhere, as a consequence it’s constantly refined.

        • They have different target groups. Symbian is targeting low-end embed devices with limited battery, CPU, memory, etc., while Linux is targeting more generic customers from embed device to high-end servers.

          And of course, I’m only talking under the context of embed devices, and kernels only.

          • Saul

            In the last few years (esp) Linux has become very optimized for embedded devices w/limited battery, cpu, mem etc.

            We need a recent & detailed comparo before any claims that one is better than the other can be made.
            And even then it’s futile thing to do…