Nokia Fights Back

Nokia used its Nokia World event today to declare that it has no intention of throwing in the towel in the smartphone wars. Unveiling three new smartphones, including the E7, C7 and C6, in addition to the previously-announced N8, Nokia’s executive vice president, Markets, Niklas Savander, declared: “Today our fight back to smartphone leadership shifts into high gear. Despite new competition, Symbian remains the most widely used smartphone platform in the world. Our new family of smartphones introduced today feature the all-new Symbian OS, rewritten to be faster, easier to use, more efficient and more developer friendly.” Savander added that Nokia is expecting “big things” from the Nokia N8. Given the company’s problems in recent times, that’s probably something of an understatement.

He also told delegates at the Nokia World event: “Were not going to apologise for the fact that were not Apple or Google or anybody else. Were Nokia and were unique.” He concedes, however, that the company is going through “a tough, challenging transition”.

Nokia also used the event to unveil what it described as “a number of major improvements in developer tools to make it easier and more lucrative for developers to build fantastic apps for its phones.

The Nokia Qt Software Development Kit (SDK) has been enhanced, resulting in a 70 per cent reduction in the number of lines of code required when developing for the companys family of Symbian smartphones. The Ovi Store has been given a makeover, making it faster to use, and apps easier to find. Nokia has also taken steps to lower the cost of entry, and increase monetization opportunities for developers, with free Java and Symbian signing, in-app purchase, improved revenue share, and advanced developer analytics.

“Our announcements will certainly bring more great apps to Nokia products, especially our new family of Symbian smartphones announced today,” said Forum Nokia vice president, Purnima Kochikar. “We have made it much simpler, removed obstacles and made it more lucrative for people to build apps for our phones. We believe that this will convince more developers to build apps for the millions of people, in more than 190 countries, that are using the Ovi Store on their Nokia devices.”

In-app purchasing will enable a range of app pricing options in the Ovi Store including subscription models, micro-transactions, or ‘try and buy’. It will enable developers to sell virtual good and charge for additional game levels or enhanced or localized in-app features. 

Staying with the money side of things, Nokia says it will greatly improve the operator (presumably it meant developer) revenue share for payments made after 1 October. Nokia has also made app signing a one-clock process for Java and Symbian apps signing is complete.

Nokia also introduced an SDK for Series 40 Touch and Type handsets today; the industrys first touch SDK for mobile phones. The SDK is available for download from forum.nokia.com. Nokia says it will make development for Touch and Type devices “extremely simple” and allows easy porting of existing apps created for current Nokia smartphones.