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« Picture Tells it Better - first in series of Nokia Strategy Analysis diagrams, how Nokia smartphone sales collapsed | Main | The Seven Biggest Collapses in Mobile Handset or Smartphone History - this is part 3 in the Nokia Disaster analysis series »

January 04, 2013



@Sander van der Wal

> Nokia started showing Qt for Symbian in 2009. It wasn't really ready until 2011.

Symbian is a complete other platform. Android is Linux and Qt supports all kind of Linux and BSD flavors since its very first release.

> Before that date, Qt apps would fail Symbian Signed tests

Because Symbian signing used the Windows API. They had to port the whole signing stack. Historical spaghetti code. Also Nokia did start shutdown Symbian investment in between.

Anyhow, I wrote about Android and not Symbian. You may compare Symbian to WP where the later neither has Ovi or support for development on anything else then Windows unlike Symbian which had both, customer demand, developers and huge market share. WP fails onall disciplines.



One more thing related to Dalvik and Qt:
Some still ask how Nokia could differentiate to eg Samsung. Qt and Symbian are your answer. They could merge Symbian, MreGo, Android into one ecosystem with Qt. They could have finished the Qt S40 port (shutdown right before first release too) and Meltimi. All that is one ecosystem PLUS Android apps on there Android offerings and MeeGo (Alien Dalvik which was ready).

Imagine what kind of developer story they offered. One ecosystem, a perfect upgrade-/transition-path between there platforms including the number 1 ecosyetem of that time, Symbian, with there low end feature-phones, Android and MeeGo. No other competitor could ever offer that. They could add Qt to there Android but Nokia would control, drive forward the development cause they had all the talent and S40/Meltimi/MeeGo/Symbian in.

Come on. You must be blind if you not see that this is a winning strategy. It would have give them, beside Android offers and the Android ecosystem, something to make all there offerings stronger. A network-effect, an unique offering, the Nokia ecosystem with Ovi and there services on top. All controlled by them.

And they throwd all that away? For 2% market share with WP? Became just one of many WP resellers? Not have any alternate left? Burned the company? Baaaaaaaaaa... Idiots.



If it's not Dalvik, it's not guaranteed to work on Android phones. There is a reason for it, why very few native applications are made for Android.

Besides, do you know how much Qt applications there was for Symbian? Not too many because Nokia was not shipping Qt with Symbian phones. It was not possible to convert most of legacy applications wit Qt.

If Nokia was going to start fragmenting Android with Qt, they would have lost all access to services from Google. No Play Store etc. Do you have any idea what this means?



> If it's not Dalvik, it's not guaranteed to work on Android phones

Plain wrong. It only depends on the Androif API-level used what determinates the minimum Android version supported with all newer versions included and the armel compilat which is on 100% of all Android phones out there either arm5 or arm7.

In any case we are talking here about Nokia which made both, software and hardware and had full control of both.

> There is a reason for it, why very few native applications are made for Android.

You would wonder how much of the Android applications are using JNI/NDK including Google's software itself (Chrome eg). Most of Android itself is NATIVE and not Dalvik including Dalvik itself.

> Besides, do you know how much Qt applications there was for Symbian?

N8 was the only Symbian phone coming with Qt before it all got Elopped and started burning.

> Nokia was not shipping Qt with Symbian phones

The awarf winning and well selling N8 and 808 Pureview both not only support Qt but shipped with Qt and are using Qt. But yes, they all got Elopped just like all of Nokia got.

> It was not possible to convert most of legacy applications wit Qt.

Convert? Maybe some basic technical knowledge wouldn't harm when you try to argue about technical aspects? Its not named "convert" but port and yes, lot did and there investment got burned by Elop too but so got all the investment done in Symbia or Nokia... Its all junk now.

> If Nokia was going to start fragmenting Android with Qt

Could you please read what I wrote before replyong to it? I repeat: Native development is supported by Android, by Google out of the box witg its NDK. You will find many native apps on Google Play including Qt ones.

Its not fragmentation. Please read again what Android fragmentation refers too and why native apps using the NDK are not. They run on all Androids, on Nokia's, on Samsung,s and on Google's Nexus.

> they would have lost all access to services from Google. No Play Store etc.

1. No.
2. You know what Ovi is/was or?
3. Please research your technical arguments beforehand if they hold water. Okay?

Sander van der Wal


Do you know what you are talking about? Symbian apps with Qt failed Symbian Signed because they leaked memory. A problem not being fixed at all until late 2010, and one of the most important Symbian Signed criteria.

This has nothing to do with Windows API's, at all.



Maybe you are not that technical person because you don't clearly understand the problem.

So, let's keep this simple.

Qt was supposed to be the migration path from Symbian to MeeGo or something else. Didn't you know that there was not so many Qt applications for Symbian in the end of 2010? Most of the Symbian applications were not made with Qt. Do you understand what that means?

It means that there was very few Symbian applications to be deployed for MeeGo.

Migration path doesn't mean that you should build new applications to be released in 2011 that could be ported later on. Migration path means that the developers could port/convert/deploy the old applications. This was not the case because most of Symbian applications were not Qt based.


@Sander van der Wal

True. This is one reason why there was very few Qt applications for Symbian. Qt for Symbian was not finalized at the time Symbian^3 was released. Because of this most Symbian applications available at the end of 2010 were created without Qt.

It's strange how people are saying that there was a migration path but they don't seem to understand the limits of that path. It was not possible to get most of Symbian applications to work on MeeGo. That is because most of the Symbian applications were made before it was possible to get Qt applications Symbian Signed.

The possibility to make new applications work on multiple devices is great. However that's what Dalvik is all about. If someone was making a new application, why not making is for Dalvik if all those phones already supported that? Including this theoretical device made by Nokia.

Native code would require Qt libraries for those Android devices shipped without it. This approach was never widely used with Symbian while it was possible. Anyone guess why it was not popular?


I don't think the plan has ever been to use Qt to port old Symbian apps.

The plan was to offer Qt as the de facto development platform on Symbian so that all newly developed apps can be ported easily. The motivation was to give an incentive to continue developing for Symbian without risking your code to become obsolete.

And yes, like everything else with Nokia it was of course delayed. Which doesn't change the plan, only the timetable.

Native Symbian was a lost cause. The entire development environment was so bad that to this date I only met one person to ever use it - and that was in S60v2 times.

There's a reason why apps only started to emerge with the iPhone and not with Symbian phones which on paper shouldn't have been that bad. And yet, even after the iPhone became a success nobody I worked with was willing to touch Symbian, despite its high market share.

So imagine our joy when we learned that Nokia was finally rolling out a decent development platform. Cool! We finally can support the entire smartphone market! And then? The platform started burning and the just started effort to support it got canned right away - because everybody knew it was a death sentence for Symbian.

@Sander van der Wal:

Memory leaks it was? Why am I not surprised? That was a continuous horror with Symbian, even when using Java.



I'm still here. You don't try to say we are the same with "ukd", do you?

I'll get back to the discussions that I can participate in. My competence is far from getting involved with such detailed OS discussions. ;-)


@ukd you lost any sort of "technical" credibility wen you said... "And that still doesn't produce Dalvik code."
Are you aware how dumb that make's you sound???



> Maybe you are not that technical person

Its not me stating plain wrongs and failing to show a basic technical understanding but its you.

Lets end that now. It makes no sense to discuse with you on that level.

@Sander van der Wal

One of then reasons it took so long was that the app signing used th Windoes buildin crypto API. Nokia ported Symbian away from that. That enabled development and deployment (later needs that signing) to workj on Non-Windows platforms too.

Then there was the problem I named before that investment into Symbian got heavy decreased long before MeeGo got killed. Yes, investment into Symbian was drastical shutdown before Elop's burning platform memo. N8 was supposed to be "the last Symbian model" with N9 following it. But then Nokiamwas well aware and announced plans to continuento develop Symbian. But the initial plan to have a Symbian^4 was canceld. Symbian^3 became Symbian and should received multiple incremental updates (Anna, Belle, ..). Maintaince-mode with compatiblr updates anf no big major invompatible versions. This was revolutionary taken Nokia's past backwards- and forwards-incompatible Symbian developmentand the short update-support into account.

But before we saw the first Symbian update Nokia already outsourced, fired massive Symbian ppl, decreased investment heavily. All that before Elop killed it finally with his memo and before the MeeGo N9 phone was finished.

Here you have your reasons why Symbian never got into the state it was supposed to be in when the N9 came out. It was killed off long before, even before the first Symbain device with Qt, the N8, got its first upgrade. Before the second model, thr 808 pureview, hit markets.


You really don't understand the problem.

The Qt path works only for new applications. That's a huge problem. For the migration path to work, almost all applications were supposed to be rewritten because only a small percentage was made with Qt. How much applications you suppose Nokia's new phone was going to have is Nokia was able to release it by end of H1 2011?

This was a real problem. Not too many Qt applications.

Nokia was forced to start this new migration path with almost no applications. That's because it supported almost only those new applications.



> You really don't understand the problem.

And disqualified again for a discussion. Next.



You want to reply but you can't talk about the subject.

What you are claiming is that it would have been fine for Nokia to start with practically no applications. There was extremely low amount on Qt applicat5ions at the time so the plan was to make developers to make those for Nokia.

How smart is it to create a new platform without applications?



>> How smart is it to create a new platform without applications?

Well, Apple did - and had success.
Google did - and had success.

I really don't understand what you are getting at. It's normal that a new platform will experience an initial app shortage.

'Migration path' doesn't mean you just can port your old applications over - it much more importantly means that the future work developers invest in the platforms isn't wasted.


Good: Symbian -> MeeGo: Use Qt and your apps run on both. For me as a developer future usability of both platforms is assured. I can still target the market share heavy Symbian but have the assurance that it will continue to work on the next gen platform.

Bad: Windows Mobile -> Windows Phone: Oops! 100% incompatible. All old code is lost, all new code is worthless on the new platform. Why should I bother with either in the future? One is dead the other will need a considerable amount of time to gain traction.

Uneven, but ultimately worse than it looks: WP7 -> WP8: Old apps continue to work on both systems, new ones only on the new system. Not particularly interesting for me as a developer to work with this. I can either choose to target the old platform and risk that my apps be declared obsolete by Microsoft or target the new platform which has no users. Ugh... Next please!


Apple and Google did it, but at the time there was only very few phones with touch screens. The was a new big market segment for touch screen phones. Before Google and Apple the touch screen market segment was very small. Today it's populated with Android and iOS phones.

This is a problem for WP. There are less applications for WP compared to Android and iOS. It would have been a problem for a phone running Qt applications because there was so few of those.

WP's problem with applications doesn't make MeeGo's problem go anywhere if Android and iOS are those ruling the market.

The actual problem for new players is the dominance of Android and iOS.



Symbian^3 devices such as Nokia N8 were able to execute the OLD Symbian apps. It's compatible with the old symbian.

If you know the OLD nokia timeline....
Symbian^4 is the one that will be pure QT.



Much better, thanks.

> You really don't understand the problem.

They are not. The pure Symbian applications are not gone. One of my first replies to you tried to outline that its not "convert" but "port". If you have an application on Symbian you are free to continue to use them and drive them foreard as they are. Its just that you then have to stick to Symbian and Symbian only.

Contrast that with what I wrote about Symbian^4. That was actually suposed to cut off the old Symbian API's and only support Qt. Luckely it was canceled after the heavy feedback.

The thing is, that you never get anything for free. Porting the old Symbian API's to another platfom is something you really not like to do or to have. Having done a few Symbian apps I can confirm Tester's stand. Its ugly, error-prune and just different to everything else.

But neverless what Nokia was going to give us is a TRANSITION-strategy. Not, not for free eith a "converter" where you klick a button and all is done. But it gave us promised support that our apps continue to run and be sold by customers. We could then over time use that transition-strategy to port slow away from Symbian API's and get our apps working on Symbian and other platforms while not losing the Symbian income with one big hit.

This, porting slowly away while keeping push our releases, is the one story of already existing massive codebases. You not dovthat overnight. You need a transition-path wherr you can tackle the task step by step once its done.

The other story are new apps but that's something Tester already wrote about in a reply to you.

Now what you have to know is that the N8 was thrnfirst offering that transition stratrgy. The way was there but the target, the MeeGo/N9, not. Developers waited, they started learning Qt, some started already the transition. But in any case that was done in non offensive ways sincempre Symbian N8 models that not shipped Qt wherr still huge under therr customers. It takes a while after you introduced something like that till its usednby developers cause it takes ecven longer till its available for most customers.

But nobody did stat that they expect all Symbian appd on Meego the day after the first Qt phone, the N8, was released. Or did you expect that? Its a transition strategy. You keep your developers happy by supporting therr income sources while giving them a path to the future to transition to more income-sources WITHOUT giving up therr current income-sources. Logical or?

Yes, this in parts means that you cannot expect that all the Symbian apps are available for your newest devices. But you can expect developers stay, transition and will be there sooner or later. Your ecosystem lives and not dies cause you switch platforms. You keep on to sell and do a soft switch over multiple years (2 yearsvat minimium cause thats the period a good chunk of your customers stick with a model).

Yes, we are not talkin herr about weeks but about years. 2 years are a good timespan to calculate. Its now 2 years WP strategy, without transition-path, what happened? Did you notrvhoe much f the developers are doing Android now rather thrn ANY Nokia including Symbian and WP? This is the difference we talk about.


Making applications for both Symbian and MeeGo means that the application is very often one that uses touch screen and multitouch.

Now when you talk about market share heavy Symbian, what do you actually mean? if the application needs multitouch capable touch screen, how many compatible phones there are? Or was if we talk about early 2011?

Selling applications in Application Stores started to gain real traction after the phones started to support multitouch touch screen. How many applications were really targeted for both touch screen and conventional phones?

So, how big was the Symbian market in early 2011 if the intention was to make applications for multitouch touch screen phones?

Tomi T Ahonen

To everyone in this thread

I've just posted part 3 into this saga, comparing Nokia's fall 2010-2012 to the six fastest collapses in mobile handset industry history (Motorola, Palm, RIM, LG< Siemens and Windows Mobile). You may enjoy it and lets bring the failure comparison arguments to that stream, ok? Lets keep this thread about Nokia vs Samsung vs Apple as the competitive differences and similarities.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

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