Thursday, April 26, 2007

Highlights from Open C conference

Today I attended the Open C conference arranged by Forum Nokia. It was refreshing. First of all I really like Nokia and Symbian’s fresh attempt to attract more developer base. They are going to need that while competing with Microsoft Pocket PC, Embedded Linux and more recently, OS X from Apple. All the other operating system run their full version on the PCs and have a developer base they can draw from. Symbian’s user base till now is only from Mobile C++ development community. Today, I heard that there are approximately 2 million registrations on forum Nokia website. This is extremely big number compared to the Linux developer community. But I feel the Linux developer community is much bigger and actually majority of 29 million of their users prefer Linux as a development environment !
Another thing to note is that if today’s mobiles are converging towards becoming a replacement for laptops as Sramana Mitra suggests, Symbian & Nokia have to find a way to offset the advantage Microsoft, Linux and Apple have in their existing development community.

What could they do more?

I feel if Nokia decides to give device access on S60 via Open C, it would be even better. My suggestion to them would be to use LiMo foundation API to do that. It would eventually mean that applications developed for LiMo version of embedded Linux can work on Symbian series 60 as well! That would mean two of the three major mobile operating systems would be inter-operable leaving Microsoft to fight for its own survival. Another fact to note is that these two operating systems have backing of the three biggest OEMs in Nokia, Motorola and Samsung.

I would like Nokia to address another drawback. Some of these cool features they have developed for S60 3rd edition need to be back ported. For example, it’s a pity that their cool open source browser is not available for existing S60 2nd edition devices. Similarly they seem to have no plans to back port Open C, which again I feel is a poor choice by Nokia. This makes life of S60 application developers extremely difficult. And the target market for potential Open C developers is not 100 million as Nokia suggests, it is much lesser and limited to around ten million 3rd edition devices.

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