Nokia is still the world’s largest smartphone seller by a wide margin but the company is often considered behind Apple and Google in the mobile space.
The company is often ignored in the tech press because of its minuscule presence in the United States but it’s not just regional bias, as Nokia has also been lagging in the mobile application space. Apple’s App Store for the iPhone is garnering the most attention (even from rivals) and Google’s Android Market is also picking up steam.
Nokia seems to understand the importance of this space and is making a huge, strategic shift.
“Apps are going to be more central to Nokia’s conversation,” said Purnima Kochikar, who heads the Forum Nokia developer-support unit for the company, in an interview with the New York Times. “It’s no longer about selling devices.”
The company may have a hard time catching up, as Apple already has more than 200,000 programs and Android Market has at least 60,000 apps. Nokia will get the big-name apps though (like Facebook, Pandora, etc.) so it may not be as far behind as it seems.
“I think the market has been brainwashed to think it’s about counting apps,” Kochikar said. “If you look at all these apps, they’re not in a store.”
The company is also pushing Qt as a strong, cross-device way for developers to create programs that can reach multiple devices.
I think Nokia does have a lot of positive attributes for developers, as its size and reach means content creators have a large audience to target. Additionally, the Navteq acquisition gives the handset maker a geo-location database that is unmatched by rivals.
Unfortunately, the company’s platform strategy is a mess. The N8 is a cool device that runs the open source Symbian^3 but the company will be moving to MeeGo for its N Series in the future. What’s a developer to do, now?
What do you think about Nokia’s chances? How can it become a more attractive place for developers?
[Via New York Times]