Nokia today announced their plan to transition the their smartphone division to Windows Phone 7, over the next two years.
The company has recently acknowledged the extreme difficulties that it has had in evolving to the new generation of smartphone platforms. By embracing Windows Phone 7, and entering into a strategic partnership with Microsoft, Nokia hopes to establish a new ability to compete in marketplaces such as the United States.
By embracing Windows Phone 7, Nokia has also announced the fates of Symbian and MeeGo. Symbian will become a “franchise” platform, and Nokia has stated that they hope to transition those customers to Windows Phone 7 by offering the Ovi suite of services to Nokia devices running WP7. Nokia did leave some wiggle room in this statement; Symbian may become the preferred feature phone platform, as many (including PhoneNews.com) have long expected. This will likely depend on if Microsoft re-tools Windows Phone 7 to also target feature phones and replace KIN.
MeeGo will become an experimental platform for Nokia, and Nokia reiterated that they still intend to ship a MeeGo device later this year. The Nokia N900 is powered by Maemo, the predecessor to MeeGo, though Nokia has offered consistent beta builds of MeeGo for testers on the device. MeeGo is jointly developed by Intel and Nokia.
Finally, Nokia has confirmed late in the day that they will comply with Microsoft’s rigid demands for Windows Phone 7 devices, though Nokia’s strategic partnership may allow them to offer up solutions that Microsoft would reject from other manufacturers. This means that Nokia’s cross-platform framework, Qt, will not be offered on Windows Phone 7. Nokia has said they will continue to support Qt, for the legacy Symbian and future MeeGo platforms. The Qt team has also confirmed that they will offer solutions and advice to developers to help them bridge Qt and WP7 frameworks; primarily Silverlight, Visual Studio, and Expression Blend.