FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia's smartphone operating system will be Windows Phone but the first handset might not be Windows Phone 7, while Meego and Symbian have been sidelined.
Meego, an OS created by Nokia with Intel, is to be used for a single unspecified device while the Finnish company's Symbian is to be a "franchise" operating system but no new franchise owner has been announced.
In a joint press conference with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop explained that WP7 was chosen because it was seen as the fastest way into the US market and it would help cut Nokia's research and development costs. Developing Meego or Symbian into an OS that could compete with Android and IOS was viewed as beyond Nokia's funds.
How getting into the US market could be achieved with WP7, whose handsets have been a sales flop is anyone's guess. Ballmer did not mention WP7 sales and The INQUIRER's attempts at asking the question were futile.
Elop tried to answer the question the world had, why the hell not Android, and his answer was lacking. He explained that he had spoken to Google about Android but it was rejected as Elop felt that Nokia could not differentiate itself among the Android handsets. HTC might want to argue that point while it seems that associating yourself with the biggest IT brand in the world could see your firm overshadowed.
In another bit of bizarre Elop logic he said "the game has changed from battle of devices to war of ecosystems." He clearly is just ignoring the fact that Android has a huge and rapidly growing ecosystem. Android is an ecosystem that can and is being monetised and yet Elop thinks WP7, which comes with royalties attached, has fantastic new sources for monetisation.
Elop's weird logic goes further, he sees a world of Android, IOS and WP7 as providing more choice than the world of Android, IOS, WP7, Symbian and Meego. Truly less is more.
Despite the grandiose WP7 announcement no date has been given for the launch of the first device. Nokia told The INQUIRER that the first handset may not have Windows Phone 7 rather a jointly developed future edition.
While Elop would not give a timetable for the first Nokia WP7 handset, Ballmer said the engineering teams were already working together.
Elop said that there were 200 million Symbian users in the world and that over the next few years 150 million Nokia phones will be shipped, and that a "transition" will take place to move them to Windows Phone. However the transition we expect is people ditching Nokia for Android.
In the press releases it said that under the new strategy MeeGo becomes an open-source, mobile operating system project and that it was about the "longer-term market exploration of next-generation devices, platforms and user experiences".
Yet in a truly bizarre announcement Elop said in the briefing that a Meego device would be launched as a "way to learn" and that for tablets Nokia might opt for a Windows tablet. Learn what exactly? How to give birth to a dead product?
Elop claimed that no Meego device would be launched without an ecosystem but The INQUIRER wonders who would want to develop anything for what is planned to be a one off device for market exploration.
Elop's decisions seem to be about doing his old pal Ballmer a favour, so The INQUIRER confidentally predicts that in about a year's time Elop won't be the CEO of Nokia anymore.
The video of the event is below. µ
Pre-orders to begin on 9 September with release to follow on 16 September
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