Nokia lures developers with free Windows Phone 7 devices

In an effort to make amends with Symbian developers cast adrift by its decision to embrace Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 7 operating system as its primary smartphone platform, Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is promising members of its Launchpad developer program a free Nokia E7 device as well as a WP7-based Nokia smartphone, as soon as such a product becomes available. In an email sent by Nokia to Launchpad members and obtained by SlashGear, the handset maker also vows free tech support on all Nokia technologies for the next three months, free training sessions spotlighting its Qt cross-development platform and free admission to its upcoming Nokia World/Nokia Developer Summit event. "We will also be extending our business development support to all Nokia developer and content program members who are currently developing apps for Nokia devices, and we will assist in publishing those apps in Nokia's Ovi Store," the email adds. "We will continue to offer ideas and guidance for ways to fully promote your published apps so that you can reap the rewards of your hard work."

Per terms of the deal announced earlier this month, Nokia and Microsoft will forge a worldwide mobile ecosystem integrating their respective assets--for example, Microsoft's Bing engine will power search across Nokia devices and services, and Microsoft initiatives like Bing and AdCenter will incorporate the Nokia Maps solution. The companies say Microsoft software tools will enable developers to build apps that run across Nokia devices, leveraging the handset maker's global scale; Nokia also boasts extensive global operator billing partnerships, enabling developers to reach consumers in regions where credit card usage is negligible.

With Windows Phone 7 moving to the forefront, Symbian retreats to franchise platform status, with Nokia stating it will continue leveraging previous investments while striving to retain and transition its installed base of 200 million Symbian device owners worldwide. Nokia expects to sell roughly 150 million additional Symbian units in the years ahead. As for MeeGo--the platform unveiled combining Nokia's former Maemo and Intel's former Moblin efforts and until recently slated to power all of Nokia's future high-end devices--it now becomes an open-source project, with an emphasis on longer-term market exploration of new devices, platforms and user experiences. Nokia maintains it still will ship a MeeGo-related product later this year.

Intel restated its commitment to the MeeGo project last week. "I don't see that Nokia changing its strategy changes the industry strategy," Intel CEO Paul Otellini told Bloomberg during an interview at the Mobile World Congress 2011 event in Barcelona. "The operators still look for an open, operator-friendly operating system." Otellini said MeeGo will power tablets scheduled to ship later this year, with the operating system also slated to surface in mobile phones and embedded devices. He added that he "understood" why Nokia is teaming with Microsoft, and admitted he would have made "the same or a similar call."

For more:
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