As everyone's now aware, the Nokia Store (for Symbian apps) is effectively frozen as of midnight tonight. Which means no updates, no new applications - nothing at all. Of course, a lot of the content can stay as-is (and will still be downloadable), but there are bound to be updates needed in order to maintain compatibility with external services, plus there will always be some bugs needing addressing. Begging the question of how such updates can reach Symbian enthusiasts across the globe.
Recent News - Developer
Nokia has published a great resource for mobile developers who are interested in transferring their skills to Symbian apps via the Qt framework. The Nokia Developer website has published three guides for finding the Qt equivalent of API calls for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7. It has come late in Symbian’s life, but it is just what the developer world needed to reduce the friction in developing for this not-so-dead platform.
An updated version of the Qt SDK, version 1.2, was released today. It contains all the tools required to create Qt applications for Nokia's Symbian devices. The new version includes Qt Creator 2.4 (bringing improvement to the QML editor and numerous bug fixes) and Qt Mobility 1.2 (improved API access to Bluetooth and NFC).
11 million content items are being downloaded from Nokia Store every day, according to figures recently released by Nokia. This annualises to a rate of 4 billion downloads a year, or 1 billion a quarter. The top five countries for downloads from Nokia Store are India, China, Russia, Brazil and Turkey. The top device is the N8, followed by the 5800, 5233, 5230 and C3.
In this series of videos Marco Argenti, SVP Developer Experience and Marketplace at Nokia, explains some of the guiding principals behind Nokia's developer activities and the opportunities available for developers on Nokia's platforms. The video series was recorded at MEF Americas 2011 by 361 Degrees.
There's a nice piece over on the Nokia Developer blog highlighting the story of ZingMagic, a long time favourite developer here at AAS for polished native Symbian games. The piece covers how the company got started, how its games are built and recent success with advertisement-sponsored versions of its games.
With NFC baked into Symbian Belle (and a few Anna builds!), the number of applications with NFC capability keeps on growing. The latest addition to the number is Foursquare, as detailed in the NFC blog post quoted below. You can now just walk up to a Foursquare check-in poster at an event, tap your phone to it, even if the application isn't already running, and bang, you're checked in.
Last week Nokia announced the availability of the Qt 4.7.4 release bundle for Symbian. This is the same release that is shipping in Symbian Belle handsets and is now also available for Symbian Anna handsets. The bundle contains Qt 4.7.4, Qt Quick 1.1, Qt Mobility 1.2, Qt Webkit 2.1.1 and Qt Quick Components 1.1 for Symbian; collectively representing a major release for Qt on Symbian.
We're pretty sure that a lot of Symbian developers are looking to explore Windows Phone with the upcoming devices, so the recent post by JC Cimetiere on the Windows Team Blog introducing the Windows Phone platform with a Symbian starting point should be a good resource, You'll find a white paper ("Windows Phone Guide for Symbian Qt Application Developers") with porting examples, adding Qt to the Windows Phone API mapping tool, and details on the Nokia WP Training Days happening around Europe.
Nokia has announced that the Qt Project, the outcome of open governance work that started in June 2010, will go live on October 17th 2011. Qt governance, roadmapping and releases will proceed the auspices of the Qt project, open to all stakeholders who are willing to contribute, with decisions taken by a community of Contributors, Approvers and Maintainers. In practical terms the hosting of Qt will move to a new domain: qt-project.org.
Qt developers have a lot of new tools to explore and play with over the weekend, as Nokia has announced a major update to the Qt SDK. The headline change is the introduction of Qt Creator v2.3 (full details on Creator 2.3 can be found here), other changes include Qt 4.7.4, a new UI and features in Qt Simulator, updates to the notifications API, and the various components for running Qt apps on Symbian, MeeGo and the desktop. Existing Qt developers can update from within the SDK application folder, otherwise the links are in the Qt Labs.
Over at Nokia Conversations, I've been moonlighting in helping create their Appstravaganza series of developer interviews. In this case, chatting to Harald Meyer, of CameraPro and PhoneTorch fame... What makes Harald tick and what development tips does he have for others?
Barranger Ridler is a Windows Phone 7 developer, and was recently asked to join Nokia for a "getting to know you" style event called #NokiaUnfenced. His blog on Nokia's approach to WP7 is worth reading, answering some of the questions about what Nokia is doing to get developers on board for the new devices and OS widely assumed to be coming before the end of the year. No hardware news, but his thoughts on the Nokia touchstones (camera, build quality and software stability) are good indicators of what could attract developers to Nokia.
Nokia's Ovi Store has reached the 9 million downloads a day milestone and is continuing to grow. This follows on from June's announcement that Ovi Store was averaging more than 6 million downloads a day and the 7.62 million mark from last month. The 9 million downloads a day rate annualises to 3.29 billion downloads a year (275 million a month). In addition, AAS' own tracking now shows that Ovi Store has now passed the 2 billion cumulative downloads mark.
Another in my series of developer interviews has just been published at Nokia Conversations. This time I was chatting to Sebastian Brannstrom, creator of Podcatcher but also (for the purposes of this interview) looking at his new hit app, CoverUp, which retrieves album art for your music files on Symbian smartphones. In the chat, he talked about the app, the challenges he faced and the tools he used, especially Qt.