@CTIA: Nokia lays its technology cards out on the table

**As published in RCR Wireless News** LAS VEGAS –- In a meeting room on the show floor with less than 10 journalists on hand, Nokia Corp.’s VP of technology, David Rivas tried to make the case for the company’s technology roadmap, particularly with regards to its forthcoming Symbian^3 operating system. At numerous times throughout the briefing, Rivas had little choice but to go on the defensive in the face of many questions expected to be asked of Nokia these days. Indeed, the informal gathering seemed to highlight the criticism facing Nokia by design while at the same time giving a technologist the opportunity to get into the weeds of Nokia’s thinking. Going forward there will be no more S60, feature pack updates or anything of the fragmented sort, Rivas said. The OS brand is all Symbian now and Nokia has committed to an extremely aggressive OS update every six months. Following Nokia’s timeline, with the first Symbian^3 devices set to launch before July, Symbian^4 should be on hand by early next year.

But first up is Symbian^3, which Rivas gave a quick demonstration of today in Nokia’s booth. Most importantly for developers, there are no more user interfaces sitting on top of Symbian. Now it’s all based on Qt, a cross-platform application and user-interface framework that can be developed in C++, which Nokia acquired two years ago. “It’s a fragmentation that we solved,” Rivas said, adding that Nokia has been dealing with overly excessive fragmentation in its lineup for many years. Symbian^3 will have high-performance graphics with an overall tripling of graphic speed performance, unlimited homescreen pages, and multi-touch control with all the to-be-expected bells and whistles – gestures, pinch and zoom, flip – in landscape and portrait mode. “I don’t think the operating system choice is a buy-in criteria for the consumer at all,” Rivas said. “Applications are a buy-in criteria when it comes to consumers.” While Rivas said Nokia does it due diligence often with respect to new technology choices, there’s little chance Nokia will be moving into another OS platform. Moreover, while Rivas said he can see the upside in having other OEMs join the Symbian fray, but “it’s less important to our core business of selling phones.” “We’re pretty happy with the choices we’ve made,” he said, while admitting that “we’ve really got to show some products.”