The Wall Street Journal today revealed that Nokia is working on a Linux-based low end operating system meant to supplant the S40, called Meltemi. While the MeeGo project for high end smartphones is as good as dead thanks to Nokia’s adoption of Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Nokia has yet to disclose its plans for what it calls the next billion handsets.
A short while ago we wondered about what Nokia is planning with regards to the market currently served by the S40 phones, as it kept insisting that developers create applications using the Qt language. Qt as we know is the programming environment used by Nokia to develop apps for its Symbian and MeeGo devices. With Symbian going away and MeeGo development halted, we naturally questioned the future of Qt.
For some time, all we could hear was that the company wants to reach the next billion customers but it never really explained how. Developers deserve to know why they are being urged to continue developing on Qt and without a clear direction, they have no good reason to. If the news about Meltemi is true, it provides developers with better assurance that its Qt skills will not go to waste.
Windows Phone may be the future for Nokia’s smartphones but the majority of its customers don’t buy smartphones. Smartphones tend to have batteries that last less than two full days while low end phones can last a week with just one charge. Additionally, as far as affordability goes, it’s less likely for Windows Phone devices to reach this segment, which means Nokia needs to have a range of economy devices to fulfill this demand.
Meltemi is said to be developed by Nokia’s Maemo team and may use the same interface but with a different kernel, according to long-time mobile blogger Eldar Murtazin, but he’s pessimistic about the future of this platform.
If Nokia wants to keep serving this market segment, it needs to continue developing a platform for the economy phones in addition to the premium models.