13 Sep 2010
After much rewriting of code, the first Symbian ^3 phone – the N8 – will hit the market in two weeks, and the first Symbian ^4 devices will ship next year.
It’s fair to say that neither OS has garnered much enthusiasm from developers, consumers or observers.
Then there’s MeeGo, which the company says is for tablet devices and not smartphones. Elop will have to consider whether he wants to go on supporting two operating systems.
Or perhaps he will decide to junk both of those and go with Android. With Nokia’s support, Android will become the dominant mobile platform in the same way that Windows became the 800lb gorilla of PC OSes and Nokia will ship phones in the gazillions.
That means becoming just a hardware provider and the lower returns that ensures.
Given that it has chosen Elop, that’s not the choice Nokia wants to take. But its success in the handset business has come from designing user-friendly hardware, not clever software and APIs.
It’s Elop’s job to take Nokia through the transition from hardware kingmaker to software collaborator.