The Future of Qt under Nokia and Microsoft

Nokia’s Symbian operating system was until very recently the leader in the cellphone market. However, the world started moving away from basic phones over to smartphones where Apple and Google dominate with their mobile operating systems. So Nokia is panicking, and today decided to abandon its own O.S. and use Microsofts (source).

Why am I writing about this? Because Nokia owns Qt, a cross-platform framework for building graphical applications that I use extensively. Qt (along with its founding company Trolltech) was purchased by Nokia about two years ago. The result was a lot of new active developers on this powerful GUI framework.

It appears that using Qt on Windows Phone 7 is not trivial, and so the future of Qt is uncertain in the context of this major move by Nokia. There’s no question that Nokia was in trouble, and that a drastic change was needed. Teaming up with Microsoft may be a bad decision, but it also might be the best decision relative to the alternatives.

Of course, I’m hoping that they stick with Qt and try to compete with Android and iOS through aggressive in-house innovation. In either case, Qt will live on, but it’s not clear to what degree it will be an active focus of this struggling company. There is a large Linux community behind open-source Qt development, so I’m not concerned about these news. But still, I’m sure many changes in strategy are coming…

UPDATE: Qt is ported to Android in this project:
http://code.google.com/p/android-lighthouse/

I will definitely look into this.

UPDATE #2: Qt blog has released some hopeful comments regarding these news.

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