Nokia World 2010: Nokia makes it easier for developers

Jonathan Morris
September 14, 2010

Nokia has announced a number of improvements in developer tools to make it easier for developers to build apps for Symbian smartphones.

The improvements will include:

  • Enhancements to Qt Software Development Kit (SDK) resulting in 70% reduction in lines of code required for developing for Symbian smartphones.
  • Improvements in Ovi Store experience, with new look and feel to make it easier to find apps.
  • Lower barrier of entry and increased monetisation opportunities for developers, including free Java and Symbian signing, in-app purchases, greater revenue share and advanced developer analytics.

Details in full:

Design, Develop
Today, developers can distribute apps to approximately 175 million Nokia Symbian smartphones – the largest smartphone user base in the world. Qt is pre-installed on all new Nokia smartphones and downloadable to millions of smartphones people are already using. Using the Nokia Qt SDK to build their apps, developers will discover a complete, easy-to-use tool that brings a shortened workflow, simplified development and intuitive UI libraries resulting in 70 percent fewer lines of code, cutting creation time dramatically.

New opportunities for developers will include in-app purchase, enabling a wide range of app pricing options in Ovi Store such as subscription models, micro-transactions, or “try and buy.” This means if people enjoy the free version of the app, they can easily upgrade to the paid version. It also allows developers to build added value into their apps such as the sale of virtual goods, additional levels for games, or enhanced or localized in-app features.

Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio, the company behind one of the world’s most popular mobile games, Angry Birds, is pleased to bring the game to Nokia devices. Speaking about the new in-app purchase feature in Ovi Store, Hed said, “We now have an elegant mechanism for providing premium content within games, like Angry Birds, in a way that doesn’t interrupt people playing the game.”

With the Nokia Qt SDK, developers can also future proof their app by easily adapting them to run on future mobile platforms such as MeeGo, while taking advantage of any additional features or APIs those platforms bring.

Nokia will focus on making developers more money by leveraging the largest operator billing footprint available and greatly improving the operator revenue share for payments made after October 1. Nokia has also removed the time consuming and costly step of app signing. With one click, Java and Symbian apps signing is complete.

Nokia’s acquisition of Motally provides rich in-app analytics for developers and publishers to better track, report and monetize their content; these capabilities will be extended to Qt, Symbian, MeeGo and Java platforms.

The reach of Ovi Store provides tremendous opportunities for developers with an active user base in more than 190 countries and strong local relationships with 91 of the world’s top operators. More than 50 publishers have seen more than 1 million downloads each, with some – like Offscreen – reaching more than 43 million downloads.

“Fizwoz was launched as a Qt-based app at the beginning of the year and featured in the top 10 Ovi Store apps for the Nokia N900 for just a week,” said Andy Sheldon, CEO, Fizwoz. “During that time, it received over 9,000 downloads from 91 countries, and when we put it on Symbian smartphones in early May our numbers on Nokia shot up. We now have almost 41,000 people using it in 167 countries and add 200-300 new people every day. In fact, it took just two months for Nokia to catch up with our user number on a big competitor’s app store with a predominantly U.S. distribution footprint. Nokia is truly worldwide.”

First SDK for touch based mobile phones
In addition to the refinements with the Nokia Qt SDK for smartphones and mobile computers, Nokia also announced an SDK for Series 40 Touch and Type – the industry’s first touch SDK for mobile phones.

Last year, Nokia shipped 364 million mobile phones – around a million devices every day. The new Series 40 Touch and Type SDK brings the benefit of a touch interface to a new global audience. The SDK, available for download from, will make development for these devices extremely simple and allows easy porting of existing apps created for current Nokia smartphones.

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