After announcing the tie-up in February, Nokia has signed a definitive agreement with Microsoft to build a new global mobile eco-system, ‘unlike any other’. Executives from both the companies said that their teams were busy integrating applications and services from the two platforms and are working on a multi-year product roadmap.
Nokia said that, although it is on schedule to deliver volume shipments for the first Windows Phone devices, it is under tremendous pressure to bring them in 2011 itself.
Devices at different price points
Microsoft mentions that the partnership with Nokia will enable it to hit different price points. Presently, Microsoft has stringent hardware requirements for Windows Phone 7 powered phones, and only high-end phones qualify. This increases hardware cost, will Microsoft relax these requirements for Nokia to reach out to more users?
Since, a successful mobile ‘eco-system’ depends a lot on apps, and apps are designed by developers, Nokia is incentivising Symbian developers who want to develop for the Windows Phone platform. It is offering a free registration to Microsoft’s developer platform, for the first year to all published Nokia developers.
Going Beyond Hardware
Both the companies plan to go beyond the hardware-software collaboration, and integrate each others flagship services. Microsoft will leverage Nokia’s mapping solutions, while Nokia will deploy Bing search, XBox Live and cloud services from Microsoft. Some of the services will also reach Symbian users.
The question that comes to our mind, will Microsoft update its mobile operating system to bring Nokia services to all devices or it will adopt a fragmented approach and have a certain feature set only for Nokia phones? Remember that other hardware partners that build Windows Phone 7 handsets include the likes of HTC, Samsung, LG and Dell. Android is a developer’s nightmare because of the fragmentation. Going by the past trend,this seems to be unlikely, because Microsoft had prevented HTC from putting a layer of its Sense User Interface on WP7 phones.
Committed to Symbian
Nokia reiterated that it is committed to support Symbian and has recently introduced a refreshed interface (Anna) along with new devices. It says that Symbian will balance the new eco-system and the company still plans to ship 150 million Symbian powered smart phones this year.
Recently, Nokia had clarified its stand on Symbian, saying that the mobile OS is not open-source and only open for business partners and that it will make the source code available only to approved persons. This, after it received flak from the developer community for projecting Symbian as open source.