"Longer-term market exploration" for MeeGo at Nokia - Update
A major deal between Nokia and Microsoft has been announced; it will see Nokia adopt Windows Phone 7 as its primary smartphone operating system. Within the text of the announcement, Nokia also outlined its current plans for the open source, Linux-based operating system MeeGo, which had previously been planned to be its primary smartphone platform:
Under the new strategy, MeeGo becomes an open-source, mobile operating system project. MeeGo will place increased emphasis on longer-term market exploration of next-generation devices, platforms and user experiences. Nokia still plans to ship a MeeGo-related product later this year.
What that MeeGo-related product is, was not disclosed. Notes on the Nokia's reorganisation in another part of the announcement offer a suggestion though; the company announced it was reorganising into two divisions: Smart Devices and Mobile Phones. The Smart Devices division will include "Symbian Smartphones" and "MeeGo Computers"; this may indicate that Nokia's future plan for MeeGo is on non-phone devices, a strategy reminiscent of previous Nokia tablets such as the Nokia N770 and N800; these ran the predecessor of MeeGo, Maemo.
In a message to developers, Nokia confirmed that the open source Qt user interface framework will not be ported to Windows Phone 7 and that developers who wish to target the next generation of Nokia smartphones will have to use Microsoft's APIs and tooling. As recently as last October, Nokia had told developers that Qt was the company's platform for mobile development on both Symbian and MeeGo platforms; subsequently, developers had been migrating to Qt with the expectation that it would be available on all future Nokia devices.
The developers letter, which refers to a "MeeGo-related open source device", says Nokia will continue development of Qt for Symbian and that it will continue to encourage developers to create applications for Symbian using Qt. It cites the "MeeGo-related" device as "a further device to target" for developers using Qt.
Update: At a Q&A session after the announcement, Elop elaborated, and described MeeGo "not as part of another broad smartphone platform strategy, but as an opportunity to learn", and that after the MeeGo related device has shipped, the development team will then "change their focus" moving into research into the "next disruption" for the smartphone market.