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June 23, 2010

Developer announcements to boost Nokia app marketplace

Nokia QtESPOO, Finland – Today, Nokia made a number of announcements that make life better for mobile developers. That’s good news if you’re a developer, of course, but also for the rest of us as users of Nokia devices. Faster, easier development options mean that more applications are likely to become available for your device, that it will take less time for your favourite applications to arrive on brand new models, and that updates will be more likely to be available even if you’re using an older device.

There are five key announcements that will be important for developers:

  • Availability of the Nokia Qt Software Development Kit (SDK) 1.0
  • Individuals can now register as Ovi Publishers
  • Public beta of Nokia signing Symbian apps for free
  • Availability of Nokia Smart Installer for Symbian
  • Ovi Store intake for Qt apps

The Nokia Qt SDK allows cross-platform development for both Symbian and Maemo devices. Qt applications will also be supported on MeeGo, when it arrives. Creating C++ applications is quicker and easier than with previous development kits, and there’s a new, faster simulator included and additional APIs for mobile development. Forum Nokia cites the example of Shazam, who said, “It took us a year and a half to get our application developed to our full feature set on Symbian classic. Within 3 to 4 weeks we were able to put together a prototype working on Qt.” As well as Windows and Linux versions, a beta version of the Mac SDK has also been released. They are available for free from the Forum Nokia Qt section.

The announcements also make life easier for independent developers, who can now register as Ovi Publishers and distribute their apps worldwide through Ovi Store. Previously, you had to be part of a specific company or business. There’s a one-time fee of EU50 to register and apps can be submitted that are written in Qt, Symbian, Java, Flash Lite and Web Runtime.

Signing Symbian apps for free means that developers once again reduce their costs, which makes producing Symbian apps for Ovi Store more appealing. Historically, developers have had to pay and wait to have their apps Symbian-signed as part of the approvals process. Nokia has started a beta programme waiving this fee and introducing measures to halve the time required for signing.

The Nokia Smart Installer means that developers can send out their applications as a package without worrying too much about what parts of Qt need to be installed on users’ phones. The installer detects what files and libraries are needed by the app, looks to see what’s missing on the device and then downloads them automatically when you come to install it.

Lastly, the Ovi Store intake means that developers can upload Symbian apps for the Nokia N97 mini, Nokia X6 and Maemo apps for the Nokia N900. The Nokia N8 will be supported from release, with additional – older and newer – Nokia devices supported in the future.

So, this all bodes well for an easier time for developers and so a richer selection of up-to-the-minute applications available through Ovi Store. Let us know what you think in the comments.