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GLOBAL – The Nokia N9 – as we all know by now – has an entirely different OS to any other current Nokia phone. While looking amazing from the outside, it’s the inside that’s got the smarts. But how do you develop for a new OS and what are the options when it comes to downloading apps? We asked Santtu Ahonen, Product Manager at Nokia.

Nokia Conversation: How can people develop apps on the Nokia N9?
Santtu Ahonen: The best thing to use is Qt, and more specifically Qt Quick. With Qt, it’s a very graphical user interface, which makes building apps a lot easier. Plus, once you’ve developed an app for one device, you need only make some minor changes for it to work on another device. For anybody getting started with Qt, there’s plenty of support for developers over at Nokia Developer.

NC: So, let’s say somebody has created an app for the Nokia N9 using Qt quick. What now? How do they make that app available?
SA: The best way to get these apps onto devices, is by using the Ovi Store. Not only does Ovi Store have an ever-increasing catalogue of apps to choose from, but content from Ovi Store has been through QA, which reassures the user that the app is safe. And, of course, Ovi Store is a great place for developers to monetize their apps, with the likes of operator billing and card payments.

NC: What’s the difference to the user when an app has been created using Qt?
SA: As far as the user is concerned, if an app has been built using Qt, there will be no way of them being able to tell. The usage of Qt is for the developer. It makes their job easier and much quicker.

Not only should we take Santtu’s word for it, there’s been a number of people who have already started developing apps that will work on the Nokia N9. Initially, some of these apps were developed on the Nokia N950 using a simulator and the Qt SDK, but these can be transfered to other devices. That’s the beauty of Qt.

Sina claims to be the biggest Internet portal in China, and their Nokia N9 app named Weibo brings social networking, media functionalities and even incorporates text messaging right into the app. Built using Qt, they’ve claimed this way of programming is much more cost effective, saving time and money. There’s plans to move this app to Symbian, too, with little work needed to the code to make it work. One of the reasons Sina have used Qt is because they say that with Qt, you only need to use one set of codes as it can be used on many other platforms.

Here’s a video all about Sina Weibo.

The Accuweather app on the Nokia N9 is built right into the notifications screen, which makes it perfect for glancing at the weather when you’re on-the-go. Mark Long, Senior Software Engineer at Accuweather demonstrates how the company created the app on the Nokia N950, remarking that using Qt and QML has put them so far ahead in terms of development, they’ve got plenty of time for debugging. So there’s no chance of running overtime on the project. He also suggests that if you’re starting out in developing, Qt is the best way to go, as it’s the simplest program to use and you’ll get so much support from Nokia if you need it.

We all know by now – or should, as we’ve covered it many times before – that the Nokia N8 has Qt on board, so you can develop an app in Qt and it’ll work perfectly. The AA Breakdown & Traffic app is developed using Qt, too. If you’re a driver this is perfect for keeping tabs on when your yearly service or MOT is due, plus the GPS receiver in the phone can help the AA trace you when you break down.

Qt is helping people create apps at a much faster pace, while saving time and money. There’s plenty of support for anybody looking to get started over at the Nokia Developer Qt pages.

Have you created anything in Qt yet? Let us know and we’ll take a look.