Nokia and Microsoft Attempt to Attract Symbian Developers

Microsoft is apparently dissatisfied with its current place in the smartphone hierarchy, and the company is making moves in an attempt to create a dent in the market share held by iOS and Android. Microsoft’s latest move in conjunction with Nokia is the decision to add Symbian Qt to the Windows Phone API mapping tool to make its platform more appealing to Symbian developers.

In February, Nokia announced that Windows Phone would become its smartphone OS of choice.  The announcement was seen as a major step in the right direction for Microsoft, as it would gain a partner in Nokia with a strong reputation in the mobile market.  The official announcement was accompanied by a Nokia spokesman’s statement that fragmentation would be avoided by not porting the company’s pre-existing development environment to operate with the Windows Phone platform.  To keep from alienating its loyal Symbian developers, Nokia along with Microsoft made the decision to add Symbian Qt to the Windows Phone API mapping tool.  The decision was noted in a blog post by Nokia, and should make the transition for developers to begin writing apps for Windows Phone much easier.

The Windows Phone API mapping tool essentially acts as a dictionary that translates between Windows Phone and other mobile platforms.  Developers accustomed to other platforms’ APIs can use the tool to see equivalencies in terms of class, method, or notification events within Windows Phone.   The mapping tool also comes in handy when porting iOS and Android applications.

The timing of the Symbian Qt addition to the Windows Phone API mapping tool coincides with the upcoming launch of Nokia’s first smartphone release based on Microsoft’s mobile OS.  The Nokia World conference, which begins on October 26, is said to be the setting for the launch, so Nokia wants to ensure that developers are prepared.  As for actual public availability of Nokia’s first Windows Phone device, many expect it to ship prior to 2012.

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Latest Numbers Place iOS in Front of Android in Smartphone/Tablet Race

The latest Digital Omnivores report from comScore shows that Apple’s iOS is the current leading platform when it comes to tablets and smartphones.  The good news for Apple comes despite the fact that Android is the smartphone king with a 43.7 percent share of the United States smartphone market.  For reference, digital omnivores refer to people who use a variety of devices such as smartphones, tablets, and desktops to access the Web on a daily basis.

Apple can attribute much of its lead in the smartphone/tablet race over Android on the huge success of the iPad.  Since being introduced to the public in May of last year, the iPad has surpassed sales of 30 million units.  Despite a growing presence of competitors in the tablet market, the iPad dominated August by accounting for 97.2 percent of tablet traffic.  The strong pairing of the iPad and iPhone gives Apple a combined market share of 43.1 percent, giving it a healthy lead over second-place Android with 34.1 percent.

Although the iPhone has been around longer than the iPad, Apple’s tablet now accounts for 46.8 percent of iOS internet traffic, compared to the iPhone’s 42.6 percent.  In terms of platforms, iOS dominates non-computer internet traffic in the United States with a 58.5 percent market share for August.  Android trailed far behind in second place with just 31.9 percent.  comScore used web browser-based page views to calculate the percentages.  Mark Donovan, comScore’s senior VP of mobile, commented on the internet traffic statistics, saying, “With iOS having a significantly higher share of traffic (58.5 percent) compared to its share of devices (43.1 percent), it suggests that iOS users are heavier-than-average consumers of Internet content.”

Donovan took a closer look at tablet usage to reveal what exactly they are being used for.  He found that almost 3 out of every 5 tablet owners use their portable devices for social networking and news, and approximately half used them to make online purchases.  Such flexibility and usage gives app developers excellent opportunities to make a name for themselves in the tablet market.

As for Android’s tablet outlook, the future appears to be bright, despite Apple’s current stronghold.  As tablets continue to be seen as devices for media consumption, more consumers will look towards purchasing one.  Obviously, not all of those purchases will be geared towards Apple’s side.  One negative aspect of the open tablet market is that several manufacturers are churning out devices of their own, so the limited piece of the pie that is up for grabs will be divided amongst many Android competitors.  One such Android tablet that is set to make a splash is the Kindle Fire from Amazon.  Its affordable cost could take wind out of the iPad’s sales, but that remains to be seen when the Fire is officially released on November 15.

One final statistic worth mentioning from comScore’s report shows that smartphones are still the champion in terms of digital traffic.  Only seven percent of all U.S. digital traffic came from smartphones and tablets, but nearly two-thirds of that traffic was attributed to smartphones alone.

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