Is the Tide Turning Against Fragmentation? – Mobile World Live

Is the Tide Turning Against Fragmentation?

16 OCT 2009

Nokia is bending over backwards to position itself as the developer’s friend. The roll out of its seemingly-versatile Qt application and user-interface development framework is the latest salvo in the Finland-based handset giant’s epic struggle with Apple, Google and others for the hearts and minds of developers.

This week, at its Qt Developer Days in Munich, Nokia said that the framework will soon enable developers to port apps across Windows Mobile, Windows 7, Mac OS X 10.6, as well as both of Nokia’s smartphone operating systems – its Maemo version of Linux and Symbian.

By providing support for desktop and mobile Windows, Nokia is clearly hoping to persuade Microsoft’s large following of developers to also create apps for the Finnish giant’s smartphone platforms.

Even so, the Qt enhancements are good news for all those developers grappling with the implications of the increasingly fragmented handset operating system market, as Nokia’s move might encourage some of its rivals to develop more tools designed for cross-platform development.

Although Nokia says the Qt framework will support many advanced device capabilities, such as support for multi-touch or gesture-based input methods, it obviously can’t bridge the physical differences between handsets, such as whether they have the hardware necessary to use these input methods, display advanced graphics or determine the direction the handset is facing.

So, developers will still face a trade-off between exploiting the native capabilities of specific devices and creating apps that can be ported by Qt across many different handset models.

But what do you think? Are the Qt enhancements a sign that the tide is turning against fragmentation?

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