Nokia isn’t the best known name in the US smartphone world, but its recent announcement that it will partner with Microsoft to produce Windows Phone devices – the first time the Finnish developer has ever considered using an external source for its flagship operating system – looks set to change all that. Nokia needs to get developers on its side, however – and it’s attempting bribery.
Members of the company’s Launchpad development service are being offered hardware totalling about $1,000 in order to stick with the company during the awkward transition period as it makes the move from its home grown Symbian and MeeGo mobile platforms to Microsoft’s Windows Phone.
Those who agree to stick around will receive a Nokia E7 slider smartphone, featuring the company’s latest Symbian^3 mobile platform, and the promise of an as-yet unnamed Windows Phone device in the near future.
If that wasn’t enough, developers are also offered free access to the company’s Nokia World and Nokia Developer Summit events, a free user experience evaluation for a single app – which ordinarily costs a surprising amount of money, and can spell the difference between a successful app and a complete failure – and free technical support with up to ten requests.
Developers are also offered free help with publishing their apps, currently developed on the Qt framework, in the Ovi Store – although given that the Ovi Store will almost certainly be replaced with the Windows Marketplace in the near future, it remains to be seen how good an offer that is.
The move clearly shows that Nokia is concerned that its development community, which has got quite used to the unified Qt development platform across MeeGo and Symbian devices, will up sticks and leave as the company moves to Windows Phone. After all, if Windows Phone is the future, they might as well leave Nokia now and get a head-start on things.
This latest offer could be enough to convince them to stay – and demonstrates that, despite falling profits, the Finnish company is serious about spending its cash to help keep its development community alive.
Whether it’s using some of the billions of dollars Microsoft is rumoured to be pouring in to the company is, as yet, unknown.