An afternoon with Marko Ahtisaari

by Volker Weber

Photo © Volker Weber

Today I spoke at the Heise Netze Tour in Köln, an event where I usually stay throughout the day for an extended communication with our customers. Yesterday however, I received an invitation from Nokia to meet Marko Ahtisaari, who heads Design at Nokia. This was an opportunity I did not want to pass, so I travelled to Düsseldorf right after my presentation this morning. And I wasn't disappointed.

Marko called it the start of a conversation, an insight into changes to come. We talked about Meego, the changes it will bring, and Nokia's challenges with Symbian. And there is one important change that isn't yet clear to everyone:

If you buy a Symbian^3 phone today, it will not be obsolete next year.

Nokia will carry all Symbian^3 phones forward, on the Qt platform. There is going to be a big change "in the spring", modernizing the user experience of the Symbian platform. Yes, it will receive a new browser, but the changes are going to be visible throughout the operating system. There is not going to be a Symbian^4 version, as originally planned. Instead, Nokia will be carrying forward the Symbian platform with existing ^3 devices, and of course new ones.

I find this very important, because it means you can buy a current device without being left behind next year. This has been my biggest beef with the platform. Marko agreed that this change has to be more clearly communicated.

Next year will also be the time for the bigger change in Nokia's offering. Marko is very bullish about the Meego platform and the new UX patterns it will bring. Applications built on the Qt platform will be portable from Symbian to Meego "with minimal changes". Although Meego itself is going to be open source, that does not apply to all of the UX. If you have an N900, you may be able to get a user supported version of the open source Meego platform, but not the Nokia UX which is probably what you really want.


Honestly, this was one of the things keeping me from going Nokia as my work phone contract is up. I could chose an iPhone and too many of my colleagues did the last weeks. I could go Android and would love it, especially the rooted ones. Or I could go with the crazy phone that you can plug a USB stick into, hook up the HDMI, and watch a 1080p movie... even though I would not need it, I would probably use it just to show ppl.

Now, should I wait 3-4 more months, or just go for it?
The E7 should do the trick. Too bad does not have it yet. If anyone happens to know when (if) it will come please advise.

Alexander Koch, 2010-11-16

No official date yet. I would say towards the end of the year/early next year. And yes, a Meego device next year could be awfully sexy.

Volker Weber, 2010-11-16

Is the Nokia E7 released in December?
Or they will ship a few units now and then with global availability in Feb-March?

horia stanescu, 2010-11-17

I suggest you read my comment above.

Volker Weber, 2010-11-17

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