back to article Nokia: free phones for developers

Nokia is to give all its registered developers an E7 smartphone. And if a Symbian-based handset doesn't appeal - as well it might not given last week's announcement - it's going to give them a Nokia Windows Phone 7 handset too. There's no confirmation from Nokia itself of the deal, which was made public by mobile games …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Sounding more like Microsoft by the day

    Bribe your way forward...

    I wonder how many of the press actually kept their $400 bribes? Pretty much all of them it seems....

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Hey I like bribes

      I'm first to sign up for MS launch events. It means free stuff. I snagged a Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate edition for turning up to the W7 developer launch. Can't say I love Microsoft for their business practices but they sure know how to treat developers.

    2. Tzael

      Re: Sounding more like Microsoft by the day

      What, you mean sounding more sensible by the day? ;)

      You call it a bribe, not quite sure how it's a bribe because they're not specifically trading the devices for anything in particular. Free hardware is free hardware, hopefully it will give some developers an opportunity to properly evaluate a WP7 device instead of making idle speculation!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It has started even sooner than I thought

    Well, it has started.

    This simply means that the already manufactured E7 is not being accepted by operators and shops. Not surprising. 400£+ list price simfree with a guaranteed dead OS which is guaranteed to have a no upgrade path.

    Yeah right... Go and sell that... An "adopt a zombie" advert in the "pets of the week" section of the local county rag has a higher chance of success than that.

    Three - not listed.

    O2 - not listed and coming soon contains guess what Sony, sony and HTC (all on android).

    Vodafone - not listed (neither business, nor consumer)

    Orange - not listed

    It will be _REALLY_ fun to watch Nokia trying to explain their sales numbers on the next Q analyst calls.

  3. Steve Evans

    Wait for it...

    Standby for next weeks headline from the Nokia PR machine that signups as Nokia developers have reached a record high since announcing the Microsoft deal... Whilst casually forgetting to mention the free phone deal and that 90% of the new signups are just after the freebees...

    Time to dust off the ebay account... Now where do I sign up?

  4. Mark .

    Re: Sounding more like Microsoft by the day

    Hardly. Giving developer hardware is a not uncommon practice for companies, and makes damn good sense.

    And let's face it - if it was Apple doing this, people would be praising Apple for wonderful developer support, whilst moaning that Nokia "doesn't get it" and will lose out by not supporting developers.

  5. Dirk Vandenheuvel

    Free OS

    Isn't a free OS also a bride???

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Juicy new tech?

    AFAIK, the latest Symbian phones have better tech (and more of it) than the current crop of WinPho models.

  7. Wang N Staines

    Desparate time

    needs desparate measure.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      E7 spec isn't bad at all

      It's getting favourable reviews for its hardware although they're pointing out the obvious about the mouldiness of the OS it's running on.

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      I suggest you check again

      Compared to the minimum Windows Phone 7 specifications, the Nokia N8 has a significantly slower CPU built on an older generation of the ARM architecture. The Broadcom GPU it uses is also likely to be slower than the PowerVR parts found on most high end mobiles.

      As a consumer, I don't care and probably can't even tell, but I thought it was worth saying anyway.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Yeah, but no, but...

        Symbian, even though it looks like the back end of a bus, is fairly undemanding regarding CPU usage and battery power, so it can get away with it. Nokia's phones are always slightly underspec'ed with regards to the competition because they can get away with it.

        1. Steve Evans

          Re: Yeah, but no, but...

          Indeed... The demise of Symbian is probably the end of the mobile that can last 4 days without a charge for quite a while.

        2. Giles Jones Gold badge

          Old software is fast

          "Symbian, even though it looks like the back end of a bus, is fairly undemanding regarding CPU usage and battery power"

          So would Windows 95 if you ran it on a laptop, but you just wouldn't want to use it.

    3. Jah

      Check again

      Vodafone and CPW have the E7 on coming soon.

    4. Arctic fox

      @It has started even sooner than I thought

      I am not surprised that you posted that as an "ac". Especially in the light of the fact that the E7 is not due to launch in the UK until April.

    5. Andy Hards

      Three have confirmed

      that they will be getting it. Don't know about the others though.

  8. DrXym Silver badge

    I've figured out how they're going to shift 150m symbian devices now

    149.9m through their developer program. And yes of course I've signed up.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I suggest

    Next step:

    Developers: Free phone, cash and a free Ballmer squeeze toy to relieve the API frustration

    Users: Free phone, just pay for the WP7 licence (MS needs those sales numbers)

    Maybe then it'll have a chance to succeed.

  10. Mark .

    Re: It has started even sooner than I thought

    It's always a risk announcing new technology. But other companies seem to manage it without having their current sales collapse (consider Apple - move to OS X, x86, not to mention the constant pre-announcements of the Ipad 2, or the next Iphone).

    "with a guaranteed dead OS which is guaranteed to have a no upgrade path."

    Funny, my OS still works. How many phone owners actually upgrade their OS? Hardly any, I would have thought. (If you mean a phone upgrade, then the upgrade will be the WP7 phones. Most people don't care about the underlying technology - just as today's Apple x86 PCs are upgrades from PPC Macs, and as OS X was an upgrades from Mac OS, even though the technology was completely different.)

    And if you're suggesting that giving things away for free is a sign of low sales - I've lost track of the number of times I've seen some advert giving away a free Iphone or Ipad...

    1. Lottie


      I upgraded my OS. I recieved an OTA upgrade to the general UI and have installed an updated kernel at the behest of the manufacturer and it made things better both times.

      It's not just major upgrades like, say win 95 - XP on a computer, but the little things like rolling out better coding to reduce battery usage, adjusting expectations of signal reception, UI refinements and that sort of thing. I suppose like the MS automatic updates and SP1-SP2 etc.

      So yeah, if I were looking at an 18 month or longer contract smartphone, I'd certainly choose one that will have people working on apps into the future and the chance to keep up with innovations (as far as my HW will allow).

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      Not quite the same though, is it?

      Apple's transitions have all come along with forward paths and backward compatibility. For the shift from 68000 to PowerPC, a 68000 emulator was bundled (and, reputedly, used internally by much of the initial versions of the PowerPC OS) that allowed old applications to continue running. The APIs stayed much the same, so there was no discontinuity in development skills. If you wanted to target Macs, you continued with QuickDraw, etc.

      The switch to OS X came with the idea of carbonised apps — limit yourself to a subset of the existing APIs and build correctly and your app works not just now on OS 9 but natively on OS X when it comes. And OS X had an ability to run OS 9 as an app to run older apps. Although Carbon was a concession Apple didn't seem happy about, it was a first class member of the software stack up until 10.5.

      The PowerPC to Intel switch was like the PowerPC switch. An emulator for old apps, all APIs to remain the same.

      Conversely, the switch from Symbian/MeeGo to Windows Phone <version number as yet undisclosed> is announced to be a complete discontinuity of APIs and software support. The old Nokia obviously thought that sort of thing was a bad idea, hence QT to ease from Symbian to MeeGo or wherever they might end up. With the Microsoft tie-up, even QT is out of the window, per Microsoft's decision not to allow unmanaged code. Per announcements so far, we're not even going to get an emulator for older Nokia apps as Palm supply (or supplied?) on WebOS.

      I really think the main reason people are concerned about an OS being dead is that they can't take their software with them and, more than that, if the APIs are about to go then the developers vacate immediately.

      You're completely right about free stuff though. Giving away free can mean either that people don't want a thing (ie, it isn't selling) or that they do want it (ie, it's a good inducement).

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        QT could theoretically run on WP7

        Perhaps Nokia have negotiated some kind of clause which allows them to run some native QT apps in WP7. Not sure for what, but maybe they have apps they can't realistically port over in a short period of time. QT is a very portable library and does have versions that run on Windows CE so I imagine it could be upgraded to work on WP7.

        Of course long term they'll probably have to put their apps in the Silverlight like every other 3rd party provider.

        1. Goat Jam


          Nice thought, it's highly unlikely however. Microsoft would never allow them to do that, they do lock-in, not flexibility remember.

  11. Kevin Bailey

    Yet again...

    ...this company uses it's profits from completely unrelated markets - PC OS/Office software - to skew a market where it can't compete on quality/value etc.

    Surely the DOJ/Monpolies Mergers have to do *something* to get protect competition. If this scam works to any extent then it's the consumer who suffers from having poor quality products.

    Why didn't Apple, Google, HTC give away thousands of iPhones/Androids - because they have to compete and make profits etc. Only MS can afford these stunts again and again and again.

  12. John 62
    Gates Halo

    how much does the developer programme cost?

    I'd love to be an MSDN subscriber and get all that juicy software for free, but I can't justify the cost.

    1. Duncan Watts

      RE: Yet again...

      Didn't Google give away the Nexus One to everyone at one of its developers conferences? This isn't about giving away phones to consumers, but to support a developer community - you just can't test properly using an emulator...

      1. Kevin Bailey

        Nice try...

        ...but the difference here is between a few hundred devs who are already comitted enough to actually travel to a conference - and ten of thousands of devs who have merely go online and registered.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      MSDN? Forget that.

      They're giving them away on Nokia's program, which is free!

      Join up everyone get your free phone, let's all dig a really big hole for the corpse of Nokia. Uncle Ballmer is waiting with his cheque book and he only needs the brand.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re Only MS can afford it...

      Isn't Apple worth more than MS at the moment? We're constantly being told that they've got something like $40BN in the bank, so I would think that they can afford to give away a few thousand iPhones, without even noticing their balance dip.

      As for not giving stuff away - Apple are well known for targeting journalists and students with discounts, I believe you just need to call them up with the appropriate union card and you get 10-20% off.

      In other markets you get massive discounts on software for development work - I can get pretty much all MS software on Technet for about £150. I can get MIPS on development LPARs of IBM mainframe for next to nothing, IBM's Domino dev is very cheap, the list of cheap or free dev stuff is rather large.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Isn't it about £150 for the cheapest version, ok you have to download it and you don't get the full shabang, but it's still very good value.

      1. Kevin Bailey

        Nice try...

        ... but Apple's profits are based on making things people choose to have and are prepared to pay for.

        If they wasted 5 billion on an useless OS and a further 6 billion on propping up a crap quality games console and who knows how much on Zune, Kin etc etc etc then Apple wouldn't have any cash at all.

        That's my point - Apple have competed on product cost/quality etc. MS have use their monopoly on OS/Office to try to barge into other areas. And when it's products fail they then just throw cash at the problem trying to make it work.

        And the consumer - stuck with a terrible PC OS, terrible dev platforms (I've used .NET), unreliable games consoles and now what sounds like a very poor phone OS (compared to the competition).

        Surely an honest DOJ should be looking into this as Clinton did and get MS broken up so that it's products have to actually compete in their market areas rather than relying on a monopoly in OS/Office.

  13. hex
    Gates Horns

    Qt Qt Qt

    just port Qt to WP7!

    That's like thousands of apps in a "single" blow

  14. Anonymous Coward

    If it's like normal Nokia practice...

    ...a bunch of "interested developers" will get toys to play with, while people actually working on the platform at Nokia will have to make some kind of reservation to even see such a piece of kit in the real world. Nokia: squandering that big company advantage, as usual.

  15. Wintermute

    Trying to buy developers

    Is it a bad thing when even the promise of free phones doesn't excite me enough to develop for this platform?

  16. amehaye
    Thumb Down

    A free Nokia Android phone would have been interesting

    Simbian/WP7... not so much.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    No thanks to the E7, but I'll take the disruptive technologies Meego-based N9.01 please

    Yessir... GTK, QT, Java, .NET with Mono, native apps, python, perl, ruby, bash, IPv6 out of the box, I'll take one of *those* please. I hear that you will even be able to make phone calls with it! It'll be the most amazing device since the N900!

  18. Average-Developer
    Thumb Up

    Nokia WMPH 7.5-8.0, Who is guaranty that It will not fail too??

    Full forum of exciters developers!!!

    I rather to write epitaphs to WHPH 7.5 (this is will be Nokia Model).

    J. Harlow hides the negative attitudes of developer’s Nokia stuff to this project.

    Nobody trusts this bachelor of psychology. She is not ever MBA(???)

    Without mobile experts support, I would bet it will fail. Do not tell me Symbian OS is rubbish. Rubbish is AVKON or S60. But, still no one mobile OS has full and working real multitasking. Hence, does not tarnish the mobile experts of Symbian until you still beat by them.

    J. Harlow will use soon a “golden parachute” to MicroSoft. 25% shares down unforgivable management “dilettante” for MBA that she doesn’t have.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      wonderful WP7 apps

      What ? You don't want a WP7 phone?

      Well, I can't understand why, the top 10 WP7 applications seem really nice and useful :

      The 2nd one is used to stop receiving calls (???)

      And the 4th one is used to... reboot

      And there are also 2 tweeter clients in the top 10...Not much room left for killer apps

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