updated 08:30 am EDT, Thu September 29, 2011
Nokia developing new in-house mobile OS?
Nokia is reportedly [sub. req.] working on a new mobile operating system, but which is aimed at low-end phones. The new OS is said to be based on Linux and is code-named Meltemi. According to Wall Street Journal sources, the project is being headed up by Mary McDowell, Nokia's executive vice-president in charge of mobile phones.
Although Nokia has dropped its Symbian OS, which it had aimed at high-end smartphones in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 OS, as well as the MeeGo OS, the company is still interested in developing its own software for feature phones. Companies including Samsung, with its Bada OS, and Nokia are keen to 'spread their risk' by avoiding hedging all their bets on one OS, especially when it is dependent on the fortunes of an external company.
Industry observers believe that company's like Apple, who control their own mobile OS, have an advantage over handsets all running the same OS like Android. It gives these company's greater flexibility as well as offering the opportunity to more greatly differentiate their products from competitors.
Further, with 47 percent of Nokia's handset sales coming from low-end feature phones, the company is said to be keen to deliver a contemporary mobile OS experience for these customers. With the rise of smartphones, feature phone users are expecting their low-cost handsets to work similarly to the more costly handsets on the market.
Nokia's announcement today that it is closing a European factory, was partly driven by a renewed focus on its feature phone line, which remains popular with emerging markets in the Asia region, in particular.