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Expanding Mobile Development Tools
Nokia's Lee Epting discusses Forum Nokia's role as a tools vendor seeking to grow the mobile development community
Interview by Terrence O'Donnell

November 29, 2005

Lee Epting

With the recent announcements concerning the upcoming releases of the S60 Platform 3rd Edition and Symbian 9.1, Forum Nokia is expanding the range of opportunities for developers, including Java developers, who build applications for mobile devices to develop new applications for the next generation of feature phones and smartphones.

Lee Epting, vice president of developer operations for Nokia, spoke briefly with FTPOnline at the Nokia Mobility Conference to talk about the strides Forum Nokia is making as a tools vendor catering to the entire mobile applications development industry. (Click here to read a more recent interview with Lee Epting conducted at the CTIA Wireless 2006 Conference in Las Vegas.)

FTPOnline: Can you provide some details on the recent introduction of the Carbide family of development tools?

Lee Epting: We've had a whole suite of developer tools that have been focused on Java development. We have tools that are being developed for multimedia, personalization, customization, UI themes, multimedia converter tools, many types of ring tone-related tools, and the like. Then we've had our native tools, which are all focused on Symbian OS-based development. There we acquired the set of CodeWarrior aspects from Metrowerks, and we basically acquired the entire team from Freescale. It was Motorola when we started the engagement and Freescale when we finished, and we added a group of very talented engineers and put them into R&D.


We did that because tools are the glue that holds the stack together, everything from the underlying sort of integration with the radio, all the way up the stack to the operating system. And tools are very important components to bring that all together from the developer perspective, so why not bring them closer to R&D. They're engineers, let them teach some things internally in R&D around the importance of ensuring that we get really good integration. The whole concept here in the tools initiative is we want to drive down the cost and increase the productivity; that's what developers are looking for, a really great supportable solution that gets their productivity up and doesn't cost them a lot to use the IDE itself.

What ended up happening is we became a tools provider in the market on not only free tools, but now commercial tools for anyone developing on the Symbian OS, and that included our partners like Sony Ericsson, who are developing UIQ, and it includes folks like DoCoMo in Japan, and anyone who is doing Symbian OS-based development. We are now a tools vendor for the industry. We even provide the tools to Symbian, and we use those tools not only for developers who develop applications, but also for internal development of devices. These devices are built using Symbian tools, and we provide those tools to the company and the other partners.

Then we looked across the whole portfolio and we've got all these tools and product families, and this and that, and we needed to basically get them under a family: Carbide was launched a couple of months ago. The Carbide family has different solutions. There's Carbide.j, which is our Java tools, Carbide.vs, which is our Carbide Visual Studio plug-in for .Net 2003, and then there's our suite for Symbian OS-based development, Carbide.C++, which is the version that you saw [announced in October 2005]: the Professional edition, the Developer edition, and the Express version.

What's exciting about the Express version is it's free. We created a free tool offering within the native environment. We really are focused on getting developers who previously wouldn't have come on and started new development for Symbian OS-based devices to come on board with no entry cost. We think there's a whole slew of developers out there, like Palm developers, who are now moving off of that platform because they can see that future opportunity is diminished there. They can come here and get Express at no cost and get an experience that they're very familiar with.

We're creating different layers, different levels of offerings in the market and getting the barriers down. We have the Professional edition if you're doing device development, and then we have the Developer's edition, which is for the more serious developer who wants access to certain pieces of the technology—the compiler, the emulator, things they wouldn't get in the free version.

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