What is the future for Qt?

Published by Steve Litchfield at 7:53 UTC, February 13th 2011

One of the implications of Friday's announcements was that in Nokia drastically reducing further development of the Symbian OS and ecosystem, the future of Qt, its next-gen development platform, was also put into doubt. After all, it's argued, Windows Phone has its own tool-chain and Qt simply isn't needed. Daniel Kihlberg, one of the top guys at Nokia's Qt division, has responded to the uncertainty with a rallying article, of which some quotes are copied below.

Daniel writes, on the Qt blog:

Qt will continue to play an important role in Nokia. Consider the following:

  • The retention of Nokia’s 200 million Symbian-users is vital and Nokia has targeted sales of 150 million more Symbian-devices in years to come.  To achieve that Nokia needs to continue the modernization of Symbian in Qt – to keep existing consumers engaged and to attract new customers, either upgrading from existing Symbian devices to Qt enabled devices or entirely new to Nokia.
  • Nokia also announced it will ship its first MeeGo-related device in 2011, which will rely on the Qt ecosystem – and then will continue with MeeGo as an open source project for future disruption.  Nokia can’t afford to be behind the next disruption again and Qt can play an important role in making sure it isn’t.
  • With Qt Quick and Qt SDK 1.1 releases in the coming months we are expecting the Qt developer community to continue to grow – adding to the 400.000 developers using Qt today. Qt is developed together with the community and we expect the pace of innovation to increase even further as the community grows.
  • We in Nokia are one of tens of thousands of companies in multiple industries actively using and contributing to Qt, making Qt relevant for both mobile, desktop and other embedded developers

It's clear that keeping Qt (and indeed Symbian) developers motivated will be a big challenge in 2011, while we see how Stephen Elop's gamble on Windows Phone plays out - if the 150 million new Symbian users is anywhere near accurate then Qt does have a future in smartphones. If not, then Qt could end up as another interesting development initiative that never fulfilled its potential.

Comments welcome if you develop in Qt. How reassured are you?

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