Sebastian Nyström - Nokia's new Head of MeeGo, Qt and WebKit

Published by Rafe Blandford at 19:47 UTC, March 8th 2011

Sebastian Nyström has been appointed as Nokia's head of MeeGo, Qt and WebKit, according to a blog post on the MeeGo website by Peter Schneider, Head of MeeGo Marketing at Nokia. In the last few years Nyström has been responsible for leading Nokia's Qt efforts and has been an eloquent spokesman for the open source framework. His new job gives him responsibility for MeeGo and WebKit activities at Nokia, in addition to his existing responsibilities for Qt. 

Before taking responsibility for Qt Nyström previously served in several roles at Nokia including Head of Innovation Acceleration. Before joining Nokia he was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey, a management consultancy company. 

In his blog post Peter Schneider shared part of a note to Nokia employees in which Sebastian Nyström outlined how he saw his role with regards to MeeGo:

  1. Launching a product from our MeeGo program later this year. We believe our upcoming device will have unique appeal to the style-conscious, connected enthusiast.
  2. Keeping Nokia on track to deliver necessary software updates following launch of the product.
  3. Working with the Linux Foundation, Intel and the wider community to plan Nokia’s future involvement in   

The post also notes we can expect to hear further details in due course, most notably at the next MeeGo Conference in San Francisco at the end of May. 

Nokia in MeeGo

Nokia plans to continue using MeeGo, with a stated aim of addressing "future disruptions" in the mobile space and exploring associated new technologies as they emerge. This is similar to the role played by Maemo in the past. These plans include the release a MeeGo powered device later this year. 

Moving forward a key area to address is Nokia's position in the MeeGo project and its working relationship with Intel and the Linux Foundation, following Nokia's recent strategy change, which saw Windows Phone become the company's primary smartphone platform. While Nokia has made it very clear that it will be maintaing an interest in MeeGo, it seems a change from the current set up (e.g. make up of the Technical Steering Group) is likely. Furthermore Nokia will have to work hard to reassure partners and the wider community about the credibility of its commitment, given some of the damage done by the largely anticipated and sudden change in strategy.

Nokia in Qt

Qt is the default developer framework on both MeeGo and Symbian platforms, but is also widely used by external companies in activities ranging from desktop applications to embedded appliances. Nokia may also consider using Qt in Series 40, although there would be significant resource requirement issues (architecture, processor and memory) to overcome.

A major Qt milestone was recently reached with the release on the Qt SDK 1.1 beta, which included the first full release of Qt Quick.

Earlier this week Digia announced it had acquired the commericial licensing and professional services portion of Qt. However Nokia remains the driving force behind Qt and recently underlined its on-going commitment to Qt.

Nokia in WebKit

Nokia uses WebKit in Qt (QtWebKit), Symbian (Web) and Series 40 (Web). QtWebkit is a Qt port of WebKit.

Symbian's Web application pioneered the use of WebKit in the mobile space and Nokia made a number of significant contributions to the open source project, but more recently has been left behind as competitors have used more recent versions of WebKit. An updated version of Nokia's Symbian Web browser, utilising a more recent version of WebKit, is expected to be released in one of the next major software updates for Symbian^3 devices.

Most Series 40 6th Edition devices and all Series 40 6th Edition Feature Pack 1 devices (Touch and Type) use a WebKit enabled browser, older Series 40 devices use a non-WebKit based browser.

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