Nokia gives Mac (and Linux) users the finger … again! (corrected)

Update: I thought I’d try get in touch with Kalle Ojala (he is in the video below) and chat to him about plans for the Ovi Suite on other platforms after my rant below. Turns out it is a good idea to actually reach out to the people working on the developments I am ranting about and doing a little research before publishing the rant.

I will hopefully have an opportunity to chat to Kalle in some format about plans for the the Ovi Suite on the Mac (Linux is apparently a little tricky) and I’ll publish a follow up post.

I am going to keep this post here as a reminder to myself just how wrong I can go sometimes. It seems that I was off base just based on my initial interaction with Kalle today. One of the dangers of being an impulsive blogger and not a trained journalist!

Update 2: The FAQ on the site (look under “Learn More”) has been updated with the following:

6. Are you also going to release a Nokia Ovi Suite for Mac?
Yes, a version of Nokia Ovi Suite for Mac will be released at some time in the future.

7. How about Linux?
Nokia Ovi Suite has the tech enablers, but building an linux support for Ovi Suite is not in the scope currently. Naturally we are constantly following how the desktop operating system markets evolves.

Nokia has just launched Ovi Suite 2.0 beta which is intended to replace all those other versions of Nokia PC Suite which you may have for all of your phones. The new desktop software has a new look and has pretty much been designed from the ground up. Here is a little background from the Nokia press release:

We’ve changed the direction and thought about what would be the ideal Nokia desktop app for our users. We’ve analyzed existing apps, looked how different people use them and really started to think what the primary use cases users need are. Then we started drawing, designing, usability testing, planning, implementing, and testing a totally new Qt-based Nokia desktop application, which we now bring to you for Beta testing: Nokia Ovi Suite 2.0, a fresh start to Nokia’s desktop presence. With Qt we were able to make the UI look fresh and light.

Fabulous. The new software looks fantastic. The catch? Well, despite having started from a clean slate, there is still no version of the Ovi Suite for anyone other than a Windows user! So this means no software update via your MacBook or Linux machine (yes, more and more Nokia devices will be able to update over the air … one day, but still). There are other apps for Macs which allow you to update Maps and so on but Mac users are very much second class citizens and Linux users are those cousins from another country with bad personal hygiene who you pretend are on another planet – they just don’t feature.

The reason for the emphasis on Windows compatibility in the past has been that the majority of users are Windows users and so receive the lion’s share of the developers’ attention. This held water, to a point, but now that Nokia has rewritten the application using, even in part, the cross-platform Qt development environment (or whatever it is classified as) I don’t accept that rationale anymore. Jbernardo pointed this out in the discussion forum:

Since Nokia bought Trolltech, a qt based multi-platform application should be easy, right? You’d have Mac, Linux and Windows native versions with the same codebase!

This is the sort of development decision I’d expect from a startup with a very limited development budget, not an organisation with Nokia’s resources. So why are there still no versions for Mac and Linux users? This is just nuts. If anything Nokia is giving Mac users fewer reasons to buy its products. As you know the iPhone 3GS released recently and as a Mac user, it is very appealing. I was sitting with my son a couple nights ago waiting for him to fall asleep (lots of thinking time) and I was comparing the N97 and the iPhone 3GS. The two devices are pretty evenly matched as I see it and the one thing the iPhone 3GS has over the N97 (and any other Nokia device) is its compatibility with my MacBook. You plug it in, it syncs, updates and does stuff seamlessly. I’m looking forward to getting a N97 but I do wonder how easy it will be to sync with my iTunes playlists, my contacts and calendars via iSync and so on. I can understand why Mac users go to the iPhone immediately. If there was at least a Mac version of the same software that Windows users used (let’s not forget Linux users either) then I would be secure in the knowledge that there was a bridge between my phone and my MacBook that covered my bases. Heck, even Apple has an option for Windows users through iTunes (ok, once again sorry for you Linux users who are forced to come up with some other solution).

Unfortunately I am not in a big enough demographic to get any real attention from Nokia. Linux users can whistle for any real attention (they’ll probably look to Android for their smartphone goodness). What will it take for Nokia to develop an Ovi Suite for all Nokia fans or is Nokia just not interested in us non-Windows users? Doesn’t seem like it at all.

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