Even though Nokia Corp. decided not to develop its own platform for high-end smartphones and abandoned its MeeGo operating system in favour of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Phone, the company plans to design a brand-new OS aimed specifically on feature phones, or handsets in the entry-level price-segment. The plan vastly contradicts to Microsoft's and Nokia's own strategies.
The new operating system designed specifically for low-cost devices is code code-named Meltemi, the Greek word for dry summer winds that blow across the Aegean Sea from the north. The project is a Linux-based operating system that is being led by Mary McDowell, the handset maker's executive vice president in charge of mobile phones, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
No details about the project have been revealed so far and it is likely that Meltemi is on an early stage of its development. In fact, without any potential launch timeframes or release dates, it is impossible to estimate target feature-set or potential success of the platform.
At present entry-level mobile phones - so-called feature-phones - come with pre-loaded operating systems that cannot be upgraded or improved. Eventually, it is highly-likely that such handsets will obtain scalable OSs that will not support the latest and the trendiest features, but which will offer basic applications. In fact, even today feature phones support Java applications, so in future they may get something better. Naturally, the next-gen operating systems will have to support things like 3.5G, 4G, 4.5G, Wi-Fi, touch-screens, different form-factors and so on. It remains to be seen how much of MeeGo and Symbian code will be used for Meltemi as developing a new software from scratch amid dropping sales is a risky move.
The emergence of Meltemi operating system does not fit into Nokia's own as well as Microsoft's Windows Phone strategies. The software giant earlier this year said that eventually Windows Phone will power $100 - $150 smartphones, whereas the still largest mobile phone maker told journalists that it would cease selling feature-phones and Symbian-based devices in the U.S. and will only sell Windows Phone-based products. That said, Meltemi will either never reach the USA or Nokia changes its strategy again.
Nokia did not comment on the news-story.