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Nokia fans grill exec in Twitter Q&A

Users continue to hope for Nokia turnaround

A Nokia executive revealed little new information during an hour-long question-and-answer session via Twitter, but the questions posed show that even though the phone maker has ceded ground to more popular new entrants, fans hope it can stage a comeback.

Several people who are clearly fond of their N900 phones expressed their dismay at feeling abandoned. The N900 runs Maemo, an operating system Nokia developed based on Debian Linux. Earlier this year Nokia said it would merge Maemo with Moblin, an open-source operating system that Intel developed.

"You've created the supercool N900. Why are you abandoning it in terms of software support?" a user called kevinp93 asked. "I own a Nokia N900 and believe it is one of the best smartphones, but why didn't Nokia market it well?" another fan, Praveen Chand, asked.

However, Niklas Savander, head of sales and marketing for Nokia and the executive taking the questions, didn't address those or other questions about the N900.

Some questions pointed to a desire for an improved app store and developer support, topics that Nokia has been criticized for in the past.

"Nokia is losing its mkt share faster than imaginable. Why can't you adopt Apple's experience for devs & users? You'll win," Denis Baranov wrote.

"Why do companies like Evernote & Dropbox develop apps for all platforms except Symbian? Any effort made to get them on board?" Nikhil Pai asked.

Savander didn't address those questions directly, but pointed out that there are 1.7 million downloads a day from the Ovi Store and vaguely said that the company is creating better dialogue with developers and operators to address the problem of attracting more developers. His comment was in response to a suggestion that Nokia offer a promotion where it gives developers all revenues, less costs, rather than the traditional split.

Questions around MeeGo, Nokia's high-end operating system that will first appear on a phone later this year, show people are confused about the phone maker's strategy. "Why not focus on a refreshed Symbian OR MeeGo?" Twitter user Yann Lossouarn asked.

"Don't you think Symbian 3 is a waste of money, seeing as you have MeeGo/Maemo for high end devices?" Florian Jensen wrote.

"How will Nokia clarify positioning of Symbian/Meego and dispel perception Symbian is antiquated?" Phil Linttell wondered.

Savander didn't reply to any of those questions directly. He did say to expect a "major product milestone" related to MeeGo by the end of the year. Nokia, which has said that MeeGo will be the operating system for its high-end phones, had already said to expect the first phones then.

A post on the Nokia blog offers a roundup of questions based on topic, with Savander's answers.

Even if he didn't answer all the questions via Twitter, Savander seems to have managed to spread some goodwill. Many people expressed their appreciation for his time in considering their questions.

And one lucky Nokia fan is particularly appreciative. Simon Botes, who lives in South Africa, wrote this Twitter message directed to Savander: "My 1 wish for Nokia is to help me get to NokiaWorld2010." To which Savander replied: "Consider your wish granted!"

Nokia World is an annual conference, this year held in London, attended by operators, retailers, developers and analysts.

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