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Battle for developers heats up at Mobile World Congress

Developers key in smartphone OS war

Nokia, Microsoft and the operator-led Wholesale Applications Community have been added to the App Planet developer conference roster, which will take place during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, the GSM Association said on Monday.

The list of participating companies already includes Research In Motion (RIM), HP and Samsung, which is there to push its Bada platform, according to the conference programme.

A daylong Windows Phone 7 session will cover all aspects of development, including building applications and games as well as tips on how to make money. The BlackBerry Developer Day will offer insights into RIM's upcoming tablet PlayBook. Nokia and the Wholesale Applications Community are still working on their agenda. However, Nokia will likely focus on the Qt development platform, which it earlier this year decided to solely focus on for both internal and external development.

The formation of the Wholesale Applications Community was announced at Mobile World Congress 2010, with the goal of allowing people to use one platform to develop and distribute web-based mobile applications that can run on multiple phones and be sold by many different operators.

The common theme with all these vendors and their platforms is that they are trailing Apple's iOS and Google's Android in developer interest, according to Nick Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

There are too many OSes for smartphones and competition will increase even further during 2011, according to Jones. Attracting developers will be key to stay relevant, he said.

To attract developers, vendors have to combine the promise of making developers rich and famous with the availability of good tools, both in-house and from third parties.

For example, Nokia has improved its own tools, but they need better backing from third party tool providers, according to Jones. The company should pay some of the leading multiplatform application development tool vendors to support Symbian as soon as possible, he wrote in a recent blog post.

Apple and Google are absent from the list of vendors with their own sessions at App Planet. However, developers interested in iOS and Apple's products can attend the Macworld Mobile event.

In addition to events concentrating on specific smartphone OSes, developers can also attend a Mobile Cloud Forum and an LTE Forum, which was also added on Monday


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