Nokia prepares Linux OS for Low-end Smartphones

Nokia highlighted the importance of low cost Smartphone.   Currently the company tries to develop a Linux-based OS for smartphones that are going to cost less than US$100 with no subsidies.

The new OS,  known as “Meltemi”.  Nokia’s executive vice president in charge of mobile phones, Mary McDowell, leads the project.

It has been a long time since the company has been suggesting the plan for a reboot of its low-end smartphone portfolio. At its Connection event in Singapore Nokia said that Qt — a Linux-compatible cross-platform application and user interface framework – would be the best application for the new lower-end devices — and before that McDowell said that Nokia needs to find a substitute for Series 40.

Currently Series 40 uses the OS Nokia, a product segment that is believe to be going away as users demand smartphones. Nokia experimented with a Linux phone two years ago, which introduces the N900 running Linux.

On an email that got released by a Nokia spokesman, they claimed that they are not going to comment about future products. However, He could assure that their Mobile Phones team got a lot of exciting projects in the works aimed at connecting with the next billion consumers to the Internet.

Director of research at CCS Insight, Ben Wood says Nokia selecting Windows Phone over Android has a place the company in a tricky situation when it comes to low-end smartphones. There is no doubt that Android aims to push the price of smartphones in a level that is considerably lower than that of smartphones based on Windows Phone in the near-term, meaning that Nokia has a breach in its portfolio.

Wood said that Nokia either needs to improve Series 40 and make it a more vigorous competitor with a smart-like experience or look at unusual options, making [Meltemi] one of the best options.

Wood believes that Nokia does not have the money to bet its entire future on Windows Phone and if they intend to remain the volume leader it needs to intensify its efforts in the low-end smartphone segment.

He added that the low-end smartphone market is ever more important and is going to become the largest smartphone industry segment, as revealed by Francisco Jeronimo, research manager at IDC. Sales of less pricey smartphones are currently growing faster that high-end models in Western Europe and ease of use of low-end smartphones is going to be crucial in increasing sales in emerging markets.

Jeronimo added that he will not be shock if the company decided to release an inexpensive version of IPHone next week.