Nokia Seeks Developer Cooperation With Eclipse Membership

Nokia is making moves to draw more developers to its platform in an increasingly open-source software landscape. Part of the phone maker’s strategy is getting a little cozier with the Eclipse Foundation.

Nokia this week joined the Eclipse Foundation as a “strategic developer” and board member. Nokia said it will support the Eclipse open-source community’s work by contributing software and developers to a proposed new Eclipse project.

“By working closely with Eclipse, and proposing a new open-source mobile development tools project, we will provide the more than two million registered developers in our Forum Nokia program with complete integrated tool packages optimized for Nokia platforms,” said Pertti Korhonen, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Nokia.

Developers at the Core

As a Strategic Developer in the Eclipse Foundation, Nokia will lead a project to create a framework for mobile Java developer tools, including complete tooling support for J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition).

The project’s goal is to deliver a sustainable mobile tools offering for all developers and companies who wish to create mobile Java applications and build commercial tools for Java.

“The name of the game is developers, developers and developers,” Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg said. “The more you can get people on to your platform, the more attractive the platform then looks to end users that have to make deployment decisions.”

Building Forum

Korhonen said Nokia’s membership in Eclipse reinforces the company’s commitment to open-source initiatives. He called it an “important step” that enables the company to simplify its creation of tools and further harmonize its development tools offering across all Nokia software platforms.

Nokia said it plans to donate several components of its existing Java development tools technology as well as actively develop new software to introduce tools for the creation of both MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) and CDC (Connected Device Configuration) based mobile Java applications. Nokia also plans to use the Eclipse tools platform widely in its tools portfolio and will actively contribute to several existing Eclipse projects beyond the scope of Java.

“We expect to benefit from open-source innovation and to create interest and active participation in Nokia-led mobile tools projects for the benefit of all members of the Eclipse community,” Korhonen said.

It’s All in the Timing

Nokia is no stranger to Eclipse initiatives. In 2004, the company announced support for the Eclipse platform in the Nokia Developer’s Suite for J2ME and the Nokia Mobile Server Services SDK. That same year, Nokia contributed key development resources and leadership to the Embedded Rich Client Platform (eRCP) project at Eclipse.

Nokia also has provided the ability for Java developers to integrate any Nokia platform SDK supporting MIDP into the Eclipse environment and will make additional Eclipse tools announcements in the fourth quarter of 2005 as part of its plan to host the majority of its tools offerings in Eclipse.

Why did Nokia decide to formally join Eclipse now? Gartenberg said at a time when the phone maker is facing increasing competition, Eclipse membership may look more attractive than it once did. It also takes time for a manufacturing giant to make moves.

“It’s too early to tell if this will pay off for Nokia,” Gartenberg said. “But I think we’ll see a lot of efforts from Nokia to evangelize the marketplace so it does happen.”

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