Nokia: We can change WP7, but why would we?

Nokia may not tinker with the Windows Phone 7 operating system as deeply as has been suggested, according to Nokia's CTO.

Since the Nokia-Microsoft partnership first became official on February 11, tech outlets - including Neowin - have made much of comments suggesting Nokia would have carte blanche access to the underlying foundations of WP7 and may use that access to customize the user experience.

But in a Q&A session at the Mobile World Congress earlier this week, Nokia Chief Technology Officer Rich Greene appeared keen to put such speculation to rest, once and for all.

In the session, covered by WPCentral, Mr Greene accepted that Nokia had been given the right to ''manipulate'' the Windows Phone experience, but questioned why his company would do so.

''We certainly do, in the context of this agreement, have the right to manipulate the UX, the UI, etc. but...I'm not speaking for the plan, I'm speaking as the Chief Technology Officer: Why would you?'' he said.

While Nokia wants people to gravitate towards their WP7 devices - the first of which may arrive late this year - he said ''variance'' between the experience on devices from different manufacturers would become a hindrance for users.

''The hardware and additional services we can offer will bring people to us, but if there are unfamiliar with a different environment, there may be a barrier to that, so why do it?'' he said.

The company would focus its energies building ''on the platform'' rather than in it, he said.

''There's unlimited amounts of opportunity to differentiate and innovate in these things,'' he said.

To be fair, the MWC session is not the first time Nokia has played down suggestions it would take a wrecking ball to the Windows Phone experience. On the very day Microsoft and Nokia announced their partnership, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop emphasised that while his company could change WP7, it would not necessarily do so.

''I want to put up a warning here. Someone asked me today that if you could change everything on the Windows Phone interface to suit Nokia, would you? Yes. We can do all of that. We have the ability to do all of that. But that could be the worst possible thing we do. We are trying to build commonality in terms of user experience,'' he said.

WPCentral also reported that in the same MWC session this week, Windows Phone general manager Matthew Bencke suggested Microsoft would tap Nokia's mapping experience to integrate geolocation features into their platform.

''I can imagine a geopowered hub...for geoinformed activities,'' he said.

Meantime, Reuters reports Mr Elop has told Finnish journalists the Nokia-Microsoft partnership would be finalised ''in a couple of months (or) it might take a bit longer''.

Image Credit: Staenz

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45 Comments

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Yah, i think, Nokia cant do any good to the smartphone by playing with its operating system. Their own operating systems are real slow.

so your not just selling another wp7 handset? if they dont customise it then why buy nokia over any other wp7 phone.

Nokia's CEO Elop is gonna be out

addc182 said,
so your not just selling another wp7 handset? if they dont customise it then why buy nokia over any other wp7 phone.

Nokia's CEO Elop is gonna be out


read the topic?
its about customizing the looks. They also noted that they will add in their own market and other things to be part of the OS, they just dont want to change the looks of WP7... whats wrong with consistancy?

addc182 said,
so your not just selling another wp7 handset? if they dont customise it then why buy nokia over any other wp7 phone.

Nokia's CEO Elop is gonna be out

Elop is in for the long run, there's more coming from this whole thing, Nokia will most likely expand into tablets and other forms of mobile computing and it will be all based on Windows 8.

Maybe tear-out Internet Explorer and replace it with something WebKit-based?

I won't buy a phone if that little blue "e" is on there.

lunarworks said,
Maybe tear-out Internet Explorer and replace it with something WebKit-based?

I won't buy a phone if that little blue "e" is on there.


you been living under a rock since the 90s have you not?

lunarworks said,
Maybe tear-out Internet Explorer and replace it with something WebKit-based?

I won't buy a phone if that little blue "e" is on there.

IE will be updated to a mobile version of IE9 and that's just fine.

Add qt to the core, that's what they need to have a seperate team working on. That'll make all the existing developers happy. That'll make Nokia WP7 phones have a huge stock of additional apps available for it and make it a deciding factor on getting a Nokia or other mfg WP7 hardware

NXTwoThou said,
Add qt to the core, that's what they need to have a seperate team working on. That'll make all the existing developers happy. That'll make Nokia WP7 phones have a huge stock of additional apps available for it and make it a deciding factor on getting a Nokia or other mfg WP7 hardware

Indeed. Let the OEMs compete to build on the quality of WP7. Microsoft saves money that way.

"'variance between the experience on devices from different manufacturers would become a hindrance for users."

We have the ability to do all of that. But that could be the worst possible thing we do.

+1

Why is everybody pointing only on the UI? Nokia could change other things like make, finally, possible for people that bought a WP7 device to configure MMS settings to work with their provider...... and this is just an example.......

Actually, if they had simplified WP7 version (something like Kin have), it would work great on 100-200$ devices.

х.iso said,
Actually, if they had simplified WP7 version (something like Kin have), it would work great on 100-200$ devices.

then it lacks functionality compared to other smart phones.

Shadowzz said,

then it lacks functionality compared to other smart phones.

Microsoft will be introducing a version of Windows Phone for less expensive handsets, most likely for the $150.00 dollars and under price points. When Nokia fazes out Symbian, some flavors of Windows Phone will be used for the phones used in less developed countries where basic versions of Nokia phones are sold now.

I love the standard UI very much, simple and pretty. I just want a damn phone that looks stylish and functional. I love my EVO now but just waiting to get my hands on a sprint WP7 device.

Nokia: We can change WP7, but why would we?

Pull the other one. How much do you really think Microsoft would allow you to change. Their OS's are notoriously locked-down.

Flawed said,

Pull the other one. How much do you really think Microsoft would allow you to change. Their OS's are notoriously locked-down.

Did you even read anything about this agreement?

Flawed said,

Pull the other one. How much do you really think Microsoft would allow you to change. Their OS's are notoriously locked-down.

how are they notoriously locked-down?
the desktop/server OS, your free to do whatever you want with it. They just dont hand out the sourcecode of what your using.
And as announcent by microsoft, WP7 is only so 'locked' because its all new, they are opening it up more and more.
And boohoo that microsoft stands for a consistant theme and look with their products. which is only a good thing.

"Why would you?"
I thought one of Nokia's primary reasons for passing on Android was that they didn't want to be "just another Android manufacturer". Now if they don't customise the WP7 UI, wouldn't that make them just another WP7 manufacturer?

I have to agree with the poster above. It seems that MS's long term strategy for Nokia is to absorb it completely, so they would have the ability to build their own phones in-house, just like Apple does. When thought this way, the "Why would we?" argument makes a lot more sense.

recursive said,
"Why would you?"
I thought one of Nokia's primary reasons for passing on Android was that they didn't want to be "just another Android manufacturer". Now if they don't customise the WP7 UI, wouldn't that make them just another WP7 manufacturer?

U know what? Windows Phone 7's UI is one of the most innovative features. They seriously don't need to change it. If they do, at least i'm not gonna buy Windows Phone from Nokia.

It's kind of like skinning Windows. With 7 (both phone and PC OS), there's no real need to do it. It's just fine how it is.

thenonhacker said,

LEAVE WP7 UI ALONE!!!!!!! :'(

IT'S AN OPERATING SYSTEM!!!!!!!!!!!! - Phone Crocker

EDIT: But, no, seriously, they're the only company besides MSFT with access, (legal too!) of WP7's source, & they don't wanaa do anything? I mean, there's gotta be SOMETHING they'd like, that's possible their, but isn't their...

Ely said,
I agree with him, it's incredible how organic and easy to work with the WP7 UI is, leave it alone.

Yes that was my fear as well, I do recall Stephen Elop also saying that there was no need to change the Windows phone UI , I see maybe some customization but overall they will leave the UI alone and rightly so.

In five years, and if Nokia stock doesn't crash too hard from this, Nokia will be owned by Microsoft and these will become Microsoft's in-house produced phones. Consider this Microsoft's "trial period" of the company now with Microsoft in charge via Mr Elop, before they spend money in it and take any financial risks. This is a Microsoft guy talking - of course he doesn't want to change anything. To the contrary, I think he'd likely be willing to get bought by MS.

The price range and demography that Nokia has aimed for in the past is a perfect match for Microsoft's ambitions in affordable consumer electronics. They wouldn't even have to compete much with Apple.

+1

well said

Northgrove said,
In five years, and if Nokia stock doesn't crash too hard from this, Nokia will be owned by Microsoft and these will become Microsoft's in-house produced phones. Consider this Microsoft's "trial period" of the company now with Microsoft in charge via Mr Elop, before they spend money in it and take any financial risks. This is a Microsoft guy talking - of course he doesn't want to change anything. To the contrary, I think he'd likely be willing to get bought by MS.

The price range and demography that Nokia has aimed for in the past is a perfect match for Microsoft's ambitions in affordable consumer electronics. They wouldn't even have to compete much with Apple.

Northgrove said,
In five years, and if Nokia stock doesn't crash too hard from this, Nokia will be owned by Microsoft and these will become Microsoft's in-house produced phones.

Sadly, I think you are right.

Oh Nokia, what a monkey's mess you've made of things

Northgrove said,
In five years, and if Nokia stock doesn't crash too hard from this, Nokia will be owned by Microsoft and these will become Microsoft's in-house produced phones.

NO. I think it wouldn't be bad.

Northgrove said,

The price range and demography that Nokia has aimed for in the past is a perfect match for Microsoft's ambitions in affordable consumer electronics. They wouldn't even have to compete much with Apple.

Yeah.

20legend said,

Sadly, I think you are right.

Oh Nokia, what a monkey's mess you've made of things

Unfortunately Nokia created this mess for itself by relying to long on an old way of doing things.
That aside, Nokia is almost unrivaled for its expertise and the high quality of its premium handsets and I believe that WP7 and Nokia's high quality phones will be a powerful combination.

I look forward to the future of this combination.

Exactly, there's no real need to change the core OS. HTC have taken Android and put what is effectively a custom launcher in there, and that's great, but vanilla Android is great too, and is what I'd want on my handset.