Nokia and Open Source

Stefan Constantinescu over at Intomobile made me aware of an interesting podcast with Ari Jaaksi he must have given recently at an open source developer conference (not sure which one).  In the podcast, Ari talks about Nokia’s involvement and interest in Open Source for their Internet tablet and for the open source based applications on their S60 platform (e.g. the Webkit browser).

It’s interesting to compare Nokia’s Open Source involvement with that of Google/Android: Nokia uses Open Source software to create their own (hardware) products. This is good for them because they can build products quicker, it’s good for the open source community as the contribute back to the community, and it’s good for application developers as they have a reasonably open platform for which they can develop their applications.

Google’s approach with Android, however, is quite different. Their interest is creating a platform for themselves and others so that hopefully many companies develop devices and software based on Android.

In the short term, Nokia’s concept works quite well as the Internet tablets they have built around their Maemo platform are great and there is not yet much competition. In the mid- and long term, however, I see their approach sidelined a bit once Linux in general and Google/Android in particular become more widespread in the mobile world. And Intel is pushing with their Mobile Internet Devices, too, likely to become a nice hardware platform in the future for new device manufacturers which then need to look for an open OS. Nokia’s Maemo is then just one of many Linux based partly/fully open operating system but limited to Nokia products while other Linux based OS’es will run on more devices.

What do you think, might there be a point when Nokia opens up Maemo for third party devices?