Qt fork offers Nokia developers an Android path

Symbian developers angry at the news that they will be expected to ditch the popular Qt framework when Nokia makes the move to Windows Mobile have been given a fresh option, thanks to the release of a Qt fork for Android.

Announced earlier this week by developer Bogdan Vatra, the Necessitas Suite is completely unapproved by both Nokia and Google - but could offer Symbian and MeeGo developers a route into a larger ecosystem that won't be going away any time soon.

Despite Microsoft's assurances that the Symbian market is still worth developing for and will continue to grow, the company's partnership with Nokia and the announcement that future Nokia smartphones would run Windows Phone was met with concern by developers.

Recent comments by Microsoft's Matt Bencke suggesting that Symbian coders should look to learning Windows Phone programming haven't helped - and confirm reports that the popular Qt GUI framework used in Symbian won't be making it to Windows Phone any time soon.

That leaves Symbian developers, who have grown used to using Qt, starting from scratch should they move to Windows Mobile. The Necessitas Suite, which brings Qt to Android, potentially offers a simpler way to move beyond what is increasingly looking like a platform without a long term future.

According to a report on The H, the suite is currently in an early alpha stage - with Vatra admitting that the API is not currently stable enough for production use. With the open-source project, which is licensed under a BSD licence, gathering interest, that's likely to improve rapidly - and could spell trouble for Microsoft's plan to snatch up the large, experienced Symbian coding community for Windows Phone.

The alpha release of the Necessitas Suite can be downloaded from the project's SourceForge page.