Nokia tempts developers with free E7 and WP7 phones

Nokia E7Nokia is eager to get its disgruntled and displaced Symbian developers, and free handsets are the first trick up its sleeve. In exchange for continued efforts from its coders, the manufacturer has promised the Nokia E7 as well as a Nokia WP7 device (once available) for free.

Slash Gear got wind of an e-mail to the Nokia community teasing the free phones. The statement was released via Nokia’s members-only Launchpad service, which serves as its mobile app development sector. And in the wake of its Microsoft partnership it’s going to need this community’s help. Nokia will be merging its own Ovi Store with Windows Phone 7 software, and will rely on outside app developers to make sure the transition is a smooth and successful one.

Choosing Windows Phone 7 over Android OS was a somewhat controversial decision. Both Nokia and WP7 have had their respective struggles, and a collaboration with the two seemed like it might only expose their collective weaknesses. An Android collaboration would have given Nokia an established mobile name and OS, as well as immediate access to increasing numbers of apps and developers. But despite popular opinion and the threat of dissent (which may have never been real), the WP7 integration played out, and that’s where the manufacturer stands.

But a Nokia-WP7 merger isn’t completely without its merits, and in order to excite (or maybe even bribe) developers, it’s shipping out tangible thank yous to its Launchpad community. Check out the letter in full below.

18 February 2011

Dear Launchpad member,

In light of the strategy announcement made by Nokia and Microsoft last week, we are writing to you today to assure you that our commitment to you and your work to develop innovative apps for Nokia devices remains as strong as ever.

We understand that you have a lot of questions, and want to reassure you that we understand and we are here to listen to your feedback and provide you with information. We encourage you to visit Nokia Conversations where you can find a great deal of information regarding the news and which can help to answer some initial questions.

We are very energized by recent developments, and believe the opportunities to develop for Nokia devices are as exciting and lucrative today as they have ever been. In addition to the opportunities coming soon with Nokia and WP7, we have several new benefits to share with you today, intended to help accelerate your app business to reach the 225 million app-hungry Nokia smartphone owners worldwide today.

Today, Qt developers can target more than 100 million Nokia devices for their apps and we have announced that we plan to sell an additional 150 million Symbian devices. Nokia will continue to provide free Qt trainings to help you learn how to make the most of this sophisticated cross-development platform. We’re enthusiastically meeting the demand, so please let us know whether you’d like a training set up in your area.

We are also excited to offer you one free admission to the next Nokia World/Nokia Developer Summit later this year. We will take care of the registration costs.

To assist you with your development activities in the near-term, we will ship one free Nokia E7 device to all program members. Additionally, we will send to you one free Nokia WP7 device, as soon as it becomes available.

To accelerate your mobile app development, we will provide free tech support on all Nokia technologies for the next three months (up to 10 tickets). Equally, if you would like to take advantage of a free User Experience evaluation of one of your apps, please let us know and we will work with you to make those arrangements.

We will also be extending our business development support to all Nokia developer and content program members who are currently developing apps for Nokia devices, and we will assist in publishing those apps in Nokia’s Ovi Store. We will continue to offer ideas and guidance for ways to fully promote your published apps so that you can reap the rewards of your hard work.

If you have any questions, or need any help from us in the days ahead, we want you to know that you can count on us to be there for you. We are truly excited about working with you to discover new opportunities that will lead to future successes.

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