Nokia doesn’t seem to get it. They are obviously a more hardware-oriented company and so their software mistakes are happening over and again. I am speaking of the mistake of breaking application and ABI/API compatibility with each new major release. They did the mistake with Symbian S60 3.0 and N800, and now they will do it again for Maemo 4.0.
When Symbian S60 3.0 came out on April 2006, there were about 1900 S60 2.x applications out there. A year later, there are fewer than 300 applications for 3.0 because simply, developers didn’t care to put up with this inconvenience.
Same goes for the 770 and N800 internet tablets. There were 300 apps for the N770, and so far are fewer than 60 apps for the N800. Shouldn’t this be a good indication to Nokia as to what people want? It doesn’t seems so. I now read that the compatibility between the N770, N800 and the future tablet will be broken AGAIN. Why? Because they don’t want to take the engineering time to write their code in a way that keeps compatibility, because that takes time and effort.
Palm has made it so far with very few OS updates just because users have 30,000 apps to choose from. This in itself is a “feature” of the platform. Windows Mobile, albeit a newer platform than PalmOS, it has about 20,000 apps to choose from. Nokia (and Motorola) must get with the program. People want compatibility. This is what it creates a platform and builds trust with both users & developers. If you want to introduce new APIs, make sure the older ones still work.