Ushering in the Nokia Asha SDK

In what was probably a long-awaited and already-delayed move, Nokia has recently released a standard development kit (SDK) for its Asha operating system (OS), which powers many of the lower-end smartphones, it has flooded the Indian market with.

The move was long-awaited, because since 2011, when the Asha series phones were first launched, there were very few options to develop mobile apps for the OS other than to resort to whatever manoeuvrability the Java 2 Mobile Edition’s (J2ME) SDK offered for them. True, that Asha’s SDK 1.0 also resorts to the same J2ME platform, but here you have some extra features, and the SDK also comes with support for some pre-built apps within the OS as well as some features specific to the Nokia Asha phones. This makes it worth downloading and using for small developers, the likes of whom have time and again taken the app-world by storm with their nifty little products for Apple’s iOS as well as Google’s Android platforms.

As for why the move can be called much-delayed, it is apparent from the market lead that Apple Store and Google Play have taken when it comes to providing apps for every conceivable need. As any mobile-maker worth his salt would tell you, it is not always possible for the phone makers to make all the apps for their proprietary firmware. That’s where independent app-makers come in, and cash in on the demand for, say, a free office productivity suite or a media player. By that logic, the Nokia Asha SDK should have been available to developers on or even before the first Asha-powered phones appeared in the market.

But now the Asha SDK is here, and developers are already diving into the deep end of the pool, thereby unearthing the first teething problems, in the form of non-compatible requests or system crashes, in the kit. It’s still a start, and Nokia, with the introduction of this SDK, will look to regain the market share it once enjoyed in India. After all, people are expected to gravitate towards it once there are enough apps to be downloaded to rival the functionalities offered by the Apple Store or Google Play. Then there’s also the part about Nokia releasing 10 videos to help teach the handling of the SDK, and actually running some of the newly-developed apps on physical phones by a remote connection, and the possibilities may add a twinkle to many a developer’s eye. After all, his or her app may be the reason people may buy more Nokia phones in the future.

Arkadev Ghoshal

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(Contributed by Karthik Ramachandran)

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