You don't have to be a programmer to be a mobile innovator. All you need to do is open your eyes to the fact that a smart phone or QWERTY handset is a personal computer, sans legacy baggage. In the future, user-facing computers will have more in common with the high-end mobile devices of today than with the eight-core desktops and quad-core notebooks of 2009.
We're conditioned to see mobile handsets through the lens of evolution. Car phones became cell phones, and from there took over for pagers, PIMs, PDAs, Polaroid cameras, digital voice recorders, media players, Day-Timers, the photos of nieces and nephews in our wallets, and so on. Each of these steps has taken years, mostly due to the market's narrow view of the purpose and potential of mobile devices. They're not car phones plus plus. They are not purpose-specific platforms. They are mobile computers, plain and simple.
While it's easy to imagine the iPhone as Apple TV hit with a maximum-strength shrink ray, it's harder to look at a Nokia Series 60 device without classifying it as a feature phone, smart phone, gadget-lover bait, enterprise phone, or the like. If you can make yourself think outside the box with regard to a commercial mobile device's potential, so much becomes possible.
In the case of BlackBerry, Android (at present, limited to Java), iPhone 2.0, and Windows Mobile in the post-.NET age, exploration of those possibilities is limited by boundaries drawn and enforced by manufacturers and wireless operators -- limitations that keep many devices stuck in the phone box. In contrast, Nokia offers developers a PC-like range of choices in tools, languages, and APIs: Locally runnable AJAX and widgets, Adobe SWF, standard C with Berkeley sockets, Java MIDP, Python, Symbian C++, and ARM assembly language. The steak comes with the requisite sizzle: Every Nokia Series 60 device is a media player, camera, PDA, mail client, Internet terminal, and all the rest. But the Nokia mobile platform's real power lies beneath the top-layer apps that Nokia and your wireless operator burned into your device's default firmware.
Nokia hasn't done a very good job of exposing the Nokia platform's riches –- the full-fledged computer-ness that is built into handsets –- but that's changing. Forum Nokia is the developer relations and initiatives arm of the cellular handset giant, and you can tell from the moment you hit its landing page that you're not far from transforming your understanding of what the platform can do.