Ever since Nokia handed off open-source, multi-platform application framework Qt to Finnish software and services firm Digia, a lot of people have been waiting for the final updated version (v 5.0).

That wait is over, just in time for Christmas: Digia today announced the release of Qt 5.0 (which you can download for Mac, Windows or Linux here) as well as an updated version of Qt Creator (2.6.1).

Here’s a quick video introduction:

Digia refers to Qt 5.0 as a “major overhaul over the Qt 4.x series that have been around since 2005″, and says it has focused on making the framework fit for the future.

Qt 5.0 comes as a full SDK package with binaries for Linux (64 and 32 bit), Mac OS X (10.7 and 10.8) and Windows. It will support iOS, Android but also BlackBerry and, to some extent, Windows 8.

Here’s how Digia pitches Qt 5.0 in a press release:

Digia has announced the launch of Qt 5.0, a major new version of the popular cross-platform application and user interface development framework for desktop, embedded and mobile applications. Qt 5 delivers a step function increase in performance, functionality and ease of use and will be the platform on which full Android and iOS support will be delivered during the coming year.

Key benefits of Qt 5 include: graphics quality; performance on constrained hardware; cross-platform portability; support for C++11; HTML5 support with QtWebKit 2; a vastly improved QML engine with new APIs; ease of use and compatibility with Qt 4 versions.

Digia promises that most – which means, notably, not all – applications that were compatible with Qt 4.x will work smoothly, barring perhaps just a few modifications and a simple recompile, on Qt 5. Qt Widgets are also fully supported, the company adds.

As for what comes next:

“There are a few things we’re still working on for the 5.0 series. We have bugs that we want to fix. We currently do not have binary packages for MinGW (as WebKit doesn’t yet work with it yet) and MSVC 2012 (you’ll need to compile from source), and we’ll work on delivering these as soon as possible.

The current plan is to have a first patch level release, 5.0.1, some time before the end of January.”

Finally, Digia points out that no less than 427 people contributed changes to the code base.

The framework is used by the likes of Skype, the European Space Agency, DreamWorks, Google, HP, Lucasfilm, Samsung and Research In Motion. Overall, Digia claims 450,000 developers worldwide use Qt.

It is available under GPL v3, LGPL v2 and a commercial license (for which there is a 30-day free trial available).

Also read:

Finland’s Digia opens US office to push Qt development in the States

Top image credit: Thinkstock