Nokia and the Symbian Foundation announced Monday some major changes surrounding the open source Symbian OS. First and foremost, the Symbian Foundation will no longer be responsible for OS development as of March 2011. Instead, Nokia will take on the task, leaving the Foundation responsible for licensing the software to manufacturers and other partners. Nokia says the move will allow it to issue updates more efficiently. As other manufacturers continue to look elsewhere, Nokia says it is still committed to the Symbian OS, which is currently the most popular smartphone operating system in the world by a wide margin. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
Symbian Foundation head Lee Williams has stepped down from his role effective Tuesday, the company said in an official statement. Williams, whose title was Executive Director, has been replaced by former Chief Financial Officer Tim Holbrow. Symbian is majority-owned by Nokia, a company that is no stranger to shakeups at the top — the Finnish manufacturer recently named a new CEO and shuffled several executive roles. Nokia also lost its head of mobile solutions last month when Anssi Vanjoki resigned. Despite all this turmoil and a constant stream of criticism from media, blogs and even users, Nokia’s Symbian OS remains the most popular smartphone operating system in the world by a significant margin. Hit the jump for the Symbian Foundation’s full statement. More →
It is official. The Symbian Foundation has released Symbian as an open source product today, four months ahead of its scheduled mid-2010 completion date. As with other open source projects, the move will allow developers to modify and contribute to the source code in hopes of improving the overall quality and hastening the development of the operating system. An open source Symbian can also be installed on any compatible device for free which should help to further expand Symbian’s reach and solidify Symbian’s position as the dominant mobile OS worldwide. Beating Android to the punch, Symbian will publish its platform roadmap and planned features up to 2011, an outline which the Symbian Foundation notes can be modified and expanded based upon developer contributions to the mobile OS. The full Symbian source code is available for download now at Symbian’s developer website. More →
Well, at least the significance of the Symbian Duck’s giant robotic feet is clear now — they’re going to walk all over developers! Oh come on. We kid… We kid… Truth be told, there’s no one as happy as we are to learn that Symbian^4 will finally break app compatibility. This obvious-turned-revelatory tidbit was covered in a recent interview with Symbian Foundation Catalyst and Futurist David Wood where he discusses the death of Avkon and the birth of Qt where UI elements are concerned. While we’re insanely pro-developer here at BGR, we must be clear in stating that this is awesome, awesome news. Why? Because it confirms what we already knew and what we’ve been dreaming about for what seems like an eternity — Symbian will actually find itself wrapped in a (hopefully) fresh new UI sometime in the not-so-distant future. Think late 2010ish/early 2011ish where consumers are concerned. As for what this means to developers, yes there will be some work involved in order to update the current crop of apps. That is most definitely not a bad thing, however. Come on guys, S60 3rd launched in what, 1924? We’ve been compatible for long enough. It’s time to freshen things up a bit and get rid of that stagnant look that should have been updated long ago. If that means a little more work for devs, we hope they embrace it with open arms.
[Via Engadget Mobile]
Making a mobile OS “open” is one thing, but this is unlike anything we’ve seen to date. The Symbian Foundation — the newly formed group charged with bringing Nokia’s ever-popular OS into the 21st century — needs your help. Finding a way to update that aged UI is a bit trying we presume (though we wouldn’t mind seeing TAT finally give it a shot) so Scott Weiss, the Symbian Foundation’s UI Technology Manager, has officially opened the UI conversation to the world. The newly launched “Symbian UI Brainstorm” blog asks users to email suggestions that will possibly be transformed into sketches and discussed on the blog. Symbian fans and critics alike have become increasingly vocal with regards to the S60 UI so this could be the perfect opportunity to be heard by the one man who actually cares what they have to say. And who knows? Your great idea might become a reality some day — as part of Symbian^7 or ^8, perhaps. Ok Symbian fans, hit the read link and get to work.
Holy. Crap. So, umm, have you been wondering what the Symbian foundation has been up to since revealing the mother of all development schedules? A whole lot, is what it’s been up to. Long story short, the team has cooperated with ST-Ericsson and ARM to build the first working example of multi-core goodness running on production chips with an open OS. Short story long…
Here’s what they slapped together:
- Single chip base band and application processor engine
- HSPA Modem Release7
- ARM® Cortex-A9 MPCore
And here’s what it’s capable of:
- HD 1080p camcorder and video
- Up to 18 Million pixels camera
- ~100 hours audio playback time
- 10 hours HD video playback time
- Simultaneously TV out over HDMI
- Video and Imaging accelerator
- HW accelerated 3D Graphics supporting OpenGL ES2.0
- 2xWVGA (960×854) displays
- Touch UI on 2 displays
Hot damn. We’ll take five. Of course this is just a proof of concept and please, don’t expect first generation Symbian^2 devices to be cooking with all that gas. But it’s all there — today. Right now all this adds up to a synopsis alongside a promo video intending to show potential partners what Symbian is capable of, but for us it means exciting times ahead, people. Exciting times.
It might have taken a while for the Symbian Foundation to get rolling but if its newly-announced development schedule is even close to accurate, play time is most definitely over. Symbian, shall we say, hasn’t exactly been speedy with platform updates in the past. Fast forward to the group’s new schedule seen above and we’re looking at a new platform every six months. Hmm. To start things off, the new platforms now have an agreed naming convention: Symbian^N, where N is the version number. The Symbian Foundation’s David Wood explains:
The simplest way to pronounce “Symbian^2″ is “Symbian two”… You can also view the ‘^’ as an upside down ‘v’. So we’re telling the world that, in a way, we are intending to turn versioning upside down – by opening up our roadmap discussions to the entire community.
Symbian^2 — based on S60 5th Edition — will be feature-complete by the middle of this year and according to the Foundation, we could see devices running ^2 by the end of the year. Next up is Symbian^3 which is already mapped out for the most part and could reach the market by the middle of 2010. Symbian^4 is currently in the mapping phase and is scheduled for hardening before 2010 is through. Ambitious, aggressive and damn near crazy… We like it.
[Via Phone Scoop]
What do you do when the honeymoon is over and interest in your mobile OS is fading fast? Spin city! In a recent discussion with the New York Times, Microsoft VP of Windows Mobile Todd Peters happily explained that Microsoft has intentions to cut down on the number of Windows Mobile devices that reach the market in the future. Peters’ reasoning for the move:
“I’d rather have fewer devices and be more focused,” he said. That way “we get better integration” between phone and operating system.
Well that’s one way to put it, though we’re not sure shareholders will mirror the sentiment. Another way to put it would be to simply state that the advent of open source mobile operating systems and the fading interest in Microsoft’s aging OS are creating a more competitive market place and Windows Mobile simply isn’t ready to compete at the level it did in years past. Today it’s Android, tomorrow it will be the fruit borne by the Symbian Foundation; handset manufacturers are now beginning to turn toward low-cost open solutions that provide more user-friendly interfaces and welcoming development environments. It remains to be seen whether Windows Mobile 7 will be able to compete as the industry evolves and its already low market share dwindles. We hope it can compete – variety being the spice of life – and rest assured, Microsoft would happily see the number of Windows Mobile-powered devices double despite this recent statement to the contrary. If manufacturers decrease the number of Windows Mobile handsets released in the future however, it won’t be because Microsoft asked them to stop making so many Windows-powered phones. It will be the allure of newer and more usable operating systems that pull handset manufacturers in other directions.
In what has been completely overshadowed by the announcement of the upcoming Nokia N97, Nokia announced today that it has completed its offer to acquire Symbian Limited. For those who don’t recall, Nokia announced back in June that it would be gobbling up the 52% of Symbian it did not already own and going open source. In a quick and dirty press release, Nokia stated that it has purchased 99.9% of Symbian shares it did not already own when the original announcement was made. Nokia handsets might take a while to reach market but don’t ever say the Finns don’t move fast when it comes to acquisitions. Now that the hard part is out of the way, expect the final stages of the deal to be signed, sealed and delivered some time in Q1 of next year. Our sincerest hope is that the newly formed Symbian Foundation can manage to give the aging Symbian OS a much-needed face lift and tummy tuck before it’s too late.
Following Google’s footsteps, Nokia and Symbian are really pushing forward with R&D by taking in several huge companies to gain access to Symbian. Notable companies include ARM, Visa, and Huawei amongst 52 companies that have expressed their interest in joining the Symbian Foundation. With such a huge following, the software and platform potential could create a formidable force to rival Google’s Android OS. Nokia plans on buying out all shareholders of Symbian for $410 million and make their goods royalty-free… way to go, Nokia! Profits from Symbian will go to the Symbian Foundation in order to support its efforts to create an open-source platform. Symbian Foundation software should be making its debut some time in 2009 with a fully operational platform in 2010. It’s nice to see the telecom industry team up with other companies and embrace the open-source nature of things.