Interesting news this morning that Nokia is buying Symbian (or at least the 52% that it did not already own).
But potentially bigger news is the establishment of the Symbian Foundation with Nokia then sharing the technology on a royalty free and open source basis to allcomers. The detail: Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and NTT DOCOMO have announced their intent to unite Symbian OS, S60, UIQ (the flavour of Symbian used on SonyEricsson handsets) and MOAP (used by NTT DOCOMO handsets in Japan) to create one open mobile software platform. Partnering together with AT&T, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone they plan to establish the Symbian Foundation to extend the appeal of this unified software platform.
By the end of March 2008, Symbian said that there had been 206 million cumulative Symbian OS shipments across 235 different phone models.
As a mobile software developer, we try to keep a close eye on the many different operating system options available in the market. New entrants such as the iPhone and Google's Android offer new opportunities, but also present new headaches as each platform requires a substantial investment in R&D resource and time.
If the Symbian Foundation can bring together S60, UIQ, and MOAP into a single platform and increase the handsets using this platform still further - particularly in the mid-market categories - then this could a very exciting step.
It is clear that this will take time for everything to fall into place and then time for handsets to appear that use the combined technology. But we applaud and support the initiative.
More information can be found at: www.nokia.com and www.symbianfoundation.org