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7/17/2008
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Symbian Is Open To More Collaboration With Google

Symbian's CEO says he would be "happy" to work more closely with Google on applications and even on mobile operating systems.

The smartphone landscape became a little more complex this week when Symbian's chief executive Nigel Clifford indicated that the Nokia-dominated smartphone platform developer would be "happy" to widen its collaboration with Google.

Noting that Symbian and Google already work together on some applications, Clifford said, "If there is an opportunity, we will be happy to collaborate with them. And that could be on the application level or that could be on the more fundamental operating system level." His comments, made in Tokyo, were reported by the Reuters news service.

The Symbian OS and Google's Android platform are in important developmental stages. Nokia is in the process of buying out other Symbian investors, while Google's Android program is scheduled to begin delivering its first products later this year.

But it was Clifford's comment that Symbian might collaborate with Google on the "more fundamental operating system level" that signaled a possible major breakthrough. Symbian and Nokia already work with Google on mapping and search applications.

The two platforms -- Symbian and Android -- are incompatible, so a joint partnership isn't expected to be imminent or easy. Some observers speculated that Clifford was just making nice to Google. The two platforms currently dominate different segments of the mobile phone market.

The Symbian platform is the leader in the smartphone universe with an estimated 67% market share, according to market research firm Canalys. Nielsen Mobile, meanwhile, recently estimated that Google has captured 61% of the mobile search market.

The two platforms already share some partners including LG Electronics, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, and Samsung Electronics.

Other major smartphone platforms under development include the iPhone, Research in Motion's BlackBerry, and the LiMo Foundation. The LiMo Foundation also includes founding members Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, and Samsung Electronics, demonstrating that there is plenty of collaboration already going on among different smartphone platform developers.

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