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Symbian Foundation Picks Up Speed With Members, Tools

The Symbian Analysis Workbench suite was unveiled Tuesday at the Symbian Smartphone Show in London.
Scores of new Symbian Foundation members and software developers flocked to the Symbian Smartphone Show in London on Tuesday as Nokia moved to make good on its pledge to turn the decade-old Symbian operating system into an open source platform during the first half of 2009.

The effort has accelerated since June when Nokia reported it plans to buy out its previous Symbian partners and offer the technology to phone makers royalty-free.

In addition to compiling a growing list of new members, new tools for software developers were unveiled at the London show. On Tuesday, Symbian Ltd., the official developer and licensor of the operating system, launched Symbian Analysis Workbench, a suite of tools for use with C++ that enables developers to monitor a range of software behavior from a single workspace.

"It allows developers to look at how threads are being scheduled across CPUs, how memory is being allocated, and at other system resources," said Anthony Edwards, VP of Symbian product marketing, in a statement.

SAW is a companion product to Nokia's Qt C++ development platform that was announced Monday on the eve of the show. Qt makes it easier for developers to create applications once and then enable them to be deployed on a variety of platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.

While the Symbian OS remains the world's dominant smartphone operating system, Apple's iPhone and Research In Motion's BlackBerry have been cutting into that market share. Google's Android platform, expected to make its debut Wednesday in the form of T-Mobile's G1 phone, is also an open platform device and is expected to offer new competition to the Symbian OS. In particular, the touch technology in the iPhone and the G1 phone presents the Symbian Foundation with a challenge to answer with its own touch technology.

While the Symbian Foundation's initial 10 members assumed prominent roles in promoting the OS at the show, a whole new wave of member organizations, small and large, was making its first appearance at the foundation. New members ranged from hardware manufacturers ARM and Huawei Technologies to software providers Fujisoft and InnoPath Software.

Speaking for the initial board members, Kris Rinne, an AT&T senior VP, said in a statement, "We anticipate even stronger support by the time the foundation begins operations. ... The Symbian Foundation platform offering will be the most proven and successful open mobile platform, which will be available royalty-free for members from the foundation's first day of operations. Making the platform available in open source by June 2010 will only enhance its appeal."

The 10 initial Symbian Foundation board members were AT&T, LG Electronics, Motorola, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Samsung Electronics, Sony Ericsson, ST-NXP Wireless, Texas Instruments, and Vodafone.

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