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February 12, 2009
2 Min Read
High-profile companies Bank of America, Hewlett-Packard, MySpace, and Qualcomm are among 14 companies that have joined the cause to turn Symbian into an open source mobile operating system.
Symbian is the world's most popular mobile operating system with about 50% of the market share, but it has been facing increased competition from the likes of Apple and Research In Motion. Last year, Nokia purchased the remaining shares of Symbian for $410 million and said it would be spinning it into a royalty-free version under the Eclipse Public License. InformationWeek analyzed the impact this move would have on enterprises and the smartphone market, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required). The Symbian Foundation was established to achieve the goal of turning Symbian open source, and its founding members include industry heavyweights like Nokia, LG Electronics, Samsung, AT&T, MTT DoCoMo, and Vodafone. The open source version will come from elements of Nokia S60, DoCoMo Mobile Oriented Applications Platforms, and UIQ. Foundation members say the OS is on track to be available for handsets in 2010. Since the announcement, the open source Symbian has been gaining momentum, as 78 companies have joined the foundation. Atelier, Germalto, Imagination Technologies, Mobica, Nanoradio, Omron Software, SanDisk, SESCA, SiRF Technology, and VirtualLogix said Thursday they would support the foundation. "We're in a unique position to continue the rapid growth of the most competitive open software platform. Every single member of our community has a chance to influence the way we evolve and develop our offering," said Lee Williams, the Symbian Foundation's executive director, in a statement. "The foundation will provide, manage, and unify the platform, but it's the community which will make it great." The new members should bolster Symbian's chances at remaining on top of the market, but the competition is expected to increase as more people adopt smartphones. Google's open source Android operating system may pick up momentum as multiple handsets will be released this year.
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