Nokia Reaffirms Commitment To Symbian

The handset maker said there is no truth to a report that it is considering ditching Symbian in favor of Maemo for smartphones.
Nokia said it remains strongly committed to the Symbian operating system for its future smartphones.

The company was responding to a report in the German version of the Financial Times which said the world's largest handset maker was thinking of moving away from Symbian because it was too "cumbersome." The report, which relied on unnamed sources close to Nokia, said the handset maker was more interested in its Maemo platform for future smartphones.

"We remain strongly committed to our current open OS software strategy for cellular devices, which is based on the world-leading Symbian OS," Nokia said in a statement.

Symbian is still the most widely used smartphone OS in the word, but it is feeling increased pressure from rivals such as the iPhone OS, Android, and RIM's BlackBerry platform. To combat these other platforms, Nokia purchased the remaining shares of Symbian last year with the goal of spinning it into an open source, royalty-free OS.

The Symbian Foundation was created to achieve this goal, and it is an independent entity that includes members like Nokia, Sony Ericsson, AT&T, Texas Instruments, Vodafone, and other major industry players. The foundation said it plans to update the software every six months or so, and the fourth version will have major changes to the user interface that could affect compatibility with past applications.

Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch is currently attracting most of the attention in the mobile app space, but the refreshed version of Symbian may help Nokia attract more developers to its Ovi Store.

Nokia's decision to create the Symbian Foundation and open up the OS should have major ramifications throughout the smartphone market. InformationWeek evaluated the impact of this move, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).

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