The foundation has hired Larry Berkin to head Symbian's offices in the United States, and Dietmar Tallroth to serve as Symbian's general counsel. Both are seasoned mobile veterans as Berkin was formerly a VP at Access, while Tallroth was the former legal director for Nokia's open source and Java strategy.
"Symbian is strengthening its executive team with talented individuals, including Larry and Dietmar, both very experienced, passionate and already well-entrenched in the open source movement," said Symbian Foundation executive director Lee Williams in a statement. "Their contributions will enable the foundation to continue its efforts towards growing a thriving ecosystem, comprising a strong network of developers, partners, manufacturers and operators, around the Symbian platform."
Symbian is still the most popular smartphone operating system in the world, but it is seeing increased competition from Apple's iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Android. To combat this, Nokia bought the remaining shares of Symbian last June for about $410 million with the goal of spinning it into a royalty-free, open source OS.
The Symbian Foundation was created to achieve this goal, and it is being supported by the likes of AT&T, Vodafone, Visa, Nokia, Samsung, Hewlett-Packard, Broadcom, and others. The new OS will combine elements of Symbian, S60, UIQ, and the Mobile Oriented Applications Platform to create a new platform for mobile devices, which includes smartphones and potentially netbooks.
The foundation has laid out an aggressive rollout plan for the open source OS, and it is expected to be on commercially-available handset in a few months. The organization will also be updating the OS every six months to add features and improve usability.
The open source Symbian could have a major impact on the smartphone industry and InformationWeek analyzed the ramifications of the move in an independent report. Download the report downloaded here (registration required).