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It’s all out in the open for Symbian

Code for world’s most popular smartphone operating system now available for free

It’s all out in the open for Symbian
Symbian is still the leading operating system for mobile phones in the world.

The code for Symbian, the world's most popular smartphone operating system, is now available to developers for free, as part of Nokia's grand strategy to drive open innovation and stay competitive against other mobile platforms like Google Android and the Apple iPhone.

Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia bought the software in 2008 with CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo calling the move "a significant milestone in our software strategy".

"The wide support for this initiative, uniting the industry around the Symbian platform, reflects the strong gravitational pull it has for application developers and other ecosystem players. We will drive efficient, open innovation by unifying the platform and simplifying the software supply chain, leveraging our experience from mobile devices. Nokia is strongly positioned to realize the benefits of open innovation, as well as accelerating time to market, enabling us to meet and exceed consumer expectations for leading converged devices and experiences", Kallasvuo said two years ago.

In 2008, Nokia also announced the establishment of the non-profit Symbian Foundation to steer the software's future with member companies including AT&T, LG Electronics, Motorola, NTT DOCOMO, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone.

After two years of transition, the Symbian 3 platform is now available as open source code through the foundation's website, with the next update - Symbian 4 - expected to be functionally complete in the second half of 2010 and supporting devices shipping early 2011 onwards.

Symbian 4 is expected to focus "on user experience" including a complete makeover to the touch interface and enhancements to the application suite.

According to Gartner research, Symbian had 52.4% of the mobile operating system market share, based on global smartphone sales in 2008. Research firm IDC also predicts that Symbian will rule for some time to come "due primarily to the strength of Nokia in markets outside of the United States" and that Google Android will climb to the number two position, below Symbian, only by the year 2013.

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