Symbian open-source completed

February 5, 2010 | 10:22

Tags: #android #eclipse #iphone #operating-system #smartphone #symbian

Companies: #nokia #open-source #symbian-foundation

The transition of the Symbian platform - largely in the hands of Nokia these days - from proprietary to open-source is now complete, with the Symbian Foundation making the last of the code freely available this week.

The project to release the Symbian code under an Eclipse open-source licence has been ongoing since June 2008 when Finnish mobile giant Nokia announced its plans to buy Symbian from the other shareholders of the Symbian Foundation and release it for free - spending an estimated €264 million in the process.

The surprise announcement was seen as a response to the release by Google of the Android platform, a fully open-source Linux-based smartphone operating system which has seen increased interest over the last year with several companies pledging to create largely Android-based handsets - leaving the once market leading Symbian out in the cold.

Nokia clearly hopes that the permissive licensing for its Symbian platform, coupled with a more modern UI, will help save it from a demise at the hands of Apple's iPhone and Google's Android. How successful the up-take of Symbian will be under the new licensing system remains to be seen.

According to a PC Magazine article on the release, the head of global alliances at the Symbian Foundation Larry Berkin has categorically stated that the new licensing system is a precursor to an attempt to break into the US market - somewhere that Symbian has always been a bit-player, despite its popularity in Europe. In a statement, Berkin claimed that "you will see Symbian-based devices from U.S.-based carriers coming in 2010."

Are you excited to see what the open-source community can do with the Symbian platform, or is this merely its swansong as everyone concentrates on alternative platforms - and even Nokia looks towards Maemo Linux for its future smartphones? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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