Handset makers Sony Ericsson and Samsung Electronics both have stated they will longer manufacture devices running the Symbian operating system, casting further doubt on how much longer the open-source platform will retain its perch as the world's biggest-selling smartphone OS. "We have no plans for the time being to develop any new products to the Symbian Foundation standard or operating system," Sony Ericsson corporate vice president Aldo Liguori told Bloomberg, confirming earlier remarks made by Sony Ericsson chief technology officer Jan Uddenfeldt to the Swedish publication Ny Teknik. Moving forward, Sony Ericsson will focus its smartphone efforts on Google's Android operating system; the company declined to commit exclusively to Android, "but it will certainly continue to be an important platform for us," Liguori said.
Samsung announced its decision to discontinue its Symbian support initiatives via the company's Samsung Mobile Innovator developer portal. Samsung--which will focus on Android as well as Windows Phone 7 and its own bada operating system--will cease registering and certifying Symbian applications on Dec. 31; its Symbian Lab.dev virtual device laboratory will close on Oct. 29, and its Symbian Forum will shut down on Dec. 30. "Please take this opportunity to download any required documentation before all content is removed," the post adds.
Symbian remains the leading smartphone OS worldwide, controlling 41.2 percent of the global market according to data published in mid-August by research firm Gartner--a year ago, Symbian-based devices represented 51 percent of the market, however. Android now accounts for 17.2 percent of the smartphone market, third overall behind Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry (19.0 percent) and ahead of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS (14.2 percent). According to a recent survey conducted by mobile software platform provider Appcelerator and research firm IDC, only 13 percent of developers express strong interest in writing Symbian applications, far behind iOS (92 percent), Android (82 percent), BlackBerry (34 percent) and Windows Phone 7 (28 percent).
For more on Sony Ericsson's post-Symbian future:
- read this Bloomberg article
For more on Samsung's post-Symbian future:
- read this Samsung Mobile Innovator post
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