Report: Nokia axes Symbian development, next device will be its last

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) reportedly plans to halt production of smartphones based on the legacy Symbian operating system earlier than previously announced, releasing a successor to the Symbian^3-based N8 camera phone before abandoning the platform for good.

After embracing Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone operating system as its primary smartphone platform in early 2011, Nokia said it expected to sell another 150 million Symbian devices in the years ahead. But last month, Nokia admitted Symbian sales are declining faster than expected as consumers gravitate to rival platforms and cheaper handset alternatives. The Register reports Nokia now plans to ship just one additional Symbian model, although it will continue to ship software updates to existing customers.

Ramifications of the move extend beyond Nokia to its partners. Last year, Nokia transferred its Symbian software activities as well as about 2,300 employees to global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing firm Accenture. Per terms of the agreement, Accenture will provide Symbian-based software development and support services for present and future Nokia smartphones, also supplying Windows Phone-based mobility software, business and operational services to Nokia and other ecosystem participants. Accenture also agreed to provide Symbian-based software development and support services to Nokia through at least 2016.

Silicon partner ST-Ericsson hinted at Symbian's decision last month when discussing its first quarter financial outlook. ST-Ericsson warned investors to expect a "very significant decline" in net sales due in part to the "reduction, in the short term, of new product sales with one of our largest customers."

Worldwide sales of smartphones running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android mobile operating system more than tripled Symbian device sales in the third quarter of 2011 according to data issued late last year by Research2Guidance. Many developers have already forsaken Symbian to build apps for Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, with independent technology analyst Ovum's second annual Developer Insights survey also indicating interest in Windows Phone, Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry and emerging cross-platform opportunities like HTML5. 

For more:
- read this Register article

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