Nokia's Elop pledges Symbian support until 2016

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has looked to reassure the Symbian community by committing the company to provide ongoing development and support of its former flagship operating system until 2016.

Without detracting from the strategy that Microsoft Windows Phone 7 will be Nokia's primary smartphone platform, Elop told the Chinese edition of Nokia Conversation that "software updates to Symbian devices are expected until at least 2016," and that there is "a long history still to be paved for Symbian in the future."

This assurance that Nokia is planning to continue investing in the operating system for the next five years--albeit without detailing to what level--is significantly longer than many within the industry had anticipated. "So we are in a period where the investment in Symbian absolutely continues," said Elop. "I know there have been questions about how long that continues and we've now been very clear about that--that software updates to Symbian devices are expected until at least 2016."

To reinforce the point, Elop added: "So just to be really clear, that commitment means customer services, it means apps, it means means all of the elements that our customers would currently expect."

In a further effort to calm the Symbian developer industry, Elop said that Nokia would offer apps for Windows Phone, Series 40 and Symbian in a single location within its online store. "They'll all be collected together so we can get maximum exposure, as far as we possibly can, to help our developers."

While these words might provide encouragement to battered Symbian developers, how Nokia will support this commitment with engineering resources might be questionable given its recent announcement to outsource Symbian development to Accenture.

For more:
- see this All About Symbian article

Related Articles:
European Commission cans €22m Symbian investment plan
Nokia slashes 4,000 jobs, outsources Symbian to Accenture
Symbian boosted by €22m investment; EU taxpayers to provide 50%
Nokia exec: No plans to bring Symbian back in-house