The last few days have not been kind to Symbian with both Sony Ericsson and Samsung stating their intentions not to support the OS on any future handsets. While both handset vendors have been strong supporters of the OS for some years, they are now deserting the UK-based developer to concentrate on Android and Windows Phone platforms.
This move by the two handset developers--who currently remain board members of the Symbian Foundation, will now leave Nokia as the single handset-maker with board level representation of the open source organisation.
Samsung's departure from Symbian was less of a surprise than Sony Ericsson's, given the Korean manufacturer's rather promiscuous track record with other OSs, and the efforts to focus on its own Bada platform.
While this is a significant blow to Symbian's ambitions to be 'the' open source OS provider, Nokia's commitment would appear to remain firm.
The company will ship around 50 million handsets with a Symbian OS over the next 12 months offering a huge opportunity for the developer community to flourish. Symbian^3 would appear to have moved the benchmark forward--if not significantly overdue--and ^4 could shift the goal post again when it appears.
The likelihood of MeeGo squashing Symbian seems remote given its focus on tablets and mobile computing platforms, and with 40 per cent of the handset market Symbian remains the highest selling mobile OS in the world, according to IDC.
Nokia observers at last week's Mobile Monday 10th Anniversary in Helsinki remained confident that Symbian would stay as a key strategic focus for Nokia, even though some suggested that radical changes were needed if there was any chance of the software company regaining a leadership role.
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