Despite the exec director of Symbian, Lee Williams, placing great emphasis on the exciting enhancements planned for the mobile operating system (OS) at this week's Symbian Exchange and Exposition tradeshow, its applications developer community seemed to think otherwise.
Not helped by a total lack of up-beat announcements from the handset vendors offering Symbian-based handsets, the consensus from apps developers exhibiting at the event was that the OS was stagnating.
Visions Objects, which makes across-platforms handwriting apps, believed that Symbian had done little to keep up since the advent of Android. "I think that the approach of the operating system on mobile phones has changed in the last 12 months," said Denis Escleine, its business development manager. "It's now driven by the iPhone and accelerated by Android. I think Symbian is far behind... If there is no change in user friendliness, and opening of the environment, I think it will die--they have to react."
Other developers commented that the Symbian OS was becoming less popular with an increasing number of companies asking for apps to be built for them based on the iPhone or Android platforms.
Williams has attempted to combat these negative viewpoints, stating that handsets with the first fully open-source Symbian implementation would become available in the first half of 2010, with further versions scheduled to appear in handsets for the second half of 2010 and early 2011.
However, while this OS development roadmap might look sluggish in comparison to the competition, Williams claimed that over 450 new OS features were being planned for the next 12 to 18 months with a focus on NFC, a social web API and a new UI framework.
This update from Williams might be overshadowed by the rumour that Sony Ericsson--a long-term Symbian supporter--will launch it first Android-based handset next week, including a new UI similar to HTC's Sense UI.
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