The demand for open source smartphone operating systems will see the shipment of Symbian-based handsets double over the next five years. This bullish forecast, prepared by Juniper Research, found that Symbian handset shipments were likely to reach 180 million by 2014, up from 87 million this year. Meanwhile, Android and LiMo shipments will also steadily increase, pushing the total open source handset market beyond 220 million by that time.
This study, which acknowledges the relative success of proprietary handset operating systems (OS) from Apple, RIM, Palm and Microsoft, claims that developments by the LiMo Foundation, OHA (Open Handset Alliance) and the Symbian foundation point towards the entire market migrating towards open-source OS. Juniper believes that, with over 60 per cent of the smartphone market now using an open-source OS, this move away from proprietary to open-source is already underway.
However, while the Symbian OS would seem destined to succeed, Nokia has been providing details about how Qt will take over the application layer on Symbian devices, among others, reducing Symbian development to core programming at best.
Having been criticised at the recent Over the Air developers meeting, where Nokia admitted its handset R&D plans were not completely on-track, the company presented Qt as the solution to enabling cross-platform development, as well as integrating with web widgets and, critically, avoiding Symbian's somewhat esoteric implementation of C++.
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