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June 24, 2008

Symbian Foundation

GLOBAL – Nokia today announced the creation of the Symbian Foundation, but what is it exactly, and what does it mean for the rest of us? The Foundation has the backing of key industry players including Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Samsung, networks including DOCOMO and Vodafone and chip makers ST Microelectronics and Texas Instruments. By making the Symbian Platform fully open source, it means anyone can develop for it, there’ll be a single, unified operating system for mobile phones and rapid innovation of services and software.

Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Motorola already produce a range of devices based on Symbian, alongside Nokia. This new Foundation will combine and share the knowledge and experience from each of those companies and create a single unified platform for devices. As it’s open source, it’ll not only be easier for companies to contribute to the ongoing development, but it’ll also be easier for software developers to create one single mobile application that’ll instantly be available to billions of users.

This is a major step in the quest for a single mobile platform and possibly the most exciting news we’ve ever heard about the subject. The first job of the Foundation though is to unify the platform that exists already. Although Symbian is already open source, there are different strands in use by different companies such as Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Motorola. By unifying those, the companies will instantly be able to broaden the reach of the platform, make it easier for other manufacturers to adopt it and hopefully enable it to become the standard platform for mobile devices and development.

Developers will welcome the move as creating applications for mobile devices has traditionally been a painful and expensive process. With a single point of contact, application developers will be able to rapidly develop and release killer applications.

Networks too are welcoming the move with Vodafone sighting it as a significant step in driving innovation and creating a richer mobile experience for customers.

We’ll have more on this throughout the day, meanwhile let us know what you think below.