Nokia Corp., the largest maker of mobile phones in the world, has announced plans to disband the Symbian Foundation, the organization responsible for development and licensing of the Symbian operating system, two and a half years after its establishment. From 2011, the company plans to develop the OS itself, whereas the Symbian Foundation will only license the software.
"The future of Symbian as a platform does not depend on the existence of the foundation. The changes announced by the foundation have no impact on Nokia's Symbian device roadmaps or shipping commitments," said Jo Harlow, senior vice president of smartphones business at Nokia.
The foundation will become a legal entity responsible for licensing software and other intellectual property, such as the Symbian trademark. Nokia has committed to make the future development of the Symbian platform available to the ecosystem via an alternative direct and open model.
The first phase of the foundation’s transition will involve a reduction in operations and staff numbers. By April 2011, the Symbian Foundation will be governed by a group of non-executive directors tasked with overseeing the organisation’s licensing function.
“Nokia remains committed to Symbian as the most used smartphone platform around the world. The Nokia N8 generated the highest online pre-orders we’ve ever experienced and we have a family of Symbian3smartphones including the Nokia N8, Nokia C7, and Nokia C6-01 which are available now, as well as the Nokia E7 which is expected to ship before the end of 2010. Nokia expects to sell more than 50 million Symbian3smartphones," added Ms. Harlow.
Nokia's recent decision to focus on Qt as its sole application development framework, which is expected to bring greater efficiency and speed of evolution to the Symbian platform, has generally predetermined the company's decision to bring the OS development back to the company. This approach is aimed at ensuring compatibility for apps with future Symbian platform versions, and enables more frequent updates and upgrades for Nokia smartphones. To take advantage of this ever-growing opportunity, developers can find the tools and support they need through Forum Nokia, and global distribution to Nokia's broad base of smartphones through Ovi Store.
The Symbian Foundation leadership team will work together with Nokia to ensure that the reduction in operations of the foundation will bring as little disruption to the ecosystem as possible.