Nokia takes over Symbian OS development

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nokia 7710 using Symbian OS in 2006

On Monday, Symbian Foundation discontinued Symbian OS, as a result of its lost popularity since Android came to market. The Finnish telecommunications company Nokia, being one of the few hardware manufacturers who use the system on some of the models, announced that it has taken over the operating system's development.

Nokia had acquired Symbian Foundation in 2008. Now, the foundation refused to continue the project, because this smartphone operating system had lost its popularity when Android came to market. During the next several months, most Symbian Foundation employees, who were completely governing the project previously, will retire. By April 2011, only the licensing team will stay to oversee the project.

The executive director of the Symbian Foundation Tim Holbrow explained the change, saying that "There has since been a seismic change in the mobile market but also more generally in the economy, which has led to a change in focus for some of our funding board members. The result of this is that the current governance structure for the Symbian platform — the foundation — is no longer appropriate."

Instead, Nokia takes over the development of the system. This is possible because the Symbian OS is currently open source and freely redistributable. In an interview with ZDNet, the head of Nokia smartphone business Jo Harlow said that the takeover was in significant part because Nokia hardware was the major one using the OS. The development environment would be switched to Qt framework for the system to support cross-platform applications use and development. It is unclear whether the licensing of the future releases of the system would remain open-source.


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