It’s tough to add much to the already very extensive ZDNetUK report on the Symbian Exchange and Exhibition (SEE), but for the record I was there too and I had some interesting meetings with Symbian employees, partners and other IT press too.
Before I get to the tech, one word of advice if you do attend a trade show in the mobile sector. There will always be a strong likelihood of Scandinavian clients at a mobile show and very often they will fill their stand’s sweetie/candy bowls with ‘salmiak’ salted liquorice. I unwittingly ate one yesterday and thought I’d just put a stink bomb in my mouth. It’s seriously stomach wrenching, please take heed.
After the stench of sour and putrid salted black sugar had left me, I was able to sit down with Shaun Puckrin who is Symbian’s global head of community support. Sensing pretty clearly that the themes for this show are the Horizon application publishing programme, the stress being put on the Symbian Signed application testing scheme and general device compatibility all round, I wanted to try and get something extra.
Puckrin made much of the fact that Symbian is encouraging a number of different runtimes today. While it is still early days for some developers seeking to monetise their apps using different runtimes, Symbian is putting itself into a position to consult with individual programmers as to how they might best improve their chances of commercial success.
Of course some developers will not be interested in making money and will approach their projects from an open source perspective from the start. Symbian says it’s just fine and dandy with this approach too and will allow “some” of this content to make its way through to Horizon for the greater good of the code. Although one would imagine they would never want a situation to develop where rather too much free software was getting all the attention.
When it comes to the Horizon directory, Puckrin said that he likes to describe it as the ‘yellow pages of Symbian applications’. Although he did admit that with 80,000 different applications in the Symbian application store that there has been ‘discoverability issues’ to date.
Eluding to the need for some sort of ranking system so that users can find the most popular applications in this labyrinth, Puckrin also said that future roadmaps would (he hoped) also include some kind of aggregation system so that users can more quickly pinpoint which apps are available from where at any given time.
I asked Puckrin to leave us with a ‘walk-away’ thought from the show, ideally something sweeter than salty liquorice. According to Puckrin, if there are three things developers should think about with regard to Symbian over the next year it is the following:
1- Symbian is the biggest mobile application development opportunity in the world in terms of physical shipments.
2- Symbian 3 (due Q2 2010) will include the Qt libraries for Symbian and Symbian 4 (due Q4 2010 will feature a new UI layer developed in Qt.
3- Symbian is striving to work with OEMs and operators to reduce barriers to development.
Well, one and a half to two out of three ain’t bad I suppose, there had to be some corporate schmaltz in there somewhere, this is a tradeshow after all. It’s a good event though, work the trip – just bring your own polos or gummy bears that’s all.