More on Symbian

More on Symbian

Summary: I don't see anything significant coming out, based on Wood's statements, until 2010. That's a long time to watch Apple gobble market share, and as I said before they're already driving down-market.


Symbian for Software Leaders, by Doug WoodI took a lot of heat for my recent post on Symbian, but a recent ZDNet UK interview with Symbian research chief David Wood has me asking more hard questions.

  1. Should Symbian really be called open source? Wood says its Eclipse license only allows code to be shared among "Foundation Members."
  2. Does this mean the Foundation must approve all applications, the way carriers do now? These bottlenecks are self-defeating.
  3. There remains uncertainty on what to do with some developer code offered before the Nokia acquisition. Some of the problems, Wood says, are not trivial. How long will that take to work out?
  4. Symbian plans to go quiet until the New Year, after which it will have some "stage by stage" announcements. Where is the urgency?
  5. Wood does not seem to believe Android kit will really emerge. Is Motorola no longer in the league?

I think many commenters to my last post believed I dislike Symbian as a company or a project. I don't have any feelings one way or the other. I'm a reporter looking for what works.

(Wood, by the way, is the author of Symbian for Software Leaders, available from Amazon.Com.)

What I know is that the mobile market moves very quickly. A year can see four different generations of gear released.

The move from "smartphones" to "Internet broadband handhelds" is a major sea change, and it's possible this will slow the roll-out process. Apple has just two release cycles a year. Others are likely to move to that cycle as well.

But I don't see anything significant coming out, based on Wood's statements, until 2010. That's a long time to watch Apple gobble market share, and as I said before they're already driving down-market.

Android devices are already out. LiMo devices can be expected by spring. Who is going to wait until 2010 for a true Internet broadband device from Nokia or any other Symbian maker? (Oh yes, Windows Mobile and RIM.)

Some people, surely. Enough to assure a prosperous future?

Topics: Smartphones, Broadband, Browser, Hardware, Mobility, Networking, Telcos

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  • More Pablum? No Thank You.

    Don't underestimate the intelligence of your readership.

    With articles like yesterday's you shot from the hip and now ask questions later.

    We understand that you are getting up to speed with learning Linux, Java and such, which is fine especially given you were readily open to admit your limitations. That's called being 'intellectually honest'.

    Yesterday's article was lazy, and I am disappointed that you didn't ask questions and do some research before hand.

    When you do that, it is an insult to your readers who are intelligent and know when they are being fed Pablum.

    That's what it was Dana. Pablum.

    Get back to quality.
    • They're not all gold

      When you do several stories a day they are not all
      going to be gold. Some are going to be, mainly,
      questions. As the Symbian story yesterday was a series
      of questions.

      I appreciate everyone who contributed to the
      discussion and helped me flesh out answers to some of
      those questions. That's one way in which writing a
      blog differs from writing a column or news story.

      You're as important in this as I am. And I want you to
      know that I appreciate it.
      • You had no question, you had a verdict

        You labelled something as a toaster and then failed to
        answer the multitude of questions raised in the

        Well, mistakes can be done, no problem. It is more
        important to learn from them.
        Anonymous Benefactor
        • True on all counts

          Thanks, but next time don't be anonymous. We're all
          friends here. Friends can argue.
  • RE: More on Symbian

    The Symbian Foundation web site is currently quite
    small and should't be difficult to read. Then add to
    that David Wood's interview and you have this:

    1) Some time early next year the foundation is created
    and the code shared with the members "under a royalty-
    free license" but license all the same. NOT OPEN
    SOURCE at that time but moving towards open source
    gradually over a period of two years. You can of
    course expect that once open source everybody will
    have access to the code (according to the definition)

    2) You're joking, right? Oh no, you are from US ...
    Ok, let's review: it is not standard practice in the
    civilised world for applications to be approved by the
    OS "owner". The embarrassment with rejected apps from
    the AppStore is purely Apple specific. On Symbian
    world thre is a clear set of rules, public and subject
    to debate (i.e. if you scream a lot they will listen
    and correct the problem, ... what did you expect?), of
    that a good quality application is
    (usability, stability, security). If you have written
    a good quality app you can have it certified but that
    is not mandatory, you can self-sign it and put it on
    the market (again, within well defined limits). The
    famous "Pull My Finger" app could get certified on
    Symbian for example, and it would be the free market
    that would decide the value of that. Bottom line, no,
    there is no connection between the Foundation / OS and
    the applications from an approval perspective.

    3) Estimated time: two years, maybe less, maybe more.
    But who cares? I don't need to see the code of e.g. a
    device driver, it is enough for me to know that it
    works and I can use it.

    4) Where is your question?
    Of course Symbian has to make statements quite soon.
    Unlike your favourites in the competition, this OS has
    a legacy, has a developer community, a working
    ecosystem. Of course they have to keep the things on
    the move and start answering questions (such as yours
    above, only smarter)

    5) Hello, Moto-what? (Some time I think US is another
    planet, really. Are we talking about walky-talkies

    Ok, this was about your questions. In the rest of the
    article you are again talking about something called
    the "internet terminal" which Symbian can't makage.
    There is no such thing.

    ( The Dana-she/he/it thinghy was below my status and I
    would not post now under my real name. Maybe later, if
    you don't make me go nuts again ;) )
    Anonymous Benefactor
    • Better than your previous offering, Dana, but...

      "The move from ?smartphones? to ?Internet broadband handhelds? is a major sea change, and it?s possible this will slow the roll-out process. Apple has just two release cycles a year. Others are likely to move to that cycle as well."

      The N-Series have been out for over two years and have Wi-Fi and HSDPA built in with full download ability (including torrents), e-mail access and a selection of browsers. Nokia has had internet broadband handhelds for a long time in mobile phone terms.

      "But I don?t see anything significant coming out, based on Wood?s statements, until 2010. That?s a long time to watch Apple gobble market share, and as I said before they?re already driving down-market."

      Dana, they've been out for [i]years[/i].

      You really need to read up on Symbian, Nokia and Nokia's N-Series before you embarrass yourself further.
      Sleeper Service
  • Is this post about Nokia or Symbian?

    Nokia had the first ???Internet broadband handhelds??? the N770/N800/N810. But it was on "Maemo" Debian Linux and now unofficially supports Android also. Nokia has also commented that high end smart phones will be based on Linux.

    Symbian has been a huge success on the smart phones like N85, E71 and upcoming N97 all of which provide a very good internet experience.

    So please make your intention more clear. Nokia has no reason to go fast on Symbian than necessary. They are a very good reader of Market conditions then we give them credit for...
  • RE: More on Symbian

    @Dana. You say:
    "Should Symbian really be called open source? Wood
    says its Eclipse license only allows code to be shared
    among ???Foundation Members.???

    That's not what Wood says in the interview.
    He just says that not all the code will be publicly
    available from day one. The EPL license will imply
    public availability of the sources.

    Take a look here:
    This can clarify.