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Symbian gets €22m boost as it looks to embedded future

Symbeose consortium set to drive development of the mobile OS...
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Written by Shelley Portet on

Symbeose consortium set to drive development of the mobile OS...

The Symbian OS is to get a €22m funding boost to encourage development projects for the platform.

The investment was secured by a consortium of 24 organisations from eight European countries, led by the Symbian Foundation. €11m of the €22m will come from the European Commission, with the consortium members matching the EC's commitment with €11m funding of their own.

The consortium, known as Symbeose - Symbian, the Embedded Operating System for Europe - is made up of a mixture of organisations including mobile device manufacturers, network operators, application developers, universities and research institutions including Ericsson, Nokia, the University of Southampton and the Universities of Malaga and Cantabria in Spain.

The Symbeose consortium members will use the funding to instigate development projects aimed at making it easier for manufacturers to use the Symbian OS.

Symbian Symbeose

Nokia's flagship smartphone, the N8, runs the Symbian OS
(Photo credit: Nokia)

"The main focus of the developments will be advancing existing, as well as building new, tools and services relevant for smartphone manufacturing at the beginning of the manufacturing process," Richard Collins, technology manager at Symbian, said in a blog posting.

Making the Symbian platform more power-efficient and building middleware that will allow cloud and other emerging services to be used on any Symbian device will be a key focus for the development projects, he said.

Collins added that the Foundation hopes the Symbian platform will be used for embedded devices in the future.

"We have used the term 'embedded devices' to reflect that any type of internet-connected mobile device can perceivably use certain parts of the Symbian platform in the manufacturing process. This is about deconstructing the current Symbian platform so only certain core OS modules will be used to build new types of embedded mobile devices. We cannot say for sure what types of embedded devices will be relevant but we know that by enabling better system modularity, this will help manufacturers build prototype for new device types," he said.

The Symbian Foundation, the not-for-profit behind the Symbian mobile OS, has faced challenging times of late, recently losing its executive director Lee Williams while both Samsung and Sony Ericsson - which had previously made Symbian handsets - recently confirmed they won't be making any more such devices, leaving Nokia as the only major mobile handset maker supporting the platform.

Gartner analysts also recently predicted Symbian would cede its position as top mobile OS to fellow open-source platform Android by 2014.

A spokeswoman for the Symbian Foundation told silicon.com that this week's announcement marked "a stamp of approval from private companies investing in the Symbian platform".

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