13 Ways Symbian Can Maintain Its Smartphone OS Lead

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13 Ways Symbian Can Maintain Its Smartphone OS Lead

by Darryl K. Taft

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Bring Sexy Back

Or just bring some fun to the platform. For years, Nokia, which is the primary user of the Symbian OS, has been synonymous with boring-especially when compared with devices like the, uh, iPhone. Add more games and get on some cooler devices like the Nokia 7705 twist or the Nokia netbook.

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Keep Lee Williams at the Helm of the Symbian Foundation

Though as executive director of the Symbian Foundation, Williams has been criticizing Google's Android, he has a vision for where Symbian should go and the determination to open-source the platform and add new, interesting features.

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Open-Source the Symbian OS Code Base

The foundation is well on its way into open-sourcing the Symbian code base by having open-sourced the kernel. Symbian has open-sourced 16 out of 134 packages in the OS, but those 16 being the kernel means the rest will go much more easily, Symbian Foundation officials said.

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Ride the Qt Wave

Qt is a cross-platform application and UI framework. Using Qt, developers can write applications once and deploy them across desktop, mobile and embedded operating systems without rewriting the source code. Putting Qt in with Symbian will give developers a boost.

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Take Advantage of Nokias Patent Application for 3D Multitouch

A keen, new multitouch capability could work wonders. Putting this technology to work with Symbian smartphones could win over new users.

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Gain Deeper Penetration into the U.S. Market

Symbian, particularly through its main user, Nokia, has had relatively low penetration in the United States as opposed to Europe and elsewhere. According to the New York Times, "As recently as March 2002, [Nokia] led the American market with a 35 percent share. By last year, though, it slipped to 10 percent and by June of this year—the most recent figure available—Nokia's share was only 7 percent."

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Help Developers Publish Applications

Symbian is doing this through its Symbian Horizon program. The Symbian Foundation created Horizon in response to developer concerns that there were too many challenges and costs associated with developing and publishing a Symbian application to the global market of potential customers.

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Help Developers Create Better Applications

Symbian has done a host of things to better empower developers to create applications for its platform, including devising an all-new developer Website and blog. In addition, Symbian enables developers to use what they know to build applications for the platform, including Web technologies, dynamic languages, and native C and C++, among others.

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Stick to Your Knitting

Symbian needs to continue to branch out, but also must remember to stick to its knitting by continuing to focus on the strength it has in local markets and emerging countries.

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Use Leverage to Lower the Cost of Premium Symbian OS Phones

When first announced, the Nokia N97 cost about $800. To compete with the intense competition in global mass markets, prices have to be lower.

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Keep Adding Strategic Players to the Symbian Board

Symbian recently announced the addition of Qualcomm and Fujitsu to its board. The foundation must continue to forge relationships with operators, particularly in the United States and also in China because of the sheer size of those markets.

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Remember That One Size Doesnt Fit All

While the Symbian OS drives many different devices, there are different strokes for different folks. Symbian needs to realize this in forging and maintaining relationships.

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Remember the Enterprise and Enterprise Developers

In the rush to beat back Android and the iPhone, Symbian should not lose sight of the enterprise and the value of relationships with enterprise vendors.

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