Symbian Foundation Creates Symbian Horizon to Draw App Developers

The Symbian Foundation, which launched in June, has created Symbian Horizon, an application publishing program to help get more Symbian-based apps to market. A healthier app catalog may help Symbian maintain its OS dominance as the iPhone and Android grow their market share.

The newly formed Symbian Foundation has created Symbian Horizon, an application-publishing program for better distributing applications for the open-source smartphone platform, which is the most widely used in the world.
"The core idea behind Symbian Horizon is making the business and distribution of Symbian apps easier," stated a July 16 post to the Horizon blog.
"Developers can submit their app or even an idea for an app that they will build. Symbian will select the best apps and help take them to market. We will sign the app, publish it to the App Stores and manage the transactions, all at no cost to the developers. It is a -code once, publish to many' syndication service."
Horizon says it wants Symbian apps to be available through as many App Stores as possible.
Apple and other mobile platform providers charge 30 percent to host and distribute applications in their app storefront. At the Nokia Developer Summit in April, Lee Williams, executive director of the Symbian Foundation told eWEEK, "Today it's worth paying 30 percent to get a short path [to the marketplace]; tomorrow it won't be. You shouldn't have to pay. And when the short path exists everywhere, you won't need to pay that 30 percent."
With Horizon, the foundation is shortening the path some. Scheduled to launch in October, it will offer developers full ownership of apps, allow them to submit an unlimited number of ideas and offer a range of resources.
Attracting the developers, and building its app offerings, is also a way to help regain the market share that the historically strong OS-in May, Gartner estimated it held 52 percent of the smartphone OS market-has been losing to newer options.
"The issue is that the hot environments are clearly the iPhone and possibly Android, as far as developmental areas," Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies, told eWEEK. "So the other platforms have to do something to respond to that."
Kay says that many developers, regardless of their personal preference, will develop for the platform with the greatest possibility for payback.
"The developers are following one imperative: Where are the most seats for my product?" said Kay. "I think the other phone vendors have been caught flat-footed by that ... and they haven't opened up an area for developers to aggregate."
In other Symbian news, on July 17 Accenture announced it is acquiring the professional services unit of Nokia, which is responsible for Symbian customer engineering and customer support.