Symbian Foundation Readies Open Source Mobile Platform

Last summer, Nokia said it was buying the remaining stock in Symbian with plans to turn it into a royalty-free mobile operating system. The new Symbian Foundation now says it will have a preliminary version for review in the first half of 2009 and to have distributions available under the Eclipse Public License by June 2010.

The new Symbian Foundation Initiative welcomed six new members Dec. 4 and promised to have a preliminary version of its royalty-free mobile operating system ready for review in the first half of 2009 and to have distributions available under the Eclipse Public License by June 2010.

Nokia, the global leader in mobile handset sales, announced June 24 it was acquiring the remaining 52 million shares it does not already own of Symbian for $410 million. At the same time, Nokia and other mobile industry leaders announced the formation of the Symbian Foundation with membership open to all organizations.
Under the arrangement, Nokia will contribute the Symbian OS and S60 software to the foundation while Sony Ericsson, Motorola, DoCoMo, UIQ Technology and Fujitsu adding additional technology to the foundation's intellectual property pool.
"Our plans...are clearly enhancing its [Symbian open source] appeal to developers, solution providers and network operators," Lee Williams, who has been nominated as executive director of the foundation, said Dec. 4 at a Symbian partner event in San Francisco. "We already have strong U.S.-based representation with AT&T and Texas Instruments as initial members."
Other U.S.-based members of the Symbian Foundation include ARM, Broadcom, EA Mobile, Freescale, Marvell, Red Bend Software, TapRoot Systems, T-Mobile USA and Via. Williams said new members of the foundation include AOL, Cell Telecom, Intrinsyc, ISP Corp., Trusted Logic and Xeniet.
"We are delighted with the response from the Silicon Valley community, as well as from developers around the world, to the plans for the foundation to build on the leading open mobile platform," Williams said.
The foundation's platform will build on the Symbian OS, which has already shipped with more than 200 million mobile phones made by various vendors.
"AOL believes that open source initiatives such as the Symbian Foundation and AOL's Open Mobile Platform will be critical to the creation of a vibrant ecosystem in the mobile space," Jai Jaisimha, VP of AOL Mobile, said in a statement.