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Friday, 25 January 2013 11:29

Symbian is dead as a Dodi

Written by Nick Farrell



Obit for the Princess Diana of operating systems


The former rubber boot maker Nokia this week admitted that the Symbian operating system is the Princess Diana of operating systems. After being treated like royalty for long past its shelf life, the operating system was chased from the market by Android and Apple and ended its life in a tunnel of despair.

Symbian was the love child of Psion's EPOC and ran on ARM processors. In 1998 the operating system was married into a multi-vendor but dysfunctional family made up of Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola and Psion. In June 2008, Nokia bought Symbian  and a new independent non-profit organisation called the Symbian Foundation was established. The former owners Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Sony Ericsson contributed to making the Symbian platform royalty-free, open source software.

The Symbian platform was officially made available as open source code in February 2010. The main contributor was Nokia. Even though it was divorced from the other phone companies Symbian was the most popular smartphone OS until the end of 2010, and was seen by many as the “people’s princess” phone operating system.  However one night, it was swiftly over overtaken by Android and appears to have hit a development wall.

Nokia itself ended up in the arms of the love of its life, Steve Ballmer, however many open source people mourned the loss of the software’s development. Sadly Elton John did not compose a moving tribute to the Operating System based upon his epic single “Candle in the Wind.”

This week Nokia confirmed that the 808 PureView, released last year, was the last device that the company would make on the Symbian platform. As of last quarter, Symbian accounted for only 2.6 per cent of smartphone handset shipments, compared to over 72 percent for Android.

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