Nokia Sends Strong Message of Commitment to Symbian

Nokia’s new head Stephen Elop is sending a strong message that the Finnish phone maker is still very much committed to its Symbian roots despite the rising popularity of competing open source OS Android. The company now manages two smartphone operating systems–MeeGo and Symbian. In fact, Nokia will now take over Symbian development functions from the Symbian Foundation. The Symbian Foundation will serve to manage Symbian’s intellectual property portfolio, the brand identity, and licensing. In a press release issued today, the Symbian Foundation writes:

Following a strategy review, the board of the Symbian Foundation has today decided to transition the role of the non-profit organisation. The foundation will become a legal entity responsible for licensing software and other intellectual property, such as the Symbian trademark. Nokia has committed to make the future development of the Symbian platform available to the ecosystem via an alternative direct and open model.

Nokia is announcing that it “plans to continue to invest its own resources in developing Symbian, the world’s most widely used smartphone platform, and expects to deliver a strong portfolio of Symbian-based smartphones to people around the world.”

Nokia had announced previously that in addition to the Symbian operating system, which has been deployed on much of its phone lineup, the phone maker had entered into a partnership with Intel to develop the MeeGo operating system, based on Linux, that is highly scalable and could be used on netbooks, smartphones, tablets, car infotainment systems, set top boxes, and more. MeeGo essentially is the merge of Nokia’s developer-centric Maemo operating system, which was released on the Nokia N900, and Intel’s Moblin operating system. Nokia had recently stated that the Qt development platform will help third-party apps and software developers more easily target both Symbian and MeeGo. By using Qt, developers could save a lot of development costs and time and could write and compile compelling apps for both platforms that the company is supporting.

In Nokia’s press release, Nokia affirms its commitment to Symbian:

“Nokia remains committed to Symbian as the most used smartphone platform around the world,” said Jo Harlow, senior vice president, Smartphones, Nokia. “The Nokia N8 generated the highest online pre-orders we’ve ever experienced and we have a family of Symbian^3 smartphones including the Nokia N8, Nokia C7, and Nokia C6-01 which are available now, as well as the Nokia E7 which is expected to ship before the end of 2010. Nokia expects to sell more than 50 million Symbian^3 smartphones.”