Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer holiday and Symbian Foundation

Finally sweet summer and holiday are here! Long days and nightless nights take thoughts away from mobile issues, don’t expect many postings during July!

Before holiday, a couple of minor notes about the recent Symbian Foundation news.

Symbian developers available. When Nokia has merged, reorganized and streamlined development process of UIQ, S60 and Symbian there will be bad news for developers. UIQ already started this by announcing to close down two of their three offices and this - I’m afraid - is just the beginning. However, Symbian related development work will not disappear, it will just move to different companies. The resources needed for platform development will be reallocated for application level development.

The return of the user interface. Many years ago Symbian’s former CEO Colly Myers admitted in an interview that Symbian shouldn’t have spent time on UI development because UI has such a strategic meaning to phone manufacturers. Phones had to be differentiated somehow and UI had to pay the price - companies have spent much time and money to create different UI’s on top of Symbian and the results have been...well, you know. Now UI will become part of Symbian and hopefully we will see it improving when best parts of different UI’s will be put together. For typical phone user UI is one of the most important things; having efficient memory management doesn’t help if you cannot easily use your phone to do everyday tasks.

The return of UI will raise Symbian from OS level to platform level.

Symbian will become open and free, is that important? Yes and no.

It is important because it will put all developers to same line. So far there have been 1st class developers who have had access to Symbian internals and then the rest of us who have been told that some things are just not for us. Innovation needs fuel and this is it.

The phone’s success is determined every day at the retail shops. There phones are nothing else but consumer electronics, evaluated by many properties and operating system is not one of those. Phones are like cameras - or do you know which OS your digital camera has and what were the licensing terms? Would it matter?

Have a nice summer!


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