Symbian probably died yesterday

October 22nd, 2010 by admin Leave a reply »

Yesterday Nokia canceled the separate Symbian^4 and ^3 operating systems. Instead ,there would be “one constantly evolving” platform. That doesn’t look like a death notice – right? However, Nokia also announced it would be sacking 1800 workers mostly from its Symbian smartphones unit. And how come, the Symbian foundation’s leader suddenly also decided to resign; because of “personal reasons”? And why was Nokia, once again, so keen in emphasizing how well the Qt developed apps will work on both Symbian and MeeGo?

NEWS UPDATE: Symbian Foundation faces closure:

the Symbian Foundation has asked its new CEO to close operations because it has insufficient funding to continue.

Alternative interpretation of these announced changes is that Nokia is closing down its Symbian product line and soon Nokia’s only own smartphone OS would be MeeGo. Regarding that “one constantly evolving” Symbian platform… Yes, Symbian could be still evolving just like the Windows XP is constantly evolving with its (security) updates. Fortunately, investors and developers have no reason to worry, apps done with Qt platform would work wonderfully both on Symbian and MeeGo. Therefore, Nokia’s transition from Symbian phone maker into MeeGo phone maker would be comparable to a painless amputation of an invisible obsolete limb. At last that is the plan. And who knows, below maybe the late.. last Symbian phones that will ever be announced. All heil the energy efficient Symbians.

Symbian is by far the world’s most popular smartphone OS, but it has been losing ground to Android and iOS. But why exactly would Nokia choose to replace Symbian with MeeGo? Well there are at least two reasons and they both have something to do with Microsoft. Firstly Symbian is like Windows 2000 used to be. Windows 2000 was once the best, the greatest and the most stable of all Windows operating systems. Well if it was so great why did Microsoft replace it with XP? Because XP was even better, it had to be. And if Microsoft would have just kept improving windows 2000, some Linux based operating system might have become too attractive alternative to that old, boring, system that was lacking all kinds of tools (a.k.a windows 2000). The another Microsoft related reason for EOLing Symbian is the new CEO who was hired _for_ improving the Nokia’s position in North-America. And if that is his task who would expect Nokia to conquer US markets back with a polished version of that old, boring, system that was lacking all kinds of tools (a.k.a Symbian).

So why would Nokia do this kind of silent End-Of-Life announcement? There are few reasons, most important being the already announced product portfolio that is nearing the production pipeline. And if Nokia would have told yesterday that all future Symbian based phones have been canceled, investors would be today suffering internal bleedings. Besides,it wouldn’t be very vise to be telling customers, they would be buying the last remaining Symbian phones ever. Hearing that “sales argument” would persuade many into taking a closer look at the competitor’s models. No, if Nokia would really leave Symbian, it would much rather do like all the other ex-Symbian phone manufacturers did. That is, just to refrain from announcing new Symbian models and a year later a random hardware engineer could visit a local bar telling local reporters that the company has no intention to release any more Symbian phones. End of story.

Ok, lets look this from the Nokia’s perspective… if Nokia really wanted to quit Symbian. How would it do it?

  1. First announce the development of new Symbian OS version being canceled … check
  2. Start cutting personnel from the Symbian smartphone unit; as there would not be many new Symbian Phones to design… check
  3. Announce continuity and continued usability of developer’s code using Qt… check

And as a cherry on top, as the active development of Symbian would end, the leader of Symbian foundation might as well resign… because of personal reasons.

One interesting thing is that, as the Symbian programming skills could soon become obsolete, Nokia should be planning to recruit lots of (Linux,Flash,C++) programmers and hardware engineers for the coming MeeGo phones… Symbian is dead, all heil MeeGo… maybe

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  1. great article… indeed there has to be a bit more quality articles online?

  2. web designer says:

    Nice work. I will be bearing this in mind on my next project.

  3. Chris says:

    I don’t get why they had to fire all the Symbian developers. They still need developers for Meego and Meego is expanding at least a little bit right?

  4. admin says:

    Someone was saying Nokia likes to rotate workers from task to task – kind of like this. Therefore, many of those soon to be fired Symbian developers could indeed found themselves developing MeeGo pretty soon. Another thing is if the location of these Symbian coders is at the same country or continent where Nokia is planning do much of its MeeGo development. I would guess quite many MeeGo developers will be found in USA because Nokia’s MeeGo partner is Intel and Nokia has been persuaded, for a long time, into moving a greater share of its product development into the Silicon Valley.

  5. àlfred says:

    the comparison with windows makes absolutely no sense,
    windows 2000 was version 5.0, it was built for the business market.
    windows xp was version 5.1, actually windows 2000 with the introduction of nice icons and colors. Built for consumer.

    they both have exactly the same architecture, and almost the same features, not a thing to say about symbian and meego; two complete different worlds.

  6. admin says:

    I compared win2000 against the XP, because that demonstrated a big company gradually EOLing its own market dominating product, hoping its next generation product would be able to re-take the market. Surely MS could have chosen to sell windows 7 as a “NT with service pack 17”. But obviously not servicing the original product forever is making them more money. And yes, technically a bit more fair OS comparison would have been windows ME vs XP; as ME was based on windows 98/95 product line and not the NTs. Unfortunately, that horribly unstable ME was the never the best OS choice for any purpose, so it needed to be EOLed anyway.

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