Light Reading

Mobile 2012: Symbian Opens Wide

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
6/11/2009
50%
50%

The Symbian Foundation -- keeper of the world's most popular mobile operating system -- revealed exactly what "open" means for the code-base in coming years at Light Reading's first-ever virtual tradeshow, Mobile 2012, this afternoon.

The Foundation's catalyst and futurist, David Wood, spoke to an online audience to explain why mobile companies might need openness and also spoke of some of the potential pitfalls. He firmly cast the Foundation in the open camp, not only promising open software development kits and easy access to the code-base but also saying that outside developers, researchers, and other interested parties would have a say in the future roadmap for the OS.

The power of four
The backdrop for the move to openness, Wood told listeners, is the anticipation that mobile devices will quadruple in performance in many respects between now and 2012. "They'll have four times the raw processing capability," Wood says.

This means four times the storage and processing speeds that will double twice in three years, if Moore's Law holds. Battery life is the only hold-out as its performance just doesn't track with silicon, Wood noted.

More mobile raw power brings complexities, however, Wood said. Smartphones and other devices are getting harder to design, build and code software and apps for, Wood explained. Meanwhile, without more intuitive user interfaces, even power users can find phones confusing.

What's open, really?
There are two possible approaches to dealing with this level of complexity, Wood said. One is keeping all of the hardware and software development in-house, creating your own app store, and generally keeping a tight grip on the reins. This is the typical cellphone model and one largely adhered to by Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and BlackBerry , albeit with software development kits (SDKs) for third-party apps.

Symbian, meanwhile, along with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), the LiMo Foundation , and others, is now pushing for a more open environment. Wood says that, for Symbian, open access means that any interested party can access the SDK and operating system code base and make changes to it. This means anyone from developers to research labs and universities can get their grubby paws on the Symbian OS. Furthermore, Wood says, the Foundation will push "open governance," whereby anyone involved with the work has a say over how the operating system's roadmap will evolve.

This means of course that Symbian has to take the rough with the smooth. The key danger of such an open approach is that code-base is developed by thousands of different parties to meet their own special needs and gets fragmented, the curse word of the open-source movement.

"Fragmentation is easy; integration is hard," quipped Wood.

He notes that Symbian already has some experience of this problem and suggests that the Foundation will have to "lead by example." This means integrating good changes to the code-base quickly and well, "fast standards," Woods calls it.

Despite the potential for code-base crack-up, however, Wood suggests that the Symbian OS can only be improved by going open source. "It's a better approach, to involve the entire community... get their overall brain power involved in these challenges."

– Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
BTE 2015 Sponsor Keynote: HP
Dr. Prodip Sen, CTO, Network Functions Virtualization, HP
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat Demo

7|2|15   |   10:53   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Nicolas Lemieux demonstrates how Red Hat is driving innovation through open source communities.
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat's Approach to OpenStack Adoption

7|2|15   |   5:17   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Radhesh Balakrishnan outlines his company's open source strategy for both enterprises and telcos.
LRTV Custom TV
The New IP Goes Mobile With vEPC

7|2|15   |   1:12   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Gabriel Brown discusses results of a Light Reading survey sponsored by Brocade that shows a clear commitment by mobile operators to move quickly to virtual EPC deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Business Sense of SDN

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Results of a Brocade-sponsored survey show that CSPs have a clear sense of SDN use cases but are wrestling with the business case. Sterling Perrin of Heavy Reading looks behind the numbers.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Will Be Here Sooner Than You Think

7|2|15   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Forget the usual ten-year cycle for new technologies – NFV will be a core part of CSP networks in five years, based on results of a Brocade-sponsored survey, says Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell.
LRTV Custom TV
The New IP Gains Traction With CSPs

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro of Heavy Reading analyzes results of a Light Reading survey sponsored by Brocade showing that CSPs are getting serious about making the transition to the New IP era.
LRTV Custom TV
It's (Real) Time for Analytics

7|2|15   |   1:42   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Jim Hodges looks at how CSPs say they plan to use analytics to deploy new services in real time as part of The New IP, based on results of a survey sponsored by Brocade.
LRTV Documentaries
IoT in Action

6|30|15   |   1:39   |   (7) comments


Two co-workers discuss the benefits of IoT technology.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson Opens Up on OPNFV

6|30|15   |   14:16   |   (1) comment


Martin Bäckström, VP and head of industry area Datacom at Ericsson, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the emergence of OPNFV, the importance of standards and Ericsson's OPNFV plans.
LRTV Custom TV
NetNumber Founder Discusses NFV/SDN Impact on SP Networks

6|26|15   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


NetNumber Founder Doug Ranalli examines why SPs need a new network infrastructure for service agility. While NFV and SDN are the tools, the old ways of thinking about signaling control are inhibitors. Doug provides his recommendations.
LRTV Custom TV
Orchestrating NFV vCPE Services Across Multivendor Networks

6|26|15   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Nirav Modi provides an overview of vCPE, the fastest-growing NFV use case, showing how Cyan's Blue Planet orchestrates vCPE services across a multivendor infrastructure to rapidly deliver new managed services for business customers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at LTE Summit Amsterdam 2015

6|26|15   |     |   (0) comments


As one of the leading global telecommunications providers, ZTE presented its cutting-edge technology at LTE World Summit 2015 in Amsterdam. On display at ZTE's booth were the latest R&D achievements in wireless, 5G development, HetNet, deep convergence of FDD and TDD, and RCS/IMD/iSDN/vCN.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Who's Feeding Fiber to LinkNYC Hotspots?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/29/2015
Colt to Jettison Ailing IT Business
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/30/2015
Eurobites: Activist Investor Takes Stake in AlcaLu
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 6/30/2015
What's a Gigabit Good For?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/1/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
Cats with Phones