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
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (4) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
LRTV Interviews
Light Reading ICT Leaders Roundtable at MWC 2015

2|12|15   |   1:07   |   (2) comments


On Sunday March 1, 2015, Light Reading will host an ICT Leaders Roundtable in partnership with Huawei. At this half-day event, CIOs, analysts and researchers will discuss key industry trends like virtualization in the cloud with a specific focus on new business models. Located at the luxurious Renaissance Hotel near the Fira Barcelona, space is limited so please ...
LRTV Documentaries
Going Green in 2015

2|12|15   |   02:04   |   (0) comments


Energy efficiency is set to be an incredibly hot topic in the telecom industry this year.
LRTV Custom TV
SDN & NFV: Where Are We Going From Here?

2|11|15   |   11:27   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss gives his perspective on why SDN and NFV should be tightly interconnected and how he sees the industry moving forward.
LRTV Documentaries
Time for Gigabit Europe?

2|9|15   |   01:27   |   (4) comments


Gigabit broadband networks are springing up all around the US and they'll soon become more commonplace in Europe.
LRTV Interviews
Brocade Brings New IP Vision to 2020 Vision Executive Summit

2|3|15   |   4:23   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading gathered telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Brocade's Kelly Herrell shared his company's strategy at ...
LRTV Interviews
Brocade's Kelly Herrell on the New IP

2|2|15   |   12:36   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Brocade VP of Software Networking Kelly Herrell at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Brocade's approach to the New IP, the future of the telecom industry, and more.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Cyber Security Expert Warns: You're Doing It Wrong
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/23/2015
10 Weirdly Useful IoT Devices
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 2/24/2015
Small Cells Enabling Location Services
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/25/2015
Is FCC Weighing Net Neutrality Changes?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 2/25/2015
MWC: Let the Madness Begin
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.
G'day! And welcome to an entirely new feature on Light Reading -- our weekly "CEO-to-CEO" interview.