Slideshow: Symbian Smartphone Fest
Symbian's ambition is to become the most widely used software platform on the planet. And, with Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s buyout of the 52 percent share in Symbian that it didn't already own for $411 million, the company is revamping itself into an open-source and royalty-free platform. (See Mobile OS Wars: Nokia Snaps Up Symbian, Symbian Wants the World, 10 Things You Should Know About Symbian , Symbian: Mobile OS Boss... For Now, and Nokia CEO: Go Long! Get Open!)
The new open Symbian will be managed by the Symbian Foundation , which is expected to be up and running in the first half of next year with free code available to anyone and everyone.
Nokia's deal has not yet closed and is still going through regulatory approvals. But that didn't stop Symbian CEO Nigel Clifford from looking ahead in his keynote address today.
"The rules of the game are going to change," he said.
Clifford said Symbian is solving an "either/or conundrum" with its move to become open. He said it used to be that "there was either free code with small mobile footprint and pedigree or very capable, proven software at a cost."
Now, he said, device makers will be able to have both: free code and a mature operating system designed specifically for mobile devices. More than 200 million smartphones based on Symbian have shipped since the company started up 10 years ago.
"We want developers from all computing and software devices... and wide contributions from all computing domains," said Clifford.
Symbian is particularly keen to expand into more mid-range phones and other devices -- such as music, navigation, and mobile TV devices -- and not be just an operating system mainly for high-end smartphones.
And the company stressed the importance of developers to helping it achieve its goals. Symbian's executive VP for research, David Wood, actually stole the infamous line from Steve Ballmer today: "The three words that are most important for the success of Symbian going forward are developers, developers, developers. Let me say that again..." (And he did. But he didn't do the dance.)
The Symbian Foundation also announced 12 new members today, one of which is Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
— Words, unfocused pictures, and hilarious-ish captions by Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung