Device operating systems

CTIA 2010: OS Watch Hits CTIA

SAN FRANCISCO -- CTIA ENTERPRISE & APPLICATIONS 2010 -- Symbian Ltd. suffered two big blows this month when both Samsung Corp. and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications announced they'd no longer support the open OS, but it wants developers to know it'll bounce back. (See OS Watch: Samsung, Sony Ericsson Ditch Symbian.)

Oliver Gunasekara, head of North America and semiconductor programs for Symbian, says he was happy the handset makers were so open about their decisions, but he hopes they'll reconsider. In any case, he believes the updates Symbian has made to its development process and user experience will have Samsung and Sony Ericsson crawling back soon.

It wouldn't be the first time Samsung has washed its hands of Symbian only to change its mind. Gunasekara says it dropped the OS five years ago, only to return the follow year. If they see a market opportunity, they'll come back, he says.

Until then, Symbian will continue to build its focus on smartphones for the mass market and remains keen on being more than just Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s OS. (See 'Nokia Is Back!')

  • Frag Watch: Wireless operators already have to deal with a proliferation of operating system and form factors on their network, but they do have the option of making the devices their own without further fragmenting the market.

    Mobile developer SPB Software Inc. is offering operators this opportunity with its latest Mobile Shell, a uniform user interface across Android, Symbian, and Windows Mobile. Version 5 of the Shell is built with 3D graphics, widgets, folders, and on-touch app access in mind.

    For the carriers, it's a way to put their stamp on all the phones they offer, creating a uniform look and feel. SPB's VP of strategic alliances, Juggs Ravalia, says it's important every mobile device has a personality. Operators can build the experience they want without building their own OS.

    "Because everyone is different, they require different personalities and needs, but the concept has to be unified," Ravalia says. "It's fragmentation of the user experience at a general level, but it's personal to you."

  • Dueling OSs: Why settle for just one OS? CNET reports that High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) is building a phone with both Windows Mobile 7 and Android on board. Check out the video below.

  • MeeGo a no-go for 2010: First Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Nokia's MeeGo didn't show up at Nokia World, and now it appears it won't be making an appearance at all this year. Following the departure of its vice president of devices, Ari Jaaksi, an Intel exec tells Forbes that, while the project is on track, there won't be MeeGo-powered smartphones or tablets until next year. (See NoGo for MeeGo.)

  • A very Microsoft Monday: Monday is the big day for Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s Windows Phone 7 to make its US debut, with events in New York City and London. Among the expected announcements are new phones, new apps, and more details about AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s plans for the OS. (See OS Watch: RIM Regrets & iPhone Instructions .)

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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