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!')
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."
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile