Symbian on Thursday announced that it has completed the "biggest open source migration project ever," having just completed the open source release of its source code.
"Any individual or organization can now take, use and modify the code for any purpose, whether that be for a mobile device or for something else entirely," Symbian stated in a press release. "This strategic move provides the Symbian ecosystem with greater potential for innovation, faster time-to-market and the opportunity to develop on the platform for free. Symbian’s commitment to openness also includes complete transparency in future plans, including the publication of the platform roadmap and planned features up to and including 2011. Anyone can now influence the roadmap and contribute new features."
The move to open source falls well ahead of schedule of the software maker's original goal of releasing the platform by mid-2010.
Symbian remains the most used smartphone platform in existence, even though Google's Android and Apple's iPhone OS receive most the attention. Symbian has shipped on some 330 million devices, the company claims.
Where is half of the world's mobile data bandwidth disappearing? The avaricious Apple iPhone is devouring more than half of the global mobile data bandwidth, according to a new report published by mobile advertising company AdMob. The report details the mobile internet usage trend during the month of October. This is the first time that the iPhone's share of the global mobile internet traffic has gone past 50 percent. It stood at 43 percent at the end of September.
The iPhone is almost performing out of its skin when it comes to hogging mobile data bandwidth. This is because its share of the global smartphone market is just a third of its contribution to the world's mobile internet traffic. Symbian smartphones came in a distant second in October with a 25% share, down 4% from the previous month. While RIM and Blackberry smartphones lost a bit of their share, Android's share rose to 11% during the month.
The internet music application everyone loves, Spotify, has released an app for Symbian phones. The new app was created in conjunction with UI design firm The Astonishing Tribe (TAT). The technology behind the new app has been used to produce a number of user interfaces across the mobile and desktop spaces. The Symbian platform is the most widely used mobile OS in the world at this time, so this entry was certainly overdue.
The release of this app means that the 250 million users of S60 devices running 9.2 or later can enjoy the Spotify service. “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Spotify to help realize their visions for a mobile version that can now reach hundreds of millions of music lovers that use Symbian based phones,” said Charlotta Falvin, CEO of TAT. Regardless of your feelings about Symbian, that’s more than can be said for US music lovers. Spotify is still only available in Europe.
While the mobile world -- or at least the media -- remains fixated on Apple's iPhone OS, Google's Android platform, and the Blackberry OS, let's not forget that Symbian is still the market share leader, and now it has an app store to boot, the Symbian Foundation announced at the Symbian Exchange and Exposition 2009 (SEE 2009).
The "Horizon" app store is now live and kicks off with 50 apps, some of which included YouTube, Twitter, and Qik clients. But that's just the beginning, as the mobile OS outfit hopes to have thousands more in 2010 as developers sign up to have their apps listed in the Symbian Horizon Directory.
"We recognize that developers face many challenges in bringing their products to market on Symbian devices," said Lee Williams, Executive Director of the Symbian Foundation. "In particular, the diversity of application stores in our ecosystem increases the burden on developers by requiring multiple submission and review processes. But this diversity can also offer an advantage over competitors' closed systems, where applications sometimes receive arbitrary or commercially motivated rejections. Symbian Horizon retains this advantage while reducing the burden by becoming a conduit to multiple stores, helping developers reach the largest global mobile market in the world more effectively."
Several Symbian platforms already have their own app stores, including Nokia's Ovi, Samsung's Application Store, and Sony Ericsson's PlayNow platform, and all of these will support Horizon and integrate its apps into the mix. And while it's far too early to make any meaningful predictions, the question on everyone's mind is whether or not Symbian might actually challenge Apple's App Store, which is now over 100,000 apps strong.
Asustek may have put its plans to develop an Android-based smartbook on the back burner but that is unlikely to deter other companies from dabbling in smartbooks. According to Digitimes, Taiwan’s leading technology rumormonger, Nokia is said to be working on an ARM-based smartbook. The news comes from Digitimes’ sources at Taiwanese handset makers.
In the movie Braveheart, there's a pivotal scene involving Mel Gibson and a Scottish battalion where, as William Wallace, he tries to muster some courage from his ragtag company. Face painted blue and half-hysterical, he rallies them with a memorable speech about freedom and love of country. Then, the army proceeds to completely destroy the foreign oppressor in a fight to the bitter end.
In some ways, the current war on smartphone devices could be just as pivotal...and bloody. Companies such as Palm and Nokia have everything to lose if their platforms do not thoroughly crush the competition. Meanwhile, Apple has taken a strong lead with the iPhone, and BlackBerry devices do not appear to be losing any momentum, at least in the business sector. Google has entered the fight with their Android OS, attracting legions of developers to the platform in record time.
All of these operating systems support touch control, rudimentary multi-tasking, rich media, desktop-like Web browsing, and advanced messaging. Yet, only one OS is superior and will ultimately emerge as the victor. It might seem like Apple has already had their Braveheart moment, and maybe there is room for several companies at the top of the pile, but if Windows has taught us anything, it's that a single operating system can become so dominant that every other desktop OS becomes inconsequential. Developers lock into a platform, users get accustomed to it, and that OS wins the war.
We set out to put the major contenders to the test and find out which could become the most dominant. Really, it's too early to call Apple the victor, even though it would be easy to do so with 50,000 apps available and over a million iPhone users. As any technology analyst can tell you, there are actually significantly more Nokia and BlackBerry phones in use today than the iPhone, especially in Europe. The surprise is that the OS that seems to be winning the battle (the iPhone) may not eventually win the OS war in the long run.
In October of this year, Adobe will release a beta version of its Flash Player 10 for mobiles, Adobe CEO Shantanu Naraye told investors. Supported OSes will include Google's Android, Nokia Symbian, Palm Web OS, and Windows Mobile powered devices.
"We are bringing Flash Player 10 to smartphone class devices to enable the latest web browsing experiences," Naraye said. "Multiple partners have already received early version of this release and we expect to release a beta version for developers at our Max conference in October."
As it currently stands, only Flash light can be found running on some platforms, a result of engineering challenges for high performance Flash and issues of control, VentureBeat says. To get that high performance, Flash needs to run in the lower layers of the OS or phone, something Android, Palm WeOS, Winmo, and Symbian are open to, but the same can't be said for RIM's BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone.
How do blokes at the S60 on Symbian Consumer Operations (SOSCO) contend with monotony that usually plagues people at workplaces with such unimaginative names? They savagely slaughter time through such wild undertakings as the porting of Symbian to an off-the-shelf Atom-based motherboard – please do try that at home.
“ A few of the bright and capable guys in the SOSCO (S60 on Symbian Customer Operations) team have Symbian compiling via GCC and now running on an off the shelf Atom based motherboard from Intel,” Lee Williams, Executive Director of the Symbian Foundation, wrote in a blog post.
Williams wrote that the “responsiveness of the UI and upper application layers” impressed him the most. Williams’ bluster apart, the screenshots are rather vapid.
Microsoft's Windows platforms need to be more like Linux if the software giant ever hopes to compete against open-source software, including operating systems. That's the claim being made by InformationWeek's Charles Babcock, who's taken a look at Microsoft's declining revenues for Windows clients and concluded that it's time to toss the operating system--which allegedly nets Microsoft $34 per Windows XP installation--to the open-source wolves.
According to Babcock, sales and licenses for applications like Microsoft Office are the real cash cow for Microsoft. But how might a free Microsoft Windows operating system ease the bloodletting--defections of customers to open-source solutions for all their computer interactions? Read on to find out!
Outside of mobile Safari, and perhaps to a lesser extent Opera Mini, the mobile browser experience can be somewhat unsatisfying. Poor page rendering, or completely unusable interfaces seem to plague the mobile experience. That’s where Mozilla has seen an opportunity to expand its browser platform, and a market that is still relatively untapped. With the launch of Fennec Alpha 2, Mozilla is one step closer to its goal of a mobile Firefox. Alpha 2 seems to address many of the performance issues that hindered the previous version, and these complaints were clearly acknowledged in a blog posting by Mozilla’s Mark Finkle.
“While we focused much of the previous alpha on getting the user experience how we wanted, we’ve spent much of the time since focused on improving performance. We’ve made major strides improving startup performance, panning and zooming performance, and responsiveness while pages are loading.”
My somewhat unscientific testing seems to backup these claims and performance has defiantly improved. Currently support is limited to Nokia's Maemo based N800 and N810, but compatibility with Windows Mobile and Symbian is apparently well underway. These platforms could defiantly use a bit more choice when it comes to browsers, and many are hoping it will finally give the power enjoyed by mobile Safari users to those who prefer non Apple hardware.