The mystery of Symbian’s countdown timer has finally been solved. Tomorrow Symbian will announce that their operating system has completed transitioning from closed source to open source and that anyone can download their code, for free. This is big news. It’s like Microsoft announcing that Windows is going open source. Say what you will about how old Symbian is, and how their UI is busted and unintuitive, but 4 out of every 10 smartphones shipped run some flavor of Symbian. With Nokia prepared to announce their Cseries at Mobile World Congress too, bringing Symbian to even lower price points, expect Symbian’s share of the smartphone pie to increase and only become more relevant with time.
Will people care is another question all together. Android is getting people all hot and bothered because the types of people who buy smartphones are already addicted to Google. Building an Android device is more about standing next to Google’s brand than anything else. Symbian doesn’t have that prestige, and while yes, the Symbian Foundation is “independent” from any one corporation, most, if not all, of Symbian code is written by people getting paid by Nokia.
Note: This post will be updated once the relevant press release and additional details go live tomorrow. It’s probably Symbian 2, not Symbian 3.