It has been a rough week for the Symbian Foundation. Earlier this week, Sony Ericsson confirmed it will no longer produce Symbian handsets and now Samsung has joined the ranks of manufacturers who have walked away from this mobile platform. In an announcement on its Mobile Innovator website, Samsung confirmed that it will drop developer support for Symbian by the end of the month.
Samsung is giving developers a months notice and will close its Lab.dev effective October 29, 2010. Samsung’s Symbian forums will shut down on December 30, 2010 and all Symbian content will be removed on December 31, 2010. Samsung is instructing its Symbian developers to tie up any loose ends and download necessary documentation before these cut-off dates. Developers interested in pursuing Symbian should head to the Symbian Foundation’s website for further support.
Symbian is at the edge of a precipice and on the verge of falling off. Even though it is still the dominant mobile OS, propelled to the top by a plethora of S60 handsets from Nokia, Symbian has yet to grab even a small part of the growing touchscreen smartphone market. Symbian is trying to break into the smartphone market with its Symbian^3 operating system but it has a difficult climb as that market is dominated by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android OS.
As the remaining manufacturer still mass producing Symbian-powered handsets, Nokia is Symbian’s greatest hope. Nokia recently launched its flagship N8 smartphone which is powered by Symbian^3. The high-end smartphone is now landing in the hands of customers and first impressions of this handset and its Symbian^3 OS should be coming soon. Even though it still supports Symbian, Nokia is wisely keeping its eggs in multiple baskets. The Finnish company is working on its Meego OS, an alternative, linux-based smartphone OS which could supplant Symbian in the future.
Samsung, like Sony Ericsson, will leave Symbian behind and continue to forge forward with Android. Samsung has also committed itself to the Windows Phone platform and will have several handsets available for Microsoft’s big launch later this month. With almost all the major manufacturers dropping support for Symbian, it remains to be seen how long this mobile OS can cling to life. Time is short for Symbian and its low-end S60 OS can only sustain it for so long. Symbian has to pull off the hail mary of the century with its upcoming Symbian^4 version if it wants to stay even remotely relevant in a smartphone market dominated by fruit and robots.