New members join Symbian Foundation
The planned Symbian Foundation is gaining 14 new members, bringing the current membership total to 78. Symbian, acquired by Nokia in June of 2008, is to become an open source mobile operating system in 2010. Before then the plan is to make it available, without licence fees, to all members of the foundation – once the foundation actually gets going. Among the new members are HP, whose management products for mobile devices include Symbian support, MySpace which offers access to their site via a mobile portal, Chip manufacturer Qualcomm, flash memory manufacturer SanDisk and Bank of America, which supports mobile online banking applications.
The support from Qualcomm is unusual because they have, in the past, had a bitter dispute with Nokia, owners of Symbian, over the rights of different 3G patent licenses. Each of the members expect to to receive a different benefit from participation in the project.
The Symbian OS is only one of several operating systems in the growing group of open source mobile patforms. Competition in the open source mobile market is coming from Google's Android and the Palm webOS both wanting to carve out a place in the mobile market, alongside the Apple iPhone, the Windows Mobile phones and the BlackBerry. The fledgling foundation also has competition from groups like The Open Handset Alliance started by Google.
The foundation, based in London, will be meeting at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, to discuss various topics, including the brand itself.