Nokia reported to be distancing itself from Symbian
According to a newspaper report, Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia plans to equip future high-performance phones with the Maemo operating system. The report (German language link) in the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD), says the company is expected to launch its first Maemo smartphone within the next few weeks. Symbian, Nokia's OS of choice to date, is said to be far too cumbersome to compete with modern operating systems, according to the report from Nokia sources. A Nokia spokesperson declined to comment on "speculation".
The Linux and largely open source-based Maemo platform was initiated by Nokia as an alternative OS for high-end smartphones. The first indications that Nokia had plans for Maemo were seen in late June when the company signed a development partnership with Intel. The agreement covered the development of mobile x86 devices, fixed networking of such devices and support for software such as Maemo and Intel's Moblin. At a developer meeting in Gran Canaria in July, Nokia manager Quim Gil declared that his company was in the process of turning Maemo into a "mainstream platform" for mobiles.
The FTD quotes analyst Tony Cripps from UK consultancy Ovum as saying that Nokia has recognised that it has a problem with Symbian and that Android, which is supported by Google, has greater development potential. According to the report, David Wood of the Symbian Foundation nevertheless believes that the number of Symbian mobiles in use globally is still set to rise. He also expects other Symbian users, such as Sony Ericsson, to be contributing more than half of the software development effort by 2012. Nokia currently contributes more than 90 per cent of development work. In June 2008, the Finnish company purchased Symbian for 264 million euros from its previous co-owners, Ericsson, Siemens, Panasonic and Sony Ericsson, and converted it into the Symbian Foundation. According to researchers from Gartner, the latest figure for Symbian's market share in the smartphone market was 49.3 per cent, compared to 52.4 per cent in the last quarter of 2008.