Symbian Foundation Says It's on Track

The Symbian Foundation is on track to take over Symbian as an open-source operating system in 2010 and will put out its first distribution of software for developers in the first half of next year, its executive director said Thursday.

The foundation is the successor to the Symbian consortium that has administered the OS since 1998. It is being formed after Nokia agreed to buy the remaining part of Symbian, a deal that closed on Tuesday. The world's largest handset maker, which has been perceived as dominating Symbian since its creation, is releasing the platform as competition for developers grows among Google's Android, Apple's iPhone and other systems.

Nokia, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, LG Electronics, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, AT&T and other companies agreed in June to form the foundation. Six new members, including AOL, Fujitsu's Cell Telecom division, and Intrinsyc, were announced Thursday at the Symbian Partner Event in San Francisco. That brings total membership to 64, the group said.

The distribution of code coming in the first half of 2009 won't be entirely open source. It will be released to members of the foundation, under a new partner organization that eventually will supplant Symbian's current partner program, said Lee Williams, executive director of the Symbian Foundation. It will include elements of Symbian and of Nokia's Symbian-based S60 platform. The group is already working on code for that distribution.

The open-source OS coming in 2010, will unite Symbian with S60 as well as two other platforms built on it: UIQ and NTT DoCoMo's MOAP (Mobile Oriented Applications Platform).

The foundation is now defining roles within its organization and starting to work on recruiting for those jobs, Williams said. By the end of April, there will be staffers answering calls and e-mail for developer support and other needs, he said.

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