Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and NTT DOCOMO announced today their intent to unite Symbian OS(TM), S60, UIQ and MOAP(S) to create one open mobile software platform. Together with AT&T, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone they plan to establish the Symbian Foundation to extend the appeal of this unified software platform. Membership of this non-profit Foundation will be open to all organizations. This initiative is supported by current shareholders and management of Symbian Limited, who have been actively involved in its development. Plans for the Foundation have already received wide support from other industry leaders.
To enable the Foundation, Nokia today announced plans to acquire the remaining shares of Symbian Limited that Nokia does not already own and then contribute the Symbian and S60 software to the Foundation. Sony Ericsson and Motorola today announced their intention to contribute technology from UIQ and DOCOMO has also indicated its willingness to contribute its MOAP(S) assets. From these contributions, the Foundation will provide a unified platform with common UI framework. A full platform will be available for all Foundation members under a royalty-free license, from the Foundation’s first day of operations.
Contributions from Foundation members through open collaboration will be integrated to further enhance the platform. The Foundation will make selected components available as open source at launch. It will then work to establish the most complete mobile software offering available in open source. This will be made available over the next two years and is intended to be released under Eclipse Public License (EPL) 1.0.
The Foundation’s platform will build on the leading open mobile software platform, with more than 200 million phones, across 235 models, already shipped by multiple vendors and tens of thousands of third-party applications already available for Symbian OS-based devices.
“Ten years ago, Symbian was established by far sighted players to offer an advanced open operating system and software skills to the whole mobile industry”, said Nigel Clifford, CEO of Symbian. “Our vision is to become the most widely used software platform on the planet and indeed today Symbian OS leads its market by any measure. Today’s announcement is a bold new step to achieve that vision by embracing a complete and proven platform, offered in an open way, designed to stimulate innovation which is at the heart of everything we do.”
“Establishing the Foundation is one of the biggest contributions to an open community ever made,” said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO of Nokia. “Nokia is a strong supporter of open platforms and technologies as they give the freedom to build, maintain and evolve applications and services across device segments and offer by far the largest ecosystem, enabling rapid innovation. Today’s announcement is a major milestone in our devices software strategy.”
“The complete, consistent platform that the Foundation plans to provide will allow manufacturers to focus on their unique differentiation at a device level” said Dick Komiyama, President of Sony Ericsson. “Sony Ericsson believes that the unified Symbian Foundation platform will greatly simplify the world for handset manufacturers, operators and developers, enabling greater innovation in services and applications to the benefit of consumers everywhere.”
“Motorola has long been a leader and advocate of open software for mobile platforms. We’re excited to be joining Nokia, Sony Ericsson, NTT DOCOMO and others in leading this open source effort to form the new Symbian Foundation and unite the Symbian ecosystem,” said Alain Mutricy, Senior Vice President, Platforms & Technology Office, Motorola Mobile Devices. “Also, Motorola, together with Sony Ericsson, will be contributing UIQ technology to the Foundation and will work with UIQ as they are refocusing as an important supplier in the new Symbian ecosystem. This will be a great addition, as the Foundation will be able to leverage UIQ’s unique experience, which includes expertise in touch technology.”
“DOCOMO welcomes this development and we look forward to moving our Symbian based devices and service onto the Foundation platform. We are also willing to contribute our MOAP(S) assets to the Foundation. This is a very positive step in further increasing the adoption of the Symbian software and creating an even more open, consistent and complete platform. The Foundation software will enable us to enjoy the benefits of a global platform in bringing new, leading-edge services to the Japanese market. It will increase efficiency and help us provide our wide customer base with the most advanced mobile experiences.” said Toshio Miki, Associate Senior Vice President, Managing Director of Communication Device Development Department of NTT DOCOMO.
“Mobile phones have turned into sophisticated multimedia computers and smart phones continue to grow in popularity,” said Kris Rinne, Senior Vice President of Architecture and Planning at AT&T. “The Symbian Foundation will reduce fragmentation in the industry and holds the promise of incorporating leading technology and the most mature software into a unified platform for the entire industry. This will create an environment that will encourage and enable developers to build compelling applications that will positively affect our customers’ lives and support AT&T in offering its differentiated services to consumers.”
“Joining the Symbian Foundation is an ideal opportunity for LG to broaden our commitment to providing our customers with the best possible mobile experience” said Dr. Skott Ahn, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “We believe that open mobile platforms will contribute to advance the mobile industry. At LG we will play a leading role in creating a better mobile environment, working with the Symbian Foundation to provide our customers with smart new features based on this open platform.”
“Samsung Electronics is committed to Symbian as one of the future platforms for our mobile devices and believes that establishing the Foundation is a visionary move in positioning the platform as a proven open platform for future development. We are delighted to be playing a significant role in that future by joining the Foundation board. We have already used Symbian and S60 software successfully to deliver appealing devices and see these steps making the platform even more attractive for bringing the latest technologies and services to the market” said Dr. Do Hun Kwon, VP & Managing Director, Samsung Electronics Research Institute.
“ST sees strong consumer demand, across all segments, for a richer multimedia experience,” said Monica de Virgiliis, General Manager of the Wireless Multimedia Division, STMicroelectronics. “This new foundation synchronizes and harmonizes the mainstream software approach to address this need and makes the software widely available. We anticipate this will fuel the growth of multimedia-capable devices and we are excited about being able to leverage our long-standing leadership in consumer digital multimedia to satisfy more and more consumers.”
“TI has long supported open platforms, and we are excited about the formation of the Symbian Foundation. We believe the new structure will remove barriers to innovation in the mobile industry by providing a common platform on which exciting next-generation applications and services can be built,” said Greg Delagi, senior vice president of TI’s Wireless Business Unit. “Manufacturers can get a head-start on development with TI’s proven OMAP-based Symbian S60 software development platform. Combined with the Foundation’s open collaboration model, this will allow more developers to harness the performance and multimedia capabilities of the OMAP family to accelerate improvements in the mobile user experience.”
“Vodafone believes this is a significant step in driving mobile innovation for the Internet as well as creating a richer mobile experience for our customers” said Jens Schulte-Bockum, Vodafone’s Global Director of Terminals. “We have been challenging the industry to reduce complexity and focus on fewer operating systems. This step will help to drive even faster innovation, as well as enable operators to accelerate time-to-market for compelling and varied new services.”
Foundation members share the vision that the Foundation will unify the software platform, supercharge innovation and accelerate the availability of new services and compelling experiences for consumers and business users around the world. The combined platform is already one of the most advanced and widely used mobile platforms, making it highly attractive for all ecosystem partners, including developers, mobile operators, content and service providers and device manufacturers.
The Foundation is expected to start operating during the first half of 2009, subject to the closing of the acquisition of Symbian Ltd by Nokia.