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Symbian gets last-minute save from $31m EU fund

updated 02:45 pm EDT, Tue November 2, 2010

Symbian gets 31m European rescue in project form

Symbian today said it had received a major cash influx from the European Commission as part of a continent-wide project. The Artemis Joint Technology Initiative has given the mobile OS developer 22 million euros ($30.8 million) to develop the SYMBEOSE consortium, or Symbian -- the Embedded Operating System for Europe. The group should streamline creating Symbian devices and giving them "new core platform capabilities," such as cloud computing and multi-core processing.

About 24 companies are involved in the group and include carriers, electronics companies, integrators and phone-focused designers. Projects will be broken up into smaller teams and will all be open-source.

The motivation for the sudden project wasn't directly stated, but the money came just as leaks were beginning to emerge of serious financial trouble at Symbian that could have led to its collapse. It faced the sudden departure of its leader just last month and has been rumored on the verge of shutting down as its CFO may have taken over only to wind things down. Officials haven't confirmed the motivations, though executive director Lee Williams publicly explained it as "personal reasons."

The organization has seen a rash of both official and unofficial defections from its member ranks as companies have given up on using the Symbian platform for their devices. Sony Ericsson has no plans to support Symbian after the Vivaz series leaves shelves, and Samsung is formally qutting development at the end of 2010. Only Nokia remains as a major supporter of Symbian, but it's partly switching away on its own as its high-end Nseries phones and its tablets will use the new MeeGo platform instead.

Symbian has faced criticism for being slow to adapt to competitors. It added touch support only in late 2008, a year and half after Apple and HTC had begun popularizing touchscreen smartphones, and only brought in multi-touch and simplified phone settings earlier this year with the launch of Symbian^3 phones like the N8.

by MacNN Staff



  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Ain't Socialism grand.

  1. Stoli89

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Between the lines

    SF will get a cash injection of 2 million Euro from the total grant. The remaining 20 million will be directed amongst the SYMBEOSE participants. SF will have leadership of the SYMBEOSE, but this does not change the governance model in place at SF; they remain two distinct entities. What seems to be lost in all of this discussion is Nokia's strategic decision to elevate Qt as its centerpiece framework for both UI and app development. Qt and Qt Quick will now provide the forward continuity AND cross platform development tools necessary to rapidly build the ecosystem and drive a more competitive User Experience. In essence, the OEM has taken a more agnostic approach to the core OS in favor of Qt to deliver the UI stack. Clearly, Symbian will continue to mature as a core OS with tremendous depth and capability for embedded devices. This is not good news for Samsung's Bada.

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