This has been a tough few weeks for Symbian. A few days ago it was given the old heave-ho from Samsung smartphones in favor of bada, a new OS they haven’t even RELEASED yet, and now this. For a decade Nokia and Symbian have been practically synonymous, but the beginning of the end of that partnership is now official.
Nokia has confirmed what many people, myself included, suspected and backed the Linux-based Maemo operating system as it’s high end OS of the future. According to The Really Mobile Project, Tanja Sauvola from the Maemo marketing team informed bloggers in London that as of 2012, Maemo would replace Symbian S60 on all high end N-series devices for Nokia.
For the foreseeable future, Symbian will continue to run Nokia’s video-focused X-series and enterprise-focused E-series handsets according to Nokia. However with the high end now placed out of Symbian’s reach, the writing is on the wall. The movement in handsets is towards application, multimedia rich operating systems, so as feature phones lose relevance Symbian will slowly lose market share in favor of more capable systems.
Of course the announcement elicited a chorus in the blogosphere saying “Why bother with Maemo, be original and run Android, like all the rest of us!” While I see their point, I do applaud Nokia for continuing to walk their own path regarding software and am becoming a little nervous about this widespread anointing of Android as the one true smartphone OS. While Maemo, like bada, may be a bit quixotic, the effort to preserve diversity in mobile software is still a good thing.