The Fall of Symbian

Symbian is an mobile operating system, that has beginnings dating back to the 80’s, and one of the oldest operating system for mobile devices. It was run on the majority of Nokia devices up until February 2011. It was initially released in 1997, and since then has progressed into it’s current version Symbian ^3. As of 2011, Symbian OS is estimated to have over 400 million devices – making it the most popular operating system ever. Symbian was dethroned by Android in 2011, in terms of market share after having dominated for over 10 years. Since then, Symbian has been on a decline losing market share to competitors such as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

During February 2011, Nokia announced that it would migrate from running Symbian OS to Windows Phone. Evidence of this is present today, as Nokia’s flagship devices such as the Nokia Lumia are running Windows Phone. Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop released a insightful memo stating that Nokia had become a “burning platform”, and that the company would look to implement a fresh approach. Nokia Belle (current version of Symbian) is rumored to be the last official Symbian release. Nokia has made an agreement with Accenture, to provide support to Symbian till 2016.

As personal fan’s of Symbian, We find this heartbreaking. Nevertheless, it highlights the volatility of the smart phone market. In two years, Android rose to number one, and in another 4 years Symbian will cease to exist all together. Some 2000 something Nokia employees are rumored to have migrated to Accenture with the Nokia’s move to Windows phone. Add to the fact that Symbian source code was previously open source, there might be some reminiscence of the OS in the next decade. Either way, Symbian will always hold a special place, holding the title as a true Mobile OS, being derived from a Desktop Operating System. The future of Symbian is unknown, and the tides of the smart phone market may change again, in the next five years.