Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and NTT Docomo have laid down a challenge to software giant Microsoft by creating an open mobile software platform which they hope will become the leading mobile phone operating system.
The move effectively combines the Symbian OS, S60, UIQ and MOAP(S) mobile software systems into one platform. This will be promoted as an industry standard under the banner of the Symbian Foundation.
AT&T, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone are the other leading companies behind the Symbian Foundation.
The influence of the Symbian Foundation has been increased with the news that Nokia has effectively taken control of the Symbian software technology.
While Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Docomo will contribute their separate software platforms to create a single platform with a common UI framework.
Nokia has said it will acquire the remaining shares of Symbian Limited, the company behind the mobile OS, that it does not already own and then contribute the Symbian and S60 software to the Foundation.
The open standard approach will put Symbian in a strong position to head-off any move by Microsoft to make its Windows operating system a significant software platform in the mobile phone market. The combined software is used in more than 200 million phones, across 235 models.
Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO of Nokia described the move as “one of the biggest contributions to an open community ever made”.
While Dick Komiyama, president of Sony Ericsson believes “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”.
However, one of the largest mobile phone silicon suppliers, Qualcomm, has not put its considerable influence behind the initiative.
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.
The aim is to make a full platform will be available for all Foundation members under a royalty-free licence. This will be made available over the next two years and is intended to be released under Eclipse Public License (EPL) 1.0.