Much has been made of the Symbian Foundation’s demise. The group is no longer in charge of developing the operating system which has struggled to match up to Android and iOS, and it’s now been confirmed that its website will shut down on December 17th, along with its Facebook and Twitter pages.
But far from being a dark day for Symbian and Nokia, this could well have all the makings of Espoo’s fightback which has been talked up for months, but which, in truth, failed to materialise.
For one thing, the decision to bring Symbian’s development back in-house is a great move. This will help the bosses keep a keener eye on software development and allow hardware and software teams to work closer together. Integration has been a key failure of Symbian smartphones. The kit itself is generally always of top quality, but the implementation of software has largely been poor. Having Nokia do the work should go a long way to eliminating this problem.
Likewise, with Samsung and Sony Ericsson plumping for Android and Windows Phone over Symbian, there’re no longer any worries over outside companies interfering with the OS and creating confusion for consumers. Sony Ericsson’s Symbian phones were particularly poor towards the end and it’s now down to Nokia to look after itself and not have to worry about the Symbian product becoming diffuse and awkward.
Symbian has also suffered in recent months due to poor headlines and the volatility at exec level in Nokia. Bringing it in-house will help to take the OS out of the limelight and allow Nokia to work away on updates and fixes without having to look to the Symbian Foundation to defend the operating system’s position.
Out of the limelight and hidden behind the growing hype surrounding MeeGo, Symbian will hopefully flourish and find itself making midrange devices tastier and more rounded, while top-end efforts benefit from MeeGo’s development.
Throw in Stephen Elop’s experience at Microsoft of getting software working well with a huge array of hardware and Symbian has all the ingredients to become a success story in 2011. Not a shout-from-the-rooftops one, but a quiet, solid performer that can hold its own near the top of the smartphone charts, as Android continues to do the business.