Smartphone Show 2008: Developers urged to ‘handshake’ with Symbian code

Code decays so Symbian wants to work with developers to help keep it looking good.

As the company celebrates a decade of being alive, Symbian has issued a rallying call to developers to get out there and keep its code fresh.

Using his opening keynote at the Smartphone Show in London this morning, Nigel Clifford, the company's chief executive, talked about the how successful the platform has been in the last 10 years.

"[What you'll see at this show are] not just the technologies of today but also some of the inklings of what the technology of tomorrow will look like. In Spring we passed 200 million smartphones being shipped since Symbian opened its doors [and analysts are predicting that by the end of the year] a quarter of a billion smartphones [will have been shipped] since Symbian opened its doors with the Symbian OS inside," he said.

"So we're not letting up in the amount of innovation coming to market and there are dozens more products in the pipelines that you will see in the months ahead," he adding, referencing Samsung's announcement yesterday that it will be launching the i7110.

But Clifford was keen to stress that this success can only continue with the help of developers.

"We're going to be contributing code. But not just any code. Symbian code. It's been there from day one targeted at the mobile industry," he said.

"Compatibility is incredibly important. We've been extremely firm in Symbian about maintaining that compatibility commitment. The DNA of the foundation code is already with us; it's out in the halls [of this show]; it's in your pockets. Please have a look and see how you can handshake with that Symbian code right here [today]

"Code decays so we need to keep it fresh. We need to keep topping it up and developing it and that's what that the [Symbian] team are going to do."

Symbian has already made clear its intentions to make its OS free and to remove as many of the barriers to mobile development as possible, but what else does the future hold for the company and its community?

"We want to reduce that time to innovation. We want that idea to be linked to a handset and a consumer experience in double quick time," Clifford added.

"[We will be] taking the most popular OS, taking the most popular UIs and combining them to create brand new platform managed by a brand new entity. We hope we will be solving a conundrum. Up to now we lived in an either/or world. You can either have free code that's got a very small mobile pedigree. Or have [proven code like Symbian] but at a cost [We are] moving from that either or world [to one] which is proven/and. [Things are] going to be both proven in marketplace and free."

As part of all this, Symbian pledged to ensure it would beef up quality for developers to enable the ecosystem to continue to thrive both now and in the future.

"As we know every month millions and millions of devices are shipping with Symbian inside but also reputation[s] which also deliver really essential substantial - profits to the mobile industry. So, for me and my team, quality is the most important objective," he said.

"We've learned through working with the world's leading handset vendors and operators. So we have learned a lot of lessons along the way about how to build in quality from the ground up and not as an afterthought."

In a separate announcement at the show, Symbian revealed that several companies have joined its foundation in support of its open platform ethics. These new entrants include the likes of ARM, Huawei and Visa.

"Over the last two years, Visa has actively engaged with financial institutions, wireless operators, handset manufacturers and technology providers to develop and test mobile payments and services, ranging from payments, money transfer services, transaction alerts, merchant offers and an ATM and store locator service," said Tim Attinger, Visa's head of global product innovation and development.

"We believe that the Symbian Foundation platform has the potential to accelerate the delivery of those services to consumers around the globe."

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