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Symbian is a discontinued
mobile operating system A mobile operating system is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Examples of system software include operating systems like macOS ...
(OS) and
computing platform A computing platform or digital platform is an environment in which a piece of software is executed. It may be the Computer hardware, hardware or the operating system (OS), even a web browser and associated application programming interfaces, or o ...
designed for
smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can per ...

smartphone
s. Symbian was originally developed as a
proprietary software Proprietary software, also known as non-free software or closed-source software, is computer software for which the software's publisher or another person reserves some rights from licenses to use, modify, share modifications, or share the softwa ...
OS for
PDA PDA may refer to: Science and technology * Patron-driven acquisition, a mechanism for libraries to purchase books *Personal digital assistant, a mobile device * Photodiode array, a type of detector * Polydiacetylenes, a family of conducting polym ...
s in 1998 by the Symbian Ltd. consortium. Symbian OS is a descendant of Psion's EPOC, and was released exclusively on
ARM In human anatomy The human body is the structure of a human being Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and ...
processors A central processing unit (CPU), also called a central processor, main processor or just Processor (computing), processor, is the electronic circuitry that executes Instruction (computing), instructions comprising a computer program. The CPU per ...

processors
, although an unreleased
x86 x86 is a family of instruction set architecture In computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for th ...

x86
port existed. Symbian was used by many major mobile phone brands, like
Samsung The Samsung Group (or simply Samsung) ( ko, 삼성) is a South Korean Multinational corporation, multinational manufacturing Conglomerate (company), conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea. It comprises numerous affil ...

Samsung
,
Motorola Motorola, Inc. () was an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational sta ...

Motorola
,
Sony Ericsson Sony Mobile Communications Inc. ( ja, ソニーモバイルコミュニケーションズ株式会社) was a multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Mult ...
, and above all by
Nokia Nokia Corporation (natively Nokia Oyj, referred to as Nokia; stylized as NOKIA) is a Finnish multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational for ...

Nokia
. It was also prevalent in Japan by brands including
Fujitsu is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational information and communications technology equipment and services corporation, established in 1935 and headquartered in Tokyo. Fujitsu is the world's sixth-largest Information technology, I ...

Fujitsu
,
Sharp Sharp or SHARP may refer to: Short for *Self Help Addiction Recovery Program, a charitable organisation founded in 1991 by Barbara Bach and Pattie Boyd *Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention, a US Army program dealing with sexual ha ...
and
Mitsubishi The is a group of autonomous Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an in . It is situated in the northwest , and is bordered on the west by the , while extending from the in the north toward the and in the south. Japan ...

Mitsubishi
. As a pioneer that established the smartphone industry, it was the most popular smartphone OS on a worldwide average until the end of 2010, at a time when smartphones were in limited use, when it was overtaken by
iOS iOS (formerly iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system A mobile operating system is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Examples o ...

iOS
and
Android Android may refer to: Science and technology * Android (robot), a humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to imitate a human * Android (operating system), Google's mobile operating system ** Android (operating system)#Mascot, Unnamed Androi ...

Android
. It was notably less popular in North America. The Symbian OS platform is formed of two components: one being the
microkernel In computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. Computer science is the study of , ...
-based operating system with its associated
libraries A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A library provi ...
, and the other being the
user interface In the industrial design Industrial design is a process of design A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process, or the result of that plan or specificati ...
(as
middleware Middleware is a type of computer software Software is a collection of instructions that tell a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern com ...

middleware
), which provides the graphical shell atop the OS. The most prominent user interface was the S60 (formerly Series 60) platform built by Nokia, first released in 2002 and powering most Nokia Symbian devices.
UIQ UIQ (formerly known as User Interface Quartz) was a software platform based upon Symbian, Symbian OS, created by UIQ Technology AB. It is a graphical user interface layer that provides additional components to the core operating system, to enable ...
was a competing user interface mostly used by Motorola and Sony Ericsson that focused on
pen A pen is a common writing instrument A writing implement or writing instrument is an object used to produce writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writing sy ...
-based devices, rather than a traditional keyboard interface from S60. Another interface was the
MOAP MOAP (Mobile Oriented Applications Platform) is the software platform for NTT DoCoMo is a Japanese . The name is officially , "''do communications over the mobile network''", and is also from a ''dokomo'', meaning "everywhere" in Japanese. Do ...
(S) platform from carrier
NTT DoCoMo is a Japanese mobile phone operator A mobile phone operator, wireless provider, or carrier is a mobile telecommunications company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, ...
in the Japanese market. Applications of these different interfaces were not compatible with each other, despite each being built atop Symbian OS. Nokia became the largest shareholder of Symbian Ltd. in 2004 and purchased the entire company in 2008. The non-profit
Symbian Foundation The Symbian Foundation was a non-profit organisation A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, publ ...
was then created to make a
royalty-free Royalty-free (RF) material subject to copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and ...
successor to Symbian OS. Seeking to unify the platform, S60 became the Foundation's favoured interface and UIQ stopped development. The
touchscreen A touchscreen or touch screen is the assembly of both an input ('touch panel') and output ('display') device. The touch panel is normally layered on the top of an electronic visual display of an Information processor, information processing system ...

touchscreen
-focused Symbian^1 (or S60 5th Edition) was created as a result in 2009. Symbian^2 (based on MOAP) was used by NTT DoCoMo, one of the members of the Foundation, for the Japanese market. Symbian^3 was released in 2010 as the successor to S60 5th Edition, by which time it became fully
free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty ...

free software
. The transition from a proprietary operating system to a free software project is believed to be one of the largest in history. Symbian^3 received the Anna and Belle updates in 2011.Nokia announces Symbian 'Anna' update for N8, E7, C7 and C6-01; first of a series of updates (video)
''Engadget''. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
Nokia announces Symbian Belle alongside three new devices
''Engadget''. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
The Symbian Foundation disintegrated in late 2010 and Nokia took back control of the OS development. In February 2011, Nokia, by now the only remaining company still supporting Symbian outside Japan, announced that it would use
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
's
Windows Phone 7 Windows Phone 7 is the first release of the Windows Phone Windows Phone (WP) is a discontinued family of mobile operating systems developed by Microsoft for smartphones as the replacement successor to Windows Mobile and Zune. Windows Phone fea ...

Windows Phone 7
as its primary smartphone platform, while Symbian would be gradually wound down.RIP: Symbian
''Engadget''. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
Two months later, Nokia moved the OS to proprietary licensing, only collaborating with the Japanese OEMs and later outsourced Symbian development to
Accenture Accenture plc is an Irish multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a ...

Accenture
.Epstein, Zach. (23 June 2011
Symbian is officially no longer Nokia's problem
Bgr.com. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
Although support was promised until 2016, including two major planned updates, by 2012 Nokia had mostly abandoned development and most Symbian developers had already left Accenture, and in January 2014 Nokia stopped accepting new or changed Symbian software from developers. The
Nokia 808 PureView The Nokia 808 PureView is a Symbian Symbian is a discontinued mobile operating system (OS) and computing platform designed for smartphones. Symbian was originally developed as a proprietary software OS for Personal digital assistant, PDA ...
in 2012 was officially the last Symbian smartphone from Nokia. NTT DoCoMo continued releasing OPP(S) (Operator Pack Symbian, successor of MOAP) devices in Japan, which still act as middleware on top of Symbian. Phones running this include the from
Fujitsu is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational information and communications technology equipment and services corporation, established in 1935 and headquartered in Tokyo. Fujitsu is the world's sixth-largest Information technology, I ...

Fujitsu
and from
Sharp Sharp or SHARP may refer to: Short for *Self Help Addiction Recovery Program, a charitable organisation founded in 1991 by Barbara Bach and Pattie Boyd *Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention, a US Army program dealing with sexual ha ...
in 2014.


History

Symbian originated from
EPOC32 EPOC is a mobile operating system A mobile operating system is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Examples of system software includ ...
, an operating system created by Psion in the 1990s. In June 1998, Psion Software became Symbian Ltd., a major joint venture between Psion and phone manufacturers
Ericsson (lit. "Telephone Stock Company of LM Ericsson"), commonly known as Ericsson, is a Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken pri ...

Ericsson
,
Motorola Motorola, Inc. () was an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational sta ...

Motorola
, and
Nokia Nokia Corporation (natively Nokia Oyj, referred to as Nokia; stylized as NOKIA) is a Finnish multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational for ...

Nokia
. Afterwards, different
software platform A computing platform or digital platform is an environment in which a piece of software is executed. It may be the Computer hardware, hardware or the operating system (OS), even a web browser and associated application programming interfaces, or o ...
s were created for Symbian, backed by different groups of mobile phone manufacturers. They include S60 (
Nokia Nokia Corporation (natively Nokia Oyj, referred to as Nokia; stylized as NOKIA) is a Finnish multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational for ...

Nokia
,
Samsung The Samsung Group (or simply Samsung) ( ko, 삼성) is a South Korean Multinational corporation, multinational manufacturing Conglomerate (company), conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea. It comprises numerous affil ...

Samsung
and ),
UIQ UIQ (formerly known as User Interface Quartz) was a software platform based upon Symbian, Symbian OS, created by UIQ Technology AB. It is a graphical user interface layer that provides additional components to the core operating system, to enable ...
(
Sony Ericsson Sony Mobile Communications Inc. ( ja, ソニーモバイルコミュニケーションズ株式会社) was a multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Mult ...
and
Motorola Motorola, Inc. () was an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational sta ...

Motorola
) and
MOAP MOAP (Mobile Oriented Applications Platform) is the software platform for NTT DoCoMo is a Japanese . The name is officially , "''do communications over the mobile network''", and is also from a ''dokomo'', meaning "everywhere" in Japanese. Do ...
(S) (Japanese only such as
Fujitsu is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational information and communications technology equipment and services corporation, established in 1935 and headquartered in Tokyo. Fujitsu is the world's sixth-largest Information technology, I ...

Fujitsu
,
Sharp Sharp or SHARP may refer to: Short for *Self Help Addiction Recovery Program, a charitable organisation founded in 1991 by Barbara Bach and Pattie Boyd *Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention, a US Army program dealing with sexual ha ...
etc.). With no major competition in the smartphone OS then (
Palm OS Palm OS (also known as Garnet OS) is a discontinued mobile operating system initially developed by Palm, Inc., for personal digital assistants (PDAs) in 1996. Palm OS was designed for ease of use with a touchscreen-based graphical user interface. ...
and
Windows Mobile Windows Mobile is a discontinued family of mobile operating system A mobile operating system is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. ...
were comparatively small players), Symbian reached as high as 67% of the global smartphone market share in 2006. Despite its sizable market share then, Symbian was at various stages difficult to develop for: First (at around early-to-mid-2000s) due to the complexity of then the only native programming languages
Open Programming Language Open Programming Language (OPL) is an embedded programming language A programming language is a formal language comprising a Instruction set architecture, set of instructions that produce various kinds of Input/output, output. Programming lan ...
(OPL) and Symbian
C++ C++ () is a general-purpose programming language In computer software, a general-purpose programming language is a programming language dedicated to a general-purpose, designed to be used for writing software in a wide variety of application ...

C++
, and of the OS; then the stubborn developer bureaucracy, along with high prices of various
integrated development environment An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software application Application software (app for short) is computing software designed to carry out a specific task other than one relating to the operation of the computer itself, typically ...
s (IDEs) and
software development kit A software development kit (SDK) is a collection of software development Software development is the process of conceiving, specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing involved in creating and maintaining applic ...
s (SDKs), which were prohibitive for independent or very small developers; and then the subsequent fragmentation, which was in part caused by infighting among and within manufacturers, each of which also had their own IDEs and SDKs. All of this discouraged third-party developers, and served to cause the native app ecosystem for Symbian not to evolve to a scale later reached by Apple's App Store or Android's Google Play. By contrast, iPhone OS (renamed
iOS iOS (formerly iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system A mobile operating system is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Examples o ...

iOS
in 2010) and
Android Android may refer to: Science and technology * Android (robot), a humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to imitate a human * Android (operating system), Google's mobile operating system ** Android (operating system)#Mascot, Unnamed Androi ...

Android
had comparatively simpler design, provided easier and much more centralized infrastructure to create and obtain third-party apps, offered certain developer tools and programming languages with a manageable level of complexity, and having abilities such as multitasking and graphics to meet future consumer demands. Although Symbian was difficult to program for, this issue could be worked around by creating Java Mobile Edition apps, ostensibly under a "write once, run anywhere" slogan. This wasn't always the case because of fragmentation due to different device screen sizes and differences in levels of Java ME support on various devices. In June 2008,
Nokia Nokia Corporation (natively Nokia Oyj, referred to as Nokia; stylized as NOKIA) is a Finnish multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational for ...

Nokia
announced the acquisition of Symbian Ltd., and a new independent non-profit organization called the
Symbian Foundation The Symbian Foundation was a non-profit organisation A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, publ ...
was established. ''Symbian OS'' and its associated user interfaces S60,
UIQ UIQ (formerly known as User Interface Quartz) was a software platform based upon Symbian, Symbian OS, created by UIQ Technology AB. It is a graphical user interface layer that provides additional components to the core operating system, to enable ...
, and
MOAP MOAP (Mobile Oriented Applications Platform) is the software platform for NTT DoCoMo is a Japanese . The name is officially , "''do communications over the mobile network''", and is also from a ''dokomo'', meaning "everywhere" in Japanese. Do ...
(S) were contributed by their owners
Nokia Nokia Corporation (natively Nokia Oyj, referred to as Nokia; stylized as NOKIA) is a Finnish multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational for ...

Nokia
,
NTT DoCoMo is a Japanese mobile phone operator A mobile phone operator, wireless provider, or carrier is a mobile telecommunications company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, ...
,
Sony Ericsson Sony Mobile Communications Inc. ( ja, ソニーモバイルコミュニケーションズ株式会社) was a multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Mult ...
, and Symbian Ltd., to the foundation with the objective of creating the Symbian platform as a royalty-free,
Free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty ...

Free software
, under the
Free Software Foundation The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a 501(c)(3) A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, or other type of organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States ...
(FSF) and
Open Source Initiative The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is the steward of the Open Source Definition ''The Open Source Definition'' is a document published by the Open Source Initiative, to determine whether a software license can be labeled with the Open-source soft ...
(OSI) approved
Eclipse Public License The Eclipse Public License (EPL) is a free Free may refer to: Concept * Freedom, having the ability to act or change without constraint * Emancipate, to procure political rights, as for a disenfranchised group * Free will, control exercised ...
(EPL). The platform was designated as the successor to Symbian OS, following the official launch of the Symbian Foundation in April 2009. The Symbian platform was officially made available as
Free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty ...

Free software
in February 2010. Nokia became the major contributor to Symbian's code, since it then possessed the development resources for both the Symbian OS core and the user interface. Since then Nokia maintained its own code repository for the platform development, regularly releasing its development to the public repository.Symbian OS – one of the most successful failures in tech history
TechCrunch.com. 8 November 2010
Symbian was intended to be developed by a community led by the
Symbian Foundation The Symbian Foundation was a non-profit organisation A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, publ ...
, which was first announced in June 2008 and which officially launched in April 2009. Its objective was to publish the
source code In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and ...

source code
for the entire Symbian platform under the OSI and FSF approved EPL). The code was published under EPL on 4 February 2010; Symbian Foundation reported this event to be the largest codebase moved to
Free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty ...

Free software
in history. However, some important components within Symbian OS were licensed from third parties, which prevented the foundation from publishing the full source under EPL immediately; instead much of the source was published under a more restrictive Symbian Foundation License (SFL) and access to the full source code was limited to member companies only, although membership was open to any organisation. Also, the
Free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty ...

Free software
Qt framework Qt (pronounced "cute") is a widget toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces as well as cross-platform Application software, applications that run on various software and hardware platforms such as Linux, Windows, macOS, Android (operating ...
was introduced to Symbian in 2010, as the primary upgrade path to
MeeGo MeeGo is a discontinued Linux distribution A Linux distribution (often abbreviated as distro) is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other softwar ...
, which was to be the next mobile operating system to replace and supplant Symbian on high-end devices; Qt was by its nature free and very convenient to develop with. Several other frameworks were deployed to the platform, among them
Standard C ANSI C, ISO C and Standard C are successive standards for the C (programming language), C programming language published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Historica ...
and C++,
Python Python may refer to: * Pythonidae The Pythonidae, commonly known as pythons, are a family of nonvenomous snakes found in Africa, Asia, and Australia. Among its members are some of the largest snakes in the world. Ten genera and 42 species ...
,
Ruby A ruby is a pink-ish red to blood-red colored gemstone A gemstone (also called a fine gem, jewel, precious stone, or semi-precious stone) is a piece of mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly spea ...
, and
Adobe Flash Lite Adobe Flash Lite is a lightweight version of Adobe Flash Player Adobe Flash Player (also called Shockwave Flash in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome) is Software, computer software for content created on the Adobe Flash platform. ...
. IDEs and SDKs were developed and then released for free, and
application software Application software (app for short) is computing software designed to carry out a specific task other than one relating to the operation of the computer itself, typically to be used by end-users. Examples of an application Application may refer ...
(app) development for Symbian picked up. In November 2010, the Symbian Foundation announced that due to changes in global economic and market conditions (and also a lack of support from members such as
Samsung The Samsung Group (or simply Samsung) ( ko, 삼성) is a South Korean Multinational corporation, multinational manufacturing Conglomerate (company), conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea. It comprises numerous affil ...

Samsung
and
Sony Ericsson Sony Mobile Communications Inc. ( ja, ソニーモバイルコミュニケーションズ株式会社) was a multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Mult ...
), it would transition to a licensing-only organisation; Nokia announced it would take over the stewardship of the Symbian platform. Symbian Foundation would remain the trademark holder and licensing entity and would only have non-executive directors involved. With market share sliding from 39% in Q32010 to 31% in Q42010, Symbian was losing ground to iOS and Android quickly, eventually falling behind Android in Q42010.
Stephen Elop Stephen Elop (born 31 December 1963) is a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these ...
was appointed the CEO of Nokia in September 2010, and on 11 February 2011, he announced a partnership with
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
that would see Nokia adopt
Windows Phone Windows Phone (WP) is a discontinued family of mobile operating systems developed by Microsoft for smartphones as the replacement successor to Windows Mobile and Zune. Windows Phone featured a new user interface derived from the Metro design lan ...

Windows Phone
as its primary smartphone platform, and Symbian would be gradually phased out, together with MeeGo. As a consequence, Symbian's market share fell, and application developers for Symbian dropped out rapidly. Research in June 2011 indicated that over 39% of mobile developers using Symbian at the time of publication were planning to abandon the platform. By 5 April 2011, Nokia ceased to make
free Free may refer to: Concept * Freedom, having the ability to act or change without constraint * Emancipate, to procure political rights, as for a disenfranchised group * Free will, control exercised by rational agents over their actions and decis ...

free
any portion of the Symbian software and reduced its collaboration to a small group of preselected partners in Japan. Source code released under the original EPL remains available in third party repositories, including a full set of all public code from the project as of 7 December 2010. On 22 June 2011, Nokia made an agreement with
Accenture Accenture plc is an Irish multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a ...

Accenture
for an outsourcing program. Accenture will provide Symbian-based software development and support services to Nokia through 2016; about 2,800 Nokia employees became Accenture employees as of October 2011. The transfer was completed on 30 September 2011. Nokia terminated its support of software development and maintenance for Symbian with effect from 1 January 2014, thereafter refusing to publish new or changed Symbian applications or content in the Nokia Store and terminating its 'Symbian Signed' program for software certification.


Features


User interface

Symbian has had a native graphics toolkit since its inception, known as AVKON (formerly known as
Series 60 The S60 Platform (formerly Series 60 User Interface) is a software platform A computing platform or digital platform is an environment in which a piece of software is executed. It may be the Computer hardware, hardware or the operating system ...
). S60 was designed to be manipulated by a keyboard-like interface metaphor, such as the ~15-key augmented telephone keypad, or the mini-QWERTY keyboards. AVKON-based software is binary-compatible with Symbian versions up to and including Symbian^3. Symbian^3 includes the
Qt framework Qt (pronounced "cute") is a widget toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces as well as cross-platform Application software, applications that run on various software and hardware platforms such as Linux, Windows, macOS, Android (operating ...
, which is now the recommended user interface toolkit for new applications. Qt can also be installed on older Symbian devices. Symbian^4 was planned to introduce a new GUI library framework specifically designed for a touch-based interface, known as "UI Extensions for Mobile" or UIEMO (internal project name "Orbit"), which was built on top of Qt Widget; a preview was released in January 2010, however in October 2010 Nokia announced that Orbit/UIEMO had been cancelled. Nokia later recommended that developers use Qt Quick with
QML QML (Qt Modeling Language) is a user interface markup language A user interface markup language is a markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document ...
, the new high-level declarative UI and scripting framework for creating visually rich touchscreen interfaces that allowed development for both Symbian and
MeeGo MeeGo is a discontinued Linux distribution A Linux distribution (often abbreviated as distro) is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other softwar ...
; it would be delivered to existing Symbian^3 devices as a Qt update. When more applications gradually feature a user interface reworked in Qt, the legacy S60 framework (AVKON) would be deprecated and no longer included with new devices at some point, thus breaking binary compatibility with older S60 applications.


Browser

Symbian^3 and earlier have a built-in
WebKit #REDIRECT WebKit#REDIRECT WebKit WebKit is a browser engine developed by Apple Inc., Apple and primarily used in its Safari (web browser), Safari web browser, as well as all iOS web browsers. WebKit is also used by the BlackBerry Browser, PlaySta ...
based browser. Symbian was the first mobile platform to make use of WebKit (in June 2005). Some older Symbian models have
Opera Mobile Opera Mobile is a mobile web browser for smartphones, tablets and personal digital assistants, PDAs developed by Opera (company), Opera. History The first devices to run a mobile edition of Opera were the Psion Series 5, Psion Series 5mx, Psion ...
as their default browser. Nokia released a new browser with the release of Symbian Anna with improved speed and an improved user interface.


Multiple language support

Symbian had strong localization support enabling manufacturers and 3rd party application developers to localize Symbian based products to support global distribution. Nokia made languages available in the device, in ''language packs'': a set of languages which cover those commonly spoken in the area where a device variant is to be sold. All language packs have in common English, or a locally relevant dialect of it. The last release, Symbian Belle, supports these 48 languages, with ialects and (scripts): Symbian Belle marks the introduction of Kazakh, while Korean is no longer supported. *Japanese is only available on Symbian^2 devices as they are made in Japan, and on other Symbian devices Japanese is still supported with limitations.


Application development

From 2010, Symbian switched to using standard C++ with Qt as the main SDK, which can be used with either
Qt Creator Qt Creator is a cross-platform C++, JavaScript and QML integrated development environment which simplifies GUI application development. It is part of the Software development kit, SDK for the Qt (framework), Qt GUI Application framework, applic ...
or Carbide.c++. Qt supports the older Symbian/S60 3rd (starting with Feature Pack 1, a.k.a. S60 3.1) and Symbian/S60 5th Edition (a.k.a. S60 5.01b) releases, as well as the new Symbian platform. It also supports
Maemo Maemo is a software platform A computing platform or digital platform is an environment in which a piece of software is executed. It may be the Computer hardware, hardware or the operating system (OS), even a web browser and associated applica ...

Maemo
and
MeeGo MeeGo is a discontinued Linux distribution A Linux distribution (often abbreviated as distro) is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other softwar ...
, Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Alternative application development can be done using
Python Python may refer to: * Pythonidae The Pythonidae, commonly known as pythons, are a family of nonvenomous snakes found in Africa, Asia, and Australia. Among its members are some of the largest snakes in the world. Ten genera and 42 species ...
(see Python for S60),
Adobe Flash Lite Adobe Flash Lite is a lightweight version of Adobe Flash Player Adobe Flash Player (also called Shockwave Flash in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome) is Software, computer software for content created on the Adobe Flash platform. ...
or
Java ME Java Platform, Micro Edition or Java ME is a computing platform A computing platform or digital platform is an environment in which a piece of software Software is a collection of instructions that tell a computer A computer is a ...
. Symbian OS previously used a Symbian specific C++ version, along with CodeWarrior and later Carbide.c++
integrated development environment An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software application Application software (app for short) is computing software designed to carry out a specific task other than one relating to the operation of the computer itself, typically ...
(IDE), as the native application development environment. Web Run time (WRT) is a portable application framework that allows creating
widgets Widget is a placeholder name for an Widget (economics), unnamed, unspecified, or hypothetical manufactured good or product. The word was coined by in his play ' (1924). This meaning has been extended in various ways: Technology Computing * Soft ...
on the
S60 Platform The S60 Platform (formerly Series 60 User Interface) is a software platform A computing platform or digital platform is an environment in which a piece of software is executed. It may be the Computer hardware, hardware or the operating system ...
; it is an extension to the S60
WebKit #REDIRECT WebKit#REDIRECT WebKit WebKit is a browser engine developed by Apple Inc., Apple and primarily used in its Safari (web browser), Safari web browser, as well as all iOS web browsers. WebKit is also used by the BlackBerry Browser, PlaySta ...
based browser that allows launching multiple browser instances as separate JavaScript applications.


Application development


Qt

As of 2010, the SDK for Symbian is standard C++, using Qt. It can be used with either
Qt Creator Qt Creator is a cross-platform C++, JavaScript and QML integrated development environment which simplifies GUI application development. It is part of the Software development kit, SDK for the Qt (framework), Qt GUI Application framework, applic ...
, or Carbide (the older IDE previously used for Symbian development). A phone simulator allows testing of Qt apps. Apps compiled for the simulator are compiled to native code for the development platform, rather than having to be emulated. Application development can either use C++ or
QML QML (Qt Modeling Language) is a user interface markup language A user interface markup language is a markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document ...
.


Symbian C++

As Symbian OS is written in C++ using Symbian Software's coding standards, it is possible to develop using Symbian C++, although it is not a standard implementation. Before the release of the Qt SDK, this was the standard development environment. There were multiple platforms based on Symbian OS that provided
software development kit A software development kit (SDK) is a collection of software development Software development is the process of conceiving, specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing involved in creating and maintaining applic ...
s (SDKs) for application developers wishing to target Symbian OS devices, the main ones being UIQ and S60. Individual phone products, or families, often had SDKs or SDK extensions downloadable from the maker's website too. The SDKs contain documentation, the header files and library files needed to build Symbian OS software, and a Windows-based emulator ("WINS"). Up until Symbian OS version 8, the SDKs also included a version of the
GNU Compiler Collection The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is an optimizing compiler In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithm of an ...
(GCC) compiler (a
cross-compiler A cross compiler is a compiler In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both comp ...
) needed to build software to work on the device. Symbian OS 9 and the Symbian platform use a new
application binary interface In computer software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * Computer program, a collection ...
(ABI) and needed a different compiler. A choice of compilers is available including a newer version of GCC (see external links below). Unfortunately, Symbian C++ programming has a steep
learning curve A learning curve is a graphical representation of the relationship between how proficient someone is at a task and the amount of experience Experience refers to conscious , an English Paracelsian Paracelsianism (also Paracelsism; German: ' ...

learning curve
, as Symbian C++ requires the use of special techniques such as descriptors, active objects and the cleanup stack. This can make even relatively simple programs initially harder to implement than in other environments. It is possible that the techniques, developed for the much more restricted mobile hardware and compilers of the 1990s, caused extra complexity in source code because programmers are required to concentrate on low-level details instead of more application-specific features. As of 2010, these issues are no longer the case when using standard C++, with the Qt SDK. Symbian C++ programming is commonly done with an
integrated development environment An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software application Application software (app for short) is computing software designed to carry out a specific task other than one relating to the operation of the computer itself, typically ...
(IDE). For earlier versions of Symbian OS, the commercial IDE CodeWarrior for Symbian OS was favoured. The CodeWarrior tools were replaced during 2006 by Carbide.c++, an
Eclipse ECLiPSe is a software system for the development and deployment of Constraint Programming Constraint programming (CP) is a paradigm for solving combinatorial Combinatorics is an area of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Gr ...

Eclipse
-based IDE developed by Nokia. Carbide.c++ is offered in four different versions: Express, Developer, Professional, and OEM, with increasing levels of capability. Fully featured software can be created and released with the Express edition, which is free. Features such as UI design, crash debugging etc. are available in the other, charged-for, editions.
Microsoft Visual Studio Microsoft Visual Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft. It is used to develop computer programs, as well as web site, websites, web apps, web services and mobile apps. Visual Studio uses Microsoft software develop ...
2003 and 2005 are also supported via the Carbide.vs plugin.


Other languages

Symbian devices can also be programmed using
Python Python may refer to: * Pythonidae The Pythonidae, commonly known as pythons, are a family of nonvenomous snakes found in Africa, Asia, and Australia. Among its members are some of the largest snakes in the world. Ten genera and 42 species ...
,
Java ME Java Platform, Micro Edition or Java ME is a computing platform A computing platform or digital platform is an environment in which a piece of software Software is a collection of instructions that tell a computer A computer is a ...
, Flash Lite,
Ruby A ruby is a pink-ish red to blood-red colored gemstone A gemstone (also called a fine gem, jewel, precious stone, or semi-precious stone) is a piece of mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly spea ...
,
.NET The domain name A domain name is an identification string String or strings may refer to: *String (structure), a long flexible structure made from threads twisted together, which is used to tie, bind, or hang other objects Arts, enterta ...
, Web Runtime (WRT) Widgets and Standard C/
C++ C++ () is a general-purpose programming language In computer software, a general-purpose programming language is a programming language dedicated to a general-purpose, designed to be used for writing software in a wide variety of application ...

C++
. Visual Basic programmers can use
NS Basic NS Basic is a family of development tools developed and commercially marketed by NSB Corporation in Toronto Toronto is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. With a recorded population of 2 ...
to develop apps for S60 3rd Edition and UIQ 3 devices. In the past,
Visual Basic Visual Basic is a name for a family of programming languages from Microsoft. It may refer to: * Visual Basic (classic) The original Visual Basic (also referred to as Classic Visual Basic) is a third-generation programming language, third-gener ...
, Visual Basic .NET, and C# development for Symbian were possible through AppForge Crossfire, a plugin for Microsoft Visual Studio. On 13 March 2007 AppForge ceased operations; Oracle purchased the intellectual property, but announced that they did not plan to sell or provide support for former AppForge products. Net60, a .NET compact framework for Symbian, which is developed by redFIVElabs, is sold as a commercial product. With Net60, VB.NET, and C# (and other) source code is compiled into an intermediate language (IL) which is executed within the Symbian OS using a just-in-time compiler. (As of 18 January 2010, RedFiveLabs has ceased development of Net60 with this announcement on their landing page: "At this stage we are pursuing some options to sell the IP so that Net60 may continue to have a future.") There is also a version of a
Borland Borland Software Corporation was a computer technology company founded in 1983 by Niels Jensen, Ole Henriksen, Mogens Glad and Philippe Kahn. Its main business was the development and sale of software development and software deployment products. ...
IDE for Symbian OS. Symbian development is also possible on
Linux Linux ( or ) is a family of open-source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product ...

Linux
and
macOS macOS (; previously Mac OS X and later OS X) is a proprietary {{Short pages monitor