It’s this part of the year again: while the rest of the world is running around celebrating and accepting usury cup deposits of more than 2 Euros per cup, yours truly is sitting in front of his MSI Wind U100, creating a reflection on the events of the year.
2008 should be known as the year when diversity died in the S60 marketplace. I don’t want to say that Symbian ever was too democratic a marketplace – but the end of the UIQ platform removed two of the five companies still actively creating Symbian hardware (Motorola and SE).
While developers will likely benefit from this decision in the future (just one code base), I am not sure if the marketplace will benefit too much. Hundreds of thousands of users are currently into UIQ devices, and are likely to switch platforms due to frustration. S60 touch (and S60 apps in general) are far from the maturity and the feature-richness of UIQ…I am afraid that this could pose a potential threat.
The events outlined above must be seen as part of a bigger picture: the foundation of the Symbian Foundation and the impeding release of the S60 code under an open-source license. This process brings up a plethora of new chances and challenges which have been covered extensively in the past.
From my point of view, the next two years will be extremely interesting for the Symbian world. Google’s Android OS is a highly potent competitor, and Nokia alone won’t cut it forever – if the folks fail to attract new licensees, a Palmesque ending could loom in the near future…
P.S. Similar thingies will pop up at our sister sites shortly. In case you are interested in my outlook on any of the platforms below, just hit the link and enjoy!
Palmary Christmas (about Palm OS) @ TamsPalm
PPC Christmas (about Windows Mobile PocketPC devices) @ TamsPPC
iMas (on iPhone and iPod touch stuff) @ TamsIJungle
ChristBerry (about BlackBerry devices) @ TamsBlackBerry