Up until now, the Foundation was responsible for developing the Symbian platform, but with the recent news that both Samsung and Sony Ericsson are winding down their Symbian line of smartphones, and thus will become less involved with the foundation, it only seems to make sense that the (by far) largest Symbian player take over development. The Foundation will now focus on licensing.
Interesting changes, but if a recent article by Tim Ocock, former Symbian consortium employee, it might not be the best idea to hand over development of Symbian to Nokia. Ocock describes the way Symbian development took place over the years, and the picture isn't particularly flattering.
"The real root of the development problem with Symbian, was that the APIs and tools roadmap were driven by the needs of kernel engineers and system integrators," he details, "It was not unusual to hear it spoken by senior staff that there would never be a market for after-market apps and games, so why support third party developers?"
"'Easy API' projects, to make phonecalls or send messages in less than 20 lines of code, were started and never finished. The Psion OPL language was briefly resurrected, as its BASIC like syntax had led to a thriving third party apps ecosystem on the original Series 5. A suggestion to extend Java beyond the usability constraints and limited API of J2ME was shot down without a second thought," he continues, "Each died quickly, Symbian’s engineering department forbidden to put resources on activities not authorised by product management. In turn, unlike at Palm, or Android today, there was no product manager representing the needs of third party developers."
If Nokia approaches development like this once more, then Symbian won't crawl out of the dark place it is in now. The key - as far as I see it - is Qt, and it seems like Nokia has seen the light there.
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