RealTime IT News

Symbian Rises To Top With Samsung Smartphone

Hoping to capture a larger piece of the mobile pie, Samsung Electronics said it has signed an agreement to license the Symbian operating system for use in its smartphones. The idea is to use the technology for use in its worldwide 2.5G and 3G networks.

Samsung's first Symbian OS product will be a global data-enabled phone using the Series 60 user interface, which Samsung has licensed from Nokia . The device is expected sometime next year.

The deal means the world's top five mobile phone manufacturers are now Symbian OS licensees.

Samsung is also no slouch in the mobile sector. The Korean-based manufacturer develops CDMA and GSM mobile phones for key Asian and other worldwide markets.

Both Samsung and Symbian say the growing market for Symbian OS products will benefit developers creating open technology third party applications and services for Symbian OS phones.

"Symbian has demonstrated its ability to deliver leading edge technology, stimulate product innovation and work closely with its licensees to ship industry-leading smartphones," said Samsung Senior Vice President, Wireless Handsets Byung Duck Cho. "The flexibility of the technology will allow us to produce innovative products with multi-media capabilities that provide a compelling experience for mobile users."

Series 60 and the Symbian OS are also used in Nokia's 7650 camera-phone. Sony Ericsson is expected to launch the P800 later this year. The Symbian-based mobile phone uses a pen-based interface.

The news comes one day before Microsoft is expected to release a new smart phone powered by its Windows Smartphone 2002 operating system with London-based Orange SA. Symbian has a much broader base of licensees than Microsoft. In total Symbian OS licensees account for more than 80 percent of worldwide mobile phone sales, according to recent Gartner Dataquest estimates.

But whereas Microsoft is warming up to mobile telecom operators and chip makers, Symbian has courted handset makers

"With Samsung as a licensee, Symbian OS further strengthens its position as the industry standard operating system," said Symbian CEO David Levin. "We look forward to Samsung extending the choice of Symbian OS phones available to customers worldwide.

London-based Symbian is a joint venture between handheld computer maker Psion (which owns the majority share); mobile phone giants Motorola, Nokia, Sony Ericsson; electronics powerhouse Matsushita Communication; and Siemens. Manufacturers such as Philips Electronics, Samsung, and SANYO license Symbian's EPOC software to allow their devices to communicate with each other using a variety of network protocols.