Samsung Will Abandon Support For Symbian Platform

Samsung will withdraw support for the Symbian platform and will close its Symbian developer facilities by the end of the year.

The announcement, made on Thursday in a post on the Samsung Mobile Innovator site, said the developer lab will be closing its doors on 29 October, followed by the closure of the Samsung Symbian forums on 30 December.

Samsung said all forum and development content will be removed on 31 December and that outstanding questions should be posted before 10 December. As well as removing the forums on New Year's Eve, Samsung said that day would be the last time that Symbian apps will be certified for distribution on the Samsung Apps store.

"Samsung has made some stellar contributions to Symbian and has produced some beautiful phones which demonstrated the true power of the [Symbian] platform," said a spokeswoman for the Symbian Foundation. "We'd like to wish Samsung well in its future ventures.

"From a Symbian perspective, this serves as a good reminder that the open-source code is there for anyone to use, whether they be new to Symbian or a device manufacturer that has used the platform previously. Looking ahead, the evolution of Symbian^3 and forthcoming platform versions continues to both keep us fully occupied and fill us with confidence for the future of the platform," she added.

The move follows comments last year from Samsung vice president Don Joo Lee suggesting that Samsung would be dropping support for the multi-vendor-developed OS in favour of Android, Windows Phone 7 and the company's Bada platform.

The announcement echoed the sentiments of Jan Uddenfeldt, Sony Ericsson's chief technology officer, who said on Monday that the company has also abandoned Symbian-based handsets for the time being.

"Android is definitely our focus, but we have not given up on Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system, although it [was] a bit slow to take off. Windows 7 Phone is on the map. However, we have at present no plans for new products with Symbian," Uddenfeldt said at the time.

The Symbian operating system is widely used in mid-market phones and some Nokia smartphones, but has struggled to retain market share against more touch-optimised smartphone operating systems such as Android and iOS.

August figures from Gartner showed that Symbian's market share slipped from 46.9 percent in 2009 to 40.1 percent in 2010, while over the same period Android market share saw massive growth from 3.9 percent to 17.7 percent. Gartner predicted that, by 2014, the two competing operating systems will be roughly tied, at around 30 percent.

"We are prioritising our Android platform. Android is very open and flexible, and there is a consumer demand for it," YH Lee, head of marketing at Samsung Mobile, told Reuters on 2 September. "We are not seeing visible demand for Symbian."

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