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Mobile leaders to unify Symbian platform

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CIOL Bureau
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LONDON, UK: Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and NTT Docomo have announced their intent to unite Symbian OS, S60, UIQ and MOAP to create one open mobile software platform.

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Together with AT&T, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone they plan to establish the Symbian Foundation to extend the appeal of this unified software platform. Membership of this non-profit Foundation will be open to all organizations. This initiative is supported by current shareholders and management of Symbian, who have been actively involved in its development. Plans for the Foundation have already received wide support from other industry leaders.

To enable the Foundation, Nokia announced plans to acquire the remaining shares of Symbian that Nokia does not already own and then contribute the Symbian and S60 software to the Foundation. Sony Ericsson and Motorola announced their intention to contribute technology from UIQ, and Docomo has also indicated its willingness to contribute its MOAP assets. From these contributions, the Foundation will provide a unified platform with common UI framework. A full platform will be available for all Foundation members under a royalty-free license, from the Foundation's first day of operations.

Contributions from Foundation members through open collaboration will be integrated to further enhance the platform. The Foundation will make selected components available as open source at launch. It will then work to establish the most complete mobile software offering available in open source. This will be made available over the next two years and is intended to be released under Eclipse Public License (EPL) 1.0.

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The Foundation's platform will build on the leading open mobile software platform, with more than 200 million phones, across 235 models, already shipped by multiple vendors and tens of thousands of third-party applications already available for Symbian OS-based devices.

"Ten years ago, Symbian was established by far sighted players to offer an advanced open operating system and software skills to the whole mobile industry," said Nigel Clifford, CEO of Symbian. "Our vision is to become the most widely used software platform on the planet and indeed today, Symbian OS leads its market by any measure. Today's announcement is a bold new step to achieve that vision by embracing a complete and proven platform, offered in an open way, designed to stimulate innovation which is at the heart of everything we do."

Foundation members share the vision that the Foundation will unify the software platform, supercharge innovation and accelerate the availability of new services and compelling experiences for consumers and business users around the world. The combined platform is already one of the most advanced and widely used mobile platforms, making it highly attractive for all ecosystem partners, including developers, mobile operators, content and service providers and device manufacturers.

The Foundation is expected to start operating during the first half of 2009, subject to the closing of the acquisition of Symbian Ltd by Nokia.

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