Mobile phone manufacturer Nokia have announced it had despatched its last handset running the Symbian operating system.
Nokia has officially ended support for Symbian and MeeGo apps. The Finnish company, now part of Microsoft, has abandoned the longstanding mobile operating system in favour of its parent company OS, Windows.
As the last major company building phones using the Symbian OS, Nokia’s withdrawal from the platform means Symbian is now on the verge of becoming obsolete.
Symbian, originally known as Psion, has been developing programs since the 1980’s making it one of the oldest mobile software companies on the market. Psion started life working as a PDA development company. This evolved over the years until 1998 when it changed to Symbian, under a joint venture between phone manufacturers Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia.
The company went on to become a leader in the early stages Smartphone development with Symbian OS officially partnered with Nokia in 2008. This partnership gave Nokia and Symbian a large share in the early Smartphone market. A raft of manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Sony, and Motorola all used the platform with varying degrees of success.
Symbian’s downfall was slow fall from grace, the rise of Google’s Android operating system as the go-to ‘open source’ was arguably its assassin. It was better-backed, quicker to react and frankly at the head of the new Smartphone market.
As Symbian’s traditional users emigrated across to the better equipped Android, wholesale support from manufacturers dwindled until only Nokia was left in 2012. The open-source nature, once-loved by early programmers and users became susceptible to hacks and privacy breaches, opening questions about its security suitability in a modern market.
As for owners of Symbian handsets, users will still be able to receive updates and download existing content to their devices. Although developers will no longer be able to publish new apps/programs or update existing content.
The fate of Symbian will now rely on its existing phone models, which are still popular in Asia and Africa. Some believe the platform could be used by a budget manufacturer to create super-cheap smartphones for developing countries.
For users of Symbian devices in Europe and the US, this demise of their operating system cannot have come as a shock- it had been on the cards for months if not years.
The next question is where to go next and who will hoover up the Symbian users?