Symbian Foundation to be created

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The future of Symbian is the the Symbian Foundation. 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. Partnering 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. The platform will be provided under a royalty-free license to all members of the Symbian Foundation.

This moves sees a re-unification of the Symbian OS UIs (S60, UIQ and MOAP-S). While the new platform will use elements of all three UIs the core technology will be derived from S60. A key intention is to provide a complete, consistent and compatible open software platform. More details below.

Membership of this non-profit Foundation will be open to all organizations. This initiative is supported by current shareholders and management of Symbian Limited, 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 today announced plans to acquire the remaining shares of Symbian Limited that Nokia does not already own and then contribute the Symbian and S60 software to the Foundation. Sony Ericsson and Motorola today announced their intention to contribute technology from UIQ and DOCOMO has also indicated its willingness to contribute its MOAP(S) 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. 

The Symbian Foundation is supported by all 5 of the biggest (in volume terms: Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, LG and Sony Ericsson) of the mobile phone manufacturers. This is a unique distinction (OHA and LiMo both have 3 out of 5) and reflects Symbian's current market share position (around 60%). There is also support from chipset manufactuersr (Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Freesacle, and ST Microelectronics) and operators (Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and DoCoMo).

There an archived version of live webcast explaining the announcement here.