Finnish phone maker Nokia this week announced that it has shipped its last Symbian-powered handset, signaling the end for the mobile operating systems which once dominated the wireless phone space.
The Symbian OS traces its origins to the 1980s personal digital assistance (PDA) firm Psion, which later changed its name to Symbian. Symbian was used on Nokia, Ericsson Motorola and Psion devices. In 2008 Nokia took full control of Symbian.
The Nokia 808 PureView, a device which came to market in mid-2012, was the last Symbian device from Nokia. The company’s lower-end phones are now based on its S40 OS and marketed as Asha. Back in 2011, Nokia outsourced development of Symbian to management consulting firm Accenture, which is under agreement to support the OS until 2016.
Nokia has always been Symbian’s largest supporter. However, recently, the company had reported that the mobile operating system’s complexity was among the chief reasons for the OS’s fall from grace.
Due to its convoluted code structure, a typical Symbian device requires 22 months of development time, compared to less than a year for Windows Phones. In an environment when markets are lost and won in a matter weeks, that level of complexity just wouldn’t do.
Businesses that still have mobile devices running on Symbian likely still have until 2016 to decide whether to change over to BlackBerry, Android, iOS or Windows Phone.