Mobile Diary: Symbian RIP

From the Financial Times (via Gizmodo), a report on the imminent death of Symbian, Nokia’s venerable smartphone operating system, that dominated the pre-iPhone smartphone world with devices like the N95.

Looking back, the Symbian era resembles the automobile industry before the Model T: a young, exciting, industry with many manufacturers experimenting with many different technologies and configurations. Eventually the industry settled down to a “standard” model (gasoline/diesel engine, steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, etc.) and development proceed with those common assumptions in mind.

I worked at Nokia through the rise (and fall) of Symbian devices, starting with the first Nokia Symbian device, the 7650, in 2002. I spent many years promoting the OS and Nokia’s S60 platform to operators and developers, and so was well aware of its strengths and weaknesses, and the enormous impact of the iOS and touchscreen revolution on the platform and the company. I have fond memories of Symbian, but don’t really lament its passing.

Here’s a peek into the Symbian era:


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