Has Symbian been stymied by Android?
The news back in 2007 that Google was to launch Android as a mobile operating system may have left the industry wondering (for a little while) what sort of interface and user experience could be expected from a company then still firmly routed in the fixed Internet.
Three years later, it seems that the Android operating is certainly good enough to run against Apple's OS, the Blackberry Operating System and any other rival in the market.
Samsung for example, which has developed its own OS called Bada, is quite happy to commit half of its 2010 smartphones to the Android platform, reserving only a third to its own OS. (The rest are likely to go with Windows Mobile 7).
The question is, where does the runaway Android success leave the Symbian platform? Symbian has only recently become fully open source. And while there are several players that might have used it, such as new entrants to the market Dell and Acer, these have embraced Android, at least for the moment.
It appears that one of the last to enter the market has gained the first-mover advantage over one of the first, namely, of course, Nokia. Some are even suggesting that Nokia should ditch Symbian altogether...
Its interesting that Android's success was not billed as a goal in its own right, rather as part of a strategy to make it easier for Google to extend search across all platforms without hindrance from different operating systems and mobile standards. In Andy Rubin's words in November 2007: "We see Android as part of our strategy of furthering Google's goal of providing access to information to users wherever they are. Our goals must be independent of device or even platform."
Google's plans may be independent of device and platform, but it just so happens that Google, with Android, is likely to end up with a big chunk of the platform market, and, if the first sales of the Nexus One are anything to go by, not a bad position in the device market as well. Not bad for a strategy which is peripheral to the main vision...