Samsung has licensed Nokia’s Series 60 platform for use in its Symbian smartphone products.
It is the third such agreement Nokia has announced in recent months, extending its Series 60 interface and applications layer to devices from Siemens, Matsushita and its own handsets. Series 60 is a platform for smartphones which permits single-handed operation and comprises a set of PIM, messaging and browsing applications which run on the Symbian OS. The first implementation is in Nokia’s 7650 camera phone, which supports MMS, Java and XHTML. Samsung has also licensed technology from Palm and Microsoft for use in other mobile communications products.
“Series 60 is an ideal software platform for the advanced smartphones. The licensing model with access to the source-code will give us the opportunity to contribute to and influence the platform development. The platform’s flexibility will enable us to maintain in our product portfolio a high competitive edge associated with Samsung brand,” said Mr. ByungDuck Cho, Senior Vice President, Mobile Communications R & D team, Samsung Electronics. Pertti Korhonen, executive vice president, Mobile Software, Nokia, added: “We welcome Samsung to the community of Series 60 licensees and look forward to the innovations, unique mobile phones, and exciting applications Samsung will bring to the market with the Series 60 platform. Samsung will have a significant role to play in growing the smartphone market which utilises open standards and technologies. As the leading telecommunication vendor Nokia’s aim is to increase the compatibility between smart phones, since ultimately that will lead to seamless and easy-to-use mobile services for consumers and corporations to enjoy.”
The world’s three major telecoms R&D powerhouses – Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola, have all taken steps to establish licensing programmes and pre-empt the growing threat to their handset busineses from Far Eastern manufacturers. Ericsson’s primary successes have been in licensing patents to Chinese and other niche manufacturers, while Motorola has had some interest in its i.250 and i.300 handset platforms from smaller European players.
Nokia has concentrated on the applications and interface layer and has had arguably the greatest success. If you include Nokia’s own market share, its Series 60 platform has now been licensed by manufacturers representing about 55% of the worldwide market for mobile phones. Of course, Series 60 won’t be used on all these companies’ handsets, but it is a mass-market proposition, designed for devices which can be operated with one hand and require an open applications platform.
This is great news for Symbian, whose operating system powers Series 60, and even better news for content providers and mobile application providers who will have a standard interface to develop for. Of the other companies which have licensed Symbian OS, SonyEricsson and Motorola look like they will focus on larger form-factor devices utilising the UIQ pen-driven interface, while Sanyo, Kenwood and Fujitsu are yet to declare their intentions. All eyes, however, will be on Nokia’s replacement for the 9200 series and the Series 80 platform, for which the introduction of pen-input is surely a pre-requisite?
Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.