Symbian plays the source code card
It's the developers, stupid...
Symbian today announced it has broadened access to its source code, with the introduction of the Symbian Platinum Program. Platinum members will get the same access to Symbian source code as mobile phone manufacturers had previously; according to Symbian, this means "over 95 per cent" of the source.
Platinum members also pay money for the privilege, but in general they seem eager to do so, and the point about the move worth noting is that Symbian seems to have correctly identified developer momentum (which is something Microsoft has been exceedingly good at building) as a key factor in establishing a platform. Hence, Platinum partners will get tech support, joint marketing opportunities, early access to development kits, and tools.
This week's Symbian Developer Expo in London claimed over 1,000 developer registrations, and sported many of the same faces as the equivalent Microsoft London event the previous week. So far Symbian has been considerably more successful than Microsoft in that it has recruited most of the major mobile phone names, and Microsoft hasn't. In the coming generations, however, the mobile phone will be an applications platform, which means the company has to wage a war for the hearts and minds of developers. So loving them to death is the right first move, and we trust Symbian understands it's dealing with a redoubtable opponent in this department.
The redoubtable opponent, by the way, was mounting only feeble resistance this morning. As The Register debarked from Customs House station a minion thrust a CD labelled "PocketPC 2002" at us. Regrettably, it turns out not to be SP1.
Also in the counter-attack department, Symbian announced it was collaborating with TI on a hardware accelerator API, which ships in Symbian OS 7.0 and is implemented in TI's OMAP1510 processors. Intel is also at Symbian DevExpo, and we understand Chipzilla will be doing the fat lady thing tomorrow. TI and Intel, you'll recall, were co-opted as best buddies for The Beast's virtual marketing whitewash of Symbian at GSM World Congress. ®