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Symbian show struggles for identity

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This year's Symbian show has a date; October 27th, and a venue; Earls Court, but is looking for suggestions from the crowd when it comes to a name, theme, branding and content.

The news comes in a blog posting from David Wood, who delights in the job title of "Catalyst & Futurist" but explains that the new Foundation has no idea what to call the show-formerly-known-as-the-Symbian-Smartphone-show, or what kind of content would most attract the open-source community that's going to be vital to Symbian's future.

Originally called the "Developer Conference" and then "Symbian Exposium", the company shoehorned "smartphone" into the title once the term came into vogue, which is what it was called up to last year. But that was when Symbian was a limited company and wanted to appeal to corporate markets and network operators. This time around the new image is "playful" and "yellow", and Mr.Wood is looking for suggestions that reflect the new image.

Unfortunately the first response seems to reflect Symbian's problems a little too accurately. When asked about those who should present at the event, one David Durant suggests:

"Some folks from Android ... Android is another organisation driving to leverage the mobile space community. They’ve been doing it longer than Symbian has."

Symbian has, of course, been open sourced for a long time - although licensed - but the perception is of a new platform struggling to compete with the iPhone and Android. This is a bit like saying that internal combustion is going to have to pick up some hints from Tesla and its ilk to compete with electric power - Symbian might not be as sexy as the iPhone, but it's everywhere (outside the US).

Unfortunately perception is more important than reality, so Mr. Wood is going to have to find a brand, name and some content that reflects a stable history as well as yellow playfulness - a combination which could prove beyond the wisdom of the crowds. ®

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