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China Mobile embraces Symbian

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Nokia might not be as enthusiastic about Symbian as it used to be, but China Mobile is endorsing the platform to the extent of setting up its own Symbian Application Store.

The deal is part of the Symbian Foundation's efforts to promote itself in China, and means China Mobile promoting the Symbian Horizon program for application approval, as well as making Symbian applications available to its almost 500 million subscribers.

What proportion of those subscribers have Symbian handsets isn't clear: the China Mobile application store reported 200,000 downloads in its first few weeks of operation, but only about half the 2,000 applications available are for the Symbian platform.

"The Symbian platform holds a strong position in China's mobile market and we welcome the opportunity to build our relationship with the Symbian Foundation," said a canned statement from China Mobile.

The Symbian Foundation could do with some good news: the lack of Symbian on Nokia's latest flagship phone is very bad news for the smartphone platform despite Nokia's protestations that the N900 is a different class of device.

For Symbian China is a market without an iPhone, so pushing into there quickly makes sense: the iPhone is coming later this year, so it's not a lead that the Foundation has long to exploit. ®

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