Feeds

Symbian puts another deck chair on the Titanic

iPhone and Android devs beckoned

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

Symbian has taken a step forward in its strategy of trying to siphon off iPhone and Android developers.

The open-source organization has reached an agreement to integrate Nitobi's PhoneGap for building HTML, CSS and JavaScript applications with its Symbian^3 platform web extensions package for easier deployment on a range of handsets.

The idea is to simplify development of applications not just to different Symbian handsets, but also Apple’s iPhone and difference devices running Android.

PhoneGap works by wrapping web apps inside native code such as Object-C and Cocoa so developers don't necessarily need to learn details of the actual code.

Nitobi's framework allows web developers apps to access on-phone features such as camera, GPS, SQLite database, contacts and orientation.

PhoneGap targets Blackberry, Palm and Nokia’s Ovi in addition to Android and the iPhone. It’s the latter two, though, that have got the Symbian Foundation’s interest.

Foundation executive director Lee Williams told The Reg late last year he hoped to siphon off iPhone developers as the platform begins to lose its charm thanks to its lack of openness, while attacking fellow open-sourcer Android “like a tiger”.

Williams hoped to woo developers based on Symbian’s open kernel - officially open sourced by Nokia in October 2009 – and Symbian’s 50 per cent of the global smartphone market.

In a statement commenting on the PhoneGap news, announced at the O'Reilly Open-Source Convention in Portland, Oregon, Williams said: "Our web tools allow developers on other platforms to quickly build rich internet-based apps for Symbian."

So, clearly, the strategy from 2009 is still in place.

It’s just that things have gotten a little tighter for Symbian. Since last November, Apple’s been holding steady on a quarter of the US smartphone market.

And while Williams was right to predict Android is his next big target, there’s little sign Symbian has done, or can do, anything to drain its growing popularity or even ride its back by having developers build for both.

Google’s OS now runs on 13 per cent of US smart phones – up from 1.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2009 - and is challenging Microsoft’s for the number-three spot.

Symbian's ace in the hole of market share is not just slipping away. The pace at which Symbian is losing ground on devices is accelerating according to Gartner figures due at the end of this month.

Also going against Symbian among developers are an unappealing interface and cumbersome tools. These are factors that really make the developers’ job more difficult and come in to play when picking a platform.

All of which means PhoneGap could just be one more well placed deck chair on the Titanic. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.