What a day. First Nokia bought Plazes (Congrats!) and now they offer to buy the remaining 52% of Symbian and have launched the Symbian Foundation, which will drive the open sourcing of Symbian over the next 2 years. Of course the Symbian Foundation has wide adoption, same as the Open Handset Alliance around Android, but we might want to dig a bit deeper to see if this is a lost cause by Nokia as Google will simply win with Android, or not.
First to start of with one thing. Nokia sells as many phones in a few days as Apple has sold iPhones in total. So there is a bit of a market power there. Of course, Apple might be able to scale down, and Android might be nice, but there is power behind the Symbian Foundation, real power.
Another question is who is now building mobile phones. Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Lg, Ericsson, Motorola … all members of Symbian and many of them missing from Google’s Alliance. One also has to say that these companies have real relations to carriers and real experience to get phones through testing with the FCC and others.
Also, Google lists China Mobile as part of the Open Handset Alliance, but they seem to have problems getting chinese working on Android, and Chinese does work on Symbian obviously, and with Open Sourcing the platform, there are no longer any real licensing fees and China Mobile might have an easier access route with Symbian to get their own Smartphones.
So yes, Nokia needs to build up their developer relations work to get some serious buzz around new apps for Symbian, but this is something that can be done because it is a really good base. I still want an iPhone but I will keep my N95 and I will likely get a Nokia phone again in the future. It’s just that I want back to T-Mobile anyway (reception at Base sucks some times) and the iPhone is nice indeed. It has the buzz factor at the moment. Android is too far away. And possibly Nokia will have some really compelling items out at the end of the year. And hey, just imagine them adding Plazes to a few of their phones. Give it a month and there will be more Plazes installations on phones than iPhones out there. So long Loopt. Nice to have met you.