EC invests €11 million in dying Symbian

Symbian may be making its final death throes, but the European Commission (EC) is intent on making sure it won’t go out without a fight, investing €11 million ($15.5 million) in the platform to keep it out of the Reaper’s icy grip.

The Artemis Joint Technology Initiative, which is sponsored by the EC, picked Symbian as a vital product for the European mobile software development sector, providing half of the funding for the project with the other half coming from consortium members.

The Symbian Foundation will lead a new consortium called SYMBEOSE (Symbian – the Embedded Operating System for Europe) which includes 24 organisations from eight European countries. The organisations include mobile manufacturers, consumer electronics firms, mobile network operations, app developers, universities and research institutes.

The aim of the multi-million initiative is to revitalise the Symbian platform with a new array of projects, which will focus on improving the basis for new device creation on Symbian and developing a set of core platform enablers to future-proof some of Symbian’s features. Examples given included developing Symbian’s power efficiency and adding cloud computing features.

“We and the consortium are very excited by this opportunity to spearhead next generation technologies on Symbian and we’re thrilled that the EC has decided to invest in the future of the Symbian platform and its global ecosystem,” said Richard Collins, Technology Manager at the Symbian Foundation. 

SYMBEOSE will continue to develop Symbian with the Symbian Foundation as an open source software product, but with a much larger and more successful open source rival, Google’s Android, it’s unlikely that this investment will really rescue it.

In both July and September of this analysts at Gartner said that Symbian is “doomed” and a “failure”, citing the falling support for the platform among its previous allies. Sony Ericsson and Samsung abandoned the failing OS to support Windows Phone 7, Android, and Bada instead. 

Even one of the main Executive Directors of the Symbian project decided to jump overboard recently and let the ship sink. We hope the European Commission brought a life jacket.

*EyeSee Actually, Symbian got  €11 from the EC and €11 from the consortium. Sorry Symbian! Clarification on the blog, here.