updated 02:10 pm EST, Thu February 19, 2009
Nokia Borrows 636m
Nokia in an unusual move today said it will borrow 500 million Euros ($636 million) from the European Investment Bank to improve its smartphone software. The loan will be stretched out over the course of the next five years and is specifically tailored towards research and development projects due between now and 2011 to render Symbian phones "more competitive." Nokia sees the money as mostly intended for its own, internal work but says the research coming out of the loan will also help the Symbian Foundation and non-Nokia Symbian devices as a result.
What the projects entail isn't evident from news of the loan, though Symbian has been one of the most conservatively developed mobile operating systems in the industry. It only gained touchscreen support late last year with the introduction of Symbian S60 5th Edition last year on the 5800 XpressMusic and thus trailed significantly behind veterans like Windows Mobile but also relative newcomers like Apple, which implemented a touchscreen interface with its first mobile OS in mid-2007.
Symbian has also historically been limited to certain device types. Nokia currently uses a special variant of Linux known as Maemo for its Internet tablets.