updated 09:10 am EDT, Fri March 13, 2009
Symbian OS Ramps Up
The Symbian Foundation late Thursday outlined a release schedule for its core mobile OS that should impact its future. Each version will take just six months between being feature-complete and being "hardened," or brought to a reliable and finished state. Releases will overlap such that a substantially new version of Symbian will always be available in similar intervals for the public.
The speed-up comes from an approach that will see as many as five different Symbian releases in various stages of development at any one time, ranging from very early builds through to updates to existing, stable versions. By "timeboxing" such updates into a small enough release schedule, Symbian can keep its feature list in check and make sure that it always has key new updates ready twice a year, according to the Foundation's David Wood.
Current plans would have a first release, known as Symbian^2, based on the touchscreen-capable Symbian S60 5th Edition Feature Pack 1 and shipping by the end of 2009. Its next update, Symbian^3, would ship in mid-2010.
The timeframe has been used for some "integrated" Symbian releases, such as for Nokia phones, but would represent one of the first manufacturer-independent phone operating systems to have a frequent, very strict update schedule. Microsoft regularly updates Windows Mobile but often has just one significant release per year, while companies like Apple and Google may plan major yearly updates but often add features out of schedule.