Both Symbian and its largest supporter, Nokia, have been working hard to make the newly open sourced platform simpler and more web-friendly. Nokia has recently added a 'widgets wizard' for non-programmers to create apps, plus Java and HTML5 tools as well as its own Qt cross-platform toolkit. Now the Symbian Foundation, which controls the OS, has announced a collaboration with mobile framework firm Nitobi to make the platform ready for modern web-driven applications.
All the mobile software platforms are trying to create a user and developer experience that is fully geared to the web and browser, rather than just downloads. Android has made significant steps already, though arguably Palm/HP's webOS is more advanced in this respect, and the upcoming MeeGo and Chrome OS will progress even further. It is vital that the old established operating systems keep up with the pace set by these modern inventions. BlackBerry 6, Symbian ^3 and Windows Phone 7, all due in devices this fall, will stand or fall by their web credentials.
So the open source collaboration with Nitobi, as part of a broader set of developments and alliances, will be important in moving the Symbian developer framework away from the complicated and tightly controlled norms of the traditional cellphone world. Nitobi created the write-once/run anywhere PhoneGap mobile development framework, which aims to simplify the process significantly.