The president of mobile phone manufacturer Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB has revealed the two factors that are essential to his company’s continued support of the Symbian mobile operating system.
He also cast doubt over claims that Symbian shareholders are completely happy with Nokia Corp’s planned takeover of the company as had previously been reported.
Speaking during a question-and-answer session at the launch of Sony Ericsson’s next batch of handsets, Katsumi Ihara told journalists that Symbian OS remained his company’s favored smart phone OS. However, Ihara said the health of Sony Ericsson’s relationship with Symbian hinged on the platform remaining open and an ongoing commitment from Nokia to Sony Ericsson’s favored user interface option, UIQ.
There are two important factors for Sony Ericsson with the Symbian OS, said Ihara. It should be open to anybody. Not perceived as proprietary to a single manufacturer. [It also depends on] UIQ being developed within Symbian. As long as those two conditions are met, Symbian will remain our open platform of choice.
Ihara said discussions are in progress to meet these requirements, although he gave reason to question that a satisfactory outcome is guaranteed. We are in talks with other shareholders as to how we can secure these two factors. We can’t comment further on this point, he said.
Sony Ericsson is the most prominent supporter of UIQ, which offers a touch screen interface rather than the key-based interfaces of Nokia’s rival Series 60 and Series 80 Symbian variants. There is clearly some concern that the UIQ software, developed by Symbian’s own UIQ Technology subsidiary, may be de-emphasized by Nokia once it gains a controlling interest in Symbian.
Mention of Symbian had been notably absent from Sony Ericsson’s main presentation, suggesting that further additions to Sony Ericsson’s family of Symbian devices – the P800 and its recent replacement, the P900 – are not planned any time soon.
Instead, Sony Ericsson revealed a closer cooperation with co-owner Sony for its handset design. The most obvious beneficiary of Sony’s increased input is the S700 camera phone. The handset, which is set to debut on GSM/GPRS networks in the fourth quarter, appears more like a Sony digital camera than a phone with the large display used offering a full landscape-mode user interface when the camera is activated.
The keypad is hidden under the revolving display in a similar manner to the existing SO505i, produced for NTT DoCoMo in Japan. Only navigational and call keys are visible on the outer surface. The S700 features a 262,000 pixel color display and a 1.3 megapixel camera, the first such from Sony Ericsson for GSM/GPRS networks.
A similar philosophy has been applied to the K700, albeit in a more traditional candy bar design similar to the earlier T610 and current T630. The K700 is another GSM/GPRS model and is set for commercial availability in the second quarter.
This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire