Nokia: Symbian OS To Be Phased Out

In an open letter to Nokia phone developers, the company says Microsoft Windows Phone 7 OS will replace its Symbian OS on new Nokia phones by 2012.

It’s a big move, but not an unexpected one, from Nokia. Symbian has been losing market share to iOS and Android, and has been hit with embarrassing security breaches. Migrating Nokia phones to a next-generation operating system will not only open up more features to Nokia users, but may go a long way towards improving the security posture of Nokia devices.

Symbian, owned by Nokia, has long been the target of mobile malware. In a recent Kaspersky Labs report, 29 percent of all mobile malware in 2010 was written for Symbian dev ices, placing it second behind J2ME. Attacks on Microsoft Windows phones have been significantly less over the last year.

In response to attacks over the years, Symbian began to digitally sign all of its applications, which has since become an industry best-practice. However, in 2009, a few applications did slip past. Viruses Transmitter. C, SexyView and Sexy Space all slipped through the Symbian signing process, at least partially in place to assure users that the apps have been certified by the manufacturer as legitimate.

On February 11, Nokia, which owns Symbian, announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft. Mobile Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft's latest version of a mobile OS. Windows Phone 7 borrowed security features from the Windows 7 PC operating system such as Address Space Location Randomization (ASLR) and data execution prevention (DEP).

According to a Nokia statement

In many markets, including markets where Symbian is currently the lead smartphone platform with significant market share such as China, India, Russia and Turkey, we will continue to make our Symbian portfolio as competitive as possible while we work with Microsoft to introduce Windows Phone. For that reason certain markets will play a more significant role in selling the 150 million Symbian devices than others and we will be selling devices long after Windows Phone devices from Nokia have already started to appear in other markets. That is why we cannot give you the date when Symbian will no longer be supported.