Death throes of Symbian as Nokia OS in 'maintenance mode'

A poster on the Nokia developer forums has unintentionally revealed that the Finnish handset maker has put its original OS, Symbian, out to pasture in ‘maintenance mode’, meaning that aside from major bug fixes, there will be no more updates to Symbian.

Having enquired on the forum about the Nokia Drive app, user ‘aklotz’ was told the following:

“Dear developer, Thank you for your improvement ideas, thus (sic) Symbian is in maintenance mode and no new features will be implement[ed] without extremely good reason (business case).

“We have written down your ideas for future development if there is a chance that new features will be released.”

So Symbian goes the way of Adobe Flash, out with a bit of a whimper. Yet the news isn’t particularly surprising.

With Nokia having moved in with Microsoft to adopt Windows Phone, the Symbian moniker was ditched in favour of Nokia Belle, but of course things didn’t go entirely to plan, with sales plummeting.

A piece of research from IDC in August revealed a miserable year on year downturn for Symbian devices: a global market share of 16.9% in Q2 2011 falling to just 4.4% in Q2 2012.

IDC senior research analyst Ramon Llamas claimed that the OS market was “now unquestionably a two-horse race” – and Symbian was neither of those horses.

Nor, to be fair, was Windows Phone, although the IDC research at least showed an increase, from 2.3% to 3.5% market share year on year.

However, it was revealed that Symbian devices sold in greater numbers than Windows-driven Lumia devices in Q3 2012 – half a million more, to be precise, 3.4m to 2.9m.

So is the future for Nokia in Windows Phone? Is there any way the Nokia/Microsoft partnership can muscle its way back into the Android/iOS operating system race?

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