Is Nokia Dumping Symbian OS For Maemo?

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Is it Symbian out, Maemo in? Nokia's Symbian OS may reign supreme on smartphones now, but according to some Nokia executives, its days are numbered, and Maemo is taking over.

Various reports Wednesday stated that Nokia executives confirmed plans to dump Symbian from Nokia's high-end N-series smartphones in favor of the Linux-based OS Maemo. A number of sources, including the The Really Mobile Project blog, said that a group of Maemo marketing team executives told attendees at a Nokia event in London Tuesday that Symbian would be gone from N-series Nokia phones by 2012.

Nokia's corporate communications team didn't respond immediately to a request for comment, but various news sites and blogs, including The Nokia Blog, posted a response they had received from Nokia already:

While it is our policy not to disclose details of our product roadmap, we'd like to explicitly communicate that we remain firmly committed to Symbian as our smartphone platform of choice. Any speculation on what our 2012 roadmap, including operating systems and product branding, are [sic] completely premature.

As we have stated earlier, Nokia has multiple platforms to serve different purposes and address different markets. Symbian is more successful than ever in bringing smartphones to the masses. Maemo is our software of choice for devices based on technology that you'd typically find inside a desktop computer. It delivers a different user experience and enables us to widen the market we can address."

Does that mean Maemo -- and only Maemo -- is in the N-series going forward? A Maemo-powered smartphone, the N900, has already been released and on Wednesday became available to U.S. customers.

If Nokia pulls Symbian out of all N-series phones, it would be stealing thunder from the world's leading mobile OS. According to Gartner, Symbian OS appears on 50 percent of global handsets sold and will remain the best-selling smartphone OS well into 2012, even at the pace at which competitors like Apple's iPhone, Research In Motion's BlackBerry and Google's Android OS are growing.

Reports didn't indicate whether Symbian would be discontinued for just the N-Series or also Nokia's X-series or E-series, too. Symbian has been Nokia's primary OS for more than 10 years.

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