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What is Symbian
Symbian OS Design
Symbian OS Layers
Developing in Symbian OS
WHAT IS SYMBIAN?
Symbian is a mobile operating system (OS) and computing
platform designed for smart phones. Originally developed by
Symbian Ltd., as a descendant of Psion's EPOC and runs
exclusively on ARM processors. The current form of Symbian
is an open-source platform developed by Symbian Foundation
in 2009, as the successor of the original Symbian OS.
The Symbian OS timeline
In 1980, the British company Psion (Potter Scientific
Instruments) was founded by David Potter.
In 1984, Psion launched Psion Organizer, the worlds first
In 1987, Psion released a pre-emptive multi-tasking operating
system, EPOC (16-bit, written in C, Intel 8086 chip).
In 1997, Psion Series 5 based on EPOC 32 (32-bit, written in
EPOC stands for "Electronic Piece Of Cheese".
On June 24, 1998, Symbian Ltd. was formed as a partnership
between Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola and Psion.
EPOC was renamed Symbian OS.
In 2000, Ericsson R380 became the first Symbian OS phone.
Nokia 9210 Communicator became the first open Symbian OS
OS: EPOC RC 5 (Symbian OS 5.1)
ROM: 4 MB (1.2 MB accessible)
RAM: 2 MB EDO DRAM
Display: 3.5 inches, monochrome, touchscreen
Features: Unicode support, organizer, WAP, SMS and e-mail, infrared port
In 2003, Symbian OS 7.0 was released. Features IPv6 and Java
In 2004, the first known virus for Symbian OS was detected
In 2005, Symbian OS 8.1 was released. Features EKA2, a real-
time kernel (API calls quick and time-bound).
In the same year, Symbian OS 9.1 was released. Features
Digital Signing of applications.
In 2007, Symbian OS 9.3 was released. Supports SQLite.
In the same year, Symbian OS 9.5 was released. Supports real-
time multimedia and location-based services.
SYMBIAN OS COULD NOW BE FOUND ON ALL OF THESE
PHONES RUNNING ON SYMBIAN OS?
On June 24, 2008. Nokia acquired all shares of Symbian OS
(Around €264 million or $410 million).
Symbian Foundation was established to create one open
source mobile operating system.
Symbian Foundation aims to unite Symbian OS, AVKON
(formally known as S60 of Nokia), UIQ (User Interface Quartz
of Sony Ericsson and Motorola) and MOAP (Mobile Oriented
Applications Platform of NTT and DoCoMo)
THE SYMBIAN FOUNDATION TODAY
The Symbian OS key design
User data is sacred
User time is precious
All resources are scarce
KEY DESIGN FEATURES
Kernel responsibilities are reduced to minimum.
Resources are shared between users (services and applications).
Used at all levels from applications to drivers.
GUI for all applications
Only servers have no user interface.
All user interaction is captured as events to applications.
Symbian OS and all applications follow MVC pattern.
FAT file system
Symbian as an Operating System
The all over model contains the following layers, from top to
UI Framework Layer
Application Services Layer
OS Services Layer
Base Services Layer
Kernel Services and Hardware Interface Layer
UI FRAMEWORK LAYER
Framework that controls overall GUI.
A minimal test UI.
APPLICATION SERVICES LAYER
Text rendering, MIME content handling, etc.
vCard, vCal, etc.
Plug-ins for contacts, agenda, office, etc.
Java language, JVM, base class libraries
Cellphones use MIDP which includes APIs for GUI and 2D gaming.
3D graphics, web services, file system access, etc.
OS SERVICES LAYER
Generic OS services
Certificate management, etc.
Bluetooth, Infrared, USB, TCP/IP, Wi-Fi, etc.
Multimedia and graphics services
Graphics, sound, video recording and play, etc.
Back up and restore, file transfer, file browsing, etc.
BASE SERVICES LAYER
The user side of micro-kernel
C++ classes, native types
File system utilities
Storage framework, DBMS, etc.
Plug-in network, power management, etc.
KERNEL SERVICES AND HARDWARE INTERFACE LAYER
The kernel side of micro-kernel
Manages processes, threads, scheduling, interrupts, etc.
Provides device drivers
Not a true micro-kernel
EKA2 (EPOC Kernel Architecture 2)
Optimized for ROM-based services
Symbian OS executes ROM without loading into RAM
Optimized for low power devices
As of 2010, the SDK for Symbian is standard C++, using Qt. It
can be used with either Qt Creator, or Carbide.
A phone simulator allows testing of Qt apps. Apps compiled
for the simulator are compiled to native code for the
development platform, rather than having to be emulated.
Application development can either use C++ or QML.
Symbian C++ programming is commonly done with an
integrated development environment (IDE). For earlier
versions of Symbian OS, the commercial IDE CodeWarrior for
Symbian OS was favoured.
The CodeWarrior tools were replaced during 2006 by
Carbide.c++, an Eclipse-based IDE developed by Nokia.
Microsoft Visual Studio 2003 and 2005 are also supported via
the Carbide.vs plugin.
Symbian devices can also be programmed using Python, Java
ME, Flash Lite, Ruby, .NET, Web Runtime (WRT) Widgets and
Applications must be Symbian Signed for Symbian OS 9.x in
order to make use of certain capabilities (system capabilities,
restricted capabilities and device manufacturer capabilities).
MARKET SHARE AND COMPETITION
On 16 November 2006, the 100 millionth smartphone
running the OS was shipped.
As of 21 July 2009, more than 250 million devices running
Symbian OS had been shipped.
In 2006, Symbian had 73% of the smartphone market,
compared with 22.1% of the market in the second quarter of