Symbian was an operating system owned by Nokia and that in the past was the product of the alliance of several mobile phone companies, including Nokia, Sony Mobile Communications, Psion, Samsung, Siemens, Arima, Benq, Fujitsu, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, Mitsubishi Electric, Panasonic, Sharp, etc. Its origins came from its ancestor EPOC32, used in PDAs and Handheldsof PSION. It was in force between 1997 and 2013.

The objective was to create a Symbian operating system for mobile terminals that could compete with the Palm or Windows Mobile from Microsoft and later Android from Google, iOS from Apple, Windows Phone from Microsoft and BlackBerry OS from Blackberry.

Symbian was a partnership in which Nokia, Ericsson, Panasonic and Samsung were represented. Motorola and Psion were also originally part of this partnership, but left in October 2003 and February 2004 respectively. The largest stakeholder in the consortium was Nokia: this company owned 47.9 percent of the shares. In 2010, Nokia announced that, after Ericsson, Samsungand a number of other companies left the Symbian foundation to undertake the development. The Symbian foundation would only focus on granting licenses.

Symbian is developing a smartphone operating system and selling it under license to telephone manufacturers. The Symbian operating system is based on the former EPOC platform from Psion. This company is best known for the pocket computers with keyboard (so-called clamshell model), which the company put on the market until mid-2001. After that, Psion started to focus entirely on the business market and now mainly produces robust handheld computers for the industry under the brand name Psion Teklogix.

Until 2011, Nokia was the only major manufacturer to make phones with Symbian (in the past, Sony Ericsson, Siemens and Samsung have also introduced Symbian devices). Models that use this platform include telephones from the N and E series. During the Nokia Capital Market day on 11 February 2011, Nokia's CEO, Stephen Elop, announced that Nokia will use Windows Phone 7 as its primary operating system for mobile phones. For its top models, Symbian will be phased out.

Competitive operating systems for smartphones are Apple iOS, Blackberry OS, Microsoft Windows Mobile / Windows Phone 7, Android, Maemo and PalmOS.


In 2003 Motorola sold 13% of its stake to Nokia, which caused it to keep 32.2% of the company. Later, however, after not having the expected success with its "Linux-Like" terminals, he returned to the world of Symbian by buying 50% from Sony Mobile Communications. On June 24, 2008, Nokia decided to buy Symbian, acquiring the remaining 52% of the company's shares, after an agreement with the other partners. The objective was to establish the Symbian Foundation and turn this operating system into an open platform. Between 2009 and 2010 Nokia decides to transfer the support and development of the Symbian operating system to the Accenture consultancy, ending the operation at the end of September 2011 once the development of the new Symbian Belle version was completed, becoming the latest version of Symbian in which Nokia participated exclusively. In October 2011 it is officially confirmed that Symbian will have support until 2016, unable to continue supporting it because it is not a competitor for the new version of smartphones with the latest generation operating systems such as Android, iOS or Windows Phone.


Most of the phones with Symbian were from this company: The touch devices N97, 5530, 5230, 5800, X6 (these with Symbian S60 5th Edition) and the most recent N8, C7, C6-01, E7, E6 and X7, Gold, 500, 603, 700, 701, 808 with the Symbian version ^ 3 or higher, all are upgradable to versions such as Symbian Anna and Symbian Belle and finally Nokia Belle, that is, Nokia used this operating system on their cell phones more than the other companies.

In 2011, following the agreement with Microsoft, Nokia announced that it would focus its support and efforts on Windows Phone, leaving Symbian aside.

In December 2011, Nokia replaced the Symbian designation with Nokia Belle to the public as part of its brand unification plans. However, the Symbian operating system continues to be called as such since internally and for developers it is still called Symbian.

In January 2013, Nokia announced that the Nokia 808 PureView was the company's latest model with this operating system, and therefore, the last phone with Symbian.

In 2014, Microsoft took over Symbian by providing technical support until the end of December 2015. The company disbanded the Nokia store by the Opera Mobile Store in 2015 and its usual services (Mail, Dictionary or System Updates) were interrupted.

Other manufacturers

Symbian was implemented in third-party devices, before becoming an exclusive Nokia system:

  • Siemens:
    • Siemens SX1
  • Panasonic:
    • Panasonic X700
    • Panasonic X800
  • Samsung:
    • Samsung SGH-D728
    • Samsung SGH-i408
    • Samsung SGH-i458
    • Samsung SGH-i550
    • Samsung i8910 Omnia HD
  • LG:
    • LG KS10
    • LG KT610
    • LG KT615
  • Sony Mobile Communications:
    • Sony Ericsson Satio
    • Sony Ericsson Txt Pro
    • Sony Ericsson Vivacious
    • Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro
  • Sendo:
    • Being X
    • Being X2
  • Lenovo:
    • Lenovo P930

Other interfaces based on the Symbian

There were also other Symbian-based platforms:

  • UIQ: Sony Mobile Communications, Motorola, BenQ and Arima have used UIQ, a user interface based on Symbian and developed by UIQ Technology. Some phones with UIQ are: Sony Ericsson: M600i, P800, P802, P900, P910, P990, P1i, W950, W960i, G900; Motorola: RIZR Z8, RIZR Z10; Nokia: 6708, 6120, 6120i.
  • FOMA: Used by some 3G mobiles of NTT-Docomo.

Version History

Its main branch of evolution is shown here, starting from EPOC32, other manufacturers have created other Symbian-based interfaces such as UIQ and FOMA.

Symbian versionVersion nameRelease yearDescription
EPOC32 1.0 > 5.1COPD321997 with the handled Psion Series 5The first version of EPOC32, Release 1 appeared in Psion Series 5 in 1997. Later, ROM v1.1 Release 3 appears (Release 2 was never released.) These were followed by the Psion Series 5mx, Revo more / Revo, Psion Series 7 / netBook and netPad (which all featured publication 5).

COPD32 was simply known as COPD, as of version 6 the name of COPD changed to Symbian (as shown below). Despite the similarity of the names, EPOC32 and EPOC16 were totally different operating systems, EPOC32 is written in C ++.

Symbian OS 6.0Symbian OS2001 with the Nokia 9210 CommunicatorFirst version of Symbian for mobile phones, added support for Bluetooth.
Symbian OS 6.1Symbian S602002 with the Nokia 7650
Symbian OS 6.1Symbian S60, Feature Pack 12002 with the Nokia 3650
Symbian OS 7.0Symbian S60 2nd Edition2003 with the Nokia 6600
Symbian OS 7.0Symbian S60 2nd Edition, Feature Pack 12004 with the Nokia 3230
Symbian OS 8.0Symbian S60 2nd Edition, Feature Pack 22004 with the Nokia 6630
Symbian OS 8.1Symbian S60 2nd Edition, Feature Pack 32005 with the Nokia N70
Symbian OS 9.1Symbian S60 3rd Edition2006 with the Nokia 3250Support for new phones with full color display and new applications that are not binary compatible with Symbian S60 2nd Edition.
Symbian OS 9.2Symbian S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 12007 with the Nokia 5700 XpressMusic
Symbian OS 9.3Symbian S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 22008 with the Nokia 5320 XpressMusicThe software has been optimized to gain performance as part of the introduction to new effects and transitions. The customization options also present new features, you can create a sequence of wallpapers that will automatically change or associate each call with an image that will appear in full screen to facilitate the identification of the call. Another of the improved aspects is usability, such as access to applications that are running at the same time on the device.
Symbian OS 9.4Symbian S60 5th Edition2008 with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusicNew version of Symbian that includes support for fully touch phones, was an adaptation of Symbian S60 3rd that gave enough stability problems and several updates were necessary that in some cases never solved the problems, such as the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic that came to receive more than 8 updates in order to improve its stability.
Symbian OS 9.5Symbian ^ 32010 with the Nokia N8It is considered the new generation of the Symbian operating system. Used in Nokia's new generation smartphones, such as the N8, C7, C6-01, and E7.

Among its new outstanding features are:

  • Support for accelerated graphics with hardware acceleration in 2D and 3D.
  • HDMI support.
  • USB input (USB On The Go).
  • Up to 3 customizable home screens with widgets.
  • Notable aesthetic improvements thanks to the acceleration of graphics and many general improvements in stability, including consistency.
Symbian OS 9.5Symbian Anna2011 with the Nokia X7 and Nokia E6 and in the form of an updateSymbian ^ 3 update with:
  • New icons
  • Basic support for NFC.
  • A new version of the browser.
  • Improvements in overall performance, battery and home screen.

The system was factory installed in an almost final version on the Nokia X7 and E6.

Symbian OS 10.1Nokia BelleFebruary 7, 2012 as an updateNokia changed the nomenclature to the public from Symbian Belle to Nokia Belle, however internally and for developers the operating system is still actually called Symbian. This version is installed by default on the new Nokia 603, 700 and 701, and would also be available for phones that work with Symbian ^ 3 and Symbian Anna.

Nokia Belle is a major update of Symbian OS: 10.1. Among its improvements are:

  • Improvements in stability and consumption and RAM management of the operating system.
  • New graphical user interface with a new menu, totally new widgets and different sizes.
  • New navigation bar.
  • Slip notifications menu.
  • New notification bar among others that leaves more space for applications.

This version was released for all compatible terminals on February 7, 2012 except the Nokia 500 which had a delay due to lack of accelerated graphics hardware, for the Nokia 500 was launched on February 15 of the same year.

Symbian OS 10.? .Nokia Belle, Feature Pack 1April 14, 2012 in the form of an update and with the Nokia 808 PureView.Nokia Belle, Feature Pack 1 was initially seen in the Nokia 808 PureView at the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona. It is a minor update that contains changes such as:
  • HTML5 browser improved.
  • Dolby Surround support.
  • New widgets
  • Microsoft applications already included in the system, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • The limit supported by the system for the processor will increase its speed from 1GHz to 1.3 GHz.
  • Multitasking interface improvements.
  • New version of Nokia Maps preinstalled.

It is distributed as an update only for Smartphones with Nokia Belle of origin (such as Nokia 701, Nokia 603 etc.)

Symbian OS 10.? .Nokia Belle RefreshAugust 29, 2012 in the form of an update.Nokia Belle Refresh is a minor update of Nokia Belle for the first devices of the Symbian ^ 3 generation.
  • New version of the browser (8.3) that was already included in Nokia Belle, Feature Pack 1.
  • Many new widgets that were also included from the beginning in Nokia Belle, Feature Pack 1.
  • Microsoft applications already included in the system, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • New version of Nokia Maps (3.09) preinstalled.
  • New multimedia applications exclusive to the Nokia N8.
  • New version of the integrated music player.
Symbian OS 10.? .Nokia Belle, Feature Pack 2October 11, 2012 in the form of an update.Nokia Belle, Feature Pack 2, like Nokia Belle, Feature Pack 1 is an update that is only available for the latest Nokia Symbian terminals (Nokia 808 PureView, Nokia 603, Nokia 700, Nokia 701).
  • New unlock screen inspired by Nokia N9 with Meego.
  • Introduction to a new keyboard with predictive text.
  • Improvements in the native browser and in its JavaScript engine.
  • Multimedia improvements, both in the gallery and on the camera of the Nokia 808 PureView.

The end: It should be noted that this would be the latest version of Symbian with new features that will be released according to Nokia. From this update, the development work on the platform is considered finished and users will only receive security updates or correct bugs. The Symbian OS operating system ceases its development.

On June 12, 2013, Financial Times announced that Nokia will stop selling Symbian devices that summer.

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