Last Updated Apr 30, 2010 4:58 PM EDT
The strategy is similar to one that Palm used with its webOS system.
- The operating system vendor natively incorporates Web technology, which is known by many developers, whether independent or working at a corporation.
- Requiring only familiar technology lowers entry barriers to creating applications.
- The operating system platform potentially gets many more apps.
- Growing the number of apps helps the platform become more popular, which then attracts more developers.
That is a problem over which Symbian needn't fret. Nokia is the largest mobile handset, and smartphone, maker in the world. Developers and marketers will find a large business opportunity. Furthermore, with all the controversy about Apple's relationship to developers, Symbian -- as well as Nokia -- hopes to get app developer defections.
There still is some risk in the venture. It is possible to create web-based apps for the iPhone or Google (GOOG) Android. However, such apps don't have access to the full range of resources available to native software. Web-based apps on Symbian, however, can be native. If Nokia and others using Symbian can continue to push hardware features that go beyond what an iPhone OS, Android, or BlackBerry OS phone has, the strategy might work.