Nokia has unveiled what it described as a “bevy” of new measures intended to make it “easier and less expensive” for developers to test and market new applications for the Symbian OS platform. It announced: an official free signing process for Symbian Signed, enabling apps to be “approved” without charge as part of the Ovi Store submission process; Mob4Hire, which enables developers to pilot software with a pool of 42,000 users to identify flaws ahead of launch; a remote device access service, enabling applications to be tested using “virtual” handsets; Ovi Marketing Tools, which enables developers to create advertisements for products complying with IAB internet and .mobi specifications using a seven-stage wizard; and Ovi Store Stats, which provides up-to-date and historic application performance figures.
While Symbian OS remains the biggest smartphone platform in terms of device shipment numbers, with Symbian OS device activations outnumbering Android device activations three-to-two, the platform has undoubtedly lost some of its lustre in recent years. According to a recent survey by analyst firm Ovum, Symbian OS was the fifth most popular platform among developers, after iOS, BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile and Android. This was attributed to a “perceived (if not actual) lack of development in the platform of late, while Nokia migrates to the fully open-source version”, and a lack of appealing Symbian OS devices was also cited.