The Symbian Foundation, the promoter of the Symbian open-source mobile platform, has launched a new initiative aimed at helping developers deliver applications for the various app stores on Symbian-based smartphones. ‘Symbian Horizon,’ described as an “application-publishing programme,” will provide participants with services such as application certification, language translation services and marketing, and aims to provide a single point of management and distribution for Symbian-based app stores. In a statement, the Symbian Foundation said that Symbian Horizon supports app stores from both mobile operators and handset-vendors in the Symbian ecosystem, including Nokia’s Ovi Store, the Samsung Applications Store and AT&T’s Media Mall. Such stores compete with a raft of competitors, most notably Apple’s pioneering App Store, which has recorded 1.5 billion downloads in its first year.
Symbian said its platform would allow developers to target “the largest group of mobile consumers worldwide” and help them target markets where Symbian is popular. “We can help North American developers reach markets in Asia and Europe where the Symbian platform is widely known and loved,” said Lee Williams, executive director of the Symbian Foundation. Symbian cited a recent Gartner report that claims its platform is installed on over 70 different types of mobile handsets across 26 countries, and accounted for 49.3 percent of the worldwide smartphone operating system market share in 1Q09. Symbian Horizon is currently in development with a number of participating companies and developers, and is anticipated to be available in October 2009. In other news, Nokia announced today that Accenture is to acquire its Symbian Professional Services unit. The unit is responsible for the Symbian platform’s customer engineering and customer support. Financial terms were not disclosed.