symbianGoogle Android isn’t the only mobile phone operating system capable of running on netbooks anymore. The folks behind the Symbian operating system (which incidentally, started out as the EPOC operating system that powered early Psion handheld computers a decade ago), recently ported Symbian to work with the Intel Atom processor.

The port is pretty rough at this point. The screen resolution hasn’t been changed, nor has the graphical user interface. But the operating system can run on a computer with a low powered Intel Atom CPU… and that means Symbian could become a netbook, MID, or UMPC operating system in the future.

I haven’t used Symbian since back when it was still called EPOC, so I’m not that familiar with the OS in its current state. What do you think, does it hold potential as a mobile internet device operating system?

via Engadget

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8 replies on “Symbian OS ported to run on Intel Atom processors”

  1. I used to use EPOC regularly on the Psion series 3/5 and it was a capable little OS. We used to joke in the office about our month-long uptimes while the CE palmtop owners down the hall had to reboot their devices daily. I’ve used a more recent version of the Symbian OS on a Nokia smartphone and it’s mostly an evolution of what came before, albeit with a very different UI.

    This news story is very interesting though. Not so much because of the port to x86, but because Symbian appears to be looking at netbook devices in general. Being an ARM OS, if we start to see ARM netbook production ramping up at the end of the year, Symbian would be in a good position to take a good sized chunk of the netbook OS market if they chose to move in this direction.

    1. With competition from both Ubuntu and Android (both with a considerable head start) I seriously doubt Symbian would have a chance. The biggest problem would be applications. Symbian smartphones are a closed environment, netbooks generally are not. I doubt the public would accept it from anyone but Apple.

      1. Now that is one to keep in mind, it is technically possible (if the Boardroom agreed) –
        Apple ran Mac OSx on RISC (powerpc) for years (still does) before porting to x86 –
        They could port to any other RISC machine without a lot of trouble.

        Their show-stopper is the company position of:
        “We only accept $1,000 bills and we don’t give change.” 😉

  2. Too much competition for Windows isn’t good, anyway. Linux is one thing; yes there are many different versions, but they are all based around a common kernel, so there is some consistency, compatibility and safety in numbers.

    However, seeing as to most people netbooks will be perceived as either Windows or not, fragmenting the “nots” into too many mutually incompatible camps won’t be at all helpful in terms of providing incentive for driver or application development.

    OK, so this Symbian port is unlikely to be anything other than someone with too much time on their hands, but I wish they’d put their undoubted efforts into promoting or developing for a realistic Windows alternative.

    Otherwise, Windows, for all its many faults, will only consolidate its position.

  3. Truly one for the “WTF” file. I don’t know how much effort it took to port Symbian over to the Atom, but I doubt it was trivial. It will take a lot more work before they get all the hardware to work properly. Just don’t see this ever getting any traction in the netbook market.

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