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The Symbian platform was officially made available as open source code in February 2010.

Nokia became the major contributor to Symbian's code, since it then possessed the development resources for both the Symbian OS core and the user interface.

They include S60 (Nokia, Samsung and LG), UIQ (Sony Ericsson and Motorola) and MOAP(S) (Japanese only such as Fujitsu, Sharp etc.).

With no major competition in the smartphone OS then (Palm OS and Windows Mobile were comparatively small players), Symbian reached as high as 67% of the global smartphone market share in 2006.

Symbian^3 was released in 2010 as the successor to S60 5th Edition, by which time it became fully open source.

Symbian originated from EPOC32, an operating system created by Psion in the 1990s.Applications of these interfaces were not compatible with each other, despite each being built atop Symbian OS.Nokia became the majority shareholder in Symbian Ltd. The non-profit Symbian Foundation was then created to make a royalty-free successor to Symbian OS – seeking to unify the platform, S60 became the Foundation's favoured UI and UIQ stopped development but MOAP continued in the Japanese market.By contrast, i Phone OS (renamed i OS in 2010) and Android had comparatively simpler design, provided easier and much more centralized infrastructure to create and obtain third-party apps, offered certain developer tools and programming languages with a manageable level of complexity, and having capabilities such as multitasking and graphics in order to meet future consumer demands.Although Symbian was difficult to program for, this issue could be worked around by creating Java Mobile Edition apps, ostensibly under a "write once, run anywhere" slogan.

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