Symbian as a operating system

Symbian is an operating system derived from the Epoc operating system. Epoc was developed by Psion for their handhelds in the 80's. Symbian is an evolution designed to be used in mobile phones, and comes to real devices in different flavors.

More precisely, Symbian Inc develops the base operating system and licenses it out to phone manufacturers. Vendors then build a user interface on top of the base operating system. They can also customize (and often do) the operating system for a specific purpose; the bundle of the operating system plus the user interface is shipped, with the hardware to be sold on the market.
Currently the most widespread is the Series60 platform, used by many Nokia phones like the Nokia 6600 and many many other models.

There also exists the UIQ platform, powering the Sony Ericcsson P800/P900/P910i and the Motorola A1000/A1010.

Also there are other flavors, like the Series80 that powers the Nokia Communicator series (Nokia 9500 and others) and the Series90, used currently only by the Nokia 7710. There are rumors hovewer Series90 will fold in to the Series 60 platform in the foreseeable future.
Note that since there are MANY versions of each combination OS/UI, there is a different SDK for each combination. For example we can enumerate the SDK for Series60 version 6.1, 7,0s, 8.0, 9.0 etc, and the SDK for UIQ version 2.0, 2.1 etc.
You have to build application for specific devices using the appropriate SDK of the correct version of the target phone.


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