One notable aspect of Tuesday’s joint press release from two leading tech companies is the absence of any mention of Symbian, the long-standing operating system for smartphones that has been utilized by Nokia for a decade and holds a substantial 50% market share. Instead, the focus was on the collaboration between Nokia and Intel to develop shared technologies for the Moblin and Maemo platform projects. Both of these platforms are Linux-based, with Moblin backed by Intel and Maemo utilized by Nokia in devices like the N810.

There have been speculations since May that Nokia may transition from Symbian to Maemo for its future smartphones due to various factors, such as Symbian lagging behind in app awareness compared to Apple’s iPhone. The announcement of Nokia’s next-generation Maemo, Fremantle or Maemo 5, supporting 3G connectivity further fueled these rumors. Additionally, the creation of oFono, an open-source project by Intel and Nokia aimed at developing user-friendly APIs for telephony applications, hinted at potential voice and SMS capabilities for Maemo.

Despite these advancements, David Wood from the Symbian Foundation emphasized the importance for phone companies to explore multiple modern operating systems. Nokia’s exploration of Maemo alongside Symbian aligns with this strategy. The collaborative efforts between Nokia and Intel signal a substantial move towards Linux-based devices beyond traditional smartphones, notebooks, and netbooks.

Industry experts foresee Nokia expanding its Linux Maemo offerings to differentiate itself in the high-end market and potentially continue to offer Symbian-powered devices in their midrange lineup. The common development platform Qt, acquired by Nokia in 2008, presents an opportunity for unified application development across both Symbian and Maemo systems.

The partnership between Nokia and Intel aims to position them competitively in the smartphone market against formidable players like Apple. By leveraging their synergies and shared vision for Linux-based devices, Nokia is poised to strengthen its position and compete effectively in the evolving tech landscape.