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The Symbian Foundation officially launched a program Tuesday that's aimed at making it easier for developers to build, market, and distribute applications for the Symbian mobile operating system.
Apps are becoming an increasingly important part of the smartphone market, thanks to the tremendous success of Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Apple users have downloaded more than two billion mobile programs in about a year, but some developers are still grumbling over Apple's vetting process for the virtual store.
The Symbian Horizon program is aimed at easing those types of concerns, as it will lower the barrier of entry for creating Symbian apps. The foundation will continue to approve apps for security processes, but claims it will be more open and transparent than some of its rivals. Symbian is the most widely used mobile OS in the world, which means developers can potentially target a larger audience than they could on rivals like the iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android.
The foundation acknowledged that the audience size can be daunting to some developers, and said that the Horizon program will assist with language translation, app certification, and marketing campaigns. Content creators will be able to write a program once and have it be distributed in the Nokia Ovi Store, Samsung Application Store, AT&T MEdia mall, China Mobile's Mobile Market, and Sony Ericsson's PlayNow arena.
The foundation said it is ahead of schedule with its goal of making Symbian an open source OS, and recently put its microkernel under the Eclipse Public License.
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