Symbian is an operating system

A Seminar Report On
VIII Semester CS&E
USN: 4BD02CS006
Mrs.VANI B.V. B.E. M.Tech.
Prof. R.D.SHIVANAND M. Tech, M.I.S.T.E.
BELGAUM – 590 014
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
This is to certify that Mr. BASAVARAJA N.R. bearing register number
4BD02CS006 have successfully carried out seminar work on “SYMBIAN MOBILE
OPERATING SYSTEM” as a fulfillment of the requirements for the eighth semester
Computer Science & Engineering during the academic year 2005-2006.
Mrs.VANI B.V. B.E. M.Tech.
M. Tech, M.I.S.T.E.
Head of the Department
B.E. (Mech.), M.Tech. (Prod.), MISTE. FIE(Ind)., C.E., ASME
Signature of the Examiners:
Examination Center:
BIET, Davangere.
1 ……………………………..
2 ……………………………..
I would like to thank sincerel y to my guide Mrs. VANI B.V.
constructive suggestions for the betterment of th e technical seminar.
I would like to express m y deep sense of gratitude to our principal
Prof. Y.VRUSHABHENDRAPPA for his continuous effort in creating a
competitive environment in our college and encouraging throughout this
I would like to conve y m y heartfelt thanks to our HOD
Prof.R.D.SHIVANAND. For giving me the opportunit y to embark upon this
topic and for his continued encouragement throughout the preparation of
this presentation.
I also wish to thank all the staff members of the department of
computer science & engineering for helping us directl y or indirectl y in
completing this work successfull y.
Finall y I am thankful to our parents and friends for their continued
moral and material support throughout the course and in helping me
finalize the presentation.
Basavaraja N.R.
sem (CS & E)
This document provides information about the S ymbian
operating system, which is one of the mobile operating systems. It
provides the overview of what is the S ymbian operating system?,
What are the characteristics of Symbian OS? i.e. Why we have to
use this mobile operating system?, What all S ymbian base Cell Phones can do? , Symbian OS Architecture & Working Flow,
Different Mobiles Supports for S ymbian.
S ymbian is an operating system (OS) targeted at mobile
phones that offers a high -level of integration with communication
and personal information management (P IM) functionalit y. S ymbian
OS combines middleware with wireless communications through an
functionalit y (agenda and contact s). The S ymbian OS is open for
third-part y
enterprise IT departments, network operators and Symbian OS
1. What is Symbian?
1.1 What is Symbian's significance in the wireless market?
2. Why Symbian OS?
2.1 Addressing specific needs
2.2 Small and mobile, but always available
2.3 Addressing the mass-market
2.4 Handling occasional connectivity
2.5 Product diversity
2.6 Open platform
2.7 A different operating system?
2.8 Why Symbian OS?
3. When Symbian?
4. What all Symbian base Cell-Phones can do?
5. Symbian OS Architecture & Working Flow.
6. Different Mobiles Supports for Symbian.
7. Conclusion.
8. Bibliography.
1. What is Symbian?
Symbian is an operating system (OS) targeted at mobile phones that offers
a high-level of integration with communication and personal information
management (PIM) functionality. Symbian OS combines middleware with
wireless communications through an integrated mailbox and the integration of
Java and PIM functionality (agenda and contacts). The Symbian OS is open for
third-party development by independent software vendors, enterprise IT
departments, network operators and Symbian OS licensees.
Symbian itself grew out of Psion Software (hence many of the similarities
-often under the hood- between Psion's EPOC operating system and modern
Symbian software platforms). Recognizing that the future was a connected one,
with messaging, email and web central, mobile phone giants Ericsson and Nokia
(plus a few others) were involved in setting up the new consortium with the Psion
Today (2005), Psion itself has more or less ceased to exist, leaving Nokia
and Sony Ericsson as the two dominant partners, at least in terms of investment
and new products.
1.1 What is Symbian's significance in the wireless market?
Symbian plays a central role within the wireless market: Symbian's
licensees represented over 80% of mobile phone sales in 2002. The importance of
this role was underlined by Jorma Ollila, Chairman & CEO of Nokia, when he
stated in May 2001, that ".by 2004, 50% of Nokia's 3G phones will be Symbian
OS based"
The wireless market is changing, driven by customers who want access to
services and applications that will add value to their leisure and work, and by
operators who need a return on their huge investments in 3G licenses and
infrastructure. They will have invested something like €300bn in Europe.
So we see fantastic opportunities. Opportunities for new services and
applications, such as multi-user games, location based services for route planning
or localized advertising, and soon wireless commerce. However this is a new
world. Both handset manufactures and operators are moving from closed systems
to open systems, giving users the ability to download applications and services.
This change isn't going to be painless; however Symbian is in a unique position to
minimize the cost of change. Symbian OS is an advanced, open platform and
Symbian is committed to supporting, implementing, and guiding the major
wireless standards. But perhaps most importantly of all, Symbian understands the
wireless market and the way it is changing. This includes the necessary security
infrastructure, application and service provisioning and their business models, and
rapid service development.
2. Why Symbian OS?
2.1 Addressing specific needs
Small devices come in many shapes and sizes, each addressing distinct target
markets that have different requirements. The market segment we are interested in is
that of the mobile phone. The primary requirement of this market segment is that all
products are great phones. This segment spans voice-centric phones with information
capability (such as Series 60 phones) to information-centric devices with voice
capability (such as UIQ and Series 80 phones). These advanced mobile phones
integrate fully-featured personal digital assistant (PDA) capabilities with those of a
traditional mobile phone in a single unit. In this article we’ll be looking at the critical
factors for operating systems in this market.
It is important to look at the mobile phone market in isolation. It has specific
needs that make it unlike markets for PCs or fixed domestic appliances. Scaling down
a PC operating system, or bolting communication capabilities onto a small and basic
operating system, results in too many fundamental compromises. Symbian believes
that the mobile phone market has five key characteristics that make it unique, and
result in the need for a specifically designed operating system:
 mobile phones are both small and mobile
 mobile phones are ubiquitous – they target a mass-market of consumer, enterprise
and professional users
 mobile phones are occasionally connected – they can be used when connected to
the wireless phone network, locally to other devices, or on their own
 manufacturers need to differentiate their products in order to innovate and
compete in a fast-evolving market
 the platform has to be open to enable independent technology and software
vendors to develop third-party applications, technologies and services
The way to grow the mobile phone market is to create good products – and the
only way to create good products is to address each of these characteristics and ensure
that technology doesn’t limit functionality. Meeting the impressive growth forecast
by analysts in a reasonable time frame is only possible with the right operating system
2.2 Small and mobile, but always available
Mobile phones are both small and, by definition, mobile. This creates high
user expectations. For instance, if you have your agenda on a phone that you also
use to make calls and exchange data, you expect to be able to carry it with you at
all times and to be instantly available whenever you want to use it.
Fulfilling these expectations makes considerable demands on power
management. The device needs to be responsive in all situations, and cannot
afford to go through a long boot sequence when it is turned on. In fact, the device
should never be powered down completely since it needs to activate timed alarms
or handle incoming calls. At the same time, a mobile phone must provide many
hours of operation on a single charge or set of batteries. Meeting these
contradictory requirements can only be done if the whole operating system is
designed for efficiency.
2.3 Addressing the mass-market
Reliability is a major issue for mass-market phones. Data loss in a
personal mobile phone causes a loss of trust between the user and the phone. A
mobile phone therefore must be at least as resilient as paper diaries and agendas.
Recalling phones to install service packs is a commercial and practical last resort
– a mobile phone should never lock up or come with a major software defect. In
fact, to use a PC term, it should never ever need a “reboot”! This is a far cry from
desktop computers where bugs, crashes and reboots are expected.
However, reliability alone is not enough to make good products. Sound
consumer design is also necessary, where:
product applications take advantage of the mobile phone’s unique characteristics
as well as its environment
products should be designed to meet current usability and future developments in
wireless technology
Consistency of style is paramount – if a feature is too complex to use, then it
cannot justify either the time it took to develop or the space it takes in the device.
An operating system targeted at mobile phones must support these design
principles by offering a high-level of integration with communication and personal
information management (PIM) functionality. Symbian OS combines high
functionality middleware with superior wireless communications through an
integrated mailbox and the integration of Java and PIM functionality (agenda and
2.4 Handling occasional connectivity
Accessing remote data, sending email or synchronizing calendars requires
some type of connection. Mobility constraints generally make a wireless
connection preferable – whether wide area (using wireless telephony) or personal
area (such as infrared or Bluetooth links).
2.5 Product diversity
There is an apparent contradiction between software developers who want
to develop for just one popular platform and manufacturers who each want to
have a range of distinctive and innovative products. The circle can be squared by
separating the user interface from the core operating system.
Advanced mobile phones or “smart phones” come in all sorts of shapes –
from traditional designs resembling today’s mobile phones with main input via
the phone keypad, to a tablet form factor operated with a stylus, to phones with
larger screens and small keyboards.
This strategy ensures that Symbian OS phone manufacturers can create
highly differentiated products while sharing a technology platform and keeping
the learning curve to a minimum.
2.6 Open platform
An operating system for the mass-market must be open for third-party
development – by independent software vendors, enterprise IT departments,
network operators and Symbian OS licensees. In turn, this implies a manageable
learning curve, standard languages such as C++ and Java, along with SDKs, tools,
documentation, books, technical support and training. Symbian OS has a rich set
of APIs for independent software developers, partners and licensees to write their
Traditional standards such as Unicode for internationalization, a POSIX
API, and Java are a must, but for an operating system to take its place in the
connected world, open standards such as TCP/IP, POP3, IMAP4, SMTP, SMS,
MMS, Bluetooth, OBEX, WAP, i-mode, Java and SyncML should also be
Symbian has trusted leading partners in the mobile phone market and
actively participates in standards organizations (such as the Open Mobile Alliance
and the Java Community Process). Through these, Symbian has advance
Furthermore, a user interface framework, data service enablers and
application engines provide a solid base for application developers to target.
2.7 A different operating system?
To fit into the limited amount of memory a mobile phone may have, the
operating system must be compact. However, as we have seen, it must still
provide a rich set of functionality. What is needed to power a mobile phone is not
a mini-operating system but a different operating system – one that is tailored.
Symbian is dedicated to mobile phones and Symbian OS has been designed to
meet the sophisticated requirements of the mobile phone market that minioperating systems can’t. They simply run out of steam.
2.8 Why Symbian OS?
The five key points – small mobile devices, mass market, intermittent
wireless connectivity, diversity of products and an open platform for independent
software developers – are the premises on which Symbian OS was designed and
developed. This makes it distinct from any desktop, workstation or server
operating system. This also makes Symbian OS different from embedded
operating systems, or any of its competitors, which weren’t designed with all
these key points in mind.
Symbian is committed to open standards and is actively working with
emerging standards, such as J2ME, Bluetooth, MMS, SyncML, IPv6 and
WCDMA. As well as its own developer support organization, books, papers and
courses, Symbian delivers a global network of third-party competency and
training centers – the Symbian Competence Centers and Symbian Training
Centers. These are specifically directed at enabling other organizations and
developers to take part in this new economy.
3. When Symbian?
In June 1999, EPOC version 5 started shipping. It contained
support for devices based on a 640x240 screen resolution, with pen and
keyboard capabilities.
In 2000, Symbian OS 6.0 was released. Its design goal is to bring
together various forms of communication protocols, such as TCP/IP, WAP,
GSM, Bluetooth, IrDa, as well as serial connections.
In 2002, Symbian OS version 7.0 was released. This version is
designed for the unique requirements of advanced 2G, 2.5G, and 3G mobile
4. What all Symbian base Cell-Phones can do?
It's early days for rolled out services, but we're seeing pilots and
experimental services being created. For instance "Wireless for Symbian Devices"
describes the Handheld Travel Assistant, developed by Telenor R&D. This uses
Symbian and existing Internet services to provide users with location related
information, including local maps, location of friends, transport routes, and
information about local shops and restaurants. A GPS system was used for
position information, but transmitter signal strength can also be used to locate the
There's also the Simple Conference example from Digit. This allows users
of different mobile phones to work on a shared whiteboard. Both drawings and
textual information can be shared, with the whiteboard model being held on a
In addition Cell-Telecom ( has deployed a
number of Symbian applications, which includes sales support and industrial QA.
5. Symbian OS Architecture & Working Flow
The Palm Conduit Development Kit (CDK) allows Palm OS developers to
write plug-ins (conduits) for the HotSync Manager application that synchronizes
data between applications on the desktop and on the Palm PDA. Symbian OS
provides a Connectivity Software Development Kit (CSDK), which allows
developers to write add-in file format converters and plug-ins to synchronize
between Symbian OS phones and desktop applications.
Color and Sound Support
Like Palm OS, Symbian OS provides full support for color and sound,
which application programmers can access through convenient APIs. Symbian OS
differs from Palm OS in the additional capabilities it offers. It has been designed
with sophisticated memory management, event handling mechanisms, and
multitasking, making it the best platform in its class for mobile phones.
Operating System Reliability
A robust system is a key requirement for mobile phones and devices: they
should be crash proof. Contrary to what PC users have come to expect, it is
possible to design an operating system that does not require the user to reboot it
on a regular basis. Symbian OS is such an operating system. First, each process
runs in its own protected address space, thus it is not possible for any application
to overwrite any other application’s address space, causing the application to
crash. Second, the kernel itself also runs in its own protected address space, so
that a program bug can’t accidentally overwrite the kernel’s stack or heap and
cause the whole system to crash. If programs need to pass data to other programs,
they do so using Symbian OS client/server architecture, which allows applications
to exchange data using a robust, efficient message-passing system. This message
passing system has been designed so that it uses as few system resources as
possible: message overheads are small and data exchange is minimized.
Application Engines and Services
Symbian OS allows developers to build powerful applications quickly by
providing a number of reusable application engines as well as a range of
application services. Some of these engines and services include:
 A relational database manager
 Schedule and to-do list application engines
 Text-processing APIs
 Printing and zooming APIs
 Support for vCard, vCalendar standards, and IrOBEX protocol
 Clipboard support
 String-handling libraries, dynamic buffers, and math libraries
 A stream store API for efficient access to data
 Graphics and animation libraries
 A multimedia server supporting audio recording, playback, and image
 Support for Unicode and internationalization
Symbian OS Fully Multitasking
The multitasking nature of Symbian OS architecture makes it the ideal
application platform for mobile phones. The single-tasking Palm OS is a much
more challenging environment for developers of communications applications.
Under Symbian OS, each program runs as a separate process, and applications can
run concurrently. Each process under Symbian OS contains one or more threads,
and the system scheduler allocates processor use to threads through prioritized
pre-emptive multitasking.
Memory Leaks Avoided
As stated earlier, main memory on a Symbian OS phone is extremely
limited. Developers have to limit application memory use, and, perhaps more
important, release memory that the application no longer uses. If an application
allocates dynamic memory on the heap, uses it, and then doesn’t release it, that
memory will be effectively lost to the rest of the system until the application
closes a memory leak has occurred.
Symbian OS provides a programming framework to assist developers in
writing programs that don’t leak memory. This framework includes a number of
programming idioms that occur in all Symbian OS code, as well as development
tools that allow developers to verify that the code they have written does not leak
Reusable Code
Symbian OS is designed to reuse code wherever possible, enabling a
device to achieve rich functionality with limited hardware resources. Code reuse
is achieved two ways:
1. Code reuse at run time – system components have been designed to
maximize the use of Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs) throughout the system,
thereby minimizing the amount of code loaded into main memory.
2. When writing programs, Symbian OS API design allows code reuse.
Add New Software and System Components
. Symbian OS allows new software components, including new protocol
stacks, Web plug-ins, and device drivers to be added, and existing software to be
updated without rebooting – even while the device is running – through its use of
frameworks and DLLs. The framework architecture allows a framework, such as
a Web browser or communications server, to load and run the functions provided
by a DLL without knowing how those functions work.
6. Different Mobiles Supports for Symbian
Terms you'll see bandied around a lot include 'Series 60', 'Series 80', 'Series 90' and
'UIQ'. These are all Symbian platforms, but don't despair because it's all relatively
simple. In many cases, once you've bought a device, you don't even have to remember
much about its internals, as most developer web sites include photos of all the different
hardware, you just click on the one you own to see what's available.
Q is stylus-based interface (heavily influenced by the easy-to-use Palm
OS one). The best known examples of UIQ devices are the Sony Ericsson
P800 and P900/P910i, although there are others, including the Motorola
A920/925/1000. Look beyond the Palm-like interface and you'll see glimpses of stuff
that's familiar from Psion days.
But only glimpses. The biggest downside of UIQ is that some of the
benefits of multitasking have been removed by the way programs
revert to a neutral state when sent to the background. So you switch
away to check your calendar or answer the phone and then have to reopen your document and find your place all over again and again.
Historically, Nokia have opted for Symbian devices which don't need a fragile touchscreen. The well-known Nokia 9210 effectively ran EPOC version 6 and is extremely
similar to an old Psion Series 5mx in many, many ways, with the minor difference that
the lack of a touch-screen necessitated a set of programmable command buttons to the
right of the screen. Nokia refer to this interface as 'Series 80'.
Series 80 is also used in slightly tweaked form in the new Nokia 9300 and 9500
communicators. If you want to get close to a Psion-on-steroids-with-a-colour-screen, then
these are the ones to get. You get almost the full range of built-in applications (including
Word, Sheet, etc.) and there's full (and proper) multi-tasking, so you can have dozens of
programs and documents open at once, switching between them as needed. The 9500
wins out for most people, with more useable keyboard, Wi-Fi and a good camera. And
it's quite affordable with a sensible phone contract.
Down at the other size extreme, Nokia has been very
successful with their small-screen 'Series 60' interface.
Again this is recognizable Symbian under the hood, but
again there's no touch-screen and this time Nokia has
written many of its own dumbed-down applications from
scratch, ditching the standard Psion/Symbian ones
presumably because they wouldn't suit the one-handed, button-driven interface and tiny
(176 pixel-wide) screen.
There's multi-tasking power here under the hood and many third party applications have
been ported to Series 60, but everything's restricted to some degree by the screen size and
keypad text input. Of course, this last problem can be solved with a Bluetooth keyboard...
The best Series 60 device to go for at the moment is probably the Nokia 6630, because
it's got a fairly recent OS (Symbian OS 7, meaning that it's compatible with most new
software, e.g. TomTom MOBILE 5), plus the Multimedia Framework (MMF) and stereo
electronics that let it to justice your music collection. And it's got a good, relatively large
screen. And it's pretty cheap nowadays, free on quite a few phone contracts.
Hot off the press is 'Series 90', as seen in Nokia's new 7710. It uses
much the same operating system and applications as Series 80, but
tweaked to support a slightly larger, touch-sensitive screen. But there's
no keyboard, of course, so input is via gesture recognition, virtual keyboard or Bluetooth
keyboard. And I'm really, really not sure about the general appearance and form factor.
7. Conclusion
We live in times of tumult and change. In the midst of this
excitement, two st rong trends are clear. First, software is spreading
more widel y and more deepl y into all aspects of societ y. Second,
communication is becoming pervasive: more objects and gadgets
talk to each other all the time, in ever -richer ways. The software
that lies at the heart of these new phones is Symbian OS. Endorsed
by giants of the telecommunications industry —Fujitsu, Kenwood,
SonyEricsson—S ym bian OS enables a dramatic leap in the power
and utilit y of mobile phones. S ymbian OS is neither a cut -down
desktop/server OS nor an extended embedded OS, but a one -of-akind mobile operating system. Like all disruptive technologies, it
has a challenging learning curve. Thankfull y, it also has a
flourishing community of software developers and trainers ready to
help fellow travelers along this curve —sharing S ymbian's motto of
‘co-operate before competing’.
8. Bibliography