From Symbian to Sailfish: the Evolution of the Smartphone OS

If we had to categorize what lifecycle stage the smartphone is now at in most industrialized countries, it would likely be "maturity". These devices have become transparent and ubiquitous. We collectively take them for granted, and are somewhere between panicked and appalled when they don't work or can't connect. This timeline covers the key points in the history of 12 different smartphone operating systems, ranging from the common (IOS & Android) to the (Yun OS & Sailfish).

This timeline was developed for TECH 1940: Inquiry in Mobile Technology, taught by Dr. Paul Cesarini, at Bowling Green State University.;xNLx;;xNLx;Use of images in this timeline is done in full accordance with the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act of 2002.

1998-06-03 00:00:00

1st Version of EPOC32 Released

The first version of EPOC32 was released on PSion Series 5 ROM v1.0 in 1997. EPOC32 was a pre-emptive multitasking, single user operating system with memory protection, which encourages the application developer to separate their program into an engine and an interface.

1998-08-01 09:34:41

Symbian is created

In 1998, Psion spun off it's hardware into Symbian Ltd. Symbian was paired with Nokia, Ericsson, and Motorola. Nokia being one of the bigger influential figures to the company. Multiple versions and such of the company have been released. Psion had stopped making and had ultimately turned into Symbian.

1999-01-01 00:00:00

Blackberry OS (version 1.0)

Their first version was very basic. It was basic because it only had to deal with messaging and emails. Blackberry did not have to worry about an app store or anything because they did not exist by then.

1999-03-15 19:42:03

Jack Ma

Alibaba was first founded by an English teacher named Jack Ma. Alibaba is the biggest e-commerce business in China. That IPO on the New York Stock Exchange raised $21.8 billion and was the largest offering for a U.S.-listed company ever. Key stakeholders in the company are Yahoo and Japan's Softbank.

2001-01-01 00:00:00

Symbian OS 6.0 Version Released

The OS was renamed Symbian OS and was envisioned as the base for a new range of smartphones. This release is sometimes called ER6. Psion gave 130 staff to the new company and retained a 31% shareholding in the spin-off.

2002-03-04 23:50:44

Oldest Hardware

This is the oldest hardware I can find that is made by blackberry. Its specs are 117 x 79 x 18 mm and it weighed 4.7 oz. T-Mobile is the only carrier. Has no camera, 1MB of RAM, and runs java 2 platform.

2002-06-26 09:34:41

Nokia 7650

Nokia released there first phone running its Symbian os. The Nokia 7650 ran v6.1 or the mobile operating system. The phone included sms, mms, email, and instant message. The Nokia 7650's hardware includes a full slide-out qwerty keyboard, and a joystick with 5-way navigation. The display was 176x208, giving it a ppi of 130. The Nokia 7650 was discontinued in 2005. It was overall a favorable phone for the time, and still lives on as one of the best nokia phones ever.

2002-09-14 08:51:33

Is Aliyun OS really Linux? Android? A rip-off of both?

There has been a rumor going around that Aliyun as a forked version of Android that's modified to the extent that it's incompatible with other Android devices. This article talks about how phones like Aliyun has weakened the ecosystem. But because android is a open source any company can take Android and create a highly customized, or forked, version of Android. Amazon, for instance, uses its own variation of Android which isn't compatible with other Android devices. Google notified that if the product runs Aliyun OS, Google will terminate its Android-related cooperation and other technology licensing with our partner The problem is that Amazon and Alibaba aren't a part of Open Handset Alliance, which have to run versions of Android that are compatible with its ecosystem. To have too many versions of Android in the market would be harmful to consumers and developers. Google said that while it built its own operating system, Alibaba took elements of Android to build Aliyun. This source is credible because it is a newspaper that highlights many technology events.

2003-09-01 21:07:15

Start of it all

Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994 working out of his garage in Bellevue, Washington. Amazon started out by being a online book store only. Amazon went live on 1995 and selling there first book in July called Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought, by Douglas Hofstadter

2003-10-01 09:34:41

Android, Inc. founded

Former Apple engineer and Danger co-founder Andy Rubin starts a new company. The primary product is a new mobile operating system designed for digital cameras and possibly phones, called Android. Rubin very nearly goes broke and Android, Inc. narrowly avoids being completely shuttered until the company is bought by Google. Rubin and other Android team members stay on at Google, developing the OS in relative secrecy.

2003-10-01 09:34:41

Last phone shipped

On June 12, 2013 Nokia confirmed that it was shipping the last of its symbian phones in that week. This is due to losses from the phone, and the dying market, which they attribute it to "complexity". They compared its user interface to Apple's iPhone, which is simplicity at its finest.

2004-10-20 01:02:08

Ubuntu initially released

A small team was gathered together by Mark Shuttleworth to create Ubuntu; an easy to use free software from Linux. 4.10 was the first version released, sparking a big interest within the free software community.

2004-11-09 09:34:41

The Release of Firefox 1.0

The Mozilla Firefox 1.0 is officially released for download. The Mozilla Firefox Project finally established a web browser that was said to be more likable than Internet Explorer. Firefox is simply a web browser, no email, no fancy apps. This simplicity is what made it so appealing to the public at the time.

2006-10-21 00:00:00

Blackberry Fad

Research in motion began attracting more than just businessmen. By this time they were gaining a wider demographic. They had made new models that focused on consumers, and led to more features in the release of their new phones. As blackberry become more popular it also became addictive.

2007-01-01 00:00:00

The release of i phone means doom for BlackBerry

The i phone being released in 2007 was the downfall for Blackberry. The Canadian company initially ignored the i phone because they were on top of the market with their stock price being around $140 a share. The great minds behind the "crack berry" couldn't compete with the innovations of the i phone and around 2012 their stock price was down to around $9 a share.

2007-08-16 09:34:41

Symbian once as popular as Android today

From mid to late 2007 Symbian was a very large and successful company. Many people tend to forget that about the company. Symbian had 65% of the smartphone market and Nokia had it's logo on one out of every two phones. It is believed that Symbian is the inventor of the smartphone category. Even many of the reasons Android is so successful is because they use the same techniques as Symbian once did. Even Apple's success is built on Symbian because of the software.

2007-11-01 09:34:41

The Open Handset Alliance

Today, nearly 3 billion people have a mobile phone, making it one of the world’s most successful consumer products. In comparison to 1.5 billion people owning TV's and 1 billion people having internet, mobile devices are ruling the world. The drive for companies to build better mobile devices is becoming more and more prevalent. As phones become better and better they enrich the lives of countless people across the globe. The Open Handset Alliance is a group of mobile and technology leaders who share this vision for changing the mobile experience for consumers. In 2007 Android created the alliance based off their notion that mobile devices should be open to anyone to collaborate over and talk about. Android believes that with more openness in the mobile technology world innovations will happen more rapidly and respond better to consumers’ demands. Android is determined to be the platform for mobile developers to have the resources they need to innovate and create mobile devices of the future.

2007-11-03 00:00:00

The first kindle

Amazon in November started selling there first Amazon Kindle. Have a book store with more then 90,000 books and having 101 of 112 NY times best sellers as well as news papers and magazines. The kindle was the first successful e book reader with other tech giants like sony could not do. The Kindle weight was around 10oz and that less them a normal paper back book and was able to hold 200 books at any given point and time. So if the first kindle would not have worked like most e readers before it we would not have Fire OS

2007-11-05 00:00:00

Google announces development of Android OS

Google officially announces the development of the Android OS. This day became known as Androids birthday. Until this point, Android Inc's operations remained largely a secret until this point. Android would then become 100% free and open source as opposed to strictly regulated Apple IOS. Google just officially announced the Open Handset Alliance to create an open platform (to be called Android) for a Linux phone that can run mobile Google apps and others.

2008-07-10 09:34:41

App Store came out

The app store come out via an update to iTunes. You were no longer stuck to the apps the phone came with. You could also download to a personal computer via iTunes.

2008-08-01 00:00:00

Amazon Buys Abebooks

Amazon bought AbeBooks which was an online marketplace for books. This gave Amazon 110 million rare and out of print books for sale from thousands of booksellers around the world.

2008-10-22 00:00:00

First Android Phone

The T-mobile G1 also known as the HTC dream was the first phone to run on the Android operating system. This phone featured a touch screen that slid open to a full keyboard. It also highlights the customizable home screen and the 3-megapixel camera, and the GPS system. Here is the original commercial for the HTC Dream when it first came out.

2008-11-01 09:34:41

Android Compatibility

In February, a number of companies including Qualcomm and Texas Instruments had chipsets working on very basic versions of the Android OS, giving the world its first sneak preview of OS. According to Ramesh Iyer, "Android is a single stack. You don't have to go looking for third-party solutions. Suddenly, they have defragmented the whole Linux ecosystem into one building block." This basically means that Android made it possible for other companies to use the Android platform to develop products and be innovative within their own company with the help of Android.

2009-06-09 09:34:41

The Beginning of Web OS

Web OS In June 2009, the first device using it was released by Sprint. It was used on a multi-media smart phone called the palm pre. It had many built in features like bluetooth, and wifi connectivity built into it.

2009-07-06 09:34:41

Palm Web os starts application store

Application store started at 18 applications and moved to 10,009 official applications by December 11, 2011.

2009-11-10 09:34:41

Samsung Introduces Bada

Samsung introduced the Bada mobile operating system on November 10th, 2009. It received a wide range of support from companies such as Twitter, EA, and Blockbuster. The Wave S8500 phone running Bada 1.0 was released soon after.

2010-01-01 12:00:00

MeeGo: The Starting Point for Tizen

When Nokia established its new partnership with Microsoft in 2011, there would be no use for Nokia's MeeGo anymore. With that, MeeGo became an open-source mobile OS project. The reason for this was for MeeGo to become used for market research on next generation devices. This new partnership with Microsoft led Nokia to abandon the MeeGo OS, and leave it with Intel. Which Intel used to combine with Linux and Samsung to create Tizen OS.

2010-02-15 00:00:00

Maemo and Moblin Merger

Nokia's Maemo and Intel's Moblin were two incomplete operating systems based on Linux. T were combined into the one common project called MeeGo. Intel was allegedly involved in the MeeGo project in order to act as an alternative for Microsoft's Windows 7, which did not operate well on Intel's Atom processor. MeeGo was eventually brought to a number of TV devices. In 2011, MeeGo was merged with Samsung's LiMo to form Tizen.

2010-02-17 10:01:00

Photon Becomes Windows Phone 7

Microsoft started with the Photron, or Windows Mobile back in the day, after this failed though they created a new operation system =, which became Windows Phone 7

2010-04-01 00:00:00

HP Acquired Palm

In April of 2010, Hp made a 1.2 billion dollar move to buy the company Palm thus acquiring webOS. While making this move they have already thought of plans of how to use webOS. Some thoughts were to merge webOS with smartphones, tablet computers, and printers.

2010-05-21 00:00:00

Symbian Developer blackout

On January 1, 2014 Nokia closes the the store to app developers, meaning developers for Symbian's can no longer publish or update their apps. This also applies to MeeGo systems and apps. Nokia has stated that Symbian will be supported until 2016, for those who still use those phones.

2010-08-01 00:00:00

Java/Oracle Lawsuit Against Android

In November 12, 2007, Google released the Android software development kit, which had Google's own implications of Java SE. Oracle, whom owned Java at the time sued Google in August 2010 for copyright and patent infringement. Oracle claimed that Google had taken Java's script without permission, and sued for 1 million dollars. This case had a huge back and forth, Google not giving up in their non-copyright infringement defense. Eventually, the judge whom was in charge of this case, William Alsup, knocked Oracle down by telling them to knock down their price, as it was too much. In May 2012, the jury found Google not guilty of copyright infringement and Oracle was knocked down.

2011-01-01 00:00:00

Release of Windows Mango

Windows Phone Mango, or Windows Phone 7.5 was an update o the Windows Phone 7. Mango included a mobile version of Internet Explorer 9.

2011-02-01 09:34:41

WebOS universal platform

HP had decided to have WebOS be a universal platform for most devices. What this mean is, WebOS has now moved into smart phone and devices. This plan came into action around mid point of July 2011. They, HP, released devices such as the HP Veer and HP Pre 3. These devices were used to receive WebOS 3.0 by HP.

2011-03-01 00:00:00

WebOS on HP devices.

HP announced that the company would be installing WebOS on all of its notebook and desktop devices by 2012, however this never occurred, and shortly after the system was dropped altogether.

2011-06-06 00:00:00


iCloud was initial released in 2011, allowing for synchronization of apple devices, and as of September 2014, it has become in integrated part of iOS, with iOS 8. Like most cloud systems, it allows data to be shared and synched with all connected devices, allowing users to access all data from any mobile platform. -Tyler Music

2011-07-01 05:10:16

HP releases many devices that use WebOS

Hp releases many devices. The devices included HP Veer and HP Pre 3 smartphones, and the HP touchpad. They all run on webOS.

2011-07-25 15:40:34

Andreas Gal launches Boot to Gecko; later known as Firefox OS

Purpose of this project was to "pursue the goal of building a complete, standalone operating system for the open web". You're able to view the source code for the majority of applications you're using on the phone.

2011-07-28 00:00:00

Kick Off for Aliyun OS

Aliyun OS was released into Chinese markets on July 28, 2011. Aliyun OS is a Linux based distribution designed for smartphones.The Aliyun OS was applied to the smartphone K-Touch W700. The Aliyun OS was the first operating system to run on the K-Touch W700 smartphone. Alibaba wanted to create a system of his own and apply it to smartphone that hopefully many would invest in. As of May 2012 1 million of the Aliyun OS powered phones have been sold. Aliyun focuses mainly on web and cloud services.

2011-08-01 00:00:00

HP decided to end production of Web OS products.

HP announced that it was interested in selling it's personal Systems Group, which is in charge of all of its consumer PC products, which would include WebOS. Therefore, WebOS development and and production would end.

2011-09-01 09:34:41

Collaboration with Android Open Source Project (AOSP)

In early September, 2011, Amazon used software from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) to develop the first "model" of Fire OS (it was modified later in the month of September by Amazon). AOSP is a project led by Google that offers a large variety of open-source software for technological devices. It lets users make customized technological innovations/products/improvements to existing devices from said open-source software they offer. This project is supported by companies such as Broadcom, HTC, Intel, Motorola, Samsung, and Sprint.

2011-09-15 09:34:41

Fire OS developed

Fire OS is a mobile operating system produced/sold by Amazon. It was initially developed in September 2011 by Android Open Source Project (AOSP), and was later modified by Amazon as a final product. Fire OS was created for Kindle Fire Devices (including but not limited to Kindle Fire Phone, Kindle Fire, Fire TV, and tablets). Although it was were developed in 2011, Kindle devices weren't referred to as being "Fire OS" until Amazon's third introduction of Kindle Fire tablets in September 2012.

2011-09-27 00:00:00

MeeGo Merges with LiMo

MeeGo was a Linux-based operating system from Intel which was formed by a merger of Maemo and Moblin. In September of 2011, MeeGo was merged with another Linux-based operating system called LiMo. LiMo was backed by Linux Foundation and Samsung. When these two operating systems were combined into a single product, the collaboration was renamed from LiMo to Tizen. Tizen was quietly developed for many months before finally merging with Samsung's own home-grown mobile operating system, Bada. Tizen is now headed by Samsung as their own alternative to the operating systems already on the market.

2011-10-02 00:00:00

Sailfish Alliance

Jolla founded the Sailfish Alliance in 2011. The Sailfish Alliance is an open alliance that has developed the Sailfish operating system. The Jolla phones will be the stating point for the sailfish project. The Sailfish Alliance is making the Sailfish OS with ecosystem freedom. They are also making it so that the partners of sailfish can sell the sailfish phones with their own branding.

2011-10-27 03:32:53

Blackberry announces partnership with Porsche for new smart phone

Blackberry announces their partnership with the Porsche Design company in creating their new Blackberry Porsche Design P'9981 smart phone. It was marketed as a luxury phone, sporting a $2,300 price tag. This offers a higher end model of phone to Blackberry users, and rekindles the ability for business people to show off their expensive Blackberrys like the days of old.

2011-11-15 21:44:48

The Kindle Fire Comes Out

On this day, the kindle fire became available to consumers thus entering Amazon into the tablet race. The tablet started at 199.99 and was able to hold up to 60 apps, 10 movies, 800 songs, or 6000 books

2011-12-01 11:38:31

WebOS TouchPad no more

Around this time HP decided to stop the sale of their TouchPad. They had also told that that they'd release WebOS's source code in the future sometime of course under an open-source license.

2012-01-05 09:34:41

Tizen Market Release

Initial release date for Tizen. It never happened, and the date has continually been pushed back.

2012-01-12 00:00:00

Newest webOS

On January 12, 2012, webOS updated to 3.0.5. This update is very helpful to fixing bugs and also making video calling much easier. other feature that has been improved are email, MP3, and messaging. Email can be accesed much easier and saving messages are much easier. Mp3's can be handled much better with transfer with usb. Finally Messaging is made easier with new typing shortcuts.

2012-02-10 00:00:00

Windows Phone: Trying to catch up in 2012

In 2012, Microsoft began the start of 2 important major and minor changes to the Windows Phone. The first minor change was known as Tango. It was meant to be released in mid-2012 to broaden the base to support lower-end devices that can be sold cheaper in emerging markets. The next major change was Windows 8 or Apollo that was accidentally leaked. It was the new phone that shared the core technology from the desktop and tablets.

From Symbian to Sailfish: the Evolution of the Smartphone OS

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