A joint venture of several mobile technology firms, including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Samsung, this operating system was specifically for mobility. The Symbian platform is known for its efficient memory usage, resulting in longer battery life and faster device start-up time. Its also a bit of an enigma.
Unlike the other operating systems in this roundup, Symbian is an open platform. The latest version of the OS is 9.5, which should give you an idea of how long its been around. That means the hardware device makers can tailor the software specifically for their smartphones. A Symbian interface will look different in, say, a Sony Ericsson device compared with a Nokia that runs the same series of the software. Therefore, the user experience wont be consistent across different devices. It also means owners of Symbian devices can easily tailor their smartphones to meet their individual needs. Because of this, Symbian requires a bit more user savvy than the other operating systems.
But Symbian devices typically provide the same features youll find in other smartphones, such as support for viewing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files (whether you can create and edit such files depends on the device you choose). Symbians e-mail support tends to be more flexible than other platforms. Along with the typical support for POP3, IMAP, and Web mail accounts, Symbian also supports a variety of push e-mail options, including BlackBerry Connect, GoodLink, and Intellisync. And if you need to connect with your corporate e-mail account, Symbian supports Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes.
Another point in Symbians favor is its support for third-party applications, which numbers about 8,500, according to Handango. If a Symbian device doesnt come with an application you need out of the box, chances are youll be able to find it.
Though Symbian is not as well known as the other operating systemsyou may not even realize you have a Symbian smartphoneit provides a lot of powerful tools for business users.
Choose this OS if: You need powerful and flexible productivity tools.
Compatible phones: Motorola RIZR Z8, Nokia N series phones including the N75, and N95, and Sony Ericsson W950 to name a few.