The Symbian Foundation is limbering up to face the Open Handset Alliance next week, announcing a raft of new members to take on the Android threat, while LiMo and Access Linux lurk nearby looking for scraps.
Realising that the battle of operating systems is all about applications, Symbian has announced a load of new members including MySpace, Bank of America, and Omron Software - though most of the new members have something to gain for their $1,500 membership fee and there's a remarkable degree of infidelity with companies betting each way.
Qualcomm, for example, is firmly in both camps. They don't care if devices run Symbian or Android as long as it's not desktop Windows, so they can sell their ARM-based Snapdragon processor into devices including laptots*. Omron Software backs both camps on the basis that membership isn't expensive and provides a route to influence.
SIM manufacturer Gemalto is just desperate to see the SIM doing more than just storing the GSM keys, as evidenced by this canned quote from Senior Vice President Michel Camitrot that using the usual buzz words in an effort to show how the company will wield its influence: "new generation of SIM cards...handset customization...personal settings...contactless technology."
While the heavyweights battle it out at Mobile World Congress next week, LiMo and Access Linux will be claiming that one Linux-based mobile platform is not enough. LiMo still lacks smartphones in the popular sense - developers can't sell LiMo applications to the public - while Access Linux is demonstrable on a variety of devices from set-top boxes to embedded routers. But the company's presence in the Chinese market makes it impossible to discount just yet.
* I said I liked it