HELSINKI (Reuters) - Qualcomm (QCOM.O), MySpace (NWSA.O) and 12 more companies joined the Symbian camp on Thursday, giving the mobile operating system larger scale than Google’s (GOOG.O) Android in the handset software battleground.
The focus of the cellphone market has been shifting to software development since Google and Apple (AAPL.O) entered the mobile market during the past two years.
The market for software platforms on cellphones is led by the Symbian operating system but it has lost ground over the last year to Apple, Research in Motion and other newcomers.
Nokia NOK1V.HE, the world’s No.1 cellphone maker, last year bought out other shareholders of UK-based smartphone software maker Symbian and has pledged to make its software royalty-free to other phone makers in response to new rivals.
Since then, 78 companies have said they plan to join the Symbian Foundation to get access to its software.
Atelier, Bank of America (BAC.N), Gemalto, Imagination Technologies, Mobica, Nanoradio, Omron Software, SanDisk SNDK.O, SESCA, SiRF Technology SIRF.O and VirtualLogix said on Thursday they would join the foundation.
In December Google’s Android camp announced new members, increasing its membership to 47.
Nokia will contribute Symbian’s assets to the not-for-profit Symbian Foundation, uniting with leading handset makers, network operators and communications chipmakers to create an open-source platform.
Nokia has said it sees the Symbian Foundation as a faster way to bring new products to market. Foundation members also avoid having to pay fees to outside software developers.
Nokia expects to release the first Symbian Foundation software this year and introduce a new platform by June 2010.
Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Mike Nesbit and David Cowell