The Symbian Foundation late on Friday posted a warning that it would shut down its websites and its online distribution of source code on December 17. The move follows Nokia's takeover of development and will see all code and sites packaged on to either a DVD or a USB drive that developers will need to order to keep working on their own projects. Teams have been encouraged to download the code ahead of time, since a packaged kit isn't expected to be ready before January 31 and may have a shipping cost attached.
Some content databases will still be available through e-mail, Symbian added.
The shutdown is considered necessary now that Symbian's role as a company has been limited to licensing and rights but is also expected to significantly curb outside development. Android and most other open or semi-open mobile platforms almost always maintain code online. Nokia's decision to revoke this access is believed to have come from both the decisions by Samsung and Sony Ericsson to abandon Symbian, leaving Nokia alone, but also from a competitive desire to accelerate Symbian development.
Symbian's share has been falling rapidly in recent months and has been on the decline for most of the three years since the iPhone arrived, owing in part to a reluctance on Nokia and Symbian to address competition. Multi-touch only just came to the platform this year with the N8, and a culture focused on hardware at the expense of hardware is widely believed to have dragged the company down. It denied any need to adapt to Apple as late as mid-2009 and allegedly assumed that developers would come back to Symbian and Nokia after being irritated by the App Store, even though Nokia's Ovi services were fragmented at the time and had much less developer support.