Symbian Ltd. has a similar perspective. "If they want to be on every phone, they have to make deals with the phone makers," said Andy Brannan, executive vice president of sales and customer operations for Symbian. He noted that working with an operating system provider like Symbian helps because Symbian runs the vast majority of smartphones in many markets. Even so, there are different versions of Symbian and smartphones only make up a small portion of all mobile phones.
The environment is unlikely to dramatically change although it may get a bit better, said Cripps. Some operators, such as Vodafone Group PLC and Orange PLC, have begun to standardize on just a few handset operating systems, which means that application developers will only have to create a few versions of their products to reach the vast majority of phone users. "Anything that can happen in terms of consolidating platforms is important as far as third parties wanting to launch applications on devices," Cripps said.