The Symbian Foundation announced that the software that powers the most smart phones in the world is being made largely available for free for anyone to use.
The Symbian 3 platform will be offered under terms of the Eclipse Public License and other open source licenses.
Handset manufacturers can modify the code and build differentiated handsets. Symbian's code will be available at Symbian's website today.
Symbian software is used on more than 330 million phones around the world. Five manufacturers currently build Symbian devices: Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Fujitsu, and Sharp.
Google's Android software is a major competitor for Synbian OS that's also given away for free. Google's Android is currently supported by Motorola, Samsung, LG and HTC. What's left to be seen is whether Symbian can garner enough interest in the marketplace outside of Nokia.
The Symbian foundation was set up in 2008 after Nokia, the biggest maker of Symbian phones, bought out the consortium that made the software.
The Symbian OS ended 2009 with a 48% global market share for smart phones, according to data from ABI Research. RIM was No. 2 at 18%. The iPhone had a 9% share at No. 4, just behind Microsoft's Windows Mobile. No. 5 Android nearly doubled its market share to 3.7% the past year.