Symbian tries to crash Apple's WWDC party

The group is finally starting to get aggressive, trying to entice iPhone developers to learn more about Symbian at a WWDC-staged hack-a-thon.

As the Apple faithful gather in San Francisco on Monday at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Symbian, the world's largest mobile operating system vendor, is prowling the streets outside Moscone with a tantalizing proposition for iPhone developers: make more money by reaching more consumers with Symbian:

Starting at 7:30 AM PDT, Symbian will start handing out invitations to join Symbian at Jillian's for a Symbian Hack-a-thon (1:00 - 4:00 PDT, with happy hour kicking in at 5:00 and running until 7:00). Jillian's is located directly across the street from the conference at the Sony Metreon.

The invitations come with a rubber duck, but Symbian is also trying to wake up Apple's attendees with free coffee at the nearby Starbucks. Starbucks expects to serve 600 developers before the keynote starts, and Symbian wants to reach every one of them.

The group isn't just promising long-term success, either: hack-a-thon attendees, who will be able to code for Web runtime, Python (S60), or Flash Lite, will be given a free Nokia 5800 for their troubles, following Google's giveaway of an Android-based G1 phone at Google I/O.

Symbian has posted very strong numbers in mobile data consumption and market share. Even so, the open-source foundation has struggled to get its brand out into the market, as CNET reports , and is now playing catch-up with Apple's iPhone.

The newfound aggression bodes well for Symbian's ability to compete with Apple and other mobile platforms. Apple has made the market care about mobile operating systems, which means it's no longer sufficient for Symbian to be big but anonymous. If it wants to remain a big player in mobile, it must lose the anonymity.

Attendees at Monday's WWDC are about to learn about Symbian, perhaps for the first time. Let competition ring.

Follow me on Twitter @mjasay.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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