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Symbian CEO: Keep the smart in smart phone

And then spread it to the mass market, Nigel Clifford says at its Smartphone Show in London. Company wants to move beyond niche.

LONDON--Symbian's newly crowned CEO, Nigel Clifford, has reiterated his company's commitment to midtier phones and promised to smarten up the market as a whole.

Speaking at the company's Smartphone Show here Tuesday, Clifford said Symbian's chief ambition remains to target the middle ground of handsets. "It's a key issue for us, moving beyond the smart-phone niche," he said.

Clifford
Nigel Clifford,
CEO, Symbian

"We want to move beyond the niche to midtier, high-volume phones...We're working hard to make that a reality," Clifford said.

The Symbian boss seems to have plans to expand its mobile operating system as far as possible. "Our ambition is to keep the smart in smart phone...and take it and embed it in every phone out there," he said.

Clifford rejected the idea that such a populist stance will mean lowering quality. "The mood is one of making smart phones more available to more people. It's not dumbing down," he said. Smart phones "shouldn't be regarded as a high-end niche...(Enhancement) should be 'business as usual' for all phones."

The idea of smart phones becoming the norm has long been predicted by industry watchers. However, despite encouraging stats from analysts--such as Gartner's prediction that, by 2009, there will be a billion cell phones in the world--Clifford said the company won't get too big for its boots.

"We are not complacent," he said. "They are great figures, but they are great figures in the early state of the market. It's the end of the beginning."

Clifford added, "We focus our effort 100 percent on one part of the value chain. If we don't do it well, we go out of business. It's Darwinism."

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.