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Symbian to ease app building for China Mobile

Goal is to promote development of Symbian-based software for the Chinese carrier's app store and promote uptake of TD-SCDMA, the 3G standard developed in China as a WCDMA alternative.

The Symbian Foundation and China Mobile have joined forces to promote the development of Symbian-based software for the Chinese operator's app store.

The partners will also promote the uptake of TD-SCDMA, the 3G standard developed in China as an alternative to WCDMA and other wireless interface technology. The collaboration agreement was announced Wednesday.

"The Symbian platform holds a strong position in China's mobile market, and we welcome the opportunity to build our relationship with the Symbian Foundation," Lu Xiang Dong, a vice president at China Mobile, said in a statement.

China Mobile, which is China's largest carrier with about 497 million subscribers, launched its Mobile Market app store in July. The alliance with the Symbian Foundation, the industry organization behind the Symbian open-source mobile operating system, aims to increase the number of Symbian developers contributing to the app store and broaden the range of software in it.

The first part of the program will involve the foundation streamlining its Symbian Signed accreditation process for mobile applications, Symbian Foundation founding director David Wood said.

"Symbian Signed will be simplified to make it easier for developers, by clarifying exactly what the tests will involve," Wood said. "Some of the tests were a bit subjective, in that (the same) apps could be submitted and pass or fail, which was frustrating for developers. We're moving away from style questions to address core functionality."

The Symbian Signed process will be added to China Mobile's submission process for Mobile Market, meaning that developers will be able to have their software tested, signed and approved in one go.

The signing process will also be more closely linked to Symbian's Horizon program, which assists developers in building applications for the mobile OS and helps them submit the software to app stores.

In addition, the foundation plans to launch a Chinese-language Symbian site, reflecting its user base. In August, 60 percent of developers submitting applications to be accredited by Symbian were Chinese, according to Wood.

Western operators are increasingly collaborating with Chinese companies. Telefonica, the international telecoms company behind O2 in the U.K., announced Monday a $1 billion share swap with China's No. 2 carrier, China Unicom.

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.