Android vs Symbian: Difference and Comparison

As the name suggests, an operating system is the basis of any device. In this case, it is a cell phone, more precisely. In this growing world, several operating systems have been introduced as competitors of one another.

While some failed to gain that much attention, a few of them caught the attention of the public. Android and Symbian are two such operating systems. Symbian was at its peak, and now, Android has replaced it.

Key Takeaways

  1. Android and Symbian are both mobile operating systems, but Android is designed primarily for touchscreen devices, while Symbian was designed for various mobile devices, including non-touchscreen phones.
  2. Android is an open-source operating system that allows for more customization and app development, while Symbian is a closed-source system with more limited customization options.
  3. Android has a larger user base and more extensive app ecosystem, while Symbian has mainly been phased out in favor of newer operating systems.

Android vs Symbian

The difference between Android and Symbian is that Android is an operating system designed mainly for touchscreen phones or devices, whereas Symbian is mainly designed for keypad phones. Symbian was released earlier than Android, and it comparatively has a larger share of the market.

Android vs Symbian

Android is a new operating system based on Linux. It has been gaining attention since its release. It is designed to be compatible with touchscreens as well as keypad phones.


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Nowadays, mobile phones, called smartphones, have an Android operating system. Android is full of features, so several mobile phone-producing companies compete with each other to manufacture the best Android smartphone.

In contrast, Symbian is not new; it has been in the market for many years now. It was highly popular at the time of its release. But it has somehow failed to keep up with the technological updates.

This operating system was mainly designed for keypads and QWERTY mobile devices. With the decreasing demand for these devices, Symbian has also lost its place in the market.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAndroidSymbian
ReleaseAndroid got released on September 23, 2008. Symbian got released on June 5, 1997.
DeveloperIt was developed and released by Google. It was developed and released by Symbian Ltd.
Programming It is written in Java, C, C++ etc. It is written in C++.
Language Availability It is available in 100+ languages. It is multilingual.
Kernel VersionIt is based on the Linux kernel. It is based on the microkernel, EKA2.
DeviceIt is created mainly for touchscreen devices. It is created mainly for keypad devices.
SoftwareIt is open-source software. It is a closed-source software.
Package Manager Its package manager is .apkIts package manager is .sis, .sisx, .jar, .jad
Latest VersionThe latest official version was released in September 2020. Its latest version was released in October 2012.

What is Android?

Android is an operating system based on the Linux kernel, which was introduced on September 23, 2008. It was commercially sponsored and developed by Google.

This operating system was specifically designed for touchscreen devices like mobile phones and tablets. HTC Dream was the first-ever Android device that was launched in September 2008.

The Android operating system is open-source software loaded with pre-installed proprietary software like Google Mobile Services.

This open-source code allows the development of other Android variants for digital cameras, game consoles, PCs etc. Android is programmed in Java, C, C++ etc.

Android is known for its user-friendly interface and customizations it has to offer. The Android marker is packed with tons of free and paid applications, which further gain attention.

The navigation system is also very flexible and featured. This operating system is loaded with all the latest features, including split-screen, fast charging, extendable storage etc.

Android is comparatively newer to the field of operating systems and has about one-tenth of the total market as that of Symbian. But Android has definitely surpassed the former in popularity.


What is Symbian?

Symbian is an early operating system based on a microkernel introduced on June 5, 1997. Initially, it was developed by Symbian Ltd., but later on, Symbian Foundation, followed by Nokia and Accenture, took it over.

It was specifically designed for keypads and QWERTY devices.

The Symbian operating system is closed-source or proprietary software. But Symbian³ was released in 2010 as free software. This operating system was programmed in C++.

Although it was highly popular, it started losing its market value with time and was only limited to Nokia and some high-end phones.

Symbian’s user interface is based on a graphics toolkit called AVKON. The software released updates until 2012 but could not keep up with modern technology.

Its latest version is the one introduced in 2012, and no updates have come up since then. Symbian lacks compatibility and flexibility, unlike Android.

Symbian has prevailed in the market since the initial years of mobile devices. It has about 44 per cent market share. Even though it has had a huge demand, it has lost its place in the market today.


Main Differences Between Android and Symbian

  1. Symbian was released earlier than Android.
  2. Android is based on the Linux kernel, while Symbian is based on a microkernel.
  3. Android is mainly for touchscreen devices, whereas Symbian is for keypad and QWERTY devices.
  4. Symbian is proprietary, while Android is open-source software.
  5. Android is more flexible and featured as compared to Symbian.
  6. Features like split-screen, fast charging etc., which are available in Android, are not available in Symbian.
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