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Comparative Study: Symbian vs. Windows-mobile OS.

Arnab Roy, Teena Jain

School of Information Technology and Engineering,
VIT University
Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India,

Abstract--This paper deals with comparative study Of
Symbian and Window mobile OS as a part of mobile
computing. With the advent of open source OSes for mobile
computing we are ready to explore the world of High-End
computing. It has lot of to do with software, hardware and
mobile communication. Due to this, different types of
mobile devices are talked much about and they are
investigated in details. Thus support for customizability
impacts the reliability of OS in mobile and the cautionary
tales for their future development. Limitations of mobile
computing/hand held computing is another issue that is
concerning in this study.
Keyword: Symbian, Windows-Mobile, [1] High-end

There is increase in craze of mobile phones in todays world;
we often see lot of confusion for selection of best hand-held in
the minds of a customer. Hundreds of brands with different
operating systems, providing many of features to customers
seem to be a tough market. Competition in mobile industry is
increasing day by day. Every Smartphone company wants to
provide good and best features in their mobiles. As a result, we
see various mobile companies provide with different mobile
operating system, having different features as a competition
market. In this research, we are dealing with Symbian and
Windows mobile OS and their comparative Study in terms of
technology, features and lack points. Through this paper, we
will compare the two operating systems and will try to provide
ideas for various new features which may be added to them so
as to make them better for user.

Symbian is the mobile computing platform designed
for smartphones and currently maintained by the company
named as Accenture . Symbian was originally developed
by Symbian INC. as a descendant of Psion's EPOC and runs
exclusively on the latest ARM-processors, although an
unreleased x86 port existed. The current version of Symbian is
an open-source platform developed by Symbian/Nokia
Foundation in the year 2009, as the successor of the Symbian .
Symbian was used by many major mobile phones brands,
like Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and above all
by Nokia. It was the most popular smartphone OS on a
worldwide average until the end of 2010, when it was overtaken
by Android. Versions of Symbian include Anna,Belle,S40


The need for Microsoft Windows Phone was found in the year
of the year of 2000. It is an operating system for hand held
phones made by the Microsoft Inc. and is the successor to
Windows desktop OS. In this system we use the programs
based on the Microsoft windows of Microsoft programs.
[2]Silverlight is also used here for programming purposes. The
user interface this operating system Metro is called 3.4 Symbian

The following are the versions of windows mobile OS:

1. The Windows Mobile OS 6 edition-Standard: Used for
smartphones without touch screen.
2. The Windows Mobile OS 6 Professional: Used as for PDA
with minimum mobile phone capabilities.
3. Windows Mobile 8.1 Classic: Used for PDA / mobile phone
with basic capability.


Symbian User Interface:

[3]AVKON is the toolkit for graphics used in Symbian OS. It
was designed for keyboard-like interface such as the keyed
augmented keypad as displayed in the telephone or the
QWERTY keys. The Symbian^3 has the Framework of QT
which is now widely accepted toolkit for developing new
applications. The feature supported by the framework includes:
1. Multiple language support.
2. Application Development.
Internal Design of the Symbian OS- a multi-tasking
The design of the Symbian operating system acts both like
an object oriented system (OOPS) and as the microkernel-
based system environment .Hence this architecture is quite
good for management of the multiple accesses of time sharing
system resources that a multitasked and even required for
multithreaded operating system.

Fig1: Internal design of Symbian OS.

Windows- Mobile Interfacing Structure:

The key design features that contribute to the User Interface of
the Windows Mobile OS are:
1 .Object Oriented Design approach
2 Implemented as an MVC system in Mobile
3. Modular Design approach
4. Layered Structured OS.

The main architecture that supports the Window mobile OS is
the Core OS-Architecture. It is a 32-bit Operating System


Symbian OS File system:

The Symbian OS is a smartphone operating system and hence
it implements FAT-16 file system. Thus it provides a support
for FAT-16 file system and uses that system of file for major
storage medium. The file system is similar to the file system of
Linux virtual. The Implementations of the file systems like
NFS/ SMB are created for Symbian OS.

Windows CE Internal File System:

The Windows CE file system provides the control access to the
ROM. It also provides access of the RAM in resident object
store. The Windows CE file system is divided into:

1. File System of RAM and ROM: It is there to provide
access to ROM store Object and has the Applications that will
store the data in the object store that is resided in RAM battery
2. The ROM only file system: In this type of file system the
applications here store the data in the external storage that is
the memory or ROM cards. The settings allows for mounting
external as the root in the directory.



The Symbian is popularly 32-bit operating system, whose
addresses ranges to 4GB. It has the abstractions level similar to
other systems: programs use the virtual addresses, where
mapping is to physical addresses of OS. Like many systems,
Symbian OS memory is divided virtual pages and physical
frames. The memory can be of 4GB,hence size of frame of 4
KB means the page table that has million entries. To solve the
problem of limited size of memory the, Symbian OS has a two-
level page table strategy The Level-1,called by the name of the
page directory, provides the perfect link with second level and
indexing by a portion of a virtual addressing ( the first of the12
bits). The directories are kept memory and are pointed to r the
TTBR (called the translation table base-register

WI NDOWS 8.0 Mobile OS:

Fig2:Memory stack

The Windows Mobile 6.5 OS is of 32 bit, and it can
Address memory of 4GB in total, and the same memory
is also occupied by Windows 5.0.
From the Above diagram, the window mobile Operating system
reserved the area of 2GB in the upper address area that has only
code with limited access can run. This space or area is called as
the kernel address space. Now the lower area of 2GB is the user
address space. The area in lower space called application area is
running the processes of every other process.


Symbian security:

The Security of The Symbian base is divided into:
1. Trusted Computing Environment
2. Signed/Unsigned Applications and Softwares.

There are three permission types:

1. Privileged: It could be written via in any file/directory
or key registry. Hence can be used to call the API
and certificates can be installed.

2. Normal: It cannot call any APIs or write any File of
the System and most application works in normal mode.

3. Blocked: It can block the restricted Applications.

Table 1: Windows security platforms


The following table shows comparison between the two OS:

Table 2: Comparison of Symbian vs. Windows Mobile OS

The Comparisons between Symbian and windows states
The benefit from the view-point of security and its interface,
for a better competitive environment in lieu of faster world.
Thus the features like GPU-acceleration and graphics in best
In windows mobile-OS as when compared to Symbian OS and
can be preferred over Symbian.


Whats so different about Windows Mobile OS?

1. Improved Multi-tasking approach.
2. Reliable and enhanced Data Storage.
3. GPS, Web-kit Engine based Browser.
4. Simplified [4] Metro look Interface.
5. There is a provision Excellent Development Tools with
free apps for educational purposes.
6. Merged social media abilities.
7. There are Updates directly from Microsoft.
8. Works with [5]Ubisoft Live Multi-player Gaming.
9. Increased security in terms of online transactions.

Hence the Features provided by windows itself speaks of
the advantages provide by windows in terms of:
Multi-tasking Environment.
SDK platforms.

Therefore windows mobile OS is considered as more
superior than Symbian and considered to be one of the
best Mobile OS.
The user or customer should go with Windows mobile
OS as it provides most powerful mobile utility with
free-applications. The mobile computing Environment
has a lot of scope in windows mobile than Symbian and
hence user of smartphones should always prefer
windows computing environment than a Symbian
operating system.

Two tier
5.0 OS
Yes No
8.0 OS

Yes Yes(default)

mobile OS
Year of
Anna, Nokia Belle)
February 2010
Company Symbian Foundation/Nokia Microsoft
No, stored on i-Cloud Yes
7+: XNA (.NET
C#), Silv erlight,
nativ e C/C++
Yes, OS 7.0+ No
ARM Arch. UI Framework
Official SDK
Windows Nokia S40s


[1] G. Jindal, M. Jain, A Study of Mobile Operating Systems,
International Journal of Computer Applications & Information
Technology, Vol. 1, Issue 3, November 2012.
[2] A.Dwivedi,Mobile/Handheld-Application-Security
Enforcement, McGraw-Hill, 2010.
[3] R.Karimi, Mobile Computing Principles, Devices and Operating
Systems, Vol (2), Issue (7), July 2012. 399-408
[4] Nickolay Amelichev, Comparison of Digital Platforms from
the Developer,Vol2,Issue1,April,2009
[5] Datalogic data capture , Rugged mobile computers,2005