The end of the line for Symbian

Buried deep within Nokia's press release about its financial results, there's a line that pretty much signals the end of one of the most popular and successful mobile operating systems in history. With Nokia retiring its use, Symbian is no more.

Symbian wasn't only incredibly successful, it's also incredibly old. Many people think Symbian originated at Psion as EPOC, but that's not entirely true. Technically speaking, Symbian is EPOC32, which is a different operating system than EPOC. EPOC was written in 8086 assembler and C, and powered many of Psion's PDAs, including the Series 3a pictured below. This thing is a joy to use, actually, even though it's from 1993 and uses a 8086. The built-in spell checker is pretty amazing, and quite fast.

EPOC32 is EPOC's (renamed to EPOC16 or SIBO to distinguish it from EPOC32) successor, and was written in C++. It was a completely new operating system, and introduced features to Psion's PDAs such as pre-emptive multitasking and memory protection, and left the 8086 behind in favour of ARM processors. It was first released in 1997.