One of the most interesting parts of the time I spent at the Symbian HQ a week or so ago was when we got ultra geeky.
“While you’re here, you have to check out Wild Ducks,” said one of the Symbian represenatives Rafe and I were interviewing.
Rafe did a sage nod.
After the chap had departed I turned to Rafe.
“Wild Ducks?” I asked.
“Yes,” he replied, “It’s Symbian’s effort to prove it’s possible for someone to build a device from scratch running the platform.”
Turns out there’s a wiki page dedicated to it. In fact, there’s a whole movement dedicated to it. The movement is small, still, but it’s beginning to snowball.
I’ve known that you can theoretically take the now open Symbian operating system and run it on some friendly hardware. But could you actually MAKE a phone running Symbian without having to hire a campus full of Nokia hardware and Symbian platform experts? Yes.
Here it is:
That there is a working mobile phone running Symbian.
That’s the modem, aerial, audio input/output and processor. The OS is actually running from an SD card plugged into the Beagle Board (in the background next to the PC desktop). I know it doesn’t look much more than a jumble of wires — but it’ll place a call, receive a text message and let you mess around with Symbian (e.g. add a contact in the address book).
So it’s definitely possible to put together a ‘phone’. The next stage, of course, is to try and integrate the bits of hardware you see strewn across the desk into an actual package that resembles a handset.
It was fascinating to see the chaps tinkering with the technology and actually demonstrating it working. Rafe and I got a good look at it all — and we filmed it. So standby, the first video I’ll be publishing on Wild Ducks features Arunabh Ankur of Symbian discussing the project — and the second is where we get to examine the technology and see the output working on a monitor. If you’re a geek, you’ll want to see this. I’ll be publishing this afternoon.
If you’d like to know more about Wild Ducks, the Wiki Page is pretty useful — but you can also pop down to the Symbian office in London ever Tuesday evening to meet some of the team. (And get some free pizza too).