A few weeks ago, Symbian announced their new Horizon publishing program designed to enable and assist developers in building applications for mobile devices that run Symbian software. Horizon will be going live in October and NPR is excited to be one of the launch organizations.
This is exciting for NPR for a variety of reasons. First, we consider mobile to be a very important part of our ongoing Digital Media strategy and Symbian enjoys a very large (about 50%) marketshare among all smart phones worldwide. As our mobile presence matures, reaching this audience will help us fulfill our public service mission of informing and educating our audience. Speaking of public service missions, this partnership is also the convergence of two non-profit organizations focused on serving our audiences. As a result, our primary interests are to build a comprehensive platform that will engage the develop community, provide rich experiences for consumers and maintain openness while doing so.
The primary output of this partnership will be a fully-functional app, available to Symbian device owners through Horizon. This app, currently under development, will offer NPR audio and full text content and will take advantage of some of Symbian's unique features. One such feature that we are thrilled about is the ability for audio from our app to be backgrounded, which means that you can use other apps on the device while still listening to NPR.
Another joint goal of this partnership is to have all code open sourced and made available to the community for development. NPR wants to become more active in the open-source arena, and we are fortunate to have Symbian as a partner at this time .
The development of this app is being done by Symsource, who built the first functioning version of the NPR app that was part of the July demo. This work is compelling for three reasons. First, the app is completely running off of our API's and takes advantage of the full text and audio assets available in it, as well as the extensive station information. Second, the development was done very quickly, which suggests that ongoing development by the open source community could yield interesting results. Finally , Symsource developed a single app which was demoed on three major devices, including the Nokia N5800, Nokia N97, and the Samsung 8910. This is also great news for developers because apps built on Horizon will work across the suite of Symbian devices with no additional code necessary (there are some exceptions to this, but that is generally the case).
NPR is continuing to work with Symbian and Symsource to prepare the NPR app, and the corresponding codebase, for release. Horizon and our app will be publicly announced in London at the Symbian Exchange & Exposition 2009 (SEE2009) on October 27th and 28th.We l
ook forward to seeing our app and to the continued discussion with the open source community in the coming months. And thanks to Symbian for including us in this exciting venture!