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Metrowerks Updates CodeTEST for Expanding Symbian Market

Developers of mobile applications for Symbian-based devices will soon have another tool to help them meet growing demands. Freescale Semiconductor’s Metrowerks group announced plans to release a new version of its CodeTEST analysis tool for Symbian.

Metrowerks Group, maker of the popular CodeWarrior IDE, has been providing a version of the real-time analysis tool for more than a year. The latest release (CodeTEST Software Analysis Tools for Symbian OS version 4.2.2), expected later this month, is designed to identify code problems early in the development cycle. The product's verification tools include profiling, analysis and trace capabilities with full Symbian-OS-version-9 awareness. It also includes key memory analysis enhancements and support for Symbian’s recommended reference platform.

CodeTEST began life in the aerospace industry, where software quality was absolutely critical, says Todd Greenwalt, engineering manager at Freescale. “What we’ve seen the past two years is growing demand for those same standards in other markets,” Greenwalt says. “Automotive now has very similar quality requirements, and even commercial application markets, where there’s so much money behind the software, have been starting to put exactly the same demands on the software quality and testing that you see in aerospace. It’s no longer about safety, but ROI.”

Symbian is the open-standards OS created specifically for resource constrained devices. It grew out of EPOC, an OS for PDAs developed by UK handheld computer supplier Psion. Symbian combines middleware with wireless communications through an integrated mailbox and the integration of Java and personal information manager functionality (calendar, contacts etc.). Symbian is open to third-party development by independent software vendors, enterprise IT departments, network operators and Symbian OS licensees.

Symbian, the company which licenses the OS, was formed by Psion, Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola in 1998. The first Symbian phone was released two years later. During the next five years, most mobile phone manufacturers in Europe and the Far East either licensed Symbian or bought into the company. Psion sold its stake in the company in 2004.

Sales of Symbian-based smartphones are on the rise. IDC estimates that 14 million of the devices were sold last year, and seven million more were sold in the first quarter of this year. The number of Symbian OS applications shipped in 2004 reached 3,804. Today, hundreds of companies produce tools and applications for Symbian.

"In general, the platform people are starting to mandate better-quality software," says Greenwalt. "That's what has driven interest in CodeTEST recently in the Symbian market. We have a situation where a company provides a platform that a bunch of third-party developers create applications for. When that software doesn't work, guess who looks bad? Not the vendors, but the platform providers. Companies like Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola can't afford to get a black eye because of [flaws in] third-party software."

The Metrowerks Group plans to release five editions of the new CodeTEST tools. For more information, go to: codetest@freescale.com.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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