Symbian evolved from Psion's EPOC in 1998. Symbian OS is currently owned by BenQ,
Ericsson, Panasonic, Nokia, Siemens AG and Sony Ericsson.
There are several variations of the Symbian OS that are tailored for different devices. The capabilities of the Symbian OS depend on the device for which it was tailored. Each variation is called a Device Family Reference Design (DFRD).
Device Family Reference Designs (DFRDs) are variations of Symbian OS tailored for different types of mobile information devices including one for smart phones, one for pen-based communicators, and another for keyboard-based communicators. There are three DFRDs: Crystal, Pearl, and Quartz
Crystal is a DFRD tailored for feature-rich, Communicator-type devices. Hardware platforms are phones with a full keyboard and a relatively large, landscape-oriented display. Crystal devices are designed for business users who need a lot of information.
Pearl is a DFRD for a Symbian smart phone. Hardware platforms typically look like standard cell phones with small displays and limited keyboards.
Quartz is a DFRD for a pen-based phone similar to the Palm PDAs. Hardware platforms do not include keyboards, and the relatively large displays are portrait-oriented (vertical). Quartz devices are designed for consumer users and are geared toward information gathering.
Symbian is a joint venture between Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson, Matsushita, and Psion that was established in June 1998. Symbian was established by leaders in the computing and mobile industries to enable the mass market of communicators and smart phones.