Review copies of Smartphones and beyond are happily provided. Please contact the author to apply.

Here are some comments from early readers:

“If you’re part of the smartphone industry, you should read @dw2’s epic new book” – Terence Eden, mobile blogger and developer

“One of the most candid and revealing books a technology executive has ever written… Wood reflects on many key decisions with completely fascinating digressions on counterfactual histories” – Andrew Orlowski, The Register

“David Wood’s Symbian book is brilliant. Anyone who has worked in industry in last decade should read it” – Ben Wood, CCS Insight

“One of the landmark texts in the smartphone industry… ‘Smartphones and Beyond’ gives a fascinating and detailed insight into a software company where the challenges of every day business present themselves, but with often little clarity around the future. I would even argue that the book is more about the culture of organisations and the market they operate in, rather than the technicalities of Symbian” – David Addington, AllAboutSymbian

“It’s amazing how many parallels there are between the Symbian smartphone ecosystem of the Linda / Roxette days and what I’m doing with wearables now” – former Symbian technical consultant

“As can always be expected form David, a highly informative, insightful and at times very witty read. However one should not make the mistake of thinking that this book only applies to those working in the mobile or high tech industry. Seldom do you get to see the workings and thought processes at play when dealing with industry changing events. The lessons and insights to be learned from this book are invaluable regardless of the industry you work in or the position you hold.” – Andrew Till, CTO & SVP Marketing & Solutions, Symphony Teleca

“I enjoyed it for the memories it brought back, revelations about what happened at the top at the time, and the lessons learned part. The style and level of detail made me think of two books I enjoyed about Microsoft: ‘Microsoft secrets’ and ‘Showstopper!’ – Nicolas Thery, ST Microelectronics software engineer

“Terrific stuff. There’s such detail that everyone will find plenty of interest. Symbian old-timers and enthusiasts, especially those with a development background, will gobble up the mass of detail about how the OS got started and how it evolved. While newcomers will pounce on the last part of the book and the background and reaction to February 11th 2011 (and Nokia’s adoption of Windows Phone)” – Steve Litchfield, AllAboutWindowsPhone

“Very interesting read indeed… and sometimes nostalgic reading” – Dipankar Mitra, Senior Manager, Samsung India Software Operations

“Fascinating how it all came together, although it continually surprises me that any phones got shipped at all!” – former Symbian software manager

An excellent insider’s account on the evolution of the modern smartphones, as well as a treasure trove of great insights about bringing breakthrough technologies to life” – John, reviewer on

A fascinating book that can be read from many different perspectives:

  • as a history of the early days of the smartphone industry
  • as a tale of the rise and fall of one of the “Great British Hopes” in the technology industry
  • as a cautionary tale on Joint Ventures and trying to get arch-competitors to work together in the spirit of “coopetition”
  • as an insider look on corporate strategy formulation and execution

Jeremy Burton, review on

“I’m finding the conversational tone of the writing to be FABULOUS” – Brian Hall, London Futurists member

“I like the idea of presenting ‘alternative histories’ at various decisive branching-off points” – Marcus Gröber, independent software developer, Germany

Required reading for technologists, business and human resources professionals in tech industries

This book tells the story of what really happened at Symbian from the eyes, ears and heart of the person most in tune with the passions and culture which… enabled the magical gadgets of today.

David Wood in this book presents a fact-based documentary which should be studied by technologists, business and human resources professionals who want to create, build, improve and innovate multi-billion dollar tech industries. David Wood is a pioneer not only because he developed much of the early smartphone technology and business, but because he makes sure history in not written only by the victor.

– John Pagonis, review on

“Engrossing – I couldn’t put my Kindle down last night!” – former Symbian product manager

“The chapters flow well together and are written clearly and in a very engaging manner. There are a lot of details – dates, names, etc. – but they don’t overwhelm” – Alasdair Manson, former technical manager at Psion

“Currently finding it very hard to put my iPad down, reading the book on the Kindle app. Feel like I’m reliving my past as the pages go on. Excellent read. Just wanted to say thank you for documenting the ride that was Symbian” – Ade Steward, event coordinator, Australia

“I am now working my way through it slowly, and already finding it fantastic. I suspect DW is unique in having the seniority, humility, history with Psion and Symbian, and access within the firm (from top to bottom) to write the definitive history. So glad he did.” – niallds, comment on AllAboutSymbian

“The perspective from someone who was actually there in a key position at what (at the time) was a pivotal company in the Smartphone revolution should be required reading not just for anyone in the mobile industry but for anyone wanting to build a Technology company” – Roger Nolan, review on

“David Wood does a fantastic job of chronologically articulating the events of Symbian’s rise to power and its subsequent fall from grace” – Adrian Hughes, review on Lumia Journeys

“I have just finished reading rise and fall of Symbian. Long read but fascinating! Everyone in tech should read it” – Neil Procter, Head of Connected Homes CRM for British Gas

David is an excellent writer and a fine researcher. He ties together hundreds of emails, blogs, articles and interviews into a compelling story about “the remarkable rise and fall of Symbian”.

In “Smartphones and beyond: Lessons from the remarkable rise and fall of Symbian”, David takes us through the journey of Symbian, once the largest smartphone platform on the planet and perhaps the most spectacular casualty of the ensuing smartphone revolution. This was a tragic, and arguably ironic failure since Symbian had everything going for it. From the onset it was years ahead (perhaps too far ahead?) of the competition, a lead that was subsequently squandered over the years as the vision crumbled because of market shifts, confused strategy and poor execution.

As a software leader I wrestle with many of the problems tackled in this book. Software development is still a young industry, and was even more so when the majority of the events covered took place. We’re in a better place today, having more examples to draw from, and much better tools, but working with pure information is still difficult for people. The human mind struggles to deal with the immense complexity of large systems of intangible goods, and this causes organizational and process problems.

This book is of interest to anyone with an interest in the history of smartphones and software engineering in general, and of course Symbian in particular. Behind delivered product, roadmaps, SDKs and websites there are people – and people lead to drama of both the good and the bad kind. Ultimately, it’s a book about how people’s best intentions sometimes don’t lead to the right outcome.

– Sebastian Brannstrom, Head of Mobile, Lyft


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