You may not know it by name, but the Symbian operating system has graced our phones for several years, and was popular software for the first generation of smartphones.

Its colourful graphics, simple-to-use interface and the ease of which you could multi task made it a firm favourite with consumers and developers alike, but unfortunately, 2012 looks bleak for this ageing operating system. Jobs for IT developers are now mainly centred on Android, Windows Phone and Apple’s iOS systems, so just what does the future hold for Symbian?

April 2011 saw the biggest indication of Symbian’s future when Nokia (which created the operating system) announced it was going to outsource any activity involving Symbian to Accenture. This included 3,000 staff and has created a number of IT jobs, but it also rid the company of any uncertainty over what lies ahead for Symbian.

When Nokia decided to use the Windows Phone operating system for its latest handsets, preferring a working relationship with the software giants to Symbian, it was likely such an announcement would follow. It seemed that Symbian’s future now lies somewhere other than Nokia, and this move confirmed so.

Accenture is no stranger to Symbian, with the US-based company starting its working relationship with Nokia as far back as 1994. In fact, Accenture has played an important role in the Symbian software business and will now take over the development and support of the operating system. It is not, though, the end of Nokia and Symbian’s working relationship, with Accenture confirming that Nokia will be one of its customers during this new arrangement.

Accenture is a giant in the mobile software business and counts Windows Mobile, Android, Blackberry and iPhone as some of its most illustrious clients. It would appear that Symbian is in good hands but unfortunately, the future still looks uncertain for an operating system that has been left behind by its rivals.

There are numerous operating system options for mobile companies launching a new phone nowadays, with many of them producing their own exclusive software. Apple’s iOS is the standout system but Android is also popular among consumers. These two giants are making it hard even for the likes of Windows to muscle in on the mobile operating system market, so realistically, what chance does Symbian have?

For those who do not own an iPhone, the majority are using handsets with Android, meaning Sony Ericsson and Nokia customers are no longer exposed to Symbian software. With Nokia using the Windows operating system for its latest assault on the smartphone market (the Nokia Lumia 800), it seems there may be no way back for Symbian.

This is not to say that Symbian is a lost cause and you would hope developers could return the operating system to its former glory. With a new team working on the software at Accenture, there is no reason why Symbian can’t return, but it would take some wholesale changes and a fresh start if we were to see the operating system on our phones in the future.