Thoughts on Symbian
The more I read about Symbian^3 and Symbian^4 the more I want to use it. People talk about how Nokia has lost it and all this BS and how iPhone will win. Symbian is leader of the world!! And when they were challenged in a place they were never the dominant phone (USA) they took notice and went into overdrive. Granted at first they made some mistakes. Hardware before software (N97) and porting s60 over without making it touch friendly. But a line must be made. Symbian Platform is not Symbian OS. Symbian OS, S60, and other Symbian OS assets were contributed to Symbian Foundation to make Symbian. Symbian^1is essentially Symbian OS with S60 5th edition(which is built on Symbian OS 9.4 (latest Symbian OS update)) on top. They did this to make that their base. But all phones running Symbian OS whether it be with S60 or something else and all phones running Symbian Platform all count as running Symbian. N97 uses Symbian^1. A major reason why it was deemed not touch friendly because Symbian^1 wasn't meant for touch. It was established as the base for the Symbian Platform and though Symbian has made software updates and better interface with the 1st capacitive touchscreen Nokia phone (Nokia X6), Symbian^1 was never seen by Nokia as the touchscreen version of Symbian. More on that later. Nokia phones being released are still being labeled as running S60 5th edition because that is essentially what it is. Now Symbian^2 builds upon Symbian^1 by including support for embedded widgets in home screen, flexible support for multiple form factors and etc, etc. Now once again this isn't the Symbian that Nokia means to be the touch Symbian. More on that later. Symbian^2 will have a short life meaning the time it will be pre loaded on shipped devices will be short because Symbian^1 is still being used and Symbian^3 is being developed at a crazy rate. Now remember how I kept saying more on that later? This is later: Nokia realized that their touchscreen devices were too complicated for a touchscreen. The user wants a fluid touch and go experience. They realized they needed to speed up development without losing quality and they did exactly that when I say they went into overdrive. In 20 months from their announcement they made the ENTIRE Symbian Code Open Source! The largest mobile platform is now open! And then they say they wish for Symbian^3 and Symbian^4 to be released in 2010. 2 major releases in a year?? Amazing! Now Symbian^3 may be pushed back along with Symbian^4 but they hopefully will still be released with less than 12 months in between. Symbian^3 is the start of the touch Symbian Nokia wants. Symbian^3 is where the touch evolution in Symbian starts. Key word: STARTS. Symbian does not ignore their competitors. They see what they do and learn from them. I have been reading their docs and I see them mention other companies UI or software and take the good and leave the bad. A major thing they want in Symbian^3 is single tap. They want you to tap and go. In Symbian^1 and Symbian^2 there is single tap in some places and double tap in others. Symbian^3 wishes to eradicate double tap in order for a more fluid experience. Also it includes stuff like hardware adaptation, Full HDMI support, improved networking, and better graphics and graphic hardware acceleration. General amazing stuff you except from Symbian. Symbian^3 also brings the evolved home screen. Android home screen is 1 home screen which is too big for screen and you swipe side to side to see the whole thing. Symbian^3 will have multiple distinct pages of widgets and a simple flick gesture to move in between them. Amount of pages limited by amount of available memory. Also multiple instances of a widget make widgets on Symbian^3 a whole new thing. Plus the home screen has more stuff. Also next generation graphics, better data networking depending on app running, HDMI and HD movies, multi touch, and single tap shift. This is why Symbian^3 is the START of the touch evolution and Symbian^4 is the touch evolution. Symbian^4 will have a whole new user experience in the form of DirectUI. As the name suggests the UI means to be more direct, fluid, and streamlined. Ease of use is a priority and will take advantage of next gen graphics to make a beautiful UI. It will support touch and touch+type phones. Also the suite of platform applications will be redesigned and re-organised to support the elegant and accessible paradigm. Examples are Messaging and Calendar. Not only will the UI be better but the functionality and ease of use will exponentially increase. The UI of Symbian will evolve. DirectUI is the Touch Symbian Evolution. Also apps will be built on QT and will have Orbit, a set of UI widgets that make it easy to make an attractive app that take advantage of Symbian Platform underneath. Symbian overall will evolve with Symbian^4. Symbian will only evolve in the future and will stay the dominant phone platform. And with Nokia as the number one phone manufacturer making excellent phones to go with excellent software, Symbian+Nokia= A better and brighter future for Mobile Phones, Developers, and most of all Users.