Sneak peek: Nokia's Symbian OS upgrade

The revamped operating system answers some of users' wishes with its easier navigation and speed.

Nokia has also ported the Qt GUI toolkit to Symbian

Nokia has also ported the Qt GUI toolkit to Symbian

Nokia is upping the ante against rivals such as Apple and Google with its preview of the upcoming iteration of Symbian OS (V3) for touchscreen devices. The upgraded mobile operating system is expected sometime next year, together with a bunch of new devices.

The Finnish mobile phone manufacturer, the largest in the world by volume, has seen rumors of dropping Symbian in favor of Google's own Android operating system and even replacing the aging OS with its more up-to-date Maemo OS found on the Nokia N900 device.

But Nokia has reiterated its dedication for Symbian, which it bought in 2008 for a reported $410 million, in the latest technology preview this week. Nokia announced plans for a dual SIM phones in 2010 and also a Maemo 6 powered device. The highlight of Nokia's presentation though, was a preview of the upcoming iteration of Symbian OS, which by now has been widely criticized for its sluggishness and not being finger-friendly.

The first noticeable change in the Symbian version (seen in the image above; click to enlarge it) is the support for multiple home screens. Users of Symbian touchscreen devices have been craving this feature since the N900 (running on Maemo) was launched, but the wait will be over soon. The small circle indicators at the bottom let you know which screen you are on. The circles function similarly to the iPhone home screens, but the widget interface is similar to Google Android's.

Symbian's video player (click to enlarge the shot) is getting a facelift as well, with support for semitransparent graphic layers, as seen before on the iPhone. The next version of Symbian will also support HDMI output and can play files larger than 2GB in size.

Signal and battery indicators in the next Symbian OS version have been moved together to the left (click to enlarge the image at right), while a "back" button appears on the right. Semi-transparent layered graphics are used in the photo browser as well, while the photo gallery (shown in the shot below) works in portrait mode also.

It needs to be mentioned that these images are concept mock-ups of the next Symbian update, and it is possible that the final product might differ slightly. Such an example would be the screenshot below, which depicts Symbian's support for widgets of any size, in various screen orientation layouts. This function might appear only in a subsequent release of the OS.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Symbian Foundationtouch screensmobile osmobile phonessmartphonesNokia

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?