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MWC 2010: Nokia Launches Multi-touch Symbian^3

Gordon Kelly


MWC 2010: Nokia Launches Multi-touch Symbian^3

Symbian may be the World's most prevalent operating system thanks to Nokia's continued dominance of the mass market, but that doesn't mean it is the World's most popular. In fact, even Symbian's most staunch supporters would admit it is getting somewhat long in the tooth so this couldn't come a moment too soon...

'Symbian^3' (I don't know how to pronounce that either) has had its grand unveiling at Mobile World Congress this week and, while not quite as ambitious as futuristic visions shown off last year, it looks a massive improvement on what had gone before.

Major new additions are multi-touch, a Cover Flow-esque media interface, multiple homescreens with widgets and a 'visual multitasking' system which allows users to view active app windows and switch to or close them. Other significant changes fix some of the horrendous deficiencies long plaguing Symbian such as the ability to seamlessly switch between 3G and WiFi and new memory management technology for better performance and stability when running multiple apps.

The potential for future Symbian^3 is there for all to see as well since the OS can support HDMI and handle the output of Full HD 1080p video streams.

Now comes the part Symbian users dread: availability. Well prepare to be pleasantly surprised since the newly open source Symbian Foundation has announced Symbian^3 will be available to manufacturers (and consequently hackers) from the end of March.

Is Symbian^3 enough to woo disencharted fans and developers alike? With the even more rejuvenatated Windows Phone Series 7 also debuting this week it may prove a struggle, but the sizeable head start is crucial and I'd certainly have time once again for this newly supercharged elder statesmen.

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