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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.


February 17, 2010, 9:15 pm

If I can hack this onto my 5800, I shall be happy for as long as it takes Windows Phone Series 7 to show up.


February 17, 2010, 9:29 pm

Sorry for dumb question but is it made solely for touch-screen devices or will it be available on E52, too?

Mark Walton

February 17, 2010, 10:13 pm

Yes, I would also like to know what devices this is intended for! If it's only for new Nokia devices then I think people will be going for an Android phone next, the new HTC Desire and Legend phones look superb.


February 18, 2010, 2:04 am

I'd guess it's pronounced as 'Symbian cubed'? I'd imagine this is a new OS designed for the touch screen phones - but phones like the E52 would likely get a different OS with some of the other improvements incorporated. Anyway, nice to see some competition finally from Nokia!


February 18, 2010, 2:12 am

Windows 7 wont appear on most old windows os based phone.

Web OS isnt on the Centro or older palm phones.

There are even certain major aspects of mobile osx that cant be achived on older generation handsets. I doubt version 4 would be feasable in its entirity on vanila 3G instead of 3GS, afterall the PAD is version 4 and it does alot that would make older gens stutter in pain.

All of these have a reason, most of which is Hardware requirements. Capacitive as standard, Harware acceleration as standard, HD video playback as standard and many more high specs that the likes of the 5800 can not handle, let alone the N97.

So yes it will most likely be for next generation handsets that have the hardware to support this next gen software. This not a feature pack update, its a new OS.

Lest ye not also forget that this Symbian, not Nokia, thus expect to see teh other licencee manufaturers get on the Symbian^3 boat.

Also just like the HTC HD2 is physicaly ready for Windows 7, so will the Symbian^3 phones be for Symbian^4. Alas, realisticaly if they can make you buy new handsets, they will, its a money making business afterall.

so there you have it. i'm no expert but i know what i know and i know not to jump to conclusions.

p.s. this is most likely all touch based. current symbian is perfect for button phones.


February 18, 2010, 4:39 am

"Make it yours"? Surely HTC have already used that for the Hero.

Looks like everyone is slowly catching up. Nokia aren't doing badly anyway. If the 5800 can outsell the iPhone imagine what sales would be like after this update.


February 18, 2010, 12:57 pm

@bazza - Generally, spot on I think. Just to confirm though, WP7S won't be available on *any* current hardware... Not one model. And the iPad, as it's currently being shown, is running mobile OS X 3.2, although it is expected to ship with 4... There are no doubt still lots of unannouced features!


February 18, 2010, 3:22 pm

@Midnight-Alchemist: I watched a YouTube video where a Nokia executive just pronounced it as "Symbian 3". Or maybe they hiccuped before the "3" and I missed it. That'd be a fun way to pronounce it though, so I suggest we adopt it :D.

@bazza: You seem new and wise :), sorry if I missed you before. Oh, and Cub's right, for now the pad's running on 3.2, can't get any info on 4, seems it's a closely guarded secret...

@Cub: Hiya :).

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