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Nokia Demos New Symbian OS With Multi-touch

Gordon Kelly by

Nokia Demos New Symbian OS With Multi-touch

Far from dropping Symbian it appears that Nokia has new found love for it...

At the company's 'Capital Market Day' for investors, the Finns showed off concepts for a complete rehash of the flagging mobile OS and they do look mighty impressive.

Key highlights include multi-touch (finally), HDMI outputs for HD video, multiple home screens (finally x2), support for NFC (Near Field Communication) and up to 3x faster performance with scrolling increased from 15 to 60fps.

"{We will} use a new optimized graphic architecture with a focus on graphics and responsiveness, showcased beautifully on a large capacitive screen," said Nokia executive VP of new devices Kai Öistämö. "Later in the year, a completely new visual architecture re-working of the UI will drastically reduce the complexity throughout and bring fresh appeal. We will execute here."

This is all pretty good news, especially with a mid 2010 timeframe put on the updates, though it does seem odd Nokia is pushing ahead with both Symbian and the hugely promising Maemo rather than sticking to one platform. Could these features also end up on Symbian-based Samsung and Sony Ericsson handsets? Quite possibly if a deal can be struck.

So Symbian may not be a haggard, old OS belly flopping into the hell fires of irrelevance. Who knew...?


via Gizmodo

Go to comments


December 4, 2009, 4:00 pm

This is excellent news, although I think it'll be this time next year before we see a stable device that will not frustrae the early adopters. Whether you're a fan of Symbian or not, it does open up the posibility of having a top UI experience along with all the functional / technical bells and whistles. So hopefully the net effect will be that other competitors with a more complete UI will be prompted to up-their-game in the technical abilities of their phones.

One day there will be a phone with an excellent camera / sensor / flash, that has oodles of memory (some of which is removeable), great sound, crystal clear screen and a really great UI experience. Who will make that phone first (or best) remains to be seen, but I say...Bring it on, my money's waiting!



December 4, 2009, 5:14 pm

I use an E71 and think the S60 platform is pretty good anyway. There are tons of useful programs out there for it on top of the user experience it gives. I am glad that it looks like there's life in it yet. BTW perhaps it is just me but I fairly recently found out that by depressing the home button with a long push you get a list of all the open applications the phone is currently running and you can switch between them easily with the joy pad. Until I found that out switching between apps was my only frustration.

Alan Edwards47c

December 4, 2009, 5:54 pm

I loved Symbian/UIQ on my W950i, but S60 5th edition on the 5530 is the flakiest phone I've ever had.

I've had the whole OS bounce when starting the radio, the radio app lost control of the actual receiver, Mail For Exchange died for no reason (that needed sync turning off and on again to fix), music player hung on me this morning. It's not gone 2 days so far without needing a reboot for some reason.

Hopefully this new version will be a bit more stable, but I can see me going to Maemo or Android for my next phone.



December 4, 2009, 6:41 pm

For more on what the next generation of Symbian phones will do just search for QT in YouTube/Google ;)


December 4, 2009, 7:13 pm

This is great news, I love symbian OS's but recently they have become so antiquated in design and use that I started looking elsewhere. I'd be happy to go back to them after my stint with the HD2 and WM6.5 /7.

I must admit though - I have no idea where all of this fits in with Maemo on the scene. It's all a bit of a mess...will the new Symbian be the leading OS or is Maemo going to be on all Nokia's future top end devices?


December 4, 2009, 8:47 pm

@timple: sorry to sound like a d*ck, but why didn't you read the manual?

In an effort to redeem my d*ckness, here some advice on must-have apps:




Google Mail

Google Maps


Nimbuzz (or Fring)


BBC iPlayer

Gravity (Twitter app - costs money)

Coreplayer (Video player - costs money)

Spotify (Requires premium subscription)

As for Symbian, I don't mind it at all, and due to the extra functionality and multi-tasking would never trade it for an iPhone. Haven't tried a touch one yet though and I'm aware of its problems, but then I couldn't give up the qwerty keyboard on my E71 either :).


December 4, 2009, 10:05 pm

drdark: I have a touchscreen (Samsung) phone running Symbian S60, and have found it to be very stable as soon as I switched off Widgets (which weren't particularly useful anyway). Unfortunately I can't make the most of its abilities thanks to Orange crippling it with their own software, but that's another matter...


December 4, 2009, 10:42 pm

Do you think there's still room for Symbian given Android's and Palm's advances?


December 5, 2009, 1:12 am

SRS, since Android and Palm have largely failed to make a significant impact so far I would say yes. Symbian based phones still represent half the world's smartphone sales per quarter.

This roadmap isn't new to those of us who've been following Symbian's and Nokia's plans for a while. Nokia are a big cumbersome company but once they get moving they have the R&D potential to catch up and overtake trends quickly.


December 5, 2009, 3:53 am

Will this be as good as Android??


December 5, 2009, 5:30 am

@Zero, no. :)


December 9, 2009, 3:16 pm

@Zero and Ohmz

It won't be as good. Just much better. :)

Symbian may not be idiotproof, but it sure shows it's worth, which is worth more than the current iteration of the iPhone OS, Android OS, WebOS, etc, in the hands of one who can use it.


December 9, 2009, 4:12 pm

@Rickysio: I wish I had as vivid an imagination as you. It must be so much fun.


December 10, 2009, 1:50 pm


I happen to be a fanfiction writer. I guess it comes with the 'occupation'. ;)

But really, after using iPhone OS 3.0 for 1 month (and 2.X for about 3 months+), and using WinMo for about 1 month, returning to use my old Nokia (5700) to prepare it for the 1 week I'd be using it overseas (Climbing Mt Kinabalu from the 14th to 18th Dec 09), I was struck at how quickly the device responded, and how little applications (read: 0) I NEEDED to load to ensure a trouble-free trip, or rather, as trouble-free a trip can be. The menu structure might be a little confusing, but honestly, the 5700 was my first phone, and after 1 hour with it I was doing more stuff than after 1 day with a non-JB'ed iPod Touch, and after 3 days with the Xperia X1. {Mostly because the Xperia suffers from lousy radio firmware, resulting in reception that is frankly, absolutely ridiculously lousy, to the extent I wondered if SE was even making more than 1 person write the radio firmware.}

But then, I do happen to be a geek, so...

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