updated 11:00 am EDT, Thu August 6, 2009
Symbian 4 Major Overhaul
Symbian's mobile operating system should see its first major revision in years late into 2010, company executive David Wood said in an interview this week. He acknowledges to TamsS60 that the first two post-S60 releases of the OS, Symbian^2 and Symbian^3, will be relatively minor updates but that Symbian^4 should have a "revolutionary" change in user interface that will also require developers to rewrite the front-end of their code. Underlying code should remain the same as it is by Symbian^3, Wood said.
What the interface changes will involve isn't apparent at this early stage. The OS developer's schedule has it releasing Symbian updates every half-year and would put Symbian^4 in late 2010.
Symbian's aging S60 OS has been indirectly attributed to weaker Nokia smartphone growth compared to companies newer to the field, like Apple. The software doesn't currently recognize any special gestures and in many cases only makes minor concessions to touch, such as larger buttons. Most interface elements are still designed with the assumption of a physical keypad and have left devices like the 5800 XpressMusic and N97 struggling against the iPhone and HTC's Android smartphones.