No Symbian^4: Nokia

About The Author

CNET Editor

Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon

Nokia has made a significant change to the software roadmap it outlined late in 2009, shifting focus from a major user interface (UI) overhaul in a Symbian^4 release and instead planning to introduce the same changes over several iterative firmware updates to Symbian^3 devices.

An example of the UI overhaul that was expected in Symbian^4.
(Credit: Symbian Foundation)

According to the official Symbian website, Symbian^4 was expected to have been completed by the end of this year, with devices to ship in 2011. It was also expected to incorporate Direct UI, "a complete makeover of the touch UI".

Nokia's head of APAC developer relations Kenny Mathers told CNET Australia that the company had stopped referring to Symbian^4 internally, with future enhancements to the user experience to be delivered over-the-air to current Symbian^3 devices or out of the box for future phones.

"Once we introduce a new feature [to the Symbian platform] we can push that feature to someone who has an N8 or buys a C7. They're going to be able to get the features the same as a consumer that buys a device in 12 months time," Mathers said. "[This change] is good from a consumer perspective as it means we'll be able to roll these changes out sooner."

This simplification of firmware updates coincides with Nokia's push to encourage developers to start working with its Qt application framework, a move the company hopes will simplify the development process for third-party apps. This framework makes it possible to create a web-enabled application for use on all Nokia devices running Series v3.2 and onwards. Symbian^3 devices, like the N8, ship with the Qt software layer pre-installed, as will MeeGo devices in 2011, while older devices will download the framework automatically when the user chooses to download an app via the Ovi Store that requires Qt.

Nokia plans to "eat its own dog food", according to Mathers, and redevelop a number of its core applications using Qt, including Ovi Music, Ovi Maps, Ovi Messaging and the Ovi Store experience.

Qt is an application framework that creates a bridge between the operating system of a device and the user interface, allowing applications compatible with Qt to run on a number of compatible platforms. For mobile devices this includes Nokia's Symbian, Maemo and MeeGo projects, plus support for Windows Mobile CE.

Previous Story

Nokia N8

Mobile Phones
Next Story

HTC 7 Mozart

Add Your Comment 4

Post comment as

jackson posted a comment   

"too little too late" that's for sure and i can bet you the next phone N9 will be a little too late also. btw. i also have an n97 and it is horrible. i have promised myself not to buy another nokia except it comes with bells and whistles and it is ahead of times or at least other manufacturers. so it better be having at least a dual core 1ghz processor, a beefy ram, better have more hard drive for installing apps than the 40MB (that is what's left after Nokia OS and apps from a 72MB) it provides. I sure hope they do a way with the USB v2 and implement USB v3 or wait till the so called light peak is out (I hate sitting around for hours to sync files to my phone). I am really frustrated because i know Nokia can do so much better.


Jesse posted a comment   

Joe, how much say does a network provider have in negating if a phone gets a software update or not? I have a terrible n97 and while other overseas websites report of a firmware update called V21, when I use Nokia software updater, I can't get past V20 firmware. Seems pointless of Nokia trying to fix this if my Telco blocks stuff.


xsacha posted a reply   

Hey Jesse. You should debrand the firmware of your phone. Please use Google to discover this.

Branded firmware is responsible for most of the bugs in handsets and also prevents updating to the latest build.


Brian posted a comment   

The phrase too little too late comes to mind for some reason.

Nokia is essentially trying to encourage people into buying their current phones with the promise of improvements to the operating system in the future. People don't buy those promises, they buy phones based on what they can do now, because as we've seen with Android devices, promises of updates are all too frequently broken.

Sponsored Links

Recently Viewed Products