Having struggled last year with reorganisations, Symbian would seem to be regaining some of its stature by detailing its plans for this year. The company is said to have completed its first fully open OS platform (Symbian^3) ready for release as early as next month, and should have the Symbian^4 OS set to launch before year end.
According to Victor Palau, a member of the Symbian release team, version 3 will offer capabilities such as a multi-page homescreen and support for HD video and files of over 2Gb in size. Other features that have proved awkward in previous Symbian releases have been addressed, with the promise of a simpler connection dialog plus HDMI support for multimedia and a new plug-in framework.
Palau added that momentum behind version 4 was starting to build with plans to include a package of around 60 features. But the main focus of this release will be a complete overhaul of the UI environment, support for parallel processing in multicore devices, plus a new camera API for easier development and debugging of camera-related apps. Other innovations will include a new geocoding framework for location services plus APIs and direct support for the Bluetooth UI.
Of more importance is next year when Nokia will upgrade its own software platforms to make the most of the new Symbian experience, and how the other majors, Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson also plan to support Symbian^3.
While Symbian would appear to have found a creditable route forward, Windows Mobile is on the slide with its next major release (WinMo 7) slipping into next year. In an effort to downplay this disastrous scenario, Microsoft has said that WinMo 7 will be something that looks, feels, acts and performs completely differently.
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