Symbian’s recent mobile operating system dubbed S^3, will go down in history as the companies first entirely open source release to engage more people in creating an application environment free of restrictions.
S^3’s UI is quite up to date, with the latest pinch-to-zoom features, swiping, scrolling, flicking and picking, you can perform all the fliptastic finger tricks you would expect to on a multi-touch Apple or Android device. Customization seems to be a big focus, users can select multiple layouts for their Home Screen, widgets galore, and a media player app the looks a whole lot like Apple’s Cover Flow. Nokia put together a bit of a design preview for the Nokia N87 with the S^3 OS, the video shows clearly how well the kinetic scrolling and other controls perform.
From the press releases, some of the major advances S^3 will include:
- HDMI support enables users to plug their phone into a TV and watch a high-definition movie at 1080p quality without a Blu-ray player.
- Music store integration embedded within the radio enables users to identify a song and learn more about it. The addition of a buy now button, which links with the user’s chosen music store, makes purchasing easy.
- More efficient memory management due to Writeable Data Paging allows more applications to run in parallel for a faster, more complete and efficient multi-tasking experience, especially on mid-range hardware.
- A new 2D and 3D graphics architecture takes full advantage of the hardware acceleration available to deliver a faster and more responsive user interface. Users, developers and device creators will all benefit greatly from the visual enhancements and smooth transitions that will significantly improve the look-and-feel of their applications and services. Combined with industry-standard OpenGL ES, the new architecture also provides a great platform for high performance games – all without slowing the phone down.
- The industry-leading networking architecture, ready for 4G networks, provides next-generation Internet experiences on today’s devices. Consumers will benefit from the architecture’s ability to seamlessly balance each individual application’s needs regarding factors such as bandwidth, latency and jitter. This improves the consumer’s experience of network-dependent applications and Internet services like VoIP and media content streaming.
- One-click connectivity for all applications greatly simplifies the process of connecting to the Internet, without interrupting the user. New global settings allow the user to configure platform-wide behaviour, for example ensuring the device automatically switches from cellular to WLAN when a free WLAN network is available.
- Usability enhancements across the user interface include the adoption of a direct single tap interaction model, making it much easier to complete common tasks on a device. Multi-touch support for gestures such as pinch-to-zoom forms the basis of a gesture framework that can be extended and leveraged by the developer community.
- The Homescreen takes a big step forward with support for multiple pages of widgets and a simple flick gesture to move between them. The widget manager makes discovery and download of new widgets simple and support for multiple instances of a native widget means that consumers can monitor multiple weather forecasts, news feeds, social networking accounts or multiple email accounts simultaneously through a common interface.