Symbian 4 OS – a first look at its features


Few days back we gave a perfect view on how Android is growing in smartphone world by comparing it with iOS based iPhone 4 features. Still, that doesn’t end the smartphones fight! The new entry to smartphone’s operating system is by world’s highest mobile seller Nokia. Yes! we are speaking about new version of Symbian OS by Nokia.

Tech Tip: in 2008, Symbian Software Limited was acquired by Nokia.


Statistics published in February 2010 showed that the Symbian devices comprised a 47.2% share of the smart mobile devices shipped in in 2009, with RIM having 20.8%, Apple having 15.1% (through iPhone OS), Microsoft having 8.8% (through Windows CE and Windows Mobile) and Android having 4.7%. Other competitors include webOS, Qualcomm’s BREW, SavaJe, Linux and MontaVista Software.

This statistics clearly shows that as of now Symbian devices are ruling the smartphone world!

Symbian 4 – the new version


As the title says, we are going to speak about the new version of Nokia based smartphone OS, Symbian 4.

Symbian 4 is expected to be functionally complete in the second half of 2010 and devices supporting Symbian 4 will start shipping early 2011 onwards. Symbian 4 has a big focus on user experience including Direct UI – a complete makeover of the touch UI – and widespread enhancements to the application suite.

Here are the coolest and enhanced features of Symbian 4.


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While comparing the Android and iOS 4 in our previous post, we had mentioned a point that iPhone is lacking the home screen application arrangement and Android is taking advantage over it.

The Home Screen in Symbian 4 gains support for widgets of any size and shape, and gives the user complete control over their placement on the screen.

In the previous versions of symbian OS we had seen the way of accessing the photos had changed and it was very user friendly as well. In symbian, photos benefits from a major overhaul with a new look to every view and direct access to all the most commonly used functionality.

The following are mock-ups of the symbian 4 Photos user interface using the platform theme developed for symbian 3.


Calendar gains email integration, allowing meeting requests to be sent and responded to from within the Calendar UI. This is one of the unique feature you may find while comparing with other smartphone OS’s.

One of the brave move by Symbian 4 developers is Notification panel inside the menu or sub-menus. As shown in the image below, there is a small button kept on the top-left corner of the page to access the notifications like new mail, alerts, chats etc.

The design of the menu style and icons used are similar to the predecessor of Nokia phone. But this time they have integrated one more new drop-down menu on the top the menu screen. The advantage of this drop down menu is, user can access the menu items from any sub-menu screen.

Tech tip: intergrated menus frees up valuable screen space.


This concept of symbian 4 is almost similar to iPhone toolbar. It is nothing but a small strip below the menu item where most wanted shortcut keys are placed. But Symbian 4 hold slight edge over iOS concept by adding a small icon in toolbar. Again frees up valuable screen space!

Symbian 4 comes with a dedicated back button on top-right corner of the screen. May be this concept is similar to Windows, but its good to have a button on screen than a dedicated physical button.


As we explained in home screen above, we can add any number of widgets on the home screen. But one more awesome enhancement here by symbian 4 is we can place gaming widgets and play anytime without browsing inside the menu.


Under the covers the Symbian 4 user experience is built on Qt and Orbit. This makes it very easy for developers to write new applications and update those already available to take full advantage of this new paradigm – giving users a broad choice of good looking and easy to use applications with which to customise their devices.

We Suggest: Visit and explore more about QT at

In Symbian 4 the application updates focus on supporting touch and hybrid (touch + keyboard) device types.

Tech tip: Qt is a cross-platform application and UI framework. Using Qt, you can write web-enabled applications once and deploy them across desktop, mobile and embedded operating systems without rewriting the source code.


What you think about these feature? Is Symbian 4 is ready to take on iOS 4 and Android? Well its too early to speak about it. These are the few cool features we got as of now! Lets wait and watch how Symbian 4 will make a change in smartphone’s world 🙂

If you know any other features that we have missed out here please do share it using our comment box 🙂 Also feel free to share what you feel about this features 🙂 Cheers!

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Show 10 Comments


  • avatar image
    Tech Maish
    July 26, 2010 Reply

    Vinay very useful article. I learned new things here about Symbian 4 OS.

    • avatar image
      Vinay Gowda
      July 26, 2010 Reply

      Glad that you liked the features buddy :) thanks for the comment :)

  • avatar image
    Jitu | News Uncle
    July 29, 2010 Reply

    This information is very useful for us. This new NOKIA Phone is very nice look and latest facilities.

    • avatar image
      Vinay Gowda
      July 31, 2010 Reply

      We are glad that you liked the features Jitu :) Thanks for the comment :)

  • avatar image
    July 31, 2010 Reply

    I really like the feature. Thanks for the info.

    • avatar image
      Vinay Gowda
      July 31, 2010 Reply

      Welcome buddy :) May I know which feature you liked buddy?? :)

  • avatar image
    January 11, 2011 Reply

    Nice artical Vinay.. There will be tough fight among the all smartphone OS in coming days.. But statastics given here some what messing up.. Bcz.. Android got around 24% of market this year.. It is good news to hear that Symbian^4 is 100% open source may I know the developing env details and when they release these OS

  • avatar image
    February 19, 2011 Reply

    Hi it seams that symbian 4 will be not shipped for new devices. it will be given as update for the symbian 3 devices.

  • avatar image
    July 18, 2011 Reply

    this article is really nice...  thanks for the details...

  • avatar image
    July 18, 2011 Reply

    this article is really nice...  thanks for the details...

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