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.
1. Home Screen
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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.
5. Menu Style
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!
7. Back Button
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.
8. Gaming Widgets
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.
9. Application Developers
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 http://qt.nokia.com/.
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!