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Nokia's Symbian 3: What You Need To Know

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Nokia recently announced their revolutionary new mobile phone set to release in quarter 3 this year, the Nokia N8. The phone itself looks beautiful: a full touch-screen, with features to make any self-respecting geek drool over. HD video recording with an 12-megapixel camera, and a blazing-fast mobile processor.

But we all know that its not the hardware that counts in mobile phones today. The user experience, provided largely by the software operating system that powers today's hand-held computers, is an integral part in choosing your next phone.

Apple managed to get it right with the iPhone. The iPhone OS software has influenced so many other phones, and its development tools have allowed developers to innovate in the mobile sphere, a juncture in the coding world that was once frustrating to write apps for (Sun Microsystem's J2ME, anybody?)

With Nokia's new Symbian 3 operating system, the software that powers the N8, the Finnish company has decided to start afresh. Developers are also in for a treat, as Nokia is propounding the open-source Qt framework and development tools that will enable potential developers for this new platform to design stylish, iPhone-rivalling apps. This means an over-all better experience for us end-users. It also means that a new age of developers will emerge, resulting in another surge of innovation in the mobile space.

Here's a run-down of what you need to know about Symbian 3, the software that will be powering the next generation of Nokia devices.


  • Homescreens: You can set up to three customizable homescreens, which allow quick access to your favourite apps, like emailing, texting, Facebook and Twitter. There's full support for capacitative touch, meaning a few swipes here and there will take you to where you want to go on your new Nokia.
  • Going hand-in-hand with the new Homescreen features is the ability to update statuses, for social sites like Twitter and Facebook, direct from your home screen. This is similar to the widgets feature in the Nokia N97, and indeed, there seemes to be a sort of widget-based system involved.
  • There's full support for HD video, so expect future Nokia devices to ship with really high-resolution cameras (those that will run Symbian 3, that is.)
  • Symbian 3 is likely to ship on devices that currently run the older Symbian S60 operating system. That's the Nseries, Eseries and Xseries mobiles.
  • The music system has been overhauled. In fact, the entire multimedia system has been redone, with fancy transition effects when viewing photos, and a new grid format to easily browse through libraries.
  • Cover Flow, the popular album-art browsing feature that was first introduced with the iPod, makes its way to Symbian 3, allowing for an overall cooler music experience on Nokia phones.
As more information is released on the N8 and the new Symbian 3 OS, be sure that Byte Lounge will have it covered.

Are there any features you're looking forward to in the new operating system from Nokia? What do you think of Nokia's latest move? And if you're a developer, do you think working with the Qt toolkit will prove to be any better than what you've currently got? Drop a line in the comments below to let us know!

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