The Symbian Foundation today unveiled the Symbian^3 (S^3) platform, an entirely open source release following the platform’s transition to an open source license on 4 February, 2010.
Symbian said that the S^3 will be "feature complete" by the end of Q1 and the release will include: significant usability and interface advances, faster networking, acceleration for 2D and 3D graphics in games and applications, HDMI support (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), music store integration, an improved user interface with easier navigation and multi-touch gesture support, a feature-rich homescreen, and the ability to run even more applications simultaneously.
Members of the Symbian community, including device creators, network operators, hardware technology providers, professional services companies and application developers are already engaged with S^3 and the first devices using the platform are expected to ship as early as Q3 this year.
S^3 introduces major advances, which 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 and efficient multi-tasking experience, especially on mid-range hardware.
# A new 2D and 3D graphics architecture takes advantage of the hardware acceleration available to deliver a faster and more responsive user interface. Users, developers and device creators will all benefit 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 networking architecture, ready for 4G networks, provides next-generation Internet experiences on today’s devices. Consumers will benefit from the architecture's ability to 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 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.
The Symbian Foundation also said that the first Symbian smartphones with unsubsidized prices of 100 euros ($137) will reach the market this year.
The cheapest of Nokia's Symbian phones sells now for 120-130 euros, without operator subsidies.
Earlier this month Samsung unveiled a plan to treble smartphone shipments in 2010 and promote its own bada software platform. Samsung said bada would expand the target market for smartphones significantly in emerging markets.
Google's mobile operating system Android is now being used on 26 phone models and 60,000 phones using Android are sold every day, the US Internet giant's chief executive said on Tuesday.
The Android operating system is featured in a number of phones including T-Mobile's G1 and the Droid from Motorola in the United States.