Symbian lays out mobile OS roadmap

Versions 3 and 4 of platform are due this year, with version 3 likely to be feature-complete next month

Symbian Foundation, responsible for development of the Symbian mobile OS, is readying its Symbian^3 and Symbian^4 versions of the platform, with version 3 likely to be feature-complete next month, a Symbian blogger said this week.

The general releases of versions 3 and 4 are anticipated for the first quarter of this year and the end of 2010, respectively, Symbian representatives said on Friday afternoon. The OS is supported on mobile phones from such companies as Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.

[ Among the challenges the Symbian Foundation faces is competition from platforms such as Apple iPhone and GoogleAndroid and RIM Blackberry. ]

Version 3 will offer capabilities such as a multipage home screen and HD video support, with backing for files of more than 2 GB, said Victor Palau, a member of the Symbian release team, in a blog post. One-click connectivity in version 3 provides a simpler connection dialog. Also featured is remote contact lookup, via a plug-in framework and HDMI support for audio, video and images.

"So Symbian^3 is progressing nicely, and at the same time Symbian^4 is starting to build up a substantial contribution plan with already 60 Package Features," Palau said. Version 4 is primarily known for a "complete overhaul" of the UI environment but also features a reference implementation of the ECAM camera API from ISB.

"It will provide the capability to use a PC development environment (and consequently a better debugging experience) for camera applications, which until now can only be tested using a production hardware," Palau said

Other capabilities eyed include a low-level geocoding framework and APIs and direct support for the Bluetooth UI. Version 4 also may support Qt location UI applications. Parallel processing in multicore processors is a priority as well.

Symbian had been acquired by Nokia but became a separate entity, with a goal of offering the Symbian OS as an open source platform.  The OS is expected to be fully open source in the first half of this year.

This story, "Symbian lays out mobile OS roadmap," was originally published at InfoWorld.com.

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