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The Face of Symbian to come

For all who follow the development of Symbian, it will come as no surprise that the Symbian Foundation had set its mind to a complete overhaul of the Symbian UI. While it has been a popular OS for mobile phones by Nokia and other manufacturers, it has sta

By Jayesh Limaye & Sumedh Phalak | Published 15 Jan 2010 17:31 IST
The Face of Symbian to come

For all who follow the development of Symbian, it will come as no surprise that the Symbian Foundation had set its mind to a complete overhaul of the Symbian UI. While it has been a popular OS for mobile phones by Nokia and other manufacturers, it has started to look antiquated as newer smartphone OSs such as the iPhone OS and Android OS have emerged.

 
Symbain has not been a very successful operating system for current smartphones, especially those featuring touchscreens. While it is a powerful operating system which has stood the test of time, however it is time for a change, and where that change is headed towards is something which has just been revealed now.
 
The next iteration of Symbain, Symbian^4 will feature a new Qt based UI called Orbit, which will replace the current S60  Avkon UI framework. In a previous preview we got a look at some of the UI concepts that foundation has in mind. However now, the discussion has been opened to the public so they can get their word in.
 
According to the new interface proposal, which is currently only a concept draft, Symbain^ will focus on simplifying the S60 experience by means of:

 

  • renewed layouts
  • context menu support for list items
  • flattened command distribution with elimination of ‘tunneling’ Options commands 
  • Applications Library replaces Main Menu 
  • four user-facing libraries: Contacts, Music, Photos, Applications 
  • Homescreen supports irregularly shaped Homescreen widgets, free placement of Homescreen widgets, and improved move and delete functions for Homescreen widgets 
  • guidelines for autosaving content reduce Save commands 
  • improved task switcher minimizes Exit commands and provides improved visual access to backgrounded ‘continuous experience’ applications (e.g., music playback, active call, etc.) 
  • prompts to users minimized 
  • redesigned Control Panel and settings/personalization information architecture 
  • refocused Power menu includes master volume and vibra on/off controls 
  • interaction and layout patterns applied to all applications

 

Already developers in Qt 4.6 are able to target Symbain and Maemo operating systems for their projects, and it seems that the mobile environment itself is in process of being overhauled to make this even easier. While the support for creating Maemo 5 projects in Qt  4.6 is only preliminary, with Maemo 6, the OS is expected to switch from its current GTK based UI to a Qt based one.
 
 
Jayesh Limaye & Sumedh Phalak
Jayesh Limaye & Sumedh Phalak

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Tags:
symbain nokia symbian foundation Qt avkon orbit direct ui UI IxD
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