BobbyeM71hxwSymbian Announces New Symbian 3 Smartphone OS

The Symbian Foundation announced the first fully open-source release of their popular smartphone OS today, the new Symbian 3.

Symbian is the world’s most popular smartphone OS, which is used on phones including the Nokia E72. You will extremely found it common in Europe and Asia, typically AT&T carries one Symbian phone at a time (right now the Nokia E71x and Nokia sells some unlocked phones to individual consumers.

Last week, Symbian announced that the company had made its existing Symbian OS platform open-source and promised that Symbian devices would come to US carriers in 2010.

Symbian’s improvements

The new Symbian 3 works hard to integrate touch-screen support into the OS, something that has seemed awkward on some previous Symbian devices like the Nokia 5800.

The new OS moves to a “single-tap paradigm,” reducing the number of times you have to tap the screen, and implements multi-touch gestures such as flick-to-scroll and pinch-to-zoom. The new OS release also livens up the phone’s home screen with support for multiple pages of widgets and a widget manager.

Symbian 3 supports 2D and 3D graphics acceleration and HDMI video output. And unlike Apple’s iPhone OS, Symbian 3 embraces multitasking third-party applications. The new OS improves low-level memory management by using writeable data paging, which lets apps running in the background, swap their data out to persistent flash storage, and free up RAM when they’re not busy.

According to chairman of Symbian’s Features & Roadmap Council, Ian Hutton, it means more of the data that was stored in RAM can be paged out, giving you more apps running in parallel.

Symbian 3 also takes care of some old Symbian problems. For instance, many Symbian phones and applications tend to get confused about which Internet access method to use if they have several options. “One-click connectivity” in Symbian 3 fixes that. Hutton said, it bashes a load of those dialogs [away] and just essentially does the right thing.

Symbian vs. Google

Symbian 3 will go up against Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile in a bid to attract third-party manufacturers. Both Android and Symbian are at least somewhat open-source, and both OSes rely on an alliance of partners to build phones – the Symbian Foundation and Google’s Open Handset Alliance. But Symbian sees its strength in the fact that the company isn’t shepherded by a single, for-profit corporation.

Symbian also approves of a broader array of development tools than Google does. While Google generally tries to get Android developers to focus on writing for the Dalvik Java engine, Symbian developers can write native code in C and C++ or choose to write in Nokia’s QT framework or Web standards like JavaScript and CSS, according to Hutton.

By the end of the year, Symbian 3 could appear in phones, said Larry Berkin, Symbian’s head of global alliances. And this week, a demo of Symbian 3 will get at Mobile World Congress this week.

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