updated 08:35 am EDT, Tue October 16, 2007
Nokia Touch in Symbian OS
(Updated with demo video) Nokia today revealed that it was adding touchscreen features to the Symbian Series 60 3rd Edition, allowing Nokia's smartphones and those licensing the OS to compete with the iPhone by using touch displays as well as automatic sensors in their designs. A set of extensions will give phones support for touch interfaces driven either by finger control or by a stylus; the OS will also support a mixture of hardware keyboards with touch interfaces, the company says. Creators will also have the choice of introducing haptic feedback that vibrates when the user hits certain on-screen buttons to simulate the experience of physical controls.
Just as important will be automatic sensor-based responses, the company says. Like the iPhone, the new Symbian update will support accelerometers to recognize orientation, light sensors to adjust display brightness, and proximity sensing for auto activation or shut-off features. In contrast to the Apple device, however, every new Series 60 will have "complete" access to online video, according to Nokia: a mobile version of Flash will be integrated into the web browser for the software and will let users visit the regular YouTube site instead of a stripped-down page or a dedicated program. A streamline programming architecture will also let developers easily add visual effects as part of the main interface.
The technology should be available to all manufacturers developing Symbian Series 60 phones at an unknown point during 2008. Shipping phones will arrive sometime later. No mention was made of Nokia's concept phone demonstrated earlier this year, which is likely to have demonstrated some of the features possible with the new OS update.