Print 18 comment(s) - last by themaster08.. on Jan 18 at 3:50 AM

A first glance at the new Symbian S^4 mobile OS  (Source:
Nokia steps up its game with Symbian S^4

While Nokia still carries weight in the mobile arena, it did suffer a difficult 2009, a year after its acquisiton of Symbian Software. With the new year, however, Nokia looks to step up its game with a completely redesigned mobile OS, Symbian S^4.

With the advent of this OS, the new mobile chief, Rick Simonson released a statement to the India Times in which he claimed that Nokia’s "efforts will start producing results, as we will be at par with Apple and RIM in smartphones."

These efforts have become much more apparent recently with the release of a concept proposal which is open to the public and clearly outlines technical features of the new mobile OS.

Within this document Nokia describes new features to be presented by the OS that are common with rival platforms. The most notable of these features include the clean new look and moveability of the home screen (similar to the Android), a lack of exit commands comparable to Palm’s webOS, and a customizable application library reminiscent of the iPhone.

Nokia also adds some other unique features, allowing Symbian S^4 to stand apart from the competition and addressing user input regarding the current OS. Complaints concerning system lag have been resolved in the proposal, where applications will not run in the background, preserving system memory. Additionally, the OS will feature movable widgets and menu bars, allowing further customization by the user, and an overall cleaner look.

Symbian developers are looking for user input on the conceptual design of the new S^4 OS, creating an open opportunity for users to shape the next Nokia OS. The forum can be found here, and includes several informative links, including the link to the full proposal.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

No Multitasking?
By phatboye on 1/15/2010 11:13:32 AM , Rating: 1
Complaints concerning system lag have been resolved in the proposal, where applications will not run in the background, preserving system memory.
If this means no multitasking then the OS will fail.

RE: No Multitasking?
By corduroygt on 1/15/2010 12:21:20 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, the iphone OS is such a failure.
A better way is to allow only certain apps like iphone but more: A web browser, Music player, e-mail client is what iphone does, and I'll add a fourth one, which is an IM client. A fifth one could be a SIP client too. IM+ is the only app I use with backgrounder on my iphone, because having fring on the background really kills battery.

RE: No Multitasking?
By omnicronx on 1/15/2010 2:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
Depends on what you consider multitasking. As it currently stands, If you think smartphone multitasking = PC mulitasking you would be incorrect. Resources are limited for background apps for Android, WinMo and WebOS . The only reason WebOS pulls it off so well is that basically all their programs are just html/css etc run through their webkit browser. That just won't fly going forward as devices become more powerful.

Even WinMo which has had 'multitasking' for years all but limits background apps to little to no resources. In windows resources are mainly pooled, and while the foreground app may have access to more resources (which is usually done by the developer not an OS limitation), its not even close to the delta that exists on todays smartphones.

The way I see it, the ability to have apps save their state for easy and fast loading the next time around is a much better idea. This will save precious resources for forground apps, and will most likely save on battery life too.. The iPhone for example does support multitasking, just not with 3rd party apps. This way you don't have to worry about different apps fighting for resources.. (just ask an android user what happens when you have too many things open)

RE: No Multitasking?
By sxr7171 on 1/16/2010 3:23:00 AM , Rating: 2
I've used Symbian phones for years and they run apps in the background just fine.

Having said I understand Apple's solution to current battery and resource limitations. The iPhone 3GS in particular by virtue of speed makes resuming into an application just a little slower than switching between running applications.

At the end of the day I see the real benefit of multitasking in the quick switching between apps that it provides. I don't really see myself needing to keep anything running in the background on a smartphone except for music and location services. Years ago we were running web servers on our N95s. Yes, it is cool but why would anyone actually do that? The battery dies in about 3 hours and there are better ways to run a webpage or get data from a device onto the internet than to actually run the webserver on the device itself. Such things were a proof of concept and maybe induced a "nerd boner" but that's about it.

I don't care if it "truly" multitasks or whatever the heck makes it go, just let me switch between my last 5 used apps in a split second and I'm game.

RE: No Multitasking?
By FITCamaro on 1/16/2010 11:01:43 PM , Rating: 2
just ask an android user what happens when you have too many things open

nothing? there can be 10 apps open on my droid before i notice any slowdown

RE: No Multitasking?
By Hare on 1/16/2010 2:13:58 AM , Rating: 2
If this means no multitasking then the OS will fail.

Symbian has always supported true multitasking so I don't see why on earth this would change. Propably it's just that the process prioritization and memory management has improved if anything. Even 10y old Nokia devices run apps in the background with no problems.

RE: No Multitasking?
By alexleonard on 1/16/2010 2:30:03 AM , Rating: 2
I have an E71 and happily run, every day, Gmail, inbuilt IMAP mail client, Nimbuzz, Music app, Gravity (twitter client), Google Maps/Latitude.

I have no issues with system slowness and lag, or issues with multi-tasking.

I can't imagine using a phone which doesn't allow me to have these applications not running in the background continually.

I also can't imagine Nokia removing multi-tasking. Perhaps they plan to refine memory handling by background apps.

RE: No Multitasking?
By chick0n on 1/16/2010 9:02:11 AM , Rating: 1
iPhone has Multitasking ?


No Maemo?
By Fox5 on 1/15/2010 12:11:15 PM , Rating: 2
And I was positive Maemo would take over as their primary platform.
Looks like they really are choosing Symbian as their primary platform, and Maemo is for the Internet tablets.

RE: No Maemo?
By themaster08 on 1/15/2010 12:31:30 PM , Rating: 2
Nokia's plan is to begin using Maemo for it's high end devices, whilst using Symbian S60 on mid range devices and S40 on low end.

Symbian^4 will be capable of multitasking. It is still the same OS at the core, just with many improvements to the UI and so forth

RE: No Maemo?
By Penti on 1/16/2010 11:54:07 PM , Rating: 2
Remember the average price on Nokia phones is like €68.

So it's not like they will sell 500-1000MHz Cortex A8/A9 with 4G and Maemo in the phones that sell. Stripped down symbian is what most phones will use. So it's not like they can just drop Symbian. What would they use instead? Currently none of the smartphones OS's are used in such low end devices.

RE: No Maemo?
By themaster08 on 1/18/2010 3:50:07 AM , Rating: 2
I can't guarantee how truthful this is, It's just something I read, but rumour has it that Nokia plans to reduce it's lineup of phones so that it can concentrate on quality rather than quantity.

If this rumour stands, it is likely that Nokia will plan to use said hardware in it's high-end device(s) in order to expand the Maemo platform, and to keep with Nokia's theme of their smartphones being "mobile computers". The N900 already uses a Cortex A8 600MHz and dedicated graphics chip, which is fairly unusual for Nokia.

Maemo is undeniably the most advanced smartphone OS at present. If you thought 10 simultaneously running apps on a Droid is impressive, how about 32?

If Nokia has managed to do this with an A8 600Mhz, just imagine the possibilities with a Snapdragon or upcoming dual core processors.

The only issue with the Maemo platform is ease of use.

When it comes to Symbian, Nokia have always favoured software tweaking over advanced hardware. This reduces costs, yet allows for the same feature set and functionality you would find in a much more expensive phone, albeit less stylishly.

I've been a long time fan of the Symbian platform. It's always been an underrated and under appreciated platform in my opinion. Nokia have no plans to drop the platform, hence the prolonged work of Symbian^4, and I expect many more iterations of this great operating system to come.

By sprockkets on 1/15/2010 1:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
If Nokia wants to be successful, why don't they tell the US that Symbian actually exists and also start selling them via carriers and not just unlocked?

RE: .
By LostInLine on 1/15/2010 4:47:56 PM , Rating: 2
Well, that's not all they have to do. They really need to reduce the number of levels of menus to get to an option or for that matter an app. I played with an n900 at CES and it was really cool, but setup and config looks daunting. Those Nordic cultures must really like thing regimented.

BTW, I ask about inductive charging (like the Palm touchstone) for their devices and they said Nokia will not have one because its not green. And they will be placing a popup on there phones to remind users to unplug the charger from the wall when the user unplugs it from the device. I simply said "that's not very business friendly," and walk away.

RE: .
By Johnmcl7 on 1/15/2010 9:03:38 PM , Rating: 2
There's very little you can't access from the homescreen on the N900, with four desktop and a decent size of screen you can have the interface arranged as you want. I've yet to look at the manual as setting up the homescreens is very easy, since there are no softkkeys or hidden options everything is immediately available.


RE: .
By sxr7171 on 1/16/2010 3:30:27 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah they started already with the stupid announcement every time you disconnect from charger. The N900 does it and I think even the 5800 would flash that stupid message.

Don't even get me started about S60 and its retarded messages that will stop you in your tracks for 5 seconds every time. In the N900 at least they don't freeze the phone until you respond.

By Kimoterapias on 1/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: First
By Kensei on 1/15/2010 11:09:08 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, the first loser.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

Most Popular ArticlesTop 5 Smart Watches
July 21, 2016, 11:48 PM
Free Windows 10 offer ends July 29th, 2016: 10 Reasons to Upgrade Immediately
July 22, 2016, 9:19 PM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki