Nokia Introducing Touch UI to Open Source S60 OS

Today Nokia, the largest player in the mobile handset game, announced the addition of a touchscreen interface to their S60 OS. Comparisons to Apple's multi-touch input system are inevitable, but Nokia is holding its own with a few promised extras. These include silencing the phone by flipping it on its face when an incoming call is received, support for stylus-based input and a tactile feedback response.

For good measure, Nokia is also throwing in a Flash-capable browser, which we doubt will be relying on a shitty EDGE network. If Nokia pulls this off, the development may propel the company even further up the tables, and we'll be in for a handset at a reasonable price point, with open source potential (proper 3rd party apps) and usability surpassing even that of the iPhone. Who knows? We may even see a user-replaceable battery in the mix! We might be fanboys, but hell, if Nokia makes those promises come true, they can have our iPhones. Hit the video to check out a prototype in action. [Nokia]


Toyotaboy: You have your facts mixed up a tad. First of all, it's not Symbian S60 OS. It's Symbian OS and the user interface is S60 (aka. "Series 60", as opposed to "Series 40" which is used in low-end Nokia phones). The other user interface on top of Symbian is UIQ, which Motorola and Sony-Ericsson are backing (and until yesterday only S-E).

As far as earlier questions on what hardware it runs etc., that's an un-announced device but knowing the hardware in general, that's an ARM11 based device clocked at around 350MHz or so. You can expect around 100MB of RAM (heap) and storage memory (flash) depending on the targeted use. For example now some Nokia devices have hardly any on-board storage and rely entirely on memory cards, whereas others have up to 8GB of on-board storage.

And again, S60 is not an OS - it's a user interface. The OS is "Symbian OS", which is currently at version 9.3. For those keeping score, the current / soon-to-be-released S60 version is "3rd edition, Feature Pack 2".

Arashi: Symbian OS is actually quite stable and solid. As an end-user, you don't really see the OS anywhere. It's not like Windows or OS X. Think more along the lines of Linux where you have a kernel & OS (=Symbian) and then a totally separate UI layer on top of that. So you could say S60 is like KDE or Gnome in Linux terms.

For developers though, Symbian OS is not the easiest to be sure! It's not that it's bad or unstable. It's just that it's so damn complex that it's tough to do even simple things. Some examples: there's a special "leaving" system because the C++ compiler originally used didn't support exceptions. As a result, object construction is also two-phased instead of using normal constructors. Tons of things that are synchronous operations in other APIs are asynchronous in Symbian, etc. But those are just headaches for the developer's - end users don't see that stuff.