Nokia today submitted a proposal to Symbian that would guide how the latter’s late 2010 OS, Symbian^4, should look. The new OS layout is a refinement of an early tease and includes multiple home screens and widgets like Android, albeit as distinct pages rather than part of one continuous desktop.It would also have a much less cluttered interface with menu bars that can disappear and a primary menu that would involve just top-level items for apps, contacts, music and images.
Nokia vows a more consistent, attractive interface with a similar experience and transparency throughout. Again like Android, power and app notifications would appear in a central area. Multi-touch is expected to be an option, though how pervasive it might be isn’t clear.
Underneath, the OS would significantly change some of Symbian’s usual behavior and would simply preserve an app’s previous state rather than automatically leave it running in the background, which frequently triggers memory problems in the current OS. Apps would also be sorted by automatic filters rather than manually. The Qt development framework would underpin apps and would both support new features as well as promise a relatively easy process of creating similar apps for both Maemo and Symbian at the same time.
As a proposal, the new interface has no guarantee of being passed but comes from Symbian’s single largest customer, making its approval much more likely to reach production devices.
The new OS is considered necessary for Nokia as it currently lacks an OS truly optimized for touch outside of the specialized Maemo platform. Phones from the 5230 through to the N97 mini are so far using a modification of Symbian S60 that adds essential touch elements but doesn’t change the methodology of the interface itself.