The Symbian Foundation has taken the wraps off Symbian^3—S^3, less formally—adding advanced graphics and multimedia capabilities to what will be the the first entirely open source release of the platform. S^3 will sport a lot of under the hood improvements, like better memory management, faster networking, and acceleration for 2D and 3D graphics, as well as a customizable home screen, HDMI output support (for hooking up phones to to big screens), music store integration, and a vastly improved interface with multi-touch gesture support—and, of course, multitasking.
“S^3 is another huge milestone in the evolution of our platform,” said Symbian Foundation executive director Lee M. Williams, in a statement. “Now that it is fully open source, the door is open to individual contributors, device creators and third-party developer companies, as well as other organizations, to create more compelling products and services than ever before.”
Among S^3’s key features are a new 2D and 3D graphics architecture that will take full advantage of hardware acceleration to deliver rich games and interface experience—and S^3 supports OpenGL ES for high-performance games. Folks into video will appreciate integrated support for HDMI so they can push high-definition videos to HDTVs without going through some other device; folks into music will appreciate S^3’s ability to integrate directly with music stores so users can immediately learn more about a song—and a “Buy now” button that goes to a user’s preferred music store.
The S^3 home screen will support multiple pages of widgets that uses can move through with a simple flick gesture; users will also be able to run multiple instances of native widgets if, say, they want to keep an eye on weather forecasts for multiple locations. Other interface enhancement include support for a direct “single tap” operations model, and support for multi-touch gestures like pinch-to-zoom—developers can get into the guts of the gesture capability and go nuts in their own apps.
The Symbian Foundation expects S^3 will be feature-complete by the end of the first quarter of 2010; the first devices running on the platform should start shipping by the third quarter of 2010.
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