Monday, January 18, 2010

Symbian^4 UI Concept Proposal

Momentum behind the evolution of the Symbian open eco-system continues to gather pace. Yesterday the Foundation placed its web run time tools into open source. Today Nokia, market leader in mobile devices, put forward proposals for a new framework for Symbian-powered UIs, to the Symbian open community. The proposals will undergo open evaluation and critique.

The UI Concept Proposal for Symbian^4 provides additional details on the Orbit and Direct UI major contribution proposals that are currently being voted by the Symbian Foundation councils.

The document highlights how the Symbian^4 UI will benefit from Nokia’s contribution and will introduce important usability-focused improvements, for example by providing interaction and layout patterns that apply to all applications, for a unified and more consistent user experience.

The proposal also contains a list of features and a number of screenshots that give us a glance of how the UI will benefit from new layouts, user-facing libraries for Contacts, Music, Photos and Applications and many other features that deliver a fresh user interaction: my attention was caught by the proposed removal of a number of prompts to the user, a redesigned control panel and the elimination of tunneling Options commands, which seems to be a great response to what the community has been asking for!

Nokia have clearly focused on providing a highly competitive UI framework proposal that will place the Symbian User Experience into the race with the Android, PalmOS and iPhone.

But, for me, the most positive of all that puts this proposal beyond competition is the open approach they are taking: by publicizing the concept proposal so early so that they get valuable community feedback to take into account for the final proposal, they are taking openness a step beyond just code-openness.