ESPOO, Finland – Things are moving on apace at The Symbian Foundation, as Shaun Puckrin, head of developer services at the Foundation told us this morning. The first handsets running S^2 should be appearing in the first half of 2010, but it’ll be the second half when we’ll see a big leap through the release of the first S^3 based devices. Right now there are 466 features being developed for S^3 and S^4 and we’ve had a little insight into what kind of things we can expect to see.
Open source is the foundation of The Symbian Foundation and industry collaboration is helping to rapidly develop a new generation of mobile operating system. As Shaun says, “it’s about the community building the ideas”. He highlights Swype as an example of this in practice. The company’s finger-tracing text entry is innovative on its own, but as part of a wider project it can become a key part of the new operating system.
NFC (Near Field Communications) plays a key part of the next generation of Symbian. Expected to first appear in S^3 and S^4 handsets NFC will be fully integrated and have an API for developers to integrate it in other products. This would make it easier for devices to pair with stereos at home, your car or as we’ve seen, as a payment device. The social web, too, plays a part. Rather than viewing it in silos as tends to happen now, The Symbian Foundation folks are working on a social web API that’ll enable manufacturers and developers to easily integrate key social sites right into the device. Facebook friends in your contacts list anyone?
Thanks to a new graphics engine, we can expect to see a big jump in the user interface too. “Surfaces” enable users to quickly and easily get access to the information they want and in the demo, which isn’t a working example, it certainly looks pretty cool.
Overall, not only does everything at The Symbain Foundation look to be on track, but it’s gathering some serious momentum.