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Symbian^3 Ready For Primetime

On August 2nd, Nokia announced via their blog that work on Symbian^3 has been completed as of June 17th.  Nokia says that the next step is to begin:

tweaking and testing its settings to make sure it works optimally with the hardware on the forthcoming Nokia N8 and the family of Symbian^3 devices that will follow it

Nokia claims that over 250 improvements have been made to the OS, which were desperately needed.  The complete list is available HERE.  Nokia did choose to highlight a few enhancements though:

Better Graphics
Nokia says the graphics have been “turbo-charged” but I think the interface is just acceptable now.  You’ll only feel turbo-charged if you’re coming from a older Nokia product like the N97.  When compared to other OSes Symbian^3 doesn’t stand out in any particular way in terms of speed.

Looks like Symbian finally joined the rest of the pack and added multi-touch support.  Two words: Big Whoop.  Everyone and their grandmother’s cat has multi-touch these days.  These days it’s about how you implement it and how smooth the experience is, not that you simply have it.  Nokia chose to highlight the ability to hold down the shift key now.  That sounds so incredibly amazing! This feature alone is going make me buy the next Symbian^3 device that comes to market! Yea right….

Meatier Multimedia
Nokia has revamped the Media Player and given it a cool new name, the "Fusion Player”.  I haven’t personally seen much of the fusion player in action so I’ll hold my comments about that.  Symbian^3 also adds HDMI out for connecting to HDTVs.  Cool feature, just hope that Nokia made sure the N8 has enough hardware prowess to handle full 1080P content at high bitrates or this will chalked up as another failure.

Better Multitasking
Improved memory management allows more apps to run without running out of space, as well as an improved task switcher.  Nothing impressive here either, I still prefer the task manager from Maemo.  Too bad they didn’t incorporate that into Symbian^3.  Maybe Symbian^4.

Improved Location Services
Symbian^3 adds new protocols for making better use of location information. . Web services can now directly gain access to your location without you needing to give it extra info.  Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  I guess it depends on the person and the particular app in question.  I hope Nokia gave users a way to pick and choose which apps get access to that info and which ones don’t.

Nicer Networking
Nothing that directly affects consumers.  Symbian now makes it easier for service providers to implement firewalls and add hotspot login apps.  This is hotspot login, not hotspot creation.  Symbian devices have been able to create hotspots for some time now. 

Symbian^3 use Qt as the standard development environment for Symbian releases going forward. Qt will allow for a uniform development environment across all of Nokia’s products.  Including Maemo, Meego, Legacy Symbian, Symbian^3 and Symbian^4(when it’s released).

All in all, nothing new.  And even when it was new, it wasn’t very interesting.  Nokia…you’re gonna have to do better than this.  A lot better