The long anticipated and rumored Nokia N8 smartphone has been announced officially, both with a positive and a negative effect on Nokia. The N8 thundered to the scene with some pretty impressive features, most notably a 12 megapixel camera utilizing the largest camera optics to ever find a place in a phone. The biggest hiccup to come about, which is quite unfortunate to say the least, arrived in the form of a preview report from a prominent Russian tech journalist. The preview was done from the usage of a very early prototype, a prototype Nokia said was among the earliest available, which went missing before showing up on the preview done on the journalist’s site. Nokia did release a statement on their conversations blog where they spoke about wanting back the device, and that they would try and discover the source of the leak. The journalist described the software as premature (it was since it was a prototype) and he went on to joke that someone in the company might want to bring Nokia down (ironic), which he described as the reason for the N8 coming to fruition. The big issues though is not about the leak itself, it is about the software, it is about Symbian^3.
Symbian^3 is a very important milestone, both for Nokia and the Symbian foundation alike. What is this big milestone? This milestone is entirely based on the Qt 4.6 framework, with which Symbian^3 and the Nokia N8 ships. Qt is significant in that it will allow Nokia to fulfill their cross platform ambitions, it will allow programmers to write an app for Symbian and deploy it across Meego, windows, linux and Mac OS with minimal change to code.
the Nokia N8 and future touchscreen phones using Symbian^3 as the os will all carry OrbitQt components beneath the well known Avkon UI framework. You might be asking what is Avkon and what is orbit? Avkon is the current UI framework for Symbian, running atop uikon which is the graphics framwork for the os. In other words: uikon is the graphics base layer of symbian in which Avkon, added by Nokia, plugs and renders from. Orbit will co-exist with uikon in Symbian^3 and will completely replace it in Symbian^4, while Avkon will be replaced by direct UI. Orbit in Symbian^3 will provide a start for developers in preparation for Symbian^4, apps built with Qt for Symbian^3 and the Nokia N8 is immediately forward compatible with all future releases and will even run on older devices, down to S60v3.1 or os9.2 fp1. This has been the focus of Nokia for years; a write once run anywhere system, true app portability.
The reality is that Symbian^3 is more than a stopgap os, it is a window to the future of the platform, it is a means of preparing both customers and developers alike for the future Symbian^4 and Symbian^5 os. The reality that apps and games created for Symbian^3 will run on all future versions of the os, gives developers ease of mind knowing that their apps won’t need to be rewritten and they need only to worry about improving performance of their apps. Nokia’s Qt based devices will account for approximately 55% of all their phones shipped by 2012, quite a huge number when you consider that Nokia ships over 420 million devices yearly currently, that’s a possibility of well over 200 million qt supporting devices being sold yearly by 2012. Such a mind blowing number, combined with a diverse but tightly knit smartphone portfolio, will allow developers to reach a much larger audience than on any other platform in the smartphone world. The whole point is that Symbian^3 is just a start of good things to come, an improved hardware design combined with better overall compatibility and a mature OVI store, will provide Nokia with sufficient thrust to launch a massive blitzkrieg on the competition.
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