Nokia is looking to set right quite a few wrongs. There will be no Symbian^4! No, this does not mean it is the end of the road for Symbian. It simply means that it is the end of the road for the weird naming system that the Symbian Foundation started using with the latest iteration of the OS.
This is quite an important piece of news. To start with, Nokia just eliminated fears about the Symbian UI. In December last year, Nokia promised to “take the Symbian user interface to a new level”. However, with phones coming out before Symbian^4 running more or less the same UI as S60v5, there were complaints that buyers of models like the N8 will be stuck with an old and out-dated UI. This latest announcement assures buyers that the UI of their phones will be updated once the new UI is developed.
If buyers of Symbian^3 phones were afraid of a lack of compatible apps once Symbian^4 came out, the announcement banishes that fear as well. Nokia had long ago revealed its intentions of moving towards Qt for app development. This would mean compatibility all round, with all versions of Symbian as well as Maemo/Meego. Nokia is now taking this approach a lot more seriously.
So for those holding back on buying a Symbian^3 phone in wait of a Symbian^4 phone, there is no reason anymore to continue waiting. Symbian will no longer be segmented into Symbian^3, ^4, ^5 and so on. Instead, Nokia has promised a continuous development process. Current phones will get all updates as and when they are developed.
Along with Qt, Nokia also emphasized that it will embrace the HTML5 web standard. With a new browser, based on Qt, due for the Nokia N8 later this year, we can expect some significant improvements in the Symbian OS even before 2010 is snuffed out.
Developers are looking pretty happy about Nokia’s intentions. Things are looking up, at least for Nokia. And for Symbian, which can hope to continue its market share dominance for a few more years at the very least.