All About Symbian - Nokia (S60) and Sony Ericsson (UIQ) smartphones unwrapped

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Old 03-03-2005, 12:14 PM
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Article UIQ3 - We Know It's Almost Ready, But How Good is Almost?

“We previewed UIQ 3.0 at 3GSM” shout UIQ. But not shouting loudly enough, because UIQ 3 has been promised for so long, and it’s still not running on hardware. When your CEO crosses his fingers and runs an emulator version of UIQ3, then you have to start wondering what the hold up is?

For those of you keeping score, the first hints of UIQ 3 were back in February 2004, where they hoped to have it commercially available in Q4 2004 and phone shipping in 2005. Now that’s still factually correct – we’re still expecting to see phones in 2005 – but you don’t expect over 18 months from announcing a new version, to actually getting it into consumers hands. Screenshots of the one-handed UI version appeared around the time of Symbian Expo 2004, and now we’re seeing it on an emulator at 3GSM, 12 months later. Given production cycles, if we do see a UIQ phone in 2005, the chances are that an October or November release date is likely

It’s not surprising to hear that UIQ3 was driven by requests from the networks and the handset manufacturers. While the standard UIQ interface is workable, it’s not suitable for every smartphone. You do need two hands to use it effectively, and you are limited to the one screen size. So naturally they asked for those things in a new version of UIQ.

Could different screen size, inputs and form factors, but keeping them all under one platform be implemented in UIQ? After the initial thought of that’s impossible, the software engineers at UIQ came back and proved that it was possible. So

Although aiming an application at one specific form factor will still be possible, the fact that UIQ 3.0’s multiple form factors will be running from one build of the Operating System will mean that well programmed applications for UIQ 3.0 will run under all the form factors of UIQ 3.0.

UIQ 3.0 will be delivered with two references designs, the standard UIQ classic interface we all know and love. The second design will be the keypad design, which I’m sure we’re all going to label as the “Series 60 Killer” when we actually see it in a device. There’s no landscape design at the moment, but it is in the roadmap. If a handset manufacturer were to ask for UIQ in landscape, perhaps for a form factor similar to the Nokia Communicator Series

So UIQ 3 may be running late, and it’s still going to be some time till we see any devices, but from what we can see, the software these handsets will run is looking really nice. Let’s hope it’s not a case of too little too late…

(You might also want to check through Rafe's article looking at the more technical details of UIQ3 we posted yesterday.
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