Symbian Belle - software update delivers user interface renewal

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Nokia today announced Symbian Belle, the latest software update for the Symbian^3 platform. In Belle, the focus is on UI improvements, with extensive changes to key elements such as the homescreen, widgets, status bar, dialogs, notifications and menu system. Belle also delivers further application updates (Web), improved NFC functionality and streamlined software updates.

Symbian Belle will be available first on the trio of new Symbian smartphones that Nokia announced today: Nokia 600, 700 and 701. It will also be made available for the Nokia N8, E6, E7, X7, C7 and C6-01 by download via PC and over-the-air. Nokia will announce the timing of the updates for existing devices closer to availability.

Belle homescreenapp launcherBelle notifications

Updated homescreen, app launcher and new notification pull-down.

Key points

  • New user interface (UI) look and feel, with extensive changes to homescreen, status bar, dialogs and menus. 
  • Available first on the Nokia 600, 700 and 701, which are expected to reach the market this quarter (i.e. in the next 40 days).
  • To be available for existing Symbian^3 devices, with download via PC or over-the-air. The exact timing of the update will be announced closer to availability. However, given the timing on new Belle devices, it seems reasonable to expect it some time in Q4.
  • Belle is the latest in a series of updates for the platform (following on from Anna). Further software updates will arrive in 2012. 



Key features of Symbian Belle:

  • Fresh new user interface that 'delivers what you need, when you need it'.
  • Updated homescreen now supports up to six pages.
  • Widgets now come in five different sizes and allow a greater degree of interactivity (e.g. scrolling through new email and enhanced music controls). Many of the standard widgets have been updated to match the new look and feel and to take advantage of the flexible sizes. New 'toggle' widgets allow you to quickly switch Bluetooth on or off, or change profiles.
  • Belle widgetsMore widgets

    Examples of new style widgets

  • New drop-down menu to access notifications and system status information. The drop down menu is accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen and is available at any time.
  • Updated application launcher, with 'add to homescreen' option and easier organisation of applications.
  • The status bar at the top of the screen is thinner and has redesigned status icons.
  • The bottom softkeys and (optional) bottom toolbar are replaced with a single toolbar comprising up to four icons (Back/Exit, Custom 1, Custom 2, and Menu). This gives the UI a flatter hierarchy (less use of menus), with more direct interaction (single touches to access functionality).
  • New lock screen, with information about missed call, messages and emails shown on the lock screen, allowing you to see more information at a glance. The lockscreen now also supports customisable wallpaper.
  • Visual multi-tasking is updated and now uses larger live images of open apps, making better use of available screen space.
  • Nokia Pure font used throughout UI.
  • Application updates, including Web (improved access to multiple windows / tabs), Music Player (floating track list in album art view) and more.
  • More widgets

    Updated chat application.

  • Updated enterprise application suite including Microsoft Lync (previously Microsoft Communicator), Sharepoint, OneNote, PowerPoint Broadcaster and updated Exchange ActiveSync support.
  • New software updater, which automatically checks for updates and streamlines the software update process.
  • Improved NFC functionality including: tap and share (share images, videos and contacts), tap and pair (pair Bluetooth accessories through a simple tap), tap and access (read tags to find information) and tap to play (unlock new levels on NFC enabled games).
  • Developers can use Qt Quick Components for Symbian to give their applications the standard Belle UI look and feel. Belle ships with Qt 4.7.4 and Qt Mobility 1.2 (the same as Harmatten).


Nokia Symbian Belle devices

Belle trio: Nokia 700, Nokia 600 and Nokia 701