The Symbian Foundation has officially announced Symbian^3, the first build of the smartphone platform to be fully open source, and said it is on track to have the platform in handsets by the third quarter of this year.
Symbian S^3, which is expected to be feature complete by the end of this quarter, will include usability and interface advances, support for high-speed networks, 2D and 3D graphics acceleration, and HDMI video support.
"S^3 is another huge milestone in the evolution of our platform," said Symbian Foundation executive director Lee Williams in a statement.
"Now that it is fully open source, the door is open to individual contributors, device creators and third-party developer companies, as well as other organisations, to create more compelling products and services than ever before."
Handsets built on S^3 will get a performance boost thanks to more efficient memory management, according to Symbian, which allows more applications to run at the same time.
A new 2D and 3D graphics architecture will take advantage of hardware acceleration capabilities in today's ARM-based mobile chips, and S^3 will also support HDMI, allowing users to plug their phone into a TV and watch high-definition video content.
User interface enhancements include multi-touch support for gestures such as pinch-to-zoom, and a home screen with support for multiple pages of widgets via a widget manager.
Symbian said that S^3 also has a network architecture that is ready for future 4G networks, and is able to balance the needs of each application for bandwidth and latency. Handsets will also be able to switch seamlessly from a cellular network to Wi-Fi, if a recognised access point is within range.
The organisation disclosed earlier this month that it had completed its transition to open source about 18 months after the move was first announced.
Symbian is also working on the next iteration of the platform, S^4, which is set to be completed later this year, about the same time as the first S^3 handsets come to market.
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