The future of the Symbian mobile operating system will have many new features useful for enterprise applications, said David Wood, vice president of research, in an interview at the CTIA Wireless show last week.
In his vision of the future, “The voice phones that people have on their desks are going to gradually disappear. People will be using smartphones instead,” Wood said.
The company gets many of its feature requests through the Symbian Enterprise Alliance Council, formed in 2002. “They’ll come from time to time and say here’s the problem. A lot of the heritage of Psion has ended up in these devices,” he added.
In the next release, Symbian 9.4, there will be support for PIPS, which are standards for the POSIX application interfaces of Unix; Ruby, a Web development language; MTP, which is Microsoft’s method of dragging and dropping files; and ScreenPlay, which is a new graphics architecture for multilayered user interfaces.
Then, in Symbian 9.5, users and developers will get FreeWay, which separates data, control and management into distinct processing threads; and MBMS, which is a multimedia broadcasting service. Beyond that, Symbian developers are working on symmetric multiprocessing – “possibly the most radical stuff of the whole lot,” because it lets the operating system determine which tasks to give to which parts of the microprocessor, Wood explained.
Symbian also looks for ideas in competitive offerings. For example, Microsoft has the best developer tools, and to some degree, Linux’s open licenses are something that Symbian may consider, Wood said. “We are stage by stage liberalizing what people can do with our software as well,” he said.