The next major version of S60 - after "3rd Edition" - will support finger-touch input much like the iPhone. This much has been announced before. I had a chance to sit down with Matti Vanska, Vice President of Mobile Software Sales & Technology for Mobile Platforms. He shared some info about the future of S60 that is not as widely known.
According to Mr. Vanska, we should expect the full platform to be formally announced by mid-year. That means it will get an official name (it definitely won't be "4th Edition") more details will be announced, and developers will get access to the SDKs they need to start developing software for it. Then later - by the end of 2008 - we should actually see a Nokia phone that will run this new platform.
Besides touch, the new S60 will also support stylus input, including handwriting recognition. It will also substantially improve APIs for web applications and widgets, so that "Web 2.0" apps can really integrate with the phone in ways that only Java and S60 applications can now. Other details are still being kept secret, though.
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In other S60 news, Matti noted that Nokia has made progress in its relationship with AT&T in the US, and specifically we can look forward to more S60 phones for AT&T in the coming year.
Nokia was also showing off a live demo of an early build of the new S60 software, complete with finger-touch capability. It wasn't running on a prototype phone of any kind - just a generic touch screen - so gestures like swiping didn't work very well. (That kind of thing requires hardware tuning.) It wasn't finished, so much of the cooler interactive features Nokia has shown off in video previews weren't working, but for a basic idea of what the screens look like, check out the screen shots and video below:
Here is a video tour of the S60 touch UI:
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