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Nokia, the world’s largest maker of handsets, has relied on keyboard input method for years, whereas various personal digital assistants as well as smartphones featured touchscreen user interfaces. But the times are changing and as Symbian releases its new version of S60 platform with touchscreen support, cell phones from Nokia may finally get tangible user interface (UI) improvements.

“S60 on Symbian OS offers a great platform to innovate with Internet services. We see experiences converging, and people demanding more and more of the functionalities that smartphones offer, both of which highlight the significance of ease of use. The focus of our strategy is to give people choice and simplicity - both key to delivering the best user experiences to add value to people’s lives,” said Matti V?nsk?, vice president of mobile software sales and marketing at Nokia.

In the coming months Symbian S60 will introduce new features that enhance the user experience and enable manufacturers, developers and operators to design new types of mobile devices, applications and services.

The touch user interface in S60 smartphone software offers licensees the opportunity to develop devices with a variety of input methods, whether it is a touch screen with a traditional keypad, touch screen with a QWERT keyboard or touch screen alone, supporting both finger and stylus optimized input, in addition to the range of access options that already exist today.

S60 touch user interface comes with support for tactile feedback, which means that there is a physical pulse and feedback when the user taps on the screen. This provides better awareness of the device’s response improving the user experience.

In addition to robust touchscreen support, the new Symbian S60 brings sensor support to the platform as a generic solution enabling support for a range of sensors, including such as those that detect motion, orientation and proximity, in S60 devices. These technologies open up a new kinetic world to the user and offer completely new opportunities for application and game developers, the software developer said.

The new Symbian S60 platform, which will enable not only new UI, but also improved Internet support and other advantages, will be available in 2008. Although Nokia has not announced any touchscreen devices yet, it is hard to believe that the main shareholder of Symbian has no plans to use a key benefit of the new operating system.

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