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PLATFORM: What's the Nokia Series 60 platform?
Posted by Arne Hess - on Friday, 08.11.02 - 15:06:00 CET under 01 - General News - Viewed 7248x
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Sendo has canceled all Microsoft Smartphone 2002 developments and switched to Nokia's Series 60 platform so it might be the right time to have a closer look to that Smartphone platform which seems to be a real competitor to Microsoft on the Smartphone field.

Thankfully this week was a Series 60 Platform Seminar in Munich where I was invited and so I became some better inside views:


  • Series 60 is based on the Symbian OS
  • Series 60 is owned by Nokia Terminal Software not by Nokia Mobile Phone (NMP)
  • Series 60 is licensed to NMP, Siemens, Samsung, Panasonic and now Sendo who have together a world wide market share of more than 60 %
  • Sony Ericsson's P800 Smartphone is also based on Symbian but not on Series 60
It's interesting to see that traditional GSM competitors like Nokia and Siemens (which are also competitors in the network infrastructure area) works together in the Smartphone area now.
So the Series 60 seminar this week was held by Nokia and Siemens and they were pretty cooperative there. However it doesn't mean that they will cooperate in all handset areas now, no – just in the Series 60 development.

In fact all licensees get the complete source code of the Series 60 platform which means that every manufacture will be able to develop and enhance Series 60 how ever he like. There is only one directive: compatibility!

This means that every manufacture will be able to design and use Series 60 however he want do it which means at the bottom line that we will see completely different UIs in future for Series 60 devices.

What can Series 60 deliver?
UI Driver
  • Large color display
  • Three core keys
  • Multitasking
  • Personalization
Driver Features
  • Full PIM
  • Imaging
  • MMS
  • Java
Value Features
  • Personalization
  • Games
  • 176 x 208 pixel
  • Full color
  • QCIF 176 x 144 image formats
  • Five-way joystick
  • Two softkeys
  • Application key
  • Clear key
  • ABC key
  • Send/End keys
Text lines
  • 6 lines plus header in most applications
  • Up to 7 lines in browser
  • Up to 8 lines in message

So Series 60 is absolute comparable to Smartphone 2002 and it is already available on the Nokia 7650, which is a Series 60 based device but completely flexible for the licensees:

Multimedia Features
Pretty impressed I was about the multimedia features of the S60 platform. Nokia showed a live stream though GPRS International Roaming (!) from a Finish TV station:

As you can see, the MPEG4 codec works pretty good and fluent!

Final Conclusion

I was pretty impressed by the Series 60 features and mostly about its flexibility and customization degree. This might give handset manufactures the full flexibility to design its own smartphones but I'm pretty sure that Series 60 is nothing for a network operator to license. Building a mobile device from the scratch is the core business of a handset manufacture and here they are well experienced for years.

From the user point of view it's questionable which platform is the better one. Smartphone 2002 or Series 60? As one operator told me both systems have different approaches:

"While the Smartphone 2002 comes more from the PDA interface,
the Series 60 comes more from the handset".
Well, to be honest; I can not comment it since I don't own a Smartphone 2002 and the past trials I had with it was pretty short while I've tested a Nokia 7650 more often and I felt very comfortable with the user interface (okay, I'm a long time GSM guy since 1993 ;-). But I'm also sure that the Smartphone 2002 will works for me pretty good since it still is a CE based mobile device where I'm an MVP for.

However from the feature side I like it that Series 60 supports a lot of features I've expect to see on a GSM handset/smartphone by default: MMS and Java while MMS is more important for me!

I'm pretty sure we will see some interesting developments in the close future, based on Series 60 as well as on Smartphone 2002 and finally you as the user will vote about the success of the platform!

Cheers ~ Arne


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