Operating Systems

The Belle of the Symbian Ball

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Following a teaser campaign on Monday Nokia announces its latest Symbian update-- Belle, the successor to Anna, coming on 3 new devices launching on Q3 2011.

Symbian BelleBelle brings single-tap NFC sharing and pairing to Nokia phones-- enabling data sharing and pairing with NFC-enabled devices (such as speakers or headsets) by touching devices together.

The update also increases the number of home screens, alongside tweaks on web browsing, widgets and notification access.

The announcement includes 3 new Nokia handsets-- the 700, 701 and 600 models.

Nokia says the 700 is its smallest smartphone, the 701 has its brightest ever display (with a 3.5" IPS LCD with ClearBlack tech and Gorilla Glass) and the 600 is a music-centric model Nokia says is its loudest yet (with 106 phons of sound).

The Belle update will also eventually show up on other phones-- specifically the N8, E6, E7, C6-01, C7 and X7.

Go Nokia Symbian Belle

China's "Cloud-Based" Mobile OS

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Your customers demand an Android/iOS/Windows Phone 7 alternative? China's Alibaba Group might have the solution-- Aliyun OS, a cloud-based mobile OS. 

Aliyun OSIt will debut this September, on a China-only smartphone with a mouthful of a title-- the K-Touch Cloud-Smart Phone W700.

Aliyun itself is Linux-based, and can handle both webapps (Javascript and HTML 5) and Android apps (via proprietary emulation layer). It also syncs all user data (music, apps, files, mesages and photos) on the cloud-- with Alibaba offering 100GB of online storage. 

Users can even access synced data on both Aliyun handsets and PCs. 

Alibaba also has future plans for putting the OS in "other devices", including larger-screen phones and tablets. Those finding Aliyun OS intriguing might have to move to China though-- no word on its becoming available over here as yet. 

Go Alibaba Cloud Computing Unveils Mobile Cloud OS

iOS Gets Fifth Upgrade

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Apple is rather bullish at WWDC 2011-- not only stating its admittedly impressive sales statistics, but getting Steve Jobs to announce iOS 5, its latest mobile OS iteration.

ios5First off, the numbers. iDevices now reach 200m WW, with over 44% market share-- making iOS the top mobile OS IF one counts the iPod Touch (so take that as you will). Meanwhile iPad sales reach 25m (after 14 months), and Apple's app store currently has 425000 apps available (with 14Bn app downloads in 3 years, meaning $2.5Bn in revenue to developers). 

The big news, as mentioned earlier, is iOS 5-- more of an evolution than an complete overhaul, even if one with 1500 new APIs. The first noticeable change is to notifications, now taking place with an Android-style swipe-down menu on the top of the screen. Twitter now also comes backed into the OS. 

Arguably the biggest feature is (finally) getting rid of the need to sync an iDevice with a PC-- iOS 5 handles syncing over the cloud, alongside over-the-air updates.

There are also plenty of other new features and tweaks (Apple says there's over 200 of them), including compatibility with Apple's MobileMe replacement, the iCloud, whose release will predictably coincide with iOS 5's. 

Go Apple iOS 5

HP to License webOS?

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HPHP has further ambitions for its Palm-developed webOS-- to license it to its partners providing their customers mobile services. 

CEO Léo Apotheker reveals these plans during an interview with the Wall Street Journal at the D9 conference.

“WebOS will also be adopted by many partners who provide services to small and medium businesses,” he says, before confirming that webOS will not only run on "lots of HP devices" but will be available to enterprises and SMBs. 

So, will HP consider licensing webOS to the likes of HTC (the example the WSJ gives)? Apparently yes. 

Meanwhile webOS head Jon Rubinstein confirms HP's plans, saying that while the company won't be licensing webOS "broadly", it might be doing just that with its select partners. 

Go HP Might License webOS Says CEO (WSJ)

Microsoft Reveals Windows 8

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Microsoft's Windows 8 gets its first official appearance at the D9 Conference, showing off a new UI as well as scalability-- running not only PCs but, according to Microsoft, "on everything". 

Windows8The most obvious feature is the tile-based UI-- very similar to Windows Phone 7's-- replacing the traditional Start menu. The tiles (set up in a grid layout) can carry dynamic data on the icon itself, showing notifications and the like. 

The entire interface appears to be entirely touch-optimised, with task switching involving swiping apps towards the screen's center before "snapping" them to a sidebar.  

Running legacy apps (such as Office) slides the new UI away, revealing a far more familiar Windows 7-like layout, complete with Start button and file manager. 

Microsoft is pushing for developers to work on HTML5, CSS and Javascript apps (ideal for low power tablets and laptops), which it will sell on its app store. 

Internet Explorer also gets an update, with a Silverlight-powered 10th version.

The new OS runs on System on a Chip (SoC) devices-- Taipei's Computex 2011 hosts ARM-powered Windows 8 prototypes by Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Nvidia.

Microsoft should reveal more later on September, at its BUILD developer event. 

Watch Building windows 8

Go Previewing Windows 8