Well-informed individuals have known about the upcoming death of the S60 platform some time – unfortunately, some (influential) individuals had Yucca leaves in their ears during the announcement and continue to peddle dangerous and wrong information.
David Wood has provided us with extra information, which can be had here.
The TamsS60 team sat down with its long-time friend and benefactor, David Wood. He talked openly about the next binary break – the full scoop is below:
Please tell us more about yourself & your current role at Symbian
I have spent more than 20 years envisioning, architecting, implementing, and avidly using smart mobile devices (devices that can also be called “personal electronic brains”): ten years with PDA manufacturer Psion PLC, and then ten more with smartphone operating system specialist Symbian Ltd. Since 2009 I have been part of the Leadership Team of the Symbian Foundation, with the job title “Catalyst and Futurist”.
As ‘Catalyst’, my role is to enable the Symbian software movement to discover and explore innovative solutions for the many challenges and opportunities faced by the mobile industry.
As ‘Futurist’, my role is to distil compelling visions of the future of technology, business, and society – visions that provide the energy and inspiration for deeply productive open collaboration among the many creators and users of mobile products.
Which role will Qt take in future releases of Symbian?
From Symbian^4, Qt will become the preferred programming environment for many parts of S60 app development. Qt is widely regarded as a productive, elegant set of class libraries, with a great deal of active community support.
Does this mean that the current way of developing S60 apps will be phased out?
Yes, the plan is that the current “S60 Avkon” APIs for the UIs of applications will be phased out. Other public APIs (such as for middleware and engine portions of applications) will continue to be supported.
For a developer who currently does S60v5 apps: what is the latest release of Symbian which will be able to run them?
These applications should run fine on devices built with Symbian^3. Engine level components of applications (which don’t use any S60 Avkon APIs) should run fine on later devices.
Will Carbide be discontinued?
There are no plans to discontinue Carbide. Carbide will continue to evolve and be enhanced.
Will the Symbian UI be changed significantly in the future? Will this endanger binary compatibility?
There will be significant changes – both incremental and (in the case of the transition to Symbian^4) revolutionary. There will be a large break in binary compatibility with Symbian^4 (emphasis by editor). Such a step is not taken lightly, but it seems to be the emerging view of the Symbian community that the large benefits of this break will outweigh the undeniable drawbacks.
The big picture here is that a change in UI idiom and development environment will result in very significantly improved productivity, and in turn in a huge range of impressive and attractive applications.
Could you explain us what Horizon does?
Symbian Horizon is an application-publishing platform designed to reduce barriers to success and increase the profitability of delivering applications on the Symbian platform. Horizon will provide a service that allows developers to write an application once, and publish in dozens of stores worldwide. See http://developer.symbian.org/main/horizon/ for details.
Anything you would like to add?
I encourage readers to become involved in the Symbian conversation – reading and commenting on the blog posts at http://blog.symbian.org, discussing developer issues at http://developer.symbian.org, and proposing and debating ideas on the future of mobile at http://ideas.symbian.org.