Symbian remains a core part of Nokia's phone portfolio during the transition to Windows Phone Innovation continues, as shown by the Anna and Belle updates, and there is more to come. In addition, with Qt being your primary development tool for Symbian apps and Nokia having announced that Qt is a cornerstone of its next billion strategy, your development effort for Symbian apps is future proofed.
Symbian is implemented in a diverse range of shipping phones. The flexibility of Symbian means it can offer users reasonably priced tablet style touchscreen phones, through to high-end smartphones with features such as full keyboards, outstanding cameras, and leading edge technology such as NFC. Equally at home delivering advanced enterprise apps, games, or music, Symbian offers you significant opportunities in the mobile space, with a very large addressable market.
To create apps, you are best served by using Qt and the Qt SDK — and where Qt doesn't give you the access to low level Symbian features, you use the Symbian C++ APIs from within your Qt application. Using Symbian C++ by itself remains a development option, as does the Java™ language (using MIDP 2.1 with an extensive range of additional JSRs), Web Runtime (WRT) (using standard web technologies), and Adobe Flash Lite.
Content developers have comprehensive support for audio, image, and video formats. In addition, Adobe Flash Lite and SVGT can be used for animated content, while the Nokia Browser for Symbian has introduced a range of HTML5 features. Artists and graphic designers can easily create user-level phone personalisation by creating themes for Symbian phones.
Qt app developers
Qt is the recommended technology for creating apps for Symbian phones. The key features of Qt are:
- Qt Quick, for the intuitive, fast creation of rich, modern, touch enabled UIs. Supplementing this are UI tools, such as Qt Quick Components that greatly speeds UI creation with its collection of predefined UI building blocks.
- Qt Mobility APIs provide access to many of the features of Symbian and those of the Nokia N9, such as location information and the Contacts database.
Development is undertaken using Qt SDK an efficient, state-of-the-art development environment, which is available for computers running Microsoft Windows, Ubuntu Linux, and Apple Mac OS X. With the Qt Simulator, the SDK provides tools for the complete development cycle without the need for Symbian SDKs.
C++ app developers
Symbian C++ remains available for legacy applications or where deep access to the features of Symbian is required, such as low level communications control.
In addition, if you are familiar with standard C/C++ on desktop computers Open C/C++ enables you to create application engines and middleware.
Java™ app developers
Java™ technology provides a robust cross-platform alternative to Qt and Symbian C++. Symbian implements a wide range of Java APIs including the subset of the Mobile Service Architecture (JSR-248) plus a range of JSRs offering APIs for secure communications, location information, SIP, multimedia, Scalable Vector Graphics, and Sensors.
The Java implementation on Symbian shares many features with the implementations on the Series 40 platform. This enables you to easily extend the market reach of your applications.
Adobe Flash Lite apps and content developers
Adobe Flash Lite offers an alternative option for content and applications on Symbian phones. Support for Flash Lite 4.0, provides ActionScript commands to access Symbian features including: Calendar, Contacts, Logs, Messaging [SMS and MMS], location and landmarks, system information; and sensors.
In addition, the Nokia Browser for Symbian can play Adobe Flash Lite content offered on websites, and Flash Lite animations can be used as screen savers from Symbian 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 1 onward.
The web has never been more accessible to people on the go than with the Nokia Browser for Symbian and WRT. The Symbian Browser offers support for a number of HTML5 features, enabling the creation of rich websites and web apps.
With WRT you can create light weight web apps with the benefit of being able to access phone information such as Calendar, Contacts, Logs, Messaging [SMS and MMS], location and landmarks, system information, and sensors.
Media and content developers
Symbian provides media developers with options to create multimedia applications and deliver streaming audio and video. An extensive range of APIs is available for manipulating and playing music. Those capabilities, coupled with a state-of-the-art music player, afford you extensive opportunities to create music-related applications and services.
Themes provide you with the ability to customise the look and sound of the user interface on Symbian phones, and then make these customisations available to users.