Nokia plans, previews Symbian UI overhaul

At Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) Capital Markets Day yesterday, the handset maker reiterated its commitment to Symbian, but promised a makeover to the user experience, which many think has been hindered by a clumsy user interface. Rather than start from scratch or phase out Symbian in favor of Maemo, Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo promised to take the Symbian UI to “a new level.”

symbian3-features.jpg

“As an operating system, Symbian has reach and flexibility like no other platform, and we have measures in place to push smartphones down to new price points globally, while growing margins,” Kallasvuo said in a statement. “I see great opportunity for Nokia to capture new growth in our industry, by creating what we expect to be the world’s biggest platform for services on the mobile.”

In addition to new hardware of the touch and/or Qwerty persuasion, Nokia plans to reduce clutter on the UI, add multi-touch input and large capacitive displays, simplify functions on the phone and the steps required to activate them, improve the browser and make the overall UI three times faster than its current high-end Symbian products.

Nokia also promised its third-party developers better tools for application and content creation for its Ovi storefront, as well as announced plans to scale up its services business through geographical expansion and partnerships with more operators.

Nokia CFO Timo Ihamuotila also told investors he expects mobile device volumes to be up approximately 10% across the industry in 2010, but that Nokia’s market share will remain flat at about 38% between this year and next.

Engadget posted a video of the presentation and several pictures of the new UI. What do you think – will a UI overhaul be enough or should the vendor ditch Symbian and start from scratch?

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