Monday, June 18, 2007

Software Compatibility on E90

Though still using Symbian operating system, E90 is different from its predecessor. E90 doesn’t use S80 user interface anymore, but now using new S60 3rd edition user interface. So far, most of new Nokia smartphone using S60 3rd edition. So, E90 can benefit from very wide selections of 3rd party application using S60 3rd edition. Compatibility with existing S60 3rd Edition software is very high and only a very few programs refused to work or worked incorrectly. Most of available 3rd party games work 100% OK on the external screen.

The problem now is, what about compatibility with wide internal screen? Generally, programs using the standard UI don't have problems with the internal display. And even Lonely Cat Games' programs using their own UI work correctly, the only problem is that they show soft buttons labels on the bottom and not on the right, but it's not a big deal as the buttons still work OK. Only games have problems on the large screen, because they were 'hard coded' for 240x320 resolution so they only use 240x320 pixels of the large display in its upper left corner (but they still work 100% OK on the external screen).

S60v3 UI is "scalable" which means that UI elements (buttons, status bars, text, forms, etc) are able to automatically rescale themselves for different resolutions. It looks OK and in most cases you won't even realise that an app was originally designed for a much smaller screen.

Although MOST standard S60v3 software will run on the device, it might not be a great user experience unless the developer has specifically made enhancements to cope with the E90's wide screen. Well-written software should check for the device's screen size and adapt accordingly. But most mobile software is written for QVGA at most. So my advice is: try before you buy.