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Nokia wants to reach out and Touch

Not aping the iPhone at all, honest

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Nokia has announced that S60, the popular interface layer for Symbian smartphones, will from next year allow users to prod screens with their fingertips - though apparently this innovation owes nothing to Apple's uber-phone.

It's not just about putting fingers on phones. S60 will be enabling manufacturers to implement interfaces based on fingers, styli, keyboards, keypads, or any happy combination of the above. They are also going to provide haptic feedback, little vibrations to confirm actions, so it's really nothing like the iPhone or the iPod Touch - reviewed here - at all.

To further differentiate the offering, Nokia is planning to detect everything from acceleration to light levels in its "Sensor Framework", apparently opening up a new kinetic world to mobile phone interfacing.

This new world won't be available until the second half of next year, when S60 version five comes out - there'll be no version four, a sign of the increasing importance of Asian markets where four is considered unlucky - but that only leaves a year for what will amount to a complete re-engineering of the S60 user interface.

Nokia is only promising delivery to manufacturers next year, so there's plenty of slack should the development take longer than anticipated. ®

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