Symbian OS is an operating system designed for mobile devices. Symbian was the leading smartphone platform up from 2003 up until 2010 (even 2011 for Europe). After that Google's Android OS took the lead.
The core Symbian OS originally provided no user interface. Instead, it was used as the underlying base for two major smartphone UI platforms: S60 and UIQ. These can be regarded as development branches, each backed by different companies. Unlike Android OS with its different cosmetic UIs, Symbian UIs ran deeper in the code and apps written for one of these platforms were not compatible with the other directly. Visually, the S60 and the UIQ had nothing in common and UIQ was created with touchscreens in mind.
UIQ (previously called User Interface Quartz) was a pen-based operating system for touchscreen devices. It was developed by a company called UIQ Technology, which was owned by Symbian Ltd. and in 2006 was acquired jointly by Motorola and Sony Ericsson.
The Sony Ericsson P800 - the first UIQ phone - was released in the end of 2002. The UIQ history ended in 2008 when UIQ Technology filed for bankruptcy following the announcements of the open source Symbian Foundation earlier the same year, which had the S60 as the platform of choice.
For that time the platform underwent 7 major revisions:
The UIQ 3.0 and the ones that followed were all based on Symbian OS 9.0, which meant apps for the new version were no longer compatible with the older phones.
The S60 Platform (previously called Series 60 User Interface) was developed by Noki, but ironically, Sony participated in the development, too.
The pioneering product was the Nokia 7650 and it launched back in 2002. The platform underwent several major revisions since then and lately, it's been called Nokia Belle instead of Symbian S60.
In January 2013 Nokia officially announced that the Nokia 808 PureView (2012) will go down in history as its last Symbian device.
As the Symbian OS went from one revision to the next, the two major competing user interfaces based on it evolved in versions in similar fashion. With S60 these were called Editions. The S60 3rd edition was based on Symbian OS 9 and the apps for it were binary incompatible with the older versions.
S60 went through several major releases:
The S60 5st Edition was the first touch-enabled edition. Nokia artificially skipped the 4th Edition in the lineup as a courtesy to its Asian customers as reportedly, the number 4 is considered unlucky in some Asian cultures.
Besides the individual editions, there were also intermediary updates in-between. These were called Feature Packs. Since some Editions had several Feature Packs, this made the S60 versions even more obscure to the casual user.
In an effort to alleviate the situation, Nokia dropped the S60 name for the future releases of its touch enabled OS and it simply used the name of the underlying version of Symbian. Hence the revamp of the touch-enabled S60 5st Edition became known as Symbian ^3.
In an effort to simplify things even further, for the next two releases, Nokia changed their naming scheme twice. The release following Symbian ^3 was called Symbian Anna and the idea behind it was Nokia would continue the lineup with subsequent female names in alphabetical order.
The idea, however was dumped, and for the next release - Belle - Nokia dropped the word Symbian altogether. Symbian was now called... Nokia. Hence the next edition was named Nokia Belle instead of Symbian Belle.
From there on Nokia stopped all efforts on the development of Symbian and turned its full attention to licensing Microsoft's Windows Phone.
A-GPS (Assisted GPS) | A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) | AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) | Accelerometer | Airplane mode | Alarm Clock | Alphanumeric | AMOLED display (Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) | Analog | Android | ANT+ | Antenna | APN (Access Point Name) | Apple iOS | aptX | Audio jack | Auto-focus | AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile)
Calculator | Calendar | Call alerts | Calling Plan | Camera | Capacitive Touchscreen | Car Kit | Carrier | CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) | CDMA2000 | Cell | Chipset | cHTML (Compact HyperText Markup Language) | CIF (Common Intermediate Format) | Clamshell | CMOS (Complementary metal-oxidesemiconductor) | Color depth | Concatenated SMS | Corning Gorillla Glass | CPU (Central Processing Unit) | Crosstalk | CSTN (Color Super Twisted Nematic) | CTIA | Custom ringtones | CyanogenMod
D-Pad (Direction Pad) | DC-HSDPA (Dual Carrier or Dual Cell High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) | Digital Zoom | Display type | DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) | DNSe (Digital Natural Sound engine) | Downlink | DRM (Digital Rights Management) | Dual-band | Dual-Mode | Dual-SIM | DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld) | Dynamic Memory
EDGE (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution) | EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) | EGPRS | EGSM (Extended GSM) | Email client | EMS (Enhanced Message Service) | EV-DO | EV-DV | Exchangeable covers | External Antenna Jack | External Display
FCC (Federal Communications Commission) | Feature Phone | Femtocell | Firefox OS | Firmware | Fixed-focus | Flash Memory | Flight mode | Flip-down phone | FM Radio | FM Transmitter | Form factor | FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air) | FPS (Frames Per Second) | Frame Error Rate | Frequency | FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
H.263 | Half-QWERTY keyboard layout | Handwriting recognition | Haptics | Hot Spot | Hot Swap | HSCSD (High-Speed Circuit Switched Data) | HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) | HSDPA+ (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access Plus) | HSP (Headset Profile) | HSUPA (High-Speed Uplink Packet Access) | HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) | Hz (Hertz)
Land line | LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) | LED (Light-Emitting Diode) | Li-Ion (Lithium Ion) | Li-Polymer (Lithium Polymer) | LiMo OS | Linux | Location-Based Services (LBS) | Lock code | Long SMS | Long term evolution (LTE) | Loudspeaker
Macro | Maemo OS | mAh | Mass Storage mode | MB (Megabyte) | Mbps (Megabit per second) | MeeGo OS | Megapixel | Memory card slot | Memory effect | Messaging | MHz (Megahertz) | Micro USB | microSD | microSDHC | Microsoft Exchange (Server) | MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) | MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) | Mil-Spec (MIL-STD) | MIMO | Mini-USB | miniSD | MMC | MMCmobile | MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) | Mobile games | Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) | Mobile IM (Instant Messaging) | Mobile WiMAX | Mobility DisplayPort (MyDP) | Modem | Monochrome | MP3 (MPEG Layer 3) | MPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group) | MPEG-4 video | Multitouch input method | Music playback time (battery life) | Music Player
Packet Data | Pager | PC Sync | PCS (Personal Communications Service) | PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) | Phone Book Access (PBA) | Phonebook | PIM (Personal Information Manager/Management) | PIN code (Personal Identification Number) | Pixel | Pixel density (PPI) | Polyphonic ringtones | POP3 (Post Office Protocol) | Port | Predictive text input | PTT (Push-To-Talk) | PUK Code (PIN UnlocK Code) | Push
RAM (Random-Access Memory) | RBDS (Radio Broadcast Data System) | RDS (Radio Data System) | Resistive touchscreen | Resolution | Ringer ID | Ringing profiles | Ringtone | Roaming | ROM (Read-Only Memory) | RS-MMC (Reduced-Size Multi Media Card) | RSA (Rural Service Area) | RSS (Rich Site Summary) | Ruggedized (Rugged)
S60 user interface | SAP (SIM Access Profile) | SAR (Specific absorption rate) | Screen protection | SD (Secure Digital) | Secondary camera | Sensors | Side Keys | SIM | SIM lock | Single-Band | Skin | Slimport | Smartphone | SMIL | SMS (Short Messaging Service) | SNS (Social network service) | Soft keys | Soft Reset | Speed Dial | Stand-by time (battery life) | Stereo Speakers | Streaming Video | Stylus | Sub-QCIF | SVGA | Symbian | SyncML
Talk time (battery life) | TCP/IP | TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) | TEST | Tethering | Text messaging (texting) | TFD (Thin Film Diode) | TFT (Thin Film Transistor) | Theme | To-Do list | Touchscreen | Trackball | Transflash | Transflective | Tri-band