Nokia expects to update the UI of its Symbian devices in early 2011, with a new portrait-orientation QWERTY keyboard and split-screen text input, as part of an attempt to improve "the visual appeal of the graphics" and hopefully win back a few hearts. That's the message from Jo Harlow, Nokia's Senior VP of Symbian Smartphones, who told Engadget that the move to bring Symbian development back in-house will lead to faster iterative developments for handsets like the N8, C7 and E7. Meanwhile there's also talk of MeeGo's potential, and not just for smartphones.
While Harlow says that MeeGo is being primarily considered, from a Nokia point of view, for high-end smartphones with form-factors such as the E7, the OS "is encompassing more than just what we have historically thought of as the phones business." Intel, Nokia's partner with MeeGo, will be pushing their own angle of course, something which Harlow describes as part of the open-source OS' "value".
Meanwhile new Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is a confirmed speaker for the Mobile World Congress 2011 keynotes, joining Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, NTT DoCoMo president Ryuki Yamada and RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie for a talk titled "Connecting the Dots - A 360 Degree View on Consumer Electronics." Whether the "truly compelling connected lifestyle device" tipped in the talk description will include the surprise unveil of Nokia's first MeeGo product remains to be seen.