Nokia plotting Symbian laptops
MC400* route to keeping up with the Androids
Nokia has plans to put Symbian onto laptop computers, with the vendor predicting converged devices were likely to appear in as little as five years from now.
CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo confirmed the mobile vendor's plans in an interview with the Finnish National Broadcaster last night.
"We don't have to look even for five years from now to see that what we know as a mobile phone and what we know as a PC are in many ways converging," Kallasvuo told broadcaster YLE when questioned about Nokia's aspirations towards the lap. "We are looking very actively also at this opportunity."
Getting Symbian to run on a laptop shouldn't be particularly challenging, especially if you happen to have €500m to throw at the problem, but why one would want to do such a thing is a more difficult question.
Symbian is hugely optimised for lower power consumption, from the ground up, so that should be reflected in a significantly better battery life. It's also now a genuinely real-time OS, so the main CPU could also run a GSM stack - though it's hard to see how that would be an advantage on the lap where space and price are less of an issue.
Symbian already has a couple of decent, Microsoft-compatible, Office packages - one of which even underlines spelling mistakes in blue (which is what computers are actually for) - but it lacks a GUI suitable for the desktop, as well as drivers for the myriad of hardware users expect to be able to drop into their laptops these days.
A comparable experience can be had using the Redfly, or Palm's ill-fated Folio: connecting a decent screen, keyboard, and mouse to a mobile phone is a strange experience. But the maintenance of state between desktop and mobility is compelling - when the website you were halfway through reading on the tube transfers to your desktop screen, there is a pleasing continuity to the experience.
Nokia certainly has a massive manufacturing capability that would give it economies of scale, and the brand is well known enough to make shoppers look twice. Also, having a Symbian laptop might attract developers who would otherwise take their skills elsewhere.
Which brings us to the real reason Nokia is talking about Symbian on laptops - because Google is, and if Android is going to scale up to the desktop world, then Nokia is damned if it's going to see Symbian left in punters' pockets. ®
*Psion's EPOC-based laptop, whose 75-hour battery life remains unbeaten, though to be fair it couldn't underline spelling mistakes.
"Who would want laptop which can not be controlled by user, where the manufacturer decide which application can be installed and which can not, and where user can not even see his own hard drive ?"
Hmm, you've just described an iPhone there ;-)
However that's not a fair comparison because unlike the iPhone, S60 devices do expose a file system (abstracted from the concept of hard discs and flash memory), it's just that areas that are dangerous for users to mess with are hidden (unlike on Windows), and generally there's no simple obvious file manager included on S60 devices, but then on a phone it's not really that necessary. Many apps for S60 will let you browse the public file system however, and not just those dedicated to that task (e.g. office apps etc).
What gets installed and what doesn't is just down to signing your apps. With S60 you aren't restricted by the manufacturer in doing so and essentially you can install whatever you like. Again, unlike Apple where apps are strictly controlled and only authorised apps can be installed officially.
That operators lock down the phones further is another matter, but no fault of Nokia, S60 or Symbian.
All the parts for this already exist - Nokia just needs to design some fancy new hardware for it to sit on.
Personally I think the EIKON interface running on Symbian OS9.1 (or newer) would be fantastic. The netBook was the best device I ever owned, only being let down by the fact they stopped developing it so support for emerging technologies did not exist. I sold mine approx 3 years ago. Everyone who saw it wanted one.
Long battery life, Instant on/off just by opening/closing the lid, keyboard, touchscreen, flash storage = bring it on.
My only concern is that Nokia aren't the company to do this - commercial pressure to release would far outweigh the sort of quality control that we were used to from Psion.
To the people questioning the 75 hour battery life, the article is referring to Psion's MC laptops from the 80s that used the EPOC GUI on SiBO. They did indeed manage such phenomenal batterylife, though I seem to recall some Psion fans of the day complaining because their Organisers lasted for six months on one PP9...
They then complained about the 80 hours of the Series 3 and were up in arms over the choice of RAM largely being responsible for a drop to 40 hours for the Series 5 (though in practice, the best you'd get on a pair of Duracells would be 35), and that was with EPOC's power efficiency so meticulous that the keyboard could go to sleep between the keypresses of slow typers!
And as for the fellow who thinks it a stupid idea, you appear to be yet another one who doesn't understand the difference between the OS and its implementation through a specific GUI on a specific class of device. The Psion netBook and Series 5 of the 1990s are you cues for what to expect from any Symbian laptop.
I wonder how differently things would have turned out if Nokia had used SIBO in the Nokia 9000 after all?
Who would want laptop which can not be controlled by user, where the manufacturer decide which application can be installed and which can not, and where user can not even see his own hard drive ? Symbian signed warrant all this and more. It's a DRM hell for user. Also developers will have to pay yearly for Publisher ID certificate and for each *binary* version , passing torturous ceremony of the signing by "test house". Otherwise app would have limited functionality an a lot of warning during installation. Symbian would be heaven for rootkits - user can not see all of his disk, antivirus software can not be updated fast enough (each new version would have to pass tests by test house and signing) and for hackers symbain is not so hard to crack - all existing versions already hacked.
Old stuff bye now, I suppose
but I have found nothing about Symbia but lots about Linux in the background to this story.
So please explain Bill Ray.
I could suspect some Symbian if the device was a phone too.