Feeds

Android will sink Symbian

It's the UI, stupid, analyst warns

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Symbian needs to cut to the chase and sort out its user interface, the organisation has been warned.

The call comes from Gartner "distinguished" analyst Nick Jones who points out that while Symbian's still colossal market share is vanishing at an ever greater rate, the organisation behind the operating system still doesn't appear to have figured out why.

It's the UI, stupid, to coin a phrase.

That's Jones' argument, at any rate. Apple and Android deliver much better user experiences, and while Symbian 3 is a step in the right direction, phones equipped with Symbian 4 won't be out until well into 2011.

Apple is making a virtue out of touchscreen ease of use. Android is trying to do the same, and if it's slightly less good at this kind of thing than Apple is, at least it has many more manufacturers lined up to not only promote Android-branded handsets but also add alternative GUIs to it.

The Symbian Foundation, on the other hand, appears more obsessed with what's going on under the hood, says Jones.

He's right. Symbian the OS grew separately from the UI, a conscious plan to allow phone vendors to differentiate their devices at the user interface level but have a single, well-developed OS underneath. That made sense when the only serious rivals were basic proprietary OSes in feature phones and Windows Mobile - say no more; look how its clunky, old fashioned UI has sunk it - and allowed Symbian the OS to develop without worrying about then unnecessary things like visuals.

Now that approach has turned round to bite it on the rear end. As Symbian's roadmap shows - it talks about audio policies, cloud integration, better multitasking, multiple personalised home screens, HDMI and Wi-Fi - the Symbian Foundation is stuck thinking about what's going on behind the screen not on it.

But it's largely what's on the screen that, at the moment, is selling handsets, smartphones in particular.

Jones reckons that this inability to move beyond the methodology of the past will be Symbian's undoing, and likens the Symbian Foundation's tinkering to "re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic".

And if Apple doesn't sink it, Android certainly will. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.