Nokia accidentally unveils OS it should have had in 2009
Shy, lovely Symbian Belle debutante expected
Nokia is expected to unveil the a major refresh of its Symbian OS today, bringing it bang up to date with competitive phones from two years ago. Owners of more recent Symbian^3 models should be able to update their handsets eventually.
Nokia unveiled a teaser for a mystery announcement of "something new for Symbian" on Monday. But in a typical cockup, the teaser itself solved the mystery, with a Flash file located in a directory called "
Four new devices are expected to be unveiled – either today, or very shortly.
The Belle update should keep loyalists happy for some time to come. Performance and usability appear to have been improved greatly. A new Android-like notifications UI is evident, a very malleable home screen improves on the clumsy and archaic rigid widgets. Scrolling and switching between apps is smoother. There's also a new camera UI. In short, there's nothing here to repel users in the way previous models have done. Nokia went into battle with a cumbersome UI and under-specced hardware, and saw Android-rivals steal its market share.
But timing is everything, which both Meego and Symbian have discovered long after they should have done – and after the company switched strategy. They're too late to help Nokia build an "ecosystem" of developers and content companies around the platforms. Even if Nokia's software managers and their visionary strategic bosses hadn't let the company down so badly, it would still have been a challenge getting mindshare from Apple and Google. ®
I've seen this running on an N8 and it is STAGGERINGLY good. Elop must've seen this before he made his dumb call, what was he thinking ? Admittedly it's a long-time too late but it could've been the start of a fight-back for Nokia - they built a lot of good-will and I reckon a lot of people would keep with them without Windows but with it.
They HAD an ecosystem around Symbian
It was growing (Ovi Store downloads now 9m+ a day). The developers serving the Symbian ecosystem would have helped serve MeeGo too, and vice versa.
Nokia destroyed it by switching to Windows Phone, which doesn't have an ecosystem worth talking about.
The latest Symbian Belle update would easily have allowed Nokia to remain competitive in the mid-range for a good while to come. The fact Elop knew this just makes his shockingly inept announcement killing Symbian on Feb11 so much worse as it was completely unnecessary.
The uncertainty around Symbian already drove me to Android.. My old handset died and I needed a phone NOW... and didn't have the luxury of waiting to see what Symbian crumbs fall from the Nokias table. My partner has just ditched the last Nokia in this house.. a steaming pile of N8something that has been consistently disappointing throughout its life.
Nokia lost at least 4 sales to this family alone.. looks like Elops plan to gut the company so it can be assimilated by Redmond is progressing nicely. We wont be back.. unless the Nokia board/shareholders grow some and sack Elop and start making decent hardware again running on a decent o/s.
I've just got back from driving around Europe with my N8 velcroed to the dashboard. Ovi Maps provided faultless, offline GPS navigation while the Music Player shuffled thousands of MP3s held on a standard USB memory stick, with the N8's FM transmitter pumping everything through my car's sound system. And of course I took countless snaps and videos with the 12mp autofocus camera.
Featurewise the N8 seems to outgun iPhone and Android, and with (at last) a decent UI I don't think I need to upgrade for at least a couple of years. Except perhaps to an E7...
I've still got 13 months left on the contract for my N8
I'm nervous there's not going to be anything approaching a phone that suits my requirements as much as this by the time I come to renew my contract. Namely the awesome camera, built in 'free' worldwide GPS and ability to play pretty much every movie standard out of the box. Anna was an ok upgrade but Belle looks awesome.