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Nokia rests Symbian's future on a bunch of muppets

Sesame Street pals star in eBooks for handsets

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Nokia has released two interactive books documenting the happy-go-lucky lives of Sesame Street's residents, while apparently failing to notice that it has no tablet computers and has given up on Symbian.

The free titles, 100th Day of School and Big Block Party, are in the Ovi* store, but only for Symbian^3 handsets. Most of those will connect to a big-screen TV, which is important as the books are designed to be read as a shared experience - this is harder to do while squinting at a small LCD. But the books would look a whole lot better on a tablet screen, if only Nokia sold such a thing.

But even if the company does eventually create something with a display big enough for sharing it won't be running Symbian, as Nokia is committed to Windows Phone 7 for its premium devices – which is why Nokia Labs is working with the makers of kids' programmes to get the books ported to the Microsoft platform.

Nokia has been working with the people behind Sesame Street for the last couple of years, and in 2010 began testing a remote-reading application that allowed children to connect with distant parents, but this is the first tangible fruit of the collaboration. That fruit is being given away free, so one can't help wondering if it's a result of internal pressure to produce something, rather than any market demand.

So rather than paving the way with applications for a forthcoming tablet computer it seems more likely the give-away marks the finishing up of old projects and getting something out to prove that Nokia can still innovate if given the chance.

But if you've got a Symbian^3 handset, and a small child or two, then that's to your benefit, and you should certainly take a look. ®

Bootnote

* That should be "Nokia Store", but the URL is still Ovi as the brand proves surprisingly hard to eradicate.

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