Category: Strictly Symbian


Around January 2011, the blogosphere was abuzz over the “Burning Platform Memo” by Nokia’s new CEO, Stephen Elop.

The following is an excerpt from that clarion call of a memo:

Nokia, our platform is burning.

We are working on a path forward — a path to rebuild our market leadership. When we share the new strategy on February 11, it will be a huge effort to transform our company. But, I believe that together, we can face the challenges ahead of us. Together, we can choose to define our future.

The burning platform, upon which the man found himself, caused the man to shift his behaviour, and take a bold and brave step into an uncertain future. He was able to tell his story. Now, we have a great opportunity to do the same.

Stephen.

This memo set the stage for what was a turning point for Nokia.

Stephen Elop decided to stake Nokia future on the Windows Phone platform and had simultaneously, announced the termination of Symbian.

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I feel something terrible has happened.

The Symbian faithful were shocked and outraged by the announcement. The release of the Nokia N8 and the streamlining of Symbian after its rather protracted “open-source” incubatory period with the ill-fated  Symbian Foundation had given the OS some hope of renewal.
Of course, the new CEO was branded as a trojan horse, sent by Microsoft to acquire Nokia. Detractors felt Stephen Elop’s days in the company were numbered.
Two months post  announcement,the death of Symbian appeared greatly exaggerated as the company announced plans to support Symbian handsets up to 2016. However, the development and support of Symbian was being transitioned to Accenture in a move to focus Nokia’s time and resources to Windows Phone. This was a confusing period for company as mixed announcements were sent out from Nokia’s PR department.

Nokia, towards the 2nd half of 2011 went on an active rebranding exercise. Ovi services were being rebranded as Nokia services(a  logical but belated move) and the upcoming iterations of  Symbian were being christened with names such as Anna, Bella and Carla. The name Symbian was eventually dropped in favour of Nokia. Again, a step in a branding consistency.

The Nokia N9 was announced in June 2011 and marked a new phase in the company’s design DNA. The unibody construct of the Nokia N9 became the basis for the Nokia Lumia 800 and 900 Windows Phone devices. The Nokia N9 became a one-off MeeGo Harmattan device for the company and marked an end of an era.

“You have taken your first step into a larger world.”

January 2012 led to the introduction of Nokia Lumia 900 series at CES,Las Vegas where it was awarded Best of Show in the mobile phone category. This was a positive response to the company in the United States as the latter has been an elusive market to the Finnish handset maker.
Last week saw the rollout of Nokia Belle to devices such as the N8 , C7 and E7.
Now, there are rumblings of the Nokia 803, the last Nokia Belle( Symbian) device that is possible successor to the Nokia N8. This device is meant to be the last Symbian device from the Nokia.
Thereafter, it is Windows Phone all the way.
In the battle of mobile ecosystems, Symbian lacked the edge in comparison to iOS and Android.
Nokia’s choice of Windows Phone was the best bet the company could make as it has a genuine opportunity to strike a new identity with the flegdging OS. Windows Phone has not gained much traction and Nokia coming on board may  give Windows Phone the attention it needs.Definitive success is something that can only be seen in the medium to long term.  The company from Cupertino still holds sway over consumer mindshare and it is a tough one to beat.

“In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.”

Whatever said and done, there is no denying that Nokia is forging ahead with renewed vigour and a clearer roadmap.

May the force be with you.

Nokia announced a new update to its Symbian platform in a Hong Kong event.

In keeping with the feminine nomenclature used by Nokia, this latest update is called “Belle”. The version before this was called “Anna”

Three new devices running Symbian Belle was released  at the event. These phones have taken on the new naming conventions and are called the Nokia 600, 700 and 701 respectively.

All three phone have a 1Ghz chip and 512 MB of RAM. The later specifications are more than capable to run the already system efficient Symbian OS.

These devices have arrived on Malaysian shores and are priced very competitively and are aimed squarely at mid to low-tier market.

The Nokia 701 costs RM1230, the Nokia 700 costs RM1025 and the Nokia 600 costs RM740.These prices are SIM-free and in my opinion, offer good value for money.

All these devices come with  Near Field Communications on board.

I have not had the chance to toy with the Nokia 701 ( as I most curious above its “Brightest screen” claim) as this devices packs a wide range of features including its claim of having the “Brightest screen” out there.

Symbian is apparently is still alive and well.

Links: Nokia Conversations, All About Symbian

Eight film makers were given two Nokia N8s and a $5000 budget to come up with a short film.

The winning piece is an endearing short called Splitscreen.

Additional contraptions such a modified steadicam was used to mount the N8. Apart from that, the N8 (as per stipulation of the contest) was the prime video camera used in filming the piece.

The Nokia N8 still amazes me in terms of its image capture capabilities. It falls short in the internet browsing department but it is still a great all in one device and a robust one at that.

Click here for the video. You will be impressed.

This piece of news has been floating in the tech blogosphere since February.

Symbian OS has been given a support time frame by Nokia. The initial tech buzz was that Symbian will decline beginning 2012. However, in an interview with the Chinese edition of Nokia Conversations, Stephen Elop, Nokia’s CEO indicated that support for Symbian will continue till 2016.

The devices are far from being discontinued as a few products have been lined up, mainly serving the mid tier segment of the market. Nokia will continue with Windows Phone OS as its primary device platform and will mostly likely stop production of Symbian devices at some point before 2016. The latter point is somewhat hazy as there is no definitive sell by date for Symbian. The time frame could change significantly in response to market pressures.

The development of the Symbian OS has been handed over Accenture to free up Nokia’s main priority at present, which is Windows Phone. MeeGo is still there somewhere as it is a platform that is meant to cause future disruptions(a term used by Elop) in the mobile sphere.

In the meantime, Symbian is still alive and will be taking on new avatars. Gone are the Symbian^3, Symbian^4 nomenclature. Nokia has decided to take on a feminine naming scheme with the future releases of Symbian, the first amongst them being Symbian Anna.

Symbian Anna is supposed to bring some notable under the hood and UI changes. It will arrive July onwards for devices such as the N8,E7, C7 and C6. Devices such as the X7 and E6 will ship with the new software in board.

ZOMitsCJ has posted a video demo of Anna running on the Nokia X7 and it is worth a quick look.

Whether this will aid the sales of Nokia’s Symbian devices remains to be seen.

The intrepid team at Anandtech reviewed the Nokia N8 recently.

Considering that they are US  based website, their review of the N8 was surprisingly fair and one of the best I’ve read on the N8.  They go into the more technical aspects such device’s chipset, rationalizing Nokia’s component choices of the device.

They like the device, caveats and all. It is not surprising as the Nokia N8 is feature packed device and it would certainly appeal to the more technical minded amongst us.

Click on this link for the review.

Symbian Foundation’s Executive Director Lee Williams steps down.

Citing personal reasons, his position will be assumed by Tim Holbrow who was the foundation’s Chief Financial Officer. The original vision of the Symbian Foundation was to form an open source consortium with a set of handset makers who would make devices running the Symbian OS, pushing the OS to a wider range of users across various devices.

Handset makers such as Samsung and Sony Ericsson have recently announced that they do not have plans for building Symbian handsets for the foreseeable future, focusing their efforts on Android and Windows 7 instead.

The inability of the Symbian Foundation to attract other handset makers, coupled with the lack of interest from their existing members could have been a major reason for Williams resignation of his position.

The fate of the Symbian foundation now rests in the hands of Nokia who may reacquire the OS and work on it in house rather than leave exist under a separate firm.

Nokia and now the Symbian foundation are going a major change in management and this could likely slow down the software development of its Symbian and MeeGo OSs.

Every company goes through phases such as these and Nokia will likely come out of it and move ahead with their software and product roadmap. They are far from dire straits.

In fact, there was a company in dire straits ( almost flatlining) in the late nineties which has made a turn around to become a market leader in tech.

It was and is still called Apple.