Monday, 3 October 2011

And the Symbian saga continues..

Over last one year, Nokia has faced repeated onslaughts from smartphone market. Lack of innovation on OS front led to sharp eroding of its smartphone marketshare. Once seen as an innovative handset maker globally, Nokia’s fall from grace was an eye-opener for many, who considered operating system as secondary to hardware specifications. Jolted out of its dream, Nokia immediately set out for a course correction, ditching its famed CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallusvo, who was seen by many as ‘Steve Jobs of Nokia’ and hiring an ex Microsoft technocrat, Stephen Elop at its helm. It also allied itself with Microsoft, picking its newly launched Windows Mobile 7 as its saviour in the age of smartphones. It also announced an end to further development of hugely popular Symbian operating system as it was faring poorly among the glitzy Android powered handsets boasting capacitive touchscreens and hugely superior touch screen experience. It also hived off its Symbian development team to Convergys and also signed an agreement with it to continue providing support for devices running on Symbian OS to sometime in 2016.

However, since then, Symbian has seen three new major revisions. The first one was the launch of Symbian^3 aboard Nokia N8, which failed to grab eyeballs despite having top of the line hardware specifications. The main reason behind lukewarm response to Symbian^3 was lack of dynamism in its UI as opposed to Android and iOS operating systems. The next one was a version update to Symbian^3, code named Anna, which tried to enhance the visual appeal of Symbian^3 by adding new icons set, a new web browser and virtual QWERTY keypad in portrait mode. Released in August 2011, the update has already been made standard a wide range of devices launched this year.

                                                 Symbian Belle UI

September 2011 saw another major OS revision when Symbian Belle was showcased by Nokia aboard its latest series of smartphones – the Nokia 600, 700 and 701. The Belle further improves the looks of the UI by introducing increasing the maximum number of homescreens from 3 to 6, adding redesigned free form widgets and the most important one – making the device NFC capable.
                                     Nokia 600       Nokia 701       Nokia 700

                                                     Tour video

A new drag-down Android-esque notification bar has been added on the top of homescreen providing easy access to Bluetooth, WiFi and other notifications. However, Belle’s prime purpose appears to be Nokia’s push towards a NFC enabled mobility. The NFC or Near Field Communication is a type of wireless connection increasingly seen as a technology to convert smartphone into your mobile wallet. The technology lets two devices conduct encrypted data transfers, usually over very small distances, say a few centimeters. Hence, with NFC enabled handset, you can just swipe your handset over cash register to pay your bills.

Mobile geeks already seemed to have moved over Symbian Belle and speculations are rife in blogospere about the next update of Symbian^3, putting the release date Q2 of 2012. Wishlist is long and include WiFi hotspot capability, more intuitive UI, live wallpapers etc..etc..etc.. It may be interesting to note that Nokia may also be following the pattern of releasing OS updates in alphabetical order like Android. So, now it might be the turn of ‘Symbian C…’ to hit your smartphones! Guess on guys!Nokia phones

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