You may remember that I featured the Top 10 Most Beautiful Symbian phones a while back? This is the exact opposite, a condemnation celebration of the very worst in cosmetics, practicality and pocketability... This is Symbian wierd, or at least as weird as phones linked by a common software platform can get. From the freak show below, see how many of the phones you owned - a prize (or at least major sympathies) if you owned the lot!
Recent Features - Series 60
With Symbian firmly in its twilight years but still very much alive, I'd like to gather a little data, for all our interest, on the generations of Symbian-powered hardware still in active use. It's unlikely that everyone reading this owns a Nokia 808 PureView, but just how far back do you all go? Are there still readers actively using a d-pad driven Nokia N95? Any Nokia E90 users still? See below and add your tuppence worth! [UPDATED]
It's all very well looking at flagship devices, the household names that always get the glory - but what about the rest? The unsung hero devices that didn't cost the earth, that never claimed to lead the field and yet which provided the maximum functionality and reliability with a minimum of fuss. Here then are my top 10 smartphones that punched above their weight over the last decade in the Symbian world.
"Not another article singing the praises of the Nokia 808 PureView?", I hear you cry. Well, yes, but a thought occurred to me as I rooted through my growing Symbian hardware archive, looking for something specific. For the last ten years, every Symbian user/fan has had to compromise, to a greater or lesser degree, in choosing a device. With the Nokia 808, I contend, this landmark (and last) Symbian-powered phone also represented the end of having to compromise. At all.
The feel of cold hard metal in your hand - there's nothing like it. The quality, the sense of something very special. I reviewed the Apple iPhone 5 recently and declared it as much an item of jewellery as a phone, which got me thinking. Which Symbian-powered phones from the last decade have impressed as being utter triumphs of fashion over functionality? Not necessarily metal (though that plays a part), but smartphones which have looked a million dollars and not really lived up to the valuation. Here's my top 10. Or should that be bottom 10? I guess it depends on your priorities!
File this under 'middle of the night musings', but it's a question I often ask myself. 'How far could I go back in Symbian history and still have a device which filled all my needs today in 2012?' After all, there are some functions which (e.g.) the 2007 Nokia N82 does a heck of a lot better than 90% of today's oh-so-droppable, oh-so-expensive touch-slab smartphones, albeit with a less obviously pleasing UI. But how far could I go back? At what point does the antiquity of the hardware and software get in the way?
I've been over Nokia's greatest mistakes before, but there's another elephant in the room that needs addressing. It was a hot topic of debate back in the early days of Symbian and the ramifications of what was decided then worked themselves out in the following twelve or so years. Branding. I contend that Symbian as an OS has always been fighting a massive rearguard action - if the name itself had been allowed as much prominence as Android and iOS and Windows Phone have now, I suspect that Symbian's trajectory might have risen a lot higher and extended further.
I didn't have to think too hard about how to apostrophise the headline - after all, Nokia was using the term smartphone for its Symbian-powered devices a full five years before Apple and Android came along and the American tech press decided that the word needed reimagining. However, both approaches - which I've commented on before - are valid, and I thought it worth assessing where we've got to as we head towards the end of 2012. Was Nokia's definition right all along? Or is a modern 'smartphone' much smarter after all? I look at the two ultimate exponents of the two definitions, the Nokia 808 PureView and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
I think I shocked a few people when I declared, back in January, that the feature at the top of my shopping list when choosing a smartphone was a loud speaker. I did justify this, mind you, before quoting a few phones from all platforms in some sort of best-worst order. What I'd like to do here is go further, keeping the list to just the Symbian world, this being AAS. Which Symbian phone will be at the top of the tree?
The period 2001 to 2011 should be celebrated, it's the decade when the humble 'mobile phone' become more, so much more. And it's worth noting Nokia's part in this transformation, with five things listed here that the company absolutely nailed in the fight to give us more and more powerful phones. But I also can't let such a retrospective go by without a similar attempt to identify the five biggest mistakes that Nokia made, leading to its somewhat troubled existence in the smartphone world of 2012.