Having received what we knew to be the last new Symbian-powered device in summer 2012, it was somewhat amusing to see the rest of the tech world making a big thing of Nokia actually saying this in its recent results announcement. Not only that, but expressing every opinion from 'Symbian finally dead and good riddance' to 'Symbian declared dead but here are all the devices we fell in love with over the last decade'. Symbian nostalgia in the tech press? All very well and good, but I contend that all of these sites and their writers are missing the bigger picture here. As it turns out, Symbian is emphatically not dead after all, and here's why.
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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.
We hear time and time again how iOS and Android are streets ahead of the competition in terms of availability of applications and I've even done a few repostes of my own, a while ago. Time for a new snapshot though, looking at the top 30 Android applications and their availability or equivalency on the Symbian and Windows Phone 8 platforms, representing our readership here on All About Symbian and All About Windows Phone. Summary?
Not wishing to embarrass the current crop of 1080p, 5"-screened, quad core-processored superphones, but in continuing to play with something altogether older and humbler, I can't help but reflect that the latter meets my needs and 'shopping list' for a perfect phone far, far better than the latest 2013 flagships. Prepare to be shocked. Then laugh. And then cry....
Following previous head to heads, many people asked for a comparison between the Nokia N8 camera and that in the Lumia 920 with the PR1.1 camera fix in place. Furthermore, others wanted a direct comparison between shots from the Lumia 920 and industry-standard cameras like that in the new Samsung ATIV S (or Galaxy S III). Finally, I couldn't resist throwing a wild card into the mix with the Meego-powered Nokia N9. Four top camera-toting smartphones, which one will emerge victorious?
It's true, I'm something of a rebel - you can count on me to disagree with the accepted wisdom of the rest of the smartphone world fairly often. Camera phones with real Xenon flash, for example. And I've mused on the trend towards ever-bigger phones before, but with CES 2013 now upon us and 5" and 6"-screened 'phones' now a reality, I find that I just can't stay silent. These monstrosities may well be 'phones' to the well-heeled twenty-something geeks, but to every day mums and dads, and to people who really are mobile, the size rather gets in the way. Having tried everything on the market, I'm convinced that the sweet spot for me is smaller. A lot smaller.
It's all very well trying to defend your choice of a Symbian-powered handset to your friends and family in 2013 - and I'm sure you have your own arguments. But, in case you'd like a URL to point them to as well, here are the top 10 common objections to using Symbian - and my answers! This is no rah-rah fanboy piece, note - I've tried to be competely honest in my appraisal, as you'll see from the conclusion...
I've published several 'how to' pieces in the past dishing out general smartphone photography tips, but for this 'how to' I wanted to take the example of a single great photo and put you inside my mind as I prepared for it and captured the moment. Hopefully some of the things I cover will help you take your own great photos, whatever smartphone you own (the example here was captured on the Nokia Lumia 920, but there are several other phones with great photographic hardware).
In our previous head to head shootout between the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Symbian-powered Nokia 808 PureView, concentrating perhaps more on static, lower light situations, the newer 920 just failed to pip the larger-sensored 808 to the crown. Since then, there has been some justified criticism of the 920's image processing for bright daylight scenes - now fixed for many people across the globe with the PR1.1 update (firmware starting 1232.5951...), which dials back the noise reduction and also fixes some messaging and Wi-fi issues. With the camera fix in place though, I headed out on a winter's day and put Nokia's latest Lumia 920 fix to the ultimate test...