For the first time in living memory - well, ok, since the dawn of smartphones, a decade or so ago, there will be no new Symbian-powered devices launched this year at Mobile World Congress (née 3GSM). 2012's show saw the launch of the last ever Symbian smartphone, the all-conquering Nokia 808 PureView. And, as I've mused before, what a way to go out. Looking at the smartphone world of 2013 though, Symbian-free for the first time in terms of announcements, I wonder how the products being launched now compare with the classic devices already in our pockets.
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The trendy thing to talk about in the smartphone world is 'market share', of course. Thinking about the industry as 'business', its' all about current sales, how many units were shipped in the last few months, how much profit was made, and so on. Flip this on its head, looking at smartphone platforms from the user's point of view though, and a slightly different picture emerges. What I consider below is the 'active installed base' of each platform, i.e. the numbers of compatible handsets being used on a daily basis around the world.
The E7 was the first of the Symbian^3 generation to get 'pimped' by me, but it's the device in most need of Tender Love and Care, in my opinion. Especially so as, updating this article in early 2013, the E7 represents an almost completely unique form factor, one that's been abandoned by the rest of the industry. And this update is driven by the arrival of several software updates and enhancements, plus my own hardware experimentation. The E7 is still highly rated for design and build quality and the tips and pointers here should help any owner to get just a little more from their device.
We're well into 2013 now and I'm hearing anecdotes from round the world about how few Symbian-powered phones people are seeing on the streets. Regardless of where the estimated 100 million+ current users actually are, I still find my main SIM in the Nokia 808 and I know there are many other happy(ish) Symbian users still reading this site. Which brings me to how practical it is to use a Symbian device (let's go with Belle Feature Pack 2 phones like the Nokia 701 and 808, since they're the newest and fastest) in 2013, surrounded by 5"-screened, quad core Android monsters. Here, at least, is a slice of how I get by. Your comments welcome!
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?
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...
Back in January 2011, almost two years ago, and just before the infamous decision by new CEO Stephen Elop to switch Nokia's strategy away from Symbian and Meego and towards Windows Phone, I identified 5 things Nokia was doing wrong with their smartphone hardware and no less than 10 things it was doing wrong with the software. Below, I take a look at how Nokia did, set in the context of a company somewhat crippled by moving resources away, throughout the two years, from Symbian (as discussed here) to its newly adopted platform.
You can't move in our corners of the Internet without some debate springing up about which is best: hardware keys, virtual keys, T9 or Swype. It's almost a religious thing, with devotees of one solution or another. So I thought I'd devote a little effort to a data point for each system, in my hands at least. Yes, personal preference will play a huge part in the solution you end up with. But which, from a statistical point of view, is fastest at the end of the day?
Although games continue to appear for Symbian, as of late 2012, it's safe to say that most of the best ones have already now appeared - begging the question of which are/were the best, at least for the touchscreen generation? If you've just picked up a Nokia 808 then where should you start in your search for gaming? We're not talking thousands of top games, as on iOS, but there are still plenty of decent leisure titles that are well worth investigating. Here's a crowd-sourced top 20!