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.
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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.
Well, in contravention of my headline, actually these data technologies and speed aren't totally irrelevant. But they are most of the time, as I'll explain below. In fact, the whole concept of needing ultrafast mobile data all the time is horribly flawed, but it turns out that such data is, at least in part, a kludge solution to something our intelligent smartphones are supposed to be doing for us all the time, when we're not actively using them...
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!
Forgive me for going all generic and chatty and, for once, abandoning technical details and platform specifics. For this topic is applicable to all phone of all prices and OS persuasions. Well, maybe not all prices, as you'll see. I'm, quite simply, intrigued by the eternal battle between style and protection. Let me explain...
You may remember, a year and a half ago, that I waxed lyrical about a bunch of subtle design points in the Nokia N8 that were usually unappreciated? What do you know, I've found ten such points in the Nokia 808 design too - find them illustrated and annotated below. Turns out that, like the N8, the 808 PureView 'is even better than you think'. For those that agreed with my recent 'No compromise' piece about the 808, this won't come as a major surprise, of course....!
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.
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.