All About Symbian - Nokia (S60) and Sony Ericsson (UIQ) smartphones unwrapped

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  #1  
Old 04-08-2010, 12:45 PM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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Does the Blackberry Torch shine a light on potential N8 coverage?

I hope the industry are paying attention to yesterday’s launch of the Blackberry 9800 Torch. This was the new Blackberry, the next step up in the portfolio and even at a mid-range price, is being perceived as the flagship device. With a new version of the operating system paired with solid, but not stunning, hardware choices in the processor, screen and memory department, the reaction has been similar to that of Nokia’s N8. Some thoughts from me below.

Read on in the full article.

  #2  
Old 04-08-2010, 01:24 PM
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Time has moved on from the specs being the overriding factor. Yes, they still play a significant role but the user experience is what counts IMO. I quite like what Android is doing, Iphone is really good at giving users a wonderful user experience but Symbian IN ITS CURRENT form is pure and utter crap!! Should be interesting to see what the N8 brings to the table, should it 'flow' and be near or on par with the aforementioned OSs then there might be a light at the end of the tunnel.

As for Blackberry, and I own the 9700, it has nothing interesting to offer aside from its renowned email approach. I don't see anything special on BBs. The Storm editions sucked big time and I wonder how the new OS version will be like. Screen shots or video clips of it tell half the story.
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  #3  
Old 04-08-2010, 01:45 PM
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@Dups! As an ex Symbian user that changed to Android, I can tell you that it is not a huge step from current Symbian to Android. I'm not very impressed with Android, version 2.1 anyway. I was expecting a lot more from all the hype I read. Disappointed. If Symbian^3 isn't at least as good a UI as you can get on Android then nobody has been trying very hard.
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  #4  
Old 04-08-2010, 01:54 PM
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I really hope that Nokia will not follow that dead-end battle with Android and iPhone. Just please calm down with all the criticism, I really want stable new Symbian OS rather than unsuccessful copy of high-end devices. More middle-end devices! not only touch devices. I'm really looking forward for new version of E71 with QT and improved UI. Hope next year.

  #5  
Old 04-08-2010, 02:14 PM
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Steve certainly eluded to this in the article and it is worth highlighting that the numbers game, be it megahertz or megapixels, is often a marketing attempt by a possibly inferior product to bring on the mega-hurt to their competitors by tossing up a smokescreen around their weaknesses.

Let me preface it that I'm one of those multiple device users, with an N97, BB9700 and an iPad 3G/WiFi.

My BB upgrade patterns often are driven by a broken trackball as often, RIM's new devices are, IMO, incremental and cosmetic. I should point out that the cosmetics can be decent as going through four generations of RIM products, there have been tangible feel and quality improvements.

In addition, my BB needs are very specific, it's there to serve a specific purpose, so my demands on it from a personal standpoint are irrelevant.

Many of the new improvements that RIM has deployed to try to recapture or win new "casual user" market share is starting to interfere with what I use it for, similar to how pushing the smartphone envelope has made phones less practical as plain phones, this direction makes me feel that RIM is diluting its own strengths to climb a perceived goal.

That brings me to my peeve on mobile phone development in the last few years. The mad race to make the top smart phone seems to be moving the function of a smart"phone" further and further away from a phone.

Perhaps users feel they don't need a mobile phone any more in the presence of new and ubiquitous messaging and social services, perhaps we never even needed it in the first place.

For me, I miss a smartphone that can just do its namesake right, be a phone first and foremost and put some smarts around the phone feature.

I'm seriously considering taking my N95 out of retirement to be my phone again.

Last edited by mouserider; 04-08-2010 at 02:17 PM. Reason: grammatical error

  #6  
Old 04-08-2010, 02:19 PM
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So tired

I am really so tired of hearing about all the bullshit from the american tech bloggers and so-called experts telling me how crappy the Symbian UI supposedly is. The truth is that it is a _little_ less of a looker compared to iPhone or Android and a _little_ more clumsy, but THAT'S IT!

I have used a N97 for a year now, and since firmware 2.0 it has been one of the most functional and swiss-army-knife-like devices I have EVER had, and I mean EVER! Way more than e.g. a Hero (comparing to last years devices, the N97 is old now) or iPhone in my opinion.

I have also owned several Blackberry's and let me just tell you directly - the Blackberry UI and things like the browser are _nothing_ like S60 5th Edition. S60 5th has always been light-years ahead of Blackberry - hands down!

Symbian^3 in the N8 looks like it has gotten just the amount of refresh it needs - primarily speed and interaction simplification, which is exactly what was needed, nothing more.

Blackberry on the other hand was in need of more substantial update, if you ask me. Looks like ver. 6 of the Blackberry OS addresses a lot of the previous problems, which is good. But I don't think I will ever fall in love with BB...but yeah ver. 6 definitely looks a lot better, no doubt.

  #7  
Old 04-08-2010, 02:56 PM
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The new Blackberry looks okay. RIM are in a difficult position, their OS is far worse than their competitors but most of their customers are quite conservative and would not welcome a radical overhaul. The Torch is a reasonable step forward given the constraints RIM face.

Now on the other hand Nokia users are crying out for an improved OS and UI and willing to give Nokia the freedom to go in and change things to improve the OS. I was initially quite sceptical of Symbian^3 but the more Youtube videos I've watched the better it looks. It's not a radical overhaul, we'll have to wait for Symbian^4 for that, but Nokia does appear to have removed many of the rough edges, simplified the UI where appropriate, and built a phone that appears to be very snappy.

Take the improved UI, add a fastish CPU, plenty of RAM, a fantastic camera, excellent build quality, and a few new gizmos (such as HDMI out and USB OTG), then sell it at a very competitive price. At best the N8 will be widely heralded as a genuinely first-class smart-phone, at worst I would expect it to be generally agreed that it is the best Symbian phone yet. Either outcome is a step forward and to be welcomed.

I'm expecting the N8 to receive a lot of good press, and I'm no Symbian fanboy.

  #8  
Old 04-08-2010, 03:33 PM
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the endless upgrade

I currently see the smart phone market about where the PC market was in the early '90s.The basics have been developed and now there is an arms race on who is faster ,has more extras etc.In the PC race it was a 286 with 512 ram,then came colour ,then came 640 ram then a meg of ram,then came 386 processors then 486 then pentuims and HD's started growing.All this happened very fast over a couple of years, people found the PC that was best for them and stopped upgrading every 6 months,the machines actually became powerful enough to be useful and not just a gadget.
Smart phone are in the same place,for all of their faults Apple started people thinking about the UI when they released the iphone.Now it's bigger screens,bigger storage,endless apps,I mean out of 250k apps how many are actually useful,and more but not always better things to do on the move.I think in maybe one or two generations of smart phone most will have leveled out,be powerful enough and easy enough to do what most people need on the move, and only the most dedicated gadget nut will always need the latest.

  #9  
Old 04-08-2010, 03:38 PM
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I think this is a rather apt comparison. Both RIM and Nokia have a base on which to rely on sales, and thus both can afford to take somewhat conservative decisions, which is what they have done. RIM doesn't rely on consumer sales as much as enterprise sales, and thus what they need to do is convince companies to stay with them rather than jump ship to iPhone and Android. Similarly, Nokia has an economies-of-scale advantage at the low end and has coasted on the strength of its low- and mid-range product lines.

That said, RIM and Nokia's strategies seem aimed more at preservation than growth. The Torch looks like just enough to keep pace with iPhone and Android, which is to say "maintain the same deficit" that they had before iOS 4 and Android 2.2 were released. Similarly, Symbian^3 looks to do the same.

Symbian's UI looks dated. While a lot of the clunkiness has been removed from Symbian^3 (e.g. the double taps, the nesting of menus), it still "looks" like a late 1990s/early 2000s OS. It is unlikely to get the "wow" factor since it doesn't really do anything new. Symbian^4 and MeeGo have more potential to "wow," but only if Nokia aims at besting iOS 5 and Android 3.0, and not simply besting iOS 4 and Android 2.2.

It's interesting that both RIM and Nokia started with strong operating systems well optimized for non-touch environments. Apple and Google started fresh with touch-oriented operating systems. Perhaps it is easier to start from scratch than adapt a non-touch OS, which may explain why Nokia got more buzz from Maemo/MeeGo.

  #10  
Old 04-08-2010, 04:27 PM
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@KPOM, you are absolutely right, to compete with Android/iOS UI, Nokia should create OS from scratch, not redesigning Symbian. Well, actually, saying honestly, there's no such think as creating mobile from the scratch. It's just impossible. Android is not actually an operating system, it uses linux as its kernel/core. It this term we could say that of course Nokia created new OS from scratch - Maemo, which is also not true, because it's based on linux as well. I'm a Symbian engineer for almost 10 years. Believe me or not, Symbian OS is the most advanced mobile operating system. Keep in mind - MOBILE. It doesn't mean that it's the best operating system, but it's really well designed for mobile computing. Probably no other OS will offer better power saving, good performance on slower processors, extremely modular architecture. This OS was really created by people who knew what the mobile computing ment. What most people criticise is UI. And they right, now Nokia must change it, but not to compete with Android or iOS, to create something which maybe should be an alternative to them. Nokia must remember that there are also some other objectives - stability, power consumption, supporting many communication protocols, reliability. Try not to think about mobile computing in terms of UI only.

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Old 04-08-2010, 05:04 PM
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RIM are as much a consumer phone as an Enterprise tool. Their Curve market and following amongst teenagers and students is massive. They are the aspirational device in this group.

  #12  
Old 04-08-2010, 05:10 PM
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@KPOM, you are absolutely right, to compete with Android/iOS UI, Nokia should create OS from scratch, not redesigning Symbian. Well, actually, saying honestly, there's no such think as creating mobile from the scratch. It's just impossible. Android is not actually an operating system, it uses linux as its kernel/core. It this term we could say that of course Nokia created new OS from scratch - Maemo, which is also not true, because it's based on linux as well. I'm a Symbian engineer for almost 10 years. Believe me or not, Symbian OS is the most advanced mobile operating system. Keep in mind - MOBILE. It doesn't mean that it's the best operating system, but it's really well designed for mobile computing. Probably no other OS will offer better power saving, good performance on slower processors, extremely modular architecture. This OS was really created by people who knew what the mobile computing ment. What most people criticise is UI. And they right, now Nokia must change it, but not to compete with Android or iOS, to create something which maybe should be an alternative to them. Nokia must remember that there are also some other objectives - stability, power consumption, supporting many communication protocols, reliability. Try not to think about mobile computing in terms of UI only.
As a Symbian engineer for almost 10 years then, you will be aware that Symbian OS which is based on EPOC32 from Psion, has been using a UI called S60 that was added by Nokia?

And that there are other UI layers that have been used on phones, such as UIQ?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Symbian as an underlying OS. A reworked Symbian UI augmented by Qt would seem to have some serious theoretical potential.

  #13  
Old 04-08-2010, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by KPOM View Post

Symbian's UI looks dated. While a lot of the clunkiness has been removed from Symbian^3 (e.g. the double taps, the nesting of menus), it still "looks" like a late 1990s/early 2000s OS. It is unlikely to get the "wow" factor since it doesn't really do anything new. .
What does Android do that is anything new? What exactly is special about its appearance that is not Blur/SenseUI etc ? Android looks not much difference, in fact to my eyes it looks more childish/toyish.

Have Symbian dropped the ability to theme in ^3 because S60 phones could be themed and look like however you want them to look.

  #14  
Old 04-08-2010, 06:04 PM
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Software

Just because the U.S.A Prefer Android does not mean a thing,an Glad Nokia is moving on the Symbian software at Last,Symbian is so Simple to Use,thats why Nokia are still the Number Mobile Seller,Nokia have now realised they have to show Apple an Android that Symbian an Meego with never be Defeated an are really improving Symbian,an Symbian4 next year an Blackberry mobiles always to wide an screens to Small until they change there design of there mobiles they will never attract me at all

  #15  
Old 04-08-2010, 06:22 PM
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Hmmm

"That said, RIM and Nokia's strategies seem aimed more at preservation than growth. The Torch looks like just enough to keep pace with iPhone and Android, which is to say "maintain the same deficit" that they had before iOS 4 and Android 2.2 were released. Similarly, Symbian^3 looks to do the same.

Symbian's UI looks dated. While a lot of the clunkiness has been removed from Symbian^3 (e.g. the double taps, the nesting of menus), it still "looks" like a late 1990s/early 2000s OS. It is unlikely to get the "wow" factor since it doesn't really do anything new. Symbian^4 and MeeGo have more potential to "wow," but only if Nokia aims at besting iOS 5 and Android 3.0, and not simply besting iOS 4 and Android 2.2. "

-- Am I to understand that the Android 2.2 and iOS does something new compared to Symbian?

If that is the case, I strongly disagree. I am a developer for said platforms, and I can assure there is absolutely nothing new in Android 2.2 and iOS. Esspecially Android has been sub-par compared to Symbian, before it's 2.2 upgrade.
And using cosmetics as an argument for "doing something new" is just plain stupid.
 

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