After the general release of Belle Refresh firmware for most of the Symbian^3/Anna generation of smartphones, firmware v111.140.0058 has started to roll out for the Nokia E6 too. Part of the delay was because this device is different in that it has a slightly higher resolution screen, with 4:3 aspect ratio, though there's probably an element of real world testing going on before Belle Refresh hits the rest of the world's E6 product codes.
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Available now for my Nokia N8 (screenshots below) and E7 Communicator, and rolling out around the world for various other product codes over the next few weeks, is Belle Refresh, characterised by firmware version 111.40.xxx. The main improvements for this Symbian release are more widgets, a Music player refresh, plus updates to other core components, including Web and Qt, and fixes for various issues, including the longstanding Flash video playback problem.
Big software house Digia has announced that it has 'signed an agreement to acquire Qt software technologies and Qt business from Nokia'. Once the acquisition is completed, Digia will become responsible for all the Qt activities formerly carried out by Nokia, including product development, licensing and service. Digia 'plans to quickly enable Qt on the Android, iOS and Windows 8 platforms'. As part of the transaction, a maximum of 125 people from Nokia will transfer to Digia, mostly based in Oslo, Norway and Berlin, Germany.
Nokia has released its Q2 2012 results, reporting an operating loss of €826 million, with net sales of €9.275 billion (down 19% YoY). Nokia's Devices and Services division's losses were €471 million. Margins in devices and services were -11.8% (down from -4% in Q2 2011 and down from -5.2% in Q1 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 10.2 million (4 million Lumia), compared with 16.7 million units in Q2 2011 (down 39% YoY) and 11.9 million units in Q1 2011 (down 14%, QoQ).
Nokia Situations, which makes your Symbian phone smarter and is one of our favourite Symbian apps, has gone through an evolution. Following the completion of spin-off negotiations with Nokia, Pastilli Labs, founded by two of the core members of the original Nokia Situations team, has developed an updated version of the app.
In a press release this morning, Nokia has revealed plans to "sharpen its strategy, improve its operating model and return the company to profitable growth". The company will be cutting up to 10,000 jobs by the end of 2013, closing its famed Salo factory in Finland, making a series of targeted investments around location and product experiences, making changes to improve the competitiveness of its feature phone business and making chnages to its leadership team.
Nokia also updated its financial guidance for Q2 2012, indicating that competitive industry dynamics are negatively affecting its smartphone business to a greater extent than previously expected. As a result non-IFRS Devices & Services operating margin will be below the Q1 2012 level of -3%.
AAS special correspondent Ow Kah Leong takes a very first look at the retail Nokia 808 PureView, with photos and some impressions. The 808 is now on sale in his home country of Singapore, so we pressed him into service! This is just initial coverage, to whet your appetite, there will be more from him and from the regular team in due course when review units arrive.
Well spotted by Nokialino, there are new maps available for Nokia Maps, adding latest road information along with extra traffic coverage. Some screenshots below, you will want to seek out a Wi-fi hotspot before checking for the update, since the downloads are large (typically hundreds of megabytes) and can't be done over 3G.
Good to see Nokia porting some of their newer Maps Suite back to fill out the mapping and navigation options on older devices, with today's new v2.0.3 beta release of Nokia Public Transport for all Symbian touch-driven smartphones, including now for the first time S60 5th Edition and (also, some) pre-Belle Symbian^3 smartphones. New for this release are visual improvements, coverage information and extra language localisations.
I've commented before on the size of Symbian's installed base of active users, pointing out that it's larger than most industry commentators would have conceived. However, with Symbian smartphone sales on something of a decline in recent months and with Android device sales still rising, it was clear that at some point the active installed base of the two smartphone OS would switch positions. According to my calculations this happened recently - Android has overtaken Symbian and is now the most used mobile OS on the planet - see the helpful chart below.
Following last week's profits warning, Nokia has released its formal Q1 2012 Results, reporting a non-IFRS loss of EUR 260 million, on net sales of EUR 7.3 billion (down 29% YoY). Nokia's 'Devices and Services' division's loss was EUR 127 million, compared to a profit of EUR 292 million in Q4 2011). Total smartphone device sales were 11.9 million, compared with 24.2 million units in Q1 2011 (down 51% YoY) and 19.6 million units in Q4 2011 (down 39%, QoQ). Gross profit margins on smartphones in Q1 were 15.6% (down from 28.9% YoY). Quotes and comments below.
The roll out of the Nokia Belle Feature Pack 1 firmware update for the Nokia 701, Nokia 700 and Nokia 603 has commenced. The update, which is available over-the-air (OTA), includes new homescreen widgets, improvements to the notification bar, an updated version of the browser (8.2), an improved multi-tasking view, Dolby Digital Plus functionality, and increases the speed of the processor (on the 701 and 700) from 1.0 to 1.3GHz. The update also includes a number of recent application updates, including Microsoft Apps (first phase) and Nokia Maps Suite 2.0.
Ahead of the announcement of its quarterly results next week, Nokia has issued a statement warning that earnings, margins and device sales in its key Devices & Services division will be lower than expected for the first quarter of the year and that there will be little improvement in the second quarter. Nokia's current estimate for quarter one is that non-IFRS Devices & Services operating margins will be -3% (down from expected break even), with similar or lower figures anticipated for the second quarter.
Released in the last hour is the official version of Nokia Maps Suite 2.0, with the core maps component version-labelled as 3.9(4). It's now rolling out to all Symbian^3/Anna/Belle class devices (that have been upgraded to Belle) and without a 'beta' flag attached. Think of Maps Suite 2.0 as the latest versions of Maps/Drive, together with Transport, Weather and some fancy new widgets, all rolled into a convenient update.
A Sunday, and April 1st at that, is an unusual day to launch a flagship product, but Nokia has done this with the new E710 Communicator. Seemingly incorporating some of the best bits of both the N8 and E7, we have, at last, a smartphone that we'll leave no Symbian fan dissatisfied. Press photos and specifications are all shown below.