Today is N8 day here on AAS, launching with the news that, now available in most markets for the Symbian^3 generation devices like the Nokia N8 and E7, most of which have been successively upgraded and should now be using Belle Refresh firmware, is a 'Upload to SkyDrive' enhancement. This is a much expanded version of a photo uploader which appeared briefly a year or so ago. In this case, your contacts are also (optionally) uploaded to Microsoft's free cloud service. Screenshots and details below. Taken with the Nokia Suite changes in the last year or so, it seems that Nokia really is trying hard at last to help Symbian die hards transition over to Windows Phone and Microsoft services. How's it doing? Your comments welcome.
Recent News - Page 2
Following on from a preliminary set of results, Nokia has now released its full interim Q4 2012 results, reporting an operating profit of €439 million (up from -€954 million in Q4 2011), with net sales of €8.041 billion (down 20% YoY). Nokia's Devices and Services division's operating profit was €276 million. The margin in Devices and Services was 7.2% (up from from 3.4% in Q4 2011 and up from -19.2% in Q2 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 6.6 million (4.4 million Lumia, 2.2 million Symbian).
Nokia today announced that its Q4 2012 results will be better than previously expected, with the key Devices & Services division's non-IFRS operating margin expected to be between break even and 2 percent. Previously the company had indicated this would be -6%, with a +/-4% range. Nokia also currently estimates that it sold 6.6 million smartphones (4.4 million Lumia, 2.2 million Symbian) in the last quarter. Mobile phone sales were 86.3 million, and, of these, 9.3 million were Asha full touch devices, which are sometimes classified as smartphones (in which case, a total of 15.9 million smartphones).
Google has announced the end of life for Google Sync, which was designed to give access to Gmail, Google Calendar and Conatcts via Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol. Starting from January 30th 2013, consumers will no longer be able to set up new devices using Google Sync, although existing connections will continue to function. Below, I explain what impact, if any, this will have on Symbian users.
Never mind the appallingly old YouTube client which still sits decadently in the Nokia Store (and should have been pulled years ago), it's good to see Google's YouTube HTML5 site now serving up an even better version for all mobiles, but specifically Symbian - the existing site (featured in my story here) was very fiddly to use. Screenshots of the new version are below, along with proof that the version served up for Symbian is now identical to that for Windows Phone and Android.
Nokia has released its Q3 2012 results, reporting an operating loss of €576 million, with net sales of €7.239 billion (down 19% YoY). Nokia's Devices and Services division's losses were €683 million. The margin in Devices and Services was -19.2% (down from 3.1% in Q3 2011 and down from -11.8% in Q2 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 6.3 million (2.9 million Lumia), compared with 16.8 million units in Q3 2011 (down 63% YoY) and 10.2 million units in Q2 2012 (down 38%, QoQ).
Nokia Music, the online music store that has limped along with a largely web-based client for so many years, has now received a slick new Qt-based client for Symbian phones running Belle Feature Pack 2. Early updaters to FP2 may have noted that the 'Nokia Music' icon didn't do anything after updating - this not only fixes things, it provides a whole new music browsing and buying experience, screenshotted below. Proof that Nokia is still actively developing first party software on Symbian?
Nokia is pushing an application update (not a firmware update), via both the Nokia Suite desktop application and Software Update mobile app, to Symbian devices that have not yet received the Nokia Belle Refresh update. The application in question is called Homescreen Widgets, and adds a set of widgets that were seen in the Refresh update.
Nokia Store, the application and game download service for Nokia's Symbian and Series 40 devices, now serves more than 16 million downloads a day and has reached a cumulative total of 6 billion downloads. Just over half the daily downloads comes from Series 40 devices, with the remaining downloads mainly coming from Symbian devices.
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.
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%.