The news that Nokia just handed over its one and a half billionth Series 40 phone was interesting - and impressive - and got me thinking and fact-checking. Just how many Symbian-powered smartphones have been sold, in total, i.e. in the last decade? Turns out it's now well over 500 million, i.e. over half a billion Symbian smartphones have already been sold and are... out there in the world somewhere. Some thoughts below.
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Nokia has released its Q4 2011 results, reporting an operating loss of €954 million, with net sales of €10.0 billion (down 21% YoY). Nokia's Devices and Services division's profits were €203 million. Margins in devices and services were 3.4% (down from 12.7 % on Q4 2010 and up from 3.1% in Q3 2011). Total smartphone device sales were 19.6 million, compared with 28.6 million units in Q4 2010 (down 31% YoY) and 16.8 million units in Q3 2011 (up 17%, QoQ).
Even though the QML Store client is now the 'norm' and formally released, the betas continue, with v3.22.044 now supporting in-app purchases, i.e. applications can call the Store client when needed for handling payments. A few screens and links below. Of note is that this client is now built on the very latest Qt 4.7.4 and Qt quick components v1.1, both of which are baked into the upcoming Belle OS update.
The popular JoikuSpot wi-fi tethering utility for Symbian just got itself a big '2012 Edition' product update, now re-implemented in Qt and working just on Symbian Anna and Belle handsets only. More details below, but the main functional changes are better control over who connects to your phone-hosted signal and how much data they use, plus a My JoikuSpot service to keep a log of (and optionally share) when you've connected and what transpired.
Nokia's Maps team has integrated the popular 360Cities database of panoramic photos into Maps 3.6 and Maps 3.8, appearing under 'More' or 'Guides' (depending on version). You can then browse through 360 degree photos shot near you or in the location of your choice, albeit with photos presented as static 2D images rather than the interactive experience offered on the 360Cities web site.
TechRadar has updated its set of camera phone reviews to pitch the N8 against the iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S II, Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc and others - you may not be surprised that, even 15 months after first availability, the N8 still came up as top dog, though the new iPhone also got a special mention or two.
A new version, 1.4.481, of Nokia Social (Social Networking Client) is now available, from the Nokia Store, for Symbian handsets running Nokia Belle. The key changes include a more Belle like UI (toolbar and menus), updated Facebook functionality (notifications, improved photo handling), dedicated homescreen widgets for both Facebook and Twitter, and improved performance.
Sisvel International, a specialist company in managing intellectual property and maximizing the value of patent rights, has bought more than 450 patents originally filed by Nokia. 350 of these cover essential parts of the 2G (GSM), 3G (UMTS/WCDMA) and 4G (LTE) technologies. The other 100 or so cover video encoding optimization technologies. The acquired patents remain subject to certain prior agreements and Nokia is pre-licensed for all the patents as part of the acquisition.
Yes, Nokia is keeping us waiting for Symbian Belle on our existing handsets, but there are a lot of chess pieces to position beforehand - this is a major OS release and will almost certainly require handling via flashing from a desktop computer. In parallel to the (slower) formal releases of Nokia Suite for Windows, there's a stream of betas being released via Nokia Beta Labs. The latest, v3.3.84, includes specific improvements to help make Nokia Belle updates "smoother". No doubt this will evolve into a formal release at some point, but if you want to live on the bleeding edge then grab the new beta here.
In the spirit of my own cardboard (DT-29 copy) phone stand, Aliqudsi, over on My Nokia Blog, has had a brain wave and used two bulldog/binder clips to create a four legged, stable stand for his N8, though it will also work for any other similar device, ostensibly for holding the camera phone up for stable filming, without worrying that it will fall over. Clever stuff...
11 million content items are being downloaded from Nokia Store every day, according to figures recently released by Nokia. This annualises to a rate of 4 billion downloads a year, or 1 billion a quarter. The top five countries for downloads from Nokia Store are India, China, Russia, Brazil and Turkey. The top device is the N8, followed by the 5800, 5233, 5230 and C3.
We've gotten used to all our phones now coming with Gorilla Glass, meaning no more casual scratches and no need for screen protectors. Well, 'Gorilla Glass 2' has now been announced by Corning, its creators, at CES 2012, scheduled to start going into smartphones towards the end of the year, and claimed to be 20% thinner yet as tough as the original, meaning that screens can be brighter and more sensitive when used with capacitive touch technology.
Feeling a little like a TV undercover 'mystery shopper', I picked a UK provincial town and worked my way through their High Street phone outlets. I wanted to get a snapshot of how Symbian was (or wasn't) being represented in the place from which most people acquire phones in this nation. In the process, I was somewhat shocked. However much as some geeks like to attribute failing Symbian sales per quarter to 'technical deficiencies' or 'lack of apps' (both of which are somewhat over-exaggerated), there's a far simpler explanation...
With all the teething troubles seen by the Qt application scene over the last year - at least at the cutting edge, geekier end - there have been times when all of us have had to go searching for and installing certain aspects of the Qt runtimes all over again. FixQt has been a great resource for such emergencies, but now the wider world has discovered a new tool in our armoury: QtInfo, previously available for developers prepared to sign it but now released to the great unwashed via Nokia Store. This reports back on exactly which Qt modules/versions are installed on a particular phone. See below for screens, notes and links.
Nokia Configuration Tool, a Windows PC application for system administrators to manage the settings of Symbian phones through a USB cable or Bluetooth, has now graduated from Nokia Beta Labs and is formally available for enterprise users as version 6.3.