We knew this day would come, but didn't think it would happen so soon. After January 1st, 2014, Nokia is no longer accepting either new applications or updates for existing apps into the Nokia Store. The email, sent out to all developers today, is quoted below, but my first impression is that the refusal to allow app updates is something of a contravention of Nokia's stated intent to "support Symbian until 2016". After all, without the facility to update apps to maintain compatibility with the wider world and to respond to security issues and bugs, the Symbian ecosystem is rather left in the lurch.
Recent News - Editorial Thoughts
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.
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.
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.
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).
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...
Part two of the first 'live' recording of the 361 Degrees podcast, which took place just after the close of Nokia World, is now available. Rafe Blandford (All About), Ewan MacLeod (Mobile Industry Review) and Ben Smith (Wireless Worker) take questions on the current state of the mobile ecosystem from an invited audience of bloggers and mobile gurus.
You might have noticed that the team behind All About Symbian launched a new web site today. All About Windows Phone is now live and already stocked with content, covering Nokia's other smartphone platform going forwards. We did think a few words of reassurance appropriate for the AAS audience, however - we're not going anywhere!
Nokia has released its Q3 2011 results, reporting an operating loss of -€71 million, with net sales of €8.980 billion (down 13% YoY). Nokia's Devices and Services division's profits were €132 million. Margins in devices and services were 2.4% (down from 11.3 % in Q3 2010 and up from -4.2% in Q2 2011). Total smartphone device sales were 16.8 million, compared with 27.2 million units in Q3 2010 (down 34% YoY) and 16.7 million units in Q2 2011 (up 1%, QoQ). The results were ahead of expectations and suggest the company has started on the road to recovery.
As every other news outlet is reporting this morning, we awoke with the announcement that Steve Jobs had passed away after a long battle with cancer. Although not a Symbian story per-se, there's a lot about Jobs which affected the way the industry and even the world of Symbian in recent years. Here are a few short thoughts.
The roll out of the Symbian Anna software update for the Nokia N8, C7, E7 and C6-01 has now started (the editorial N8 now has it, over the air). It is now available in key European and Asian markets including the UK, France, Russia, Indonesia, China and India, with additional markets to follow shortly. Key features of Symbian Anna include virtual QWERTY keypad in portrait mode, split-screen text input, an updated web browser, stronger security, an updated icon set and improved Maps functionality. Plus the Nokia C7 gains activation of its NFC chip. Changelog below.
Nokia has released its Q2 2011 results, reporting an operating loss of -€487 million, with net sales of €9.275 billion (down 7% YoY). Nokia's Devices and Services division's losses were -€247 million. Margins in devices and services were -4.5% (down 14% YoY and down 14.2% QoQ). However, non-IFRS operating profit was €391 million (down 41% YoY and down 44% QoQ), with Devices and Services non-IFRS profit at €369 million, and margins at 6.7%. Total smartphone device sales were 16.7 million, compared with 24 million units in Q2 2010 (down 34% YoY) and 25.2 million units in Q1 2011 (down 31%, QoQ).
Phones Show 144 is out this morning - and I mention it only because the main feature is my hands-on video review of the Nokia E6. Rolling in all my thoughts on this device into one easily-digested nine minute chunk of your time. Summary: it's the best built phone I've ever handled - yet I still can't recommend it to everybody. See below for the embedded video and salient links.
Nokia Live View, an augmented reality browser, has been released by Nokia Beta Labs for Symbian^3 devices. It works as an add-on for Ovi Maps, giving a new way to search for and explore Places around you. Place icons, drawn from the Ovi Maps database, are overlaid on a 'live view' (from the camera) to represent their physical location, providing a connection between the digital and physical world. As you pan the phone around, the live view changes and new places appear.
An updated version of the the Symbian Design Guidelines, recently published on Nokia Developer, shows the future look and style of the Symbian UI, which is scheduled to be delivered as part of the next Symbian update. The update, which is likely to be called Symbian Belle, offers one of the biggest visual changes in Symbian's history (for AVKON UI at least), although, in UI terms, it is more of an evolution than a revolution.