Nokia today announced Symbian Belle, the latest software update for the Symbian^3 platform. In Belle, the focus is on UI improvements, with extensive changes to key elements such as the homescreen, widgets, status bar, dialogs, notifications and menu system. Belle also delivers further application updates (Web), improved NFC functionality and streamlined software updates.
Symbian Belle will be available first on the trio of new Symbian smartphones that Nokia announced today: Nokia 600, 700 and 701. It will also be made available for the Nokia N8, E6, E7, X7, C7 and C6-01 by download via PC and over-the-air. Nokia will announce the timing of the updates for existing devices closer to availability.
Barranger Ridler is a Windows Phone 7 developer, and was recently asked to join Nokia for a "getting to know you" style event called #NokiaUnfenced. His blog on Nokia's approach to WP7 is worth reading, answering some of the questions about what Nokia is doing to get developers on board for the new devices and OS widely assumed to be coming before the end of the year. No hardware news, but his thoughts on the Nokia touchstones (camera, build quality and software stability) are good indicators of what could attract developers to Nokia.
Nokia's Ovi Store has reached the 9 million downloads a day milestone and is continuing to grow. This follows on from June's announcement that Ovi Store was averaging more than 6 million downloads a day and the 7.62 million mark from last month. The 9 million downloads a day rate annualises to 3.29 billion downloads a year (275 million a month). In addition, AAS' own tracking now shows that Ovi Store has now passed the 2 billion cumulative downloads mark.
Gartner has released a summary of its worldwide analysis for the mobile industry for Q2 2011 and it, as expected, shows that the in-demand Android smartphones have leapfrogged Symbian in the rankings. I've quoted the main tables below, but in summary, Symbian OS's marketshare worldwide is now 22%, with 23.8 million smartphones being sold.
Here's another in my series of interviews with some of the top developers and marketeers in the Symbian (and wider mobile) world. In this case, Jake Levant, from Fring, chatting about fring’s creation, its development, the philosophy behind its programming teams – and fring’s future.
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).
Yesterday Nokia released Qt Quick components 1.0 for Symbian, a UI component (widget) set for Qt Quick application developers and designers. The set provides a ready made set of QML based UI building blocks, that are designed to have the same look and feel as the standard (native) UI. The 40+ components cover the major UI elements including toolbars, buttons, sliders, lists, dialogs and many more.
Synchronica, a UK based company that provides mobile messaging solution, is to acquire Nokia's operator branded messaging business. This business provides a number of American operators with branded email and IM applications and services. In addition, under a professional services contract (outsourcing), Synchronica will take over the development of the related Series 40 client software and the messaging gateway, which is used by both Series 40 and Symbian devices.
There's a fascinating piece over on Nokia Conversations at the moment about a pilot study on how solar power can be 'harvested' to power the next generation of phones and smartphones across the world. We've already got a number of solar powered mobile chargers, the next step is surely to start adding the photo-voltaic cells to the backs of phones themselves?
Nokia has announced that it plans to integrate its NAVTEQ business with its social location (Maps) services and operations. The new Location & Commerce business unit, which will be headed by Michael Halbherr, is tasked with developing the next generation of social location products and services for consumers. It will also continue with NAVTEQ's traditional activities of building platform services for device manufacturers, developers and service providers, but will look to more fully integrate Nokia's deep data assets around consumer behaviour and related community data.
Following on from the intial announcement, Nokia and Accenture have announced they have finalised an agreement for Nokia to outsource Symbian software development and support to Accenture. As part of the agreement 2,800 Nokia employees, 200 less than originally cited, will transfer to Accenture when the deal is closed in October.
Nokia is currently in the process of closing its Nokia branded online stores in a number of countries. The online stores for France, Spain and the Netherlands have already closed and the majority of the others, including the UK, will follow in due course. Nokia has indicated that the closures are part of a company wide overhaul. While the closure of the online stores may be seen in some quarters as symbolic of Nokia current malaise, the reality is that their contribution to Nokia sales was negligible.
Nokia has announced that it has signed a patent license agreement with Apple, ending all patent litigation between the companies. The financial structure of the agreement consists of a one-time payment payable by Apple to Nokia and ongoing regular royalties to be paid by Apple to Nokia. The exact amounts involved are confidential, but the "agreement is expected to have a positive financial impact on Nokia's recently revised outlook for the second quarter 2011", so the sums must be very substantial.
Nokia's Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Rich Green, is to take an indefinite leave of absence for personal reasons. Green joined Nokia in 2010, and was brought into its leadership team in February 2011, reporting directly to new CEO, Stephen Elop. As CTO, Green was charged with overseeing the direction of technological advancement in both Nokia's software and hardware groups. Henry Tirri, head of Nokia Research Center, has been appointed acting CTO.