Yes, we knew that the Nokia 808 PureView will come with Symbian Nokia Belle Feature Pack 1, but questions like 'Which other devices will get this update?' and 'What's in it?' spring to mind. Over on Nokia Conversations, a few more morsels have appeared officially. Here's what we now know.
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Nokia has announced planned changes at its factories in Komarom (Hungary), Reynosa (Mexico) and Salo (Finland), to "increase efficiency in smartphone production". These three factories will now focus on "smartphone product customization" and device assembly is expected to be transferred to Nokia factories in Asia, where the majority of component suppliers are based. Around 4000 employees will ultimately be lost.
The roll-out of Nokia Belle (i.e. Symbian Belle) for existing Symbian^3/Anna devices has started across the world, with most devices (here's the official Nokia Belle rollout status checker) getting an update via Nokia Suite to firmware v111.030. There's no OTA (over the air) update available this time because of the complexity and size of the update, which means the latest Nokia Suite on a Windows PC is required. Nokia is enabling the update, product code by product code, across the world. (Story updated again, with list of known issues).
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.
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...
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...
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.
After months of BBC iPlayer downloads that wouldn't play, following a DRM change on the BBC's servers, it seems that Nokia and the Beeb have worked out the problem, releasing a 'WMDRM DLA iPlayer plugin' for many Symbian smartphones. At least, those based in the UK, presumably worked out via network or IP. As with similar updates, the gradual nature of the roll out means that you may have to wait a little longer for this to appear in your copy of Nokia Suite.
Thanks to a reminder from WebProNews, it's instructive to look again at the smartphone world via StatCounter, a pro service embedded on many web sites which tracks the browser and OS used to access them. And, reflecting the still enormous installed base of Symbian-powered smartphones across the world, Symbian still (for web access, at least) still dominates the world, at 31%. The full graph is below, along with some comments.
Although Nokia hasn't officially ever claimed a specific date for updates to Symbian Belle for existing Symbian^3/Anna smartphones, many people (including me) had been hoping for the update to start appearing this month, a hope fuelled by the demonstration of all current models running Belle at Nokia World and by Belle firmware appearing on firmware flashing systems. However, we've now had official word, quoted below - the bottom line is that a little more patience is required.
Anecdotally, the Proporta chargers have been hugely popular amongst my Phones Show viewership and 'All About' readers generally - and there's a new monster version now available, clocking in at a stunning 7000mAh. The Turbocharger 7000 has two USB output ports as usual, along with a facelifted exterior, weighs only 175g, and comes with charging heads for all major phone and gadget ports and a carrying case. Watch this space for a full review.
Not Symbian-related directly, but I did note that Nokia has launched 'Nokia Maps Creator', aimed at letting people make small edits or additions to existing maps - and edits are available to all Nokia Maps users 'immediately'. Initially, this is only for 'previously unmapped' countries, but it's possible that moderated edits might come to other countries in time. Some links and quotes below.
Andrew Orlowski's posts on Psion, Nokia and Symbian over at The Register are often a rollicking read, especially for geeks interested in Symbian's past. This five page article is all about Hildon, the UI (and indeed 'platform', or so argues the piece) that was evolved to Series 90, used in the Nokia 7710, and which underpinned a revamped Series 80, used in the Nokia 9500 and 9300. One for Symbian historians, definitely!
When the Nokia 701 was announced, I leapt up on its specification with my editor's hat firmly in place. "BL-5K battery, 1300mAh" read the press release. Having owned the Nokia N86 and having played with the C7 and X7, all with the same battery, "that's got to be a typo" I asserted and insisted that Rafe fix it to "1200mAh" for our news story. As it turns out, the Nokia 701 ships with a new 'variant' of the BL-5K that we haven't seen before, rated at "1300mAh". Have there been chemical tweaks inside?