2007 - the year in review

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Rafe takes  looks back at the happenings in the Symbian world in 2007 on a month by month basis.

In our first year in review article (2006) I said the year had been the busiest ever for Symbian.  Not surprisingly, 2007 now takes that accolade. There's been more activity than ever before and with new versions of UIQ and S60 on the horizon, ever increasing software and service options and more external competition, I'm sure that trend will continue into 2008.

In 2007 here, on All About Symbian, we published more than 1,750 unique pieces of content, and had our busiest year ever with 27 million human visitors (just under 15 million unique - depending on how you count them). We published more than 50 pieces of multimedia content which were, in total, watched around 1.5 million times. Thanks to all our readers - we would not be here without you.

And now here's a look back at some highlights from the Symbian and Mobile world in 2007 as seen through AAS:


January was one of the busiest months of the year. We started the year with Ewan's review of the W950 - Sony Ericsson's first Walkman UIQ phone. It was the first Symbian phone to offer a large amount of internal flash memory - 4GB - setting something of a trend for later in the year. Meanwhile Steve was pimping up his S60 phone and Mobile Office was released for UIQ 3. At CES, Nokia, with Rafe in attendance, announced two new Nseries smartphones, the N93i - a tweaked version of the N93, and the N76 - a slim flip phone in the vein of Motorola's popular RAZR line. Nokia also announced a collaboration with SixApart to allow you to blog directly to the Vox service from your Nseries phone. Also at CES was the formal unveiling of Yahoo Go . At the same time, Steve Jobs made something of a splash when he announced the iPhone at MacWorld, but Nokia didn't mind - regarding it as confirmation of their strategy. Steve thought the iPhone show a new direction for the industry to follow while Ewan was a bit sceptical that the iPhone really was 5 years ahead as Jobs claimed. AAS Podcast #10 with Rafe discussing Eseries with Antti Vasara proved to be one of the most popular of the year. The CA-100 USB charger arrived, which was a boon for travellers everywhere. Symbian introduced PIPS (PIPS is POSIX on Symbian) aimed at helping developers port applications more easily. In the middle of the month, Steve reviewed the new Nokia N93i. DoCoMo introduced six new MOAP phones including the intriguing dual screen D800iDS. Steve and Rafe review Quickoffice 4 (review later updated to 4.5 and then 5.0) and come away impressed. Steve also reviewed another essential road warrior tool - Pdf+. Rafe offered the first preview of the Nokia N95. To finish off the month we found out about UIQ's developer competition.


February was busy as ever, thanks to the usual run up to 3GSM and of course there was the event itself. At the beginning of the month, Nokia Research Centre released the first version of Wellness Diary. Sony Ericsson completed its acquisition of UIQ Technology, heralding something of a resurgence for the UIQ software platform. Rafe offered up his video review of the N95 (which racked up 750,000 views in 2007). The launch date of the next generation N-Gage was suggested to be September though this date was never official. Ewan delivered his final verdict on the W950, while Rafe reported on UIQ Fast Track from the previous year. S60 announced the first details of S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 and Steve looked at the evolution of the UI over the years. Nokia announced the beta release of Nokia Maps (based on Smart2Go), a free mapping and navigation solution. Nokia Mobile Search also got its formal general release. UIQ announced an updated version of its software platform - UIQ 3.1. NTT DoCoMo, with its partners, announced its intention to develop the next generation of its software platform, including primary support for Symbian OS, on the SH Mobile G3 chipset. T-Mobile chose S60 as one of its preferred software platforms. Opera announced the latest version of its mobile browser. At 3GSM, with Rafe in attendance, Motorola returned to the Symbian fold with its UIQ powered banana slider the MOTO Z8, Rafe offered a hands on preview of the attention grabbing phone and UIQ were quite pleased too. Nokia announced the Nseries N77, a DVB-H handset with moderate specifications. There was also the announcement of the E65, a slider phone with a focus on enterprise communication, but it also proved popular with consumers as a solidly built S60 phone. Also in the Eseries camp was the announcement of a tweaked E61, the E61i which offered slimmer lines and the addition of a camera. The biggest splash from Nokia was the announcement of the much anticipated new Eseries communicator, the E90, which received a mixed reception. The mobile phone group of Nokia didn't want to be left out so announced the Nokia 6110 Navigator, a GPS equipped S60 phone that offered premium navigation features. Meanwhile LG renamed the JoY the KS10. Symbian announced that it had shipped 51.7 million phones in 2007, taking the installed user based to 110 million. Sony Ericsson announced its intention to fully license UIQ to others and invited licensees to take a shareholding in UIQ. Back from 3GSM, Rafe posted a detailed preview of the Nokia E90 (Steve added in his thoughts too) before moving on to the E61i preview (with Ewan's assistance).


March might not have been as busy as the first two months of the year, but there was still plenty going on, not least the release of a new version of Symbian OS at CTIA. We kicked off the month with an in depth review of the Nokia E65. GluMobile announced their intention to develop for the next generation N-Gage platform as did India Games. Krisse offered a long term review of the N800 Internet Tablet and the implications for convergence. Nokia Software Update grew up and became more widely available. The first hint at a mysterious N-Gage game, Project White Rock, was posted on the N-Gage Blog. Steve reviewed the N73 Music Edition. The first version of Nokia Sports Tracker was released along with a new version of Nokia PC Suite. The first murmurings of the Google Mobile phone were heard. Rafe previewed the Nokia N77 Mobile TV handset. We looked at the winners of the UIQ Open developer competition. An alpha release of Python for UIQ 3 was announced. Steve reviewed the breakthrough N95 on the Smartphone Show. Rafe and Steve posted the first parts of their N95 reviews. Forum Nokia announced the launch of their own Wiki to help create community documentation. To finish off the month Nokia announced the Nokia 5700 Xpress Music phone with its distinctive bottom twist.


The dog was on hand to help provide sample photos from the N95 at the beginning of April as the N95 coverage continued. The Open C SDK plug-in was made available via Forum Nokia. Steve demoed video editing on the N95 in an AAS video podcast. The MOTO Z8 climbed Everest. Nokia released iSync plug ins for a number of S60 phones. Palm were reported to be working on a new software platform for their devices - Linux based. Nokia released Nokia Video Manager to help get videos on to its phones. S60 announced that Web Run-Time technology, also known as widgets, would be a part of the next version of the platform. Nokia announced the 6120 Classic, reaching down to a new lower price point and market position. NTT DoCoMo announced three high end MOAP-S phones. Krisse gave us a detailed review of the newest S60 clamshell - the Nokia 6290. At the S60 Summit it was announced that 100 million S60 phones had been shipped. Also at the Summit Samsung announced the SGH-i400 - a slim and trim slider. Our coverage from the S60 Summit included a look at Samsung's S60 strategy, operator relations with S60 along with a review of some of the demos from both the hardware and software side. Steve compared the HTC Advantage and E90 in a head to head.


May kicked on with Ewan taking an in depth look at the E61i. The Nokia N75, the first US specific S60 phone, becomes widely available in the US. Sony Ericsson announces the P1i, which is a departure from the traditional P- series flip design, but has a nice feature set, AAS delivered the usual preview and photo gallery from the launch in London. Steve, continuing his communicator quest, looks at the E90's camera and multimedia capabilities. Symbian announces that 20 million Symbian powered phones have been sold in Japan. We take a closer video look at some of the cutting edge MOAP-S phones from Japan. DVB-H, a mobile TV technology, has its first proper launch - in the major cities of Finland. Krisse road tests the BH-501 Bluetooth stereo headset. The Z8 gets closer on horsemen (a rather spiffy advert). Palm announce the Foleo, which later gets canned.


We started June with a video review of the Sony Ericsson P1i. Krisse reviewed the Nokia 5700 music phone. The Python runtime on S60 really started to mature with its 1.3.22 release. 4GB SDHC cards started to make an impact. Media Transfer for Mac OS was released in beta, it enabled Mac OS X users to get music, images and video on to and off their phone more easily. Krisse compared two mid tier phones, one from S60 and one from Series 40. The E90 started shipping and was available to buy in select stores. Sony Ericsson announced the W960, the second UIQ Walkman phone, and some chunky Bluetooth watches. WiBree was adopted into the Bluetooth family. In a sign of things to come, Nokia offered a major update to the firmware of Nokia N73. Esmertec, Penrillian and Scalado joined the UIQ Alliance Program. Nokia Mobile Web Server points to the way of the future. Opera Mini 4's first beta was made available. Nokia announced it would be reorganising its corporate structure from January 2008. Steve reviewed the fingerprint magnet, otherwise known as the Nokia N76. The N95 went for a flight to do aerial photography. Map Loader for Nokia Maps was improved, it helped keep map download costs down. Krisse reviewed the 6110 Navigator and Rafe got his hands on the MOTO Z8. Europe standardised on DVB-H. Ewan revisited an old favourite - Lifeblog and Steve talked about the importance of assisted GPS. Nokia launched an XpressPrint service in Europe, which allowed you to order prints directly from your phone.


At the start of the month, Nokia made Mail4Exchange officially available for Nseries devices, but Ewan was rather taken with Google's Java Gmail application. We continued our in depth look at the MOTO Z8 from an application stand point and from a multimedia view point. The iPhone launch coverage was everywhere. AAS reviewed the Nokia 6120 - the smallest S60 device so far, it remains one of our favourite devices. Eseries support was added to Media Transfer for Mac after user feedback. NTT DoCoMo launched four mid tier MOAP-S phones, including a water proof Fujitsu model. Ewan reviewed iPhone 'applications' on the N95. Python for S60, PyS60, comes out of beta. A-GPS is added to the N95. AAS compares the E61i, Treo 750 and the HTC S620 and then compared Google Maps and Nokia Maps. Steve discusses ultra convergence. Steve took a closer look at Nokia Download! application. DataViz offered free office viewers for the Z8. We cased the N95. Steve looked to the future and saw something a lot like an iPhone. Nokia bought media sharing / hosting service Twango. Digital Chocolate announced it was bringing casual games to the N-Gage platform. Quickoffice Premier reached version 4.5. Steve compared the P1i, E61i and N95 before discussing an Outlook free alternative for sync - MobiCal.


We asked whether an N95 can replace a PC - not just yet was the answer. We explored the back story to the MOTO Z8. Krisse took a detailed look at the possibilities enabled by TV-Out. Nokia announced it would be supporting Microsoft's PlayReady DRM in future Nseries devices. The Convergence Zone joined the S60 Blog family. We found 8 ways to get weather information on your phone. Nokia had a major battery problem. Rumours of Samsung S60 devices surfaced. Rafe reviewed the Sony Ericsson P1i. Quickoffice released Adobe Reader 2.5, offering a much enhanced PDF experience. N-Gage got a new logo . Nokia announced support for Windows Live on Nokia devices in select markets. AAS reviewed several software based free navigation solutions. India became Nokia's second largest market. Nokia MOSH got its public launch, it's a social network based around sharing media. Nokia launched a whole range of music accessories for its phones. Capcom jumped on the N-Gage band wagon as did Vivendi and our own All About N-Gage was relaunched. Symbian opened a research and development centre in China. Nokia announced the N81, the N81 8GB and the Nokia N95 8GB at the GoPlay in London. The N-Gage next generation platform got its formal introduction. Also announced was the Nokia Music Store service and, most importantly of all, Nokia's new strategic direction under the Ovi brand. We offered an array of multimedia content and comment.


We were still digesting the GoPlay event at the beginning of September with podcasts, editorial and more. Symbian PIPS showed its potential with a Quake port. Nokia Beta Labs got going with a version of Download! for PC. Steve cased the E90. We previewed the N81 in video, including the N-Gage functionality and then we did the same with the Nokia N95 8GB. Zach gave us a real world usage test of five push email solutions. Steve checked out Active Notes. More Samsung and Motorola devices rumours surfaced. Steve compared the N95 8GB and the iPhone. Nokia announced the smallest S60 phone so far - the Nokia Eseries E51, stand alone GPS were also shrinking. Nokia launched a beta of a threaded SMS application via Beta Labs. The North American version of the Nokia N95 was launched and it was announced it would be sold SIM-Free through a number of offline and online retailers. Nseries US had a big party to celebrate the launch. Nokia's Mail4Exchange version 2 received its premiere. The month was rounded off with more N-Gage coverage.


October kicked off with the announcement of Flash Lite 3 by Adobe and news of Nokia's biggest ever acquisition, Navteq, for $8.1 billion. Symbian announced it would support ARM's SMP (symmetric multi processor) architecture in future versions of the OS, promising power savings. Version 3 of Nokia's Share Online application was made available through Nokia Beta Labs and was swiftly followed by Device Status. Garmin launched Mobile XT, a navigation solution for smartphones. Nokia acquired mobile advertising company Enpocket. Mobile Web Server got its own blog. Telefonica became the first operator to sign up to Nokia's Ovi service platform. Mippin launched. Just in time for the Symbian Smartphone Show, UIQ reconfigured its partner program, Google launched a native Symbian version of Google Maps. The day before the show, Sony Ericsson and Motorola announced that Motorola would be taking a 50% stake in UIQ. The big news on day one of the show was the preview of S60 Touch and Samsung's public launch of the i450, i550 and i560 S60 phones. Other show news included Symbian's ScreenPlay and FreeWay, RedFiveLabs .NET runtime, DreamSpring's DreamLife application, new and cheaper offerings for Symbian Signed, Office 2007 compatibility announcements from Quickoffice and DataViz, news of a Mobile Python book, demos of Demand Paging, the StyleTap Palm OS emulator for Symbian, and the release of Handy Calendar. After the show, Steve got his hands on the N95 8GB and offered a fully illustrated review. Worldmate was made free for UIQ 3 users. There were updates from MOSH, auto screen rotation for the N95 via third party software and continuing coverage post-Symbian show. At the end of the month, Nokia launched version 4.0 of Mobile Search and Forum Nokia took the lid off its new community features.


November saw the launch of the UK Nokia Music Store. The next generation N-Gage platform was delayed until December. NTT DoCoMo announced 12 new MOAP-S phones, including a cameraphone marvel from Sony Ericsson. Steve gave his first impressions of the N81 8GB. Google announced a new mobile software platform, Android, and an accompanying alliance. Ewan chatted to UIQ's CEO. Vodafone signed on to Ovi. Opera Mini 4 was released. Ewan published his review of the Nokia N81. Light Sabre for the N95 was released. Steve reviewed the Nokia E51. Rafe took a closer look at S60 Touch, the UI Accelerator Framework and the Sensor Platform. Nokia announced its latest Nseries handset, the N82, with 5 megapixel camera and Xenon Flash. The Carnival of the Mobilists reached its 100th Edition. PHP and MySQL were said to be heading towards an S60 phone near you. The new look Nseries PC Suite (version 2) had its first beta release. Version 2.0 of Nokia Sports Tracker was released, with accompanying web site. AAN previewed the Nokia N81 for its gaming features. The Nokia N81 boy band saga rolled on (our favourite bit of marketing of the year). We looked at the refreshed Nokia E61i. Ewan gave us the definitive guide to mobile RSS readers. Google Maps got location support (from GPS or network cell). The BBC reported that landlines faced extinction.


Flash Lite 3 became available for developers to start testing applications. AAS Insight, a discussion based podcast, gets going. Star Wars comes to the N-Gage. At the Nokia World keynote, we heard more details on Ovi and Nokia's future strategy. Also at Nokia World was the announcement of Comes with Music which looks set to shake up the music industry, Nokia Internet Radio was released and Nokia acquired Avvenu. Italian operator TIM signed on to Ovi. Team AAS were on top form on Quiz Night. We recorded a podcast with a whole group of Nseries bloggers and S60 devotees. Nokia Channels becomes available through Beta Labs and Nokia Research Centre releases Activity Monitor. Nokia offers a glimpse of the next episode. The improved version of Symbian Signed goes live. Creebies for N-Gage was announced. N-Gage was going to start in trial form, but didn't. Dirk Spanner, a detective game, was announced for N-Gage. Quickoffice Premier version 5 was launched with Office 2007 support. emTube, a YouTube client application was made available as freeware. The Nokia N82 started shipping. AAS helped its readers spice things up for the New Year.

Rafe Blandford, All About Symbian