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Nokia And Everything Symbian(latest News) by Chikago(m): 10:03am On Sep 10, 2013
The Microsoft buy-out: is there an impact on the
Symbian world? Published by Steve Litchfield at 14:19 UTC, September 5th 2013 It seems that Tuesday's news of Microsoft buying Nokia's devices arm, lock, stock and barrel, generated something of a storm of comment,
mostly on conspiracy lines. But, this being All About Symbian, I wanted to address the question
of whether the news will have an direct impact on
the Symbian world. Read on for my thoughts. Before looking at Symbian specifically, having had
a mountain of questions aimed at me (Steve),
wondering about my thoughts on the whole
saga, I should say that I don't agree with the
outright conspiracy theorists, claiming that the
last three years (the fall in market share and share price, the relative underachievement of
Windows Phone and the sale to Microsoft) were
all pre-planned - it's clear that no one could have
foreseen all of this in detail. However, as did many
others, there were signs all along that Microsoft,
Nokia and Stephen Elop did at least have this outcome as one of the likely possibilities. For example, the use of "Lumia" rather than a
Nokia device number or letter combination (as on
all the feature phones and Symbian devices)
could have been a response to Samsung's
"Galaxy" brand on Android. Or it could have been
a forward looking decision that meant that "Lumia" could possibly be passed on, seamlessly
to another manufacturer brand, in this case Microsoft ? [Ditto "Asha", by the way] Similarly, the rebranding of "Nokia Maps" to "HERE
Maps" on non-Symbian platforms also seemed a
little odd at the time, but with hindsight it makes
total sense, since the maps side of Nokia has
been free to expand into other markets (e.g. cars
and HERE Auto), especially now that 'Nokia' as a company isn't free to make phones for a few
years. But, I don't want to get too bogged down in
smartphone OS politics here. Stephen Elop's first
big move at Nokia was, of course, to publicly slam Symbian in a 'leaked' memo and then announce that Symbian was to be End-of-Lifed and Windows Phone to be Nokia's main smartphone
platform going forwards. Since then, we've had
several new Symbian smartphones (notably the
Nokia E6, 700, 701 and 808 PureView), numerous
platform updates (Belle, Belle Refresh, Belle
FP1/2) and a mountain of patches and updates, but these do seem to have slowed significantly in
recent months. Nokia originally claimed that support for Symbian
was planned "until 2016". In terms of hardware
repair and online support, this sounds about
right. Most Nokia Care Points (e.g. here in the UK) run as independent franchises and they'll be
happy to deal with warranty repairs or, more likely
at this stage considering device ages, take user
money for commercial repairs, so not much will
change here with Microsoft running the (mainly
Windows Phone) show now. Nokia-run Care Points and support centres will apparently 'be transferred to Microsoft' and 'customers won’t
actually experience any difference'. Even the official online (support &wink discussions forum sees the majority of responses coming from either other users or Nokia employees in
their spare time. Most the latter will now work for
Microsoft but their motivation hopefully won't
have changed too much. And official
representatives, though already re-trained in
Windows Phone/Lumia matters, will still retain their Symbian device knowledge. What of the Nokia Store, the first port of call for
Symbian applications in the last few years? From
a very shaky start, the Store client and the server
functions improved markedly, to the point where
the user experience was at least in the same
ballpark as the iPhone and Android app stores, even if the range of applications and games was a
lot smaller. Already (mid 2013) we're seeing
some commercial applications and games pulled
from the Store, presumably because the
developers are trying to simplify the range of
platforms that they support, while more and more (Asha-friendly) Java applications are appearing in
the lists for Symbian too. Most of us have experienced download errors
from the Store this year, often repeatedly, plus
strange search results at times (my favourite is to
search for "cutetube" and have the Store return
"Not found: did you mean 'cutetube'", etc!) I
doubt that the Store will suddenly disappear in terms of server functions - after all, the Store still
works fine for old S60 3rd Edition handsets, even five years after the phones appeared. What I
do expect to see is a gradual thinning of decent
commercial applications and more developers
offering install files on their own sites, either
instead of on the Store (as with Track@Way) or in addition to it. With Symbian being totally open in
terms of file system, it's actually very easy to
install applications from such sources and the
major hassle is perhaps for developers wanting to
monetise their apps, since they'll have to rely on
payment systems on their own sites. As more and more developers go down this route, hopefully
AAS and other curated lists will play a part in linking Symbian users to the best applications
and games out there. Although we don't expect any significant new
firmware updates to roll out of Nokia for any
Symbian hardware from this point on, it should
be noted that, for the technically minded, there
are options (e.g. here) for those wanting to try out custom firmwares, which continue to improve
and impress. Sales and new device launches are, of course,
irrelevant, since the Nokia 808, from over a year
ago now, was declared to be the last Symbian-
powered device and, we believe, the last Symbian
devices to be made have also been shipped.
Trying to buy a brand new Symbian smartphone from official channels is tricky now and most still
available are from resellers trying to clear stock.
(Happily, there's also the usual thriving second
hand market.) It's not clear what will happen to after-market
accessories, though supply of hardware that's
specific to Symbian (e.g. the OMTP multimedia headsets) is already low and (again) resellers clearing stock online are the best bet. If you have
been eyeing something up, grab it while you can? In summary, the current situation for current
Symbian smartphone owners and for developers
is unlikely to change much with Microsoft's buy
out of Nokia's phone business. The deal has
happened so late in Symbian's life that it's largely
irrelevant. Aspects which were already declining will continue to decline, etc. And aspects which
are currently self-sustaining will carry on being so. It should be emphasised, of course, that
smartphones, their OS and applications all have a
life beyond whats currently on sale in shops.
There are still around 100 million people in the world using Symbian smartphones on a daily
basis and All About Symbian will be here to bring news of applications, directories, custom
firmwares and anything else of interest. Posts
may not be as frequent as they were in 2010 and
2011, but we. Will. Be. Here.
Re: Nokia And Everything Symbian(latest News) by alabosian(m): 11:35am On Sep 10, 2013
hmmmmmmmm i pity my N8
Re: Nokia And Everything Symbian(latest News) by Youngpo413: 11:58am On Sep 10, 2013
Smh for nokia
Re: Nokia And Everything Symbian(latest News) by Damon03(m): 1:02pm On Sep 10, 2013
Link it back to the source bro

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