Linked by Hadrien Grasland on Thu 17th Feb 2011 17:49 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless So the writing is on the wall. In a very bold move, Nokia's new CEO, Stephen Elop, has decided to fully ditch Nokia's migration plan for the past few years and have the company embrace his former employer's operating system, Windows Phone 7, instead. This noticeably implied getting rid of two competitors, Symbian and the upcoming MeeGo, which were both put on the road to slow death. This article aims at saying goodbye to an old citizen of the mobile space who's now heading to its grave: Symbian. (Warning: Rant ahead)
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I thought...
by vaette on Thu 17th Feb 2011 18:14 UTC
vaette
Member since:
2008-08-09

I honestly thought that Symbian would pull through, that Nokia could do an WP7-like transformation on it (after all, WP7 is still the good old Windows CE kernel, though a more modern version, with the .NET framework, Silverlight and XNA running on top to create a modern interface, and was built in a very short amount of time). I am still not sure if it really was technically infeasible, but Nokia either way failed to do so for many years, so it seems fair to say that it wasn't going to happen the way they were doing it at least.

Interestingly one of the many Nokia plans (http://nokiaplans.com for anyone who have someone missed the meme), Plan I, actually suggests that the Symbian team inside Nokia was a big part of the problem getting a modern OS together: http://nokiaplani.com . Overall Plan I has some interesting thoughts.

Reply Score: 3

RE: I thought...
by segedunum on Thu 17th Feb 2011 18:29 UTC in reply to "I thought..."
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Plan I is exactly what I suspected. Qt then came in via Meego and they then embarked on some half-arsed implementation of Qt on Symbian that took forever to produce any results.

It always seemed that the Symbian side of the company became very protective of itself against Meego, Android or the notion of any Linux based OS. In a way Symbian brought it upon themselves, but the right strategy was to go Linux and do what was necessary to maintain some control over their platform.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: I thought...
by Neolander on Thu 17th Feb 2011 18:40 UTC in reply to "RE: I thought..."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

the right strategy was to go Linux and do what was necessary to maintain some control over their platform.

Hmmm... I think we've already seen how capable Linux is on current phone hardware. It only works well on handsets which cost the price of a good laptop, and barely last longer than said laptop on battery ;)

I've really got nothing against Linux on high-end phones, but on mid-end phones it's simply not right at the moment, and will probably remain so for a long time.

Thus, as long as Nokia did not want to become Apple and only sell high-end hardware, or to become LG and stop caring about the quality of user experience and start to shove Linux on hardware where it obviously doesn't run well, Symbian had to somehow remain part of the equation. Nokia could also work on a Linux-based system in parallel (which they did), but they couldn't fully dump Symbian that easily.

Edited 2011-02-17 18:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I thought...
by Moredhas on Thu 17th Feb 2011 22:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I thought..."
Moredhas Member since:
2008-04-10

But haven't they just doomed themselves to a high-end only strategy? You never see a Windows phone now with a CPU less than 1GHz, and pretty soon, those will be obsolete (providing manufacturers of WP7 handsets jump on the Tegra 2 bandwagon. Does WP7 even support multiple cores?). I don't know about other countries, but in Australia at least, Nokia is what people want when they want something that's just a phone. Every customer of mine thinks Nokias are easy to use (an opinion I don't share - they only think they're easy to use because all they do is talk and MAYBE text), and if Nokia are moving to a WP7 only future, it will be the death of their dumbphone market, the one place where they have clear supremacy over other companies.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: I thought...
by l3v1 on Fri 18th Feb 2011 07:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I thought..."
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

an opinion I don't share - they only think they're easy to use because all they do is talk and MAYBE text


Hell, it's a phone... One of my cousins recently bought a ~10 year old Nokia, replaced the batteries and is a happy camper. I understand him, if you want a phone, which you actually use for real communication (yeah, that is voice) then simplicity, small size, and >7 days of battery is a real blessing.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: I thought...
by aliquis on Fri 18th Feb 2011 18:48 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I thought..."
aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

S40 will stay for low-end. And then there's S60/Symbian^1 and Symbian^3 where the later will be around for at least (?) two years. Plus they will push WP down lower on the ladder. So no. I think they have plenty of bases covered.

However maybe the low-end phones could had get S60 or Symbian^3 instead? But if price and battery consumption is the most important factors maybe not. I think Nokia know how to handle the un-developed market.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I thought...
by No it isnt on Fri 18th Feb 2011 00:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I thought..."
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

The low-end Android phones don't have to be that bad. My X10 Mini gets four days when only idling (or a few hours of Angry Birds), it's fairly snappy, but only 600 MHz. Of course, I've tweaked it a bit with a new home screen and using link2sd to save memory, and the modest QVGA screen means it doesn't have to push so many pixels.

It costs less than the cheapest netbooks.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: I thought...
by benmhall on Fri 18th Feb 2011 02:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I thought..."
benmhall Member since:
2006-03-08

Hmmm... I think we've already seen how capable Linux is on current phone hardware. It only works well on handsets which cost the price of a good laptop, and barely last longer than said laptop on battery ;)


Spoken like someone who hasn't used Palm's WebOS on the Pre. That is certainly a mid-range device (500MHz) and costs $150 outright from Bell, and is then eligible for a $15/month discount. I would easily get 2 days out of a charge with light use. And it's a simple & elegant OS with an excellent notification system.

WebOS can sing on mediocre hardware. In fact, some might argue that mediocre is the only hardware WebOS has seen. (Posted by someone who owns and loves his Palm Pre 2, despite the many flaws.)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: I thought...
by Neolander on Fri 18th Feb 2011 07:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I thought..."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Carrier discounts are carrier- and country-dependent, that's why I only consider the unlocked price (which is the price at which I buy phones atm anyway). AFAIK, the Pre has never been sold unlocked around here, though...

PS : 500 MHz is not what I'd call mediocre hardware ^^ That's pretty powerful already, if you put the right OS on top of it. I remember a time where this was the basis for a good gaming PC...

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: I thought...
by Neolander on Sat 19th Feb 2011 10:05 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: I thought..."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Here are some very old videos about what can be done with two pentium II...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eMGbDJmgv0&feature=player_detailpag...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ticLQ4T_wVg

This was on a desktop computer, with a high-resolution screen. Thus, frankly, requiring more than a 300MHz CPU and 64MB of RAM for smooth basic operation on a phone is just a big heap of fail. Sadly, we end up having more and more fail in mobile operating systems as time passes...

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: I thought...
by aliquis on Fri 18th Feb 2011 18:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I thought..."
aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

You can get a ZTE or Huawei Android device for less than a Nokia C6/C7/N8. Is it slower than the fastest devices? Yeah most likely.

Regardless I think you can get Linux to work to. And I assume MeeGo is pretty stripped. And hardware specs will just improve.

Sad about Symbian though. Such a capable OS. It got multitasking, the E7 can use Exchange, still do some Office work, VPN, most likely act as a hotspot (with additional software at least), their co-operation with IBM and Lotus would probably had gone somewhere? So on so on. But it's not dead yet and it will be improved for a while. And maybe we'll see MeeGo devices to if they lift of / once they are ready. At least I guess WP gives a low developer threshold which let more people develop more in less time. Which obviously also got it's benefit.

Guess Symbian is all functionality and little glitter. Whereas iPhone was all glitter and little functionality ;)

I wish them the very best. (And in a perfect world I would had wanted to see Nokia as still being the market leader shipping Symbian, MeeGo, WP and Android devices =P, eventually all with the same OVIstore and QT on top ;) )

Guess WP will do well for games ;)
(They don't sell on Android anyway, if Sony-Ericsson Play Playstation is sony-Ericsson exclusive I don't see how it will fly so that leaves iOS and Microsoft/Xbox Live for gaming.)

Exciting times ahead. Hope the company can still add some Nokia finnish to their products even in the future ;)

Reply Score: 2

Symbian
by vivainio on Thu 17th Feb 2011 18:25 UTC
vivainio
Member since:
2008-12-26

Symbian has more future ahead of it than you'd think.

New UI:

http://mynokiablog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/1674345-600x448.j...

Plus, there will be 200+ million devices running Qt Quick. You got a great chance of doing a pretty compelling app that can do well financially.

Here's CTO Rich Green talking about Symbian, and MeeGo and Qt -

http://nokia-news.com/nokia-cto-rick-green-talks-about-the-future-o...

You may find that Symbian is just *starting* to stop sucking. Esp. for Qt developers, Symbian is where the money will be made.

Edited 2011-02-17 18:26 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Symbian
by fran on Thu 17th Feb 2011 19:39 UTC in reply to "Symbian "
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

There is some conflicting news from Nokia. We have the
CTO and Nokia QT head saying one thing, and the CEO implying another.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Symbian
by Carewolf on Fri 18th Feb 2011 14:19 UTC in reply to "Symbian "
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

Nice to hear, but I really dislike how they used an illustration that looked like the worst thing about the iPhone (the home screen) for the presentation. It seems like a cheap followers syndrome. Be proud of what you do well. Like in this article, show your own much superior home screen.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Symbian
by Neolander on Fri 18th Feb 2011 15:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Symbian "
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Nice to hear, but I really dislike how they used an illustration that looked like the worst thing about the iPhone (the home screen) for the presentation. It seems like a cheap followers syndrome. Be proud of what you do well. Like in this article, show your own much superior home screen.

Heh ;) The basic reason why an iOS screenshot appears here is that everyone knows it and it has a great value as an example of what an OS optimized for phones is and what it isn't. Examples work better when they are as extreme as possible.

I'm not doing a full review of the handsets at all (for that I'd have to have both at hand, and it'd have to be much more lengthy), just comparing design of a specific feature (the home screen), from a specific point of view (communication accessibility).

Edited 2011-02-18 15:37 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Actually use it every day
by Lennie on Thu 17th Feb 2011 18:40 UTC
Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

I have a Nokia phone from 2003, it has had no issues all this time, I use it every day. I actually owned a few other phones after this one, they all died.

The phone after the one I use now was also Nokia/Symbian but was of worse quality. So I think phones might just be getting less attention to detail by their manufacturers.

One died within one week and I knew from just using it in that week it was actually worse than the others that came before it.

My Nokia phone from 2003 even has support for IPv6 supposedly (never tried though, because I need a provider with IPv6 because it has no wifi !).

Reply Score: 2

Please don't forget UIQ
by uiq_fan on Thu 17th Feb 2011 18:43 UTC
uiq_fan
Member since:
2011-02-17

Hi,

Fun article!

However, as a dedicated UIQ fan, I wish to add that I think you should also have mentioned UIQ at least once in your "Symbian Goodbye"-mail. I feel it deserves way more credit than it has ever been given by the mobile OS community.

Although definitely not perfect (I still think especially the hardware-side is more to blame for this than the software-side), I think it was a better implementation of Symbian than Nokia's S60 ever was or would have been. It's user interface was generally quite well thought out.

But even I think it was a very bad choice from the start that manufacturers were unwilling to support a platform of the other and decided it would be a good idea to create two completely incompatible (from the user standpoint) user interface layer above the same operating system.

Sorry for my rant ;-) Keep up the good work!

Best regards, Vincent

Reply Score: 4

RE: Please don't forget UIQ
by Neolander on Thu 17th Feb 2011 18:50 UTC in reply to "Please don't forget UIQ"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Sorry, I fear I'm too young to have met this variant of Symbian ;) I've heard some facts about it in several places (including that it ran NetHack), but have never even read an in-depth review of it. By the time I started having a look at Nokia's Symbian phones, UIQ was already dead.

So obviously, I didn't thought about it when writing the article either.

Edited 2011-02-17 18:51 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Please don't forget UIQ
by woegjiub on Fri 18th Feb 2011 00:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Please don't forget UIQ"
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_5110

I am not even 21 yet, and that was my first phone (hand-me-down from my mother)

You would have to be 15 or so to be too young?

I remember having a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_2650 at 15, and it was relatively similar.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Please don't forget UIQ
by Neolander on Fri 18th Feb 2011 06:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Please don't forget UIQ"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

At least one of these runs s40, according to Wikipedia. For the 5110, I think wiki's photograph is inaccurate because phones like this one weren't common anymore when I was in high school.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Please don't forget UIQ
by moondevil on Fri 18th Feb 2011 09:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Please don't forget UIQ"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Uau! The 51150!

I still remember the days when everyone wanted to have it, how could it was that you didn't add to strecht the antenna to be able to use like many mobile phones before it.

It really makes me feel my real age.

As for UIQ examples, you are better off with
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UIQ

It was mainly a Sony-Ericson thing, and incompatible with S60 UI.

Which was also a big problem in the Symbiam platform.

Not only was API a pain to use, you had to code the UI
twice.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by mrstep
by mrstep on Thu 17th Feb 2011 19:47 UTC
mrstep
Member since:
2009-07-18

I partly agree - I think the iPhone would be nicer if you could configure the lock screen to show summaries and allow some form of actions on them. The specific example seems a bit lacking, though. I know this is an extra step to take, but if I'm on my iPhone home screen, I can swipe or double-click to show the search and get a summary of contacts/mail/messages/whatever as soon as I start typing. It's an extra swipe, but not really too difficult.

But as I say, I think Apple could use a real summary lock screen (or even home screen with a swipe left for search / right for the apps type of thing...).

And I do think the entire move to Windows Phone 7 is going to be a disaster. Unfortunately for Nokia, they just seem to have been complacent and got overtaken coming & going (high and low end). The more I read about Elop, his stake in Microsoft, etc., the more odd hiring him and having him immediately do a big deal with his former employer seems at the very least to be a conflict of interest.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by mrstep
by Neolander on Thu 17th Feb 2011 20:33 UTC in reply to "Comment by mrstep"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I partly agree - I think the iPhone would be nicer if you could configure the lock screen to show summaries and allow some form of actions on them. The specific example seems a bit lacking, though. I know this is an extra step to take, but if I'm on my iPhone home screen, I can swipe or double-click to show the search and get a summary of contacts/mail/messages/whatever as soon as I start typing. It's an extra swipe, but not really too difficult.

Heh, I know that it's not extremely bad ;)

My point was that iOS is not optimized for communication, and it shows through a number of details. The "application heap" home screen where everything is accessed indirectly is one, there's also the late support for MMS, the very late (and still lacking) support for video calls, the perfectly useless lock screen that you mentioned, and I could also talk about more minor things like that terrible idea of putting the "call" button on the right in the dialer app...

These are all details, but they show that Apple did not optimize the communication experience on their platform. They rather worked on things like the multimedia experience, web browsing, and of course the app ecosystem.

I'm fine with that, they couldn't work on everything at once and please everyone. But my point was that precisely, they don't please everyone.

With Android and WP7 taking an iOS-like approach, and now the death of Symbian, the number of communication-centric OSs which work well on mid-end phones is shrinking. This is terrible news for some cellphone customers, because it means that there's less choice for those who, like me, send and receive thousands (!) of texts a month, mainly buy a cellphone for communication purposes, and just happen to like mobile apps as a cool extra (what's the point of a mail client if you can't save and open attachments ?)

Edited 2011-02-17 20:50 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by mrstep
by rhavyn on Thu 17th Feb 2011 21:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by mrstep"
rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

My point was that iOS is not optimized for communication, and it shows through a number of details. The "application heap" home screen where everything is accessed indirectly is one, there's also the late support for MMS, the very late (and still lacking) support for video calls, the perfectly useless lock screen that you mentioned, and I could also talk about more minor things like that terrible idea of putting the "call" button on the right in the dialer app...


Your definition of "communication" seems incredibly limited, but more in that in a moment.

The only "call" button in the Phone app on the iPhone is directly in the middle directly below the numeric buttons. It is also bright green. What call button are you talking about?

These are all details, but they show that Apple did not optimize the communication experience on their platform. They rather worked on things like the multimedia experience, web browsing, and of course the app ecosystem.

I'm fine with that, they couldn't work on everything at once and please everyone. But my point was that precisely, they don't please everyone.

With Android and WP7 taking an iOS-like approach, and now the death of Symbian, the number of communication-centric OSs which work well on mid-end phones is shrinking. This is terrible news for some cellphone customers, because it means that there's less choice for those who, like me, send and receive thousands (!) of texts a month, mainly buy a cellphone for communication purposes, and just happen to like mobile apps as a cool extra (what's the point of a mail client if you can't save and open attachments ?)


You've basically limited "communication" to your rather limited definition of SMS. For many people Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, etc are their primary communication vehicles. Email is a close second. How are the social networking clients on Symbian? Also, an iPhone can natively open attachments in these formats: ".jpg, .tiff, .gif (images); .doc and .docx (Microsoft Word); .htm and .html (web pages); .key (Keynote); .numbers (Numbers); .pages (Pages); .pdf (Preview and Adobe Acrobat); .ppt and .pptx (Microsoft PowerPoint); .txt (text); .rtf (rich text format); .vcf (contact information); .xls and .xlsx (Microsoft Excel)" And other applications can register to open attachments not in that list. Have you actually used an iPhone?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by mrstep
by Neolander on Thu 17th Feb 2011 21:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by mrstep"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

The only "call" button in the Phone app on the iPhone is directly in the middle directly below the numeric buttons. It is also bright green. What call button are you talking about?

Forget that. I encountered a fake iOS dialer screenshot when looking for a suitable home screen screenshot for the article, apparently.

You've basically limited "communication" to your rather limited definition of SMS.

Not exactly, was thinking about SMS, MMS, e-mails, and calls. But I see where you're heading...

For many people Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, etc are their primary communication vehicles. Email is a close second. How are the social networking clients on Symbian?

Afaik, there are some, like on every single mobile OS nowadays. I'm not interested in these things, so I can't tell.

But even if you're into social networking, iOS' user interface still integrates those means of communication just as poorly as it integrates other means of communication. I've heard there are some UI tweaks for Android (like Motoblur) which can integrate these better, though, so in this case the rest of the high-end smartphone world is not necessarily as bad.

Also, an iPhone can natively open attachments in these formats: ".jpg, .tiff, .gif (images); .doc and .docx (Microsoft Word); .htm and .html (web pages); .key (Keynote); .numbers (Numbers); .pages (Pages); .pdf (Preview and Adobe Acrobat); .ppt and .pptx (Microsoft PowerPoint); .txt (text); .rtf (rich text format); .vcf (contact information); .xls and .xlsx (Microsoft Excel)"

You should clarify "natively". In most people's mouth, "natively" means "out of the box". Only on Apple's website (where this list is from, as far as I remember... I think I've already seen it somewhere) can you find file formats which require a third-party app to be opened listed as "supported".

And other applications can register to open attachments not in that list. Have you actually used an iPhone?

Mostly played with an iPod touch. Toyed with an iPhone long enough to see that it worked in a very similar way and to wonder how people can claim that this is a phone. But for the nth time, I have different needs than the average iPhone/Android/WP7 buyer. Can't we just get over it ? iOS is best for you, fine. Just admit that it's not the perfect OS for everyone. Is it so hard ?

Edited 2011-02-17 21:47 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by mrstep
by t3RRa on Fri 18th Feb 2011 04:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by mrstep"
t3RRa Member since:
2005-11-22

So... without ever really tinkered with iPhone and comparing Symbian to iOS on iPhone...? Fine. But then most of people would not buy your words including me.

Can't we just get over it ? iOS is best for you, fine. Just admit that it's not the perfect OS for everyone. Is it so hard ?

Nothing is perfect at all. I find many people are happy with iPhone while also many people are happy with Symbian. And there also are people fine with either one.

So... Can't we just get over it? Symbian might be best for you, fine. Just admit that it's not the perfect OS for everyone. Is it so hard?

You should also listen to others.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by mrstep
by Neolander on Fri 18th Feb 2011 07:14 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by mrstep"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Nothing is perfect at all. I find many people are happy with iPhone while also many people are happy with Symbian. And there also are people fine with either one.

So... Can't we just get over it? Symbian might be best for you, fine. Just admit that it's not the perfect OS for everyone. Is it so hard?

Happy to see that you get it ;) Now, think about it : what is this article about ?

The loss of a mature OS is always terrible news, but it's even more terrible when it was one of the fews that didn't just look like the others and provided some interesting choice.

The original post's point was "oh, you know, that's not that bad, you can do it on iOS too". My point was "yes, I can do that on iOS and Android, and I could also fry eggs on a friend's Acer laptop when playing games on it, but there really are things better suited for these purposes, like Symbian (no, not for frying eggs)".

That's all ! I really can't see how we managed to get in such an argument.

I miss my OS, he likes his, and that's perfectly fine. This article (and the subsequent comment discussion) was just an attempt to make people like him understand why some people in the world are going to miss Symbian. Not to advocate that he should use it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Comment by mrstep
by t3RRa on Fri 18th Feb 2011 08:20 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by mrstep"
t3RRa Member since:
2005-11-22

I wonder what your standard is for an OS to be called a "mature OS". It could be different from of others. It might be very different from mine... Of course, it might have mature UI for a specific situation. But that could be all.

Anyway I am not really against Symbian at all but you could do better. Try iPhone for yourself before compare to Symbian. And it should be much much better if you could just get rid of that part and instead more focus on cool/mature features of Symbian and let the world knows if anythings are missed.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by mrstep
by Neolander on Fri 18th Feb 2011 09:56 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by mrstep"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I wonder what your standard is for an OS to be called a "mature OS". It could be different from of others. It might be very different from mine... Of course, it might have mature UI for a specific situation. But that could be all.

Well, there are dozens of hobby OS projects started and ended each year, most of these never reached a useful state and won't be missed. For me, "mature" means that the OS has met its initial goals and reached a stable state, where it is actually useful for some people.

Anyway I am not really against Symbian at all but you could do better. Try iPhone for yourself before compare to Symbian.

I've reached a good enough level of knowledge about iOS to know that it's not what I want, why bother more ?

And it should be much much better if you could just get rid of that part and instead more focus on cool/mature features of Symbian and let the world knows if anythings are missed.

I thought my three points pretty much sum up what Symbian represents, implementation aside. The iOS part is here because I think the "phone-centric" aspect had to be clarified, by comparing symbian's UI with a less phone-centric UI, and iOS' one was the one which I knew best.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by mrstep
by rhavyn on Fri 18th Feb 2011 05:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by mrstep"
rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

"For many people Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, etc are their primary communication vehicles. Email is a close second. How are the social networking clients on Symbian?

Afaik, there are some, like on every single mobile OS nowadays. I'm not interested in these things, so I can't tell.
"

But ... something like every 1 in 12 people on the planet visits Facebook every day. Lacking first class support for these sites basically means that Symbian is missing one of the biggest communication mediums on the planet. Ignoring that because you aren't interested is symptomatic of the kind of attitude that has caused Symbian to be in the position it is today.

But even if you're into social networking, iOS' user interface still integrates those means of communication just as poorly as it integrates other means of communication. I've heard there are some UI tweaks for Android (like Motoblur) which can integrate these better, though, so in this case the rest of the high-end smartphone world is not necessarily as bad.


iOS' user interface, as you pointed out in the article, is application specific not "communication" specific. The prominence of social networking applications in iOS is directly dependent on how prominently a user places it. Additionally, if the next version of iOS has something more like WebOS' notification system, it more or less completely eliminates your "communication focused" UI argument and it still completely decimates Symbian in user interface, ease of use and application development platform.

You should clarify "natively". In most people's mouth, "natively" means "out of the box". Only on Apple's website (where this list is from, as far as I remember... I think I've already seen it somewhere) can you find file formats which require a third-party app to be opened listed as "supported".


None of the file formats in that list require a third party application to open on either iOS or Mac OS X. Really, right out of the box you can open any of them.

"And other applications can register to open attachments not in that list. Have you actually used an iPhone?

Mostly played with an iPod touch. Toyed with an iPhone long enough to see that it worked in a very similar way and to wonder how people can claim that this is a phone. But for the nth time, I have different needs than the average iPhone/Android/WP7 buyer. Can't we just get over it ? iOS is best for you, fine. Just admit that it's not the perfect OS for everyone. Is it so hard ?
"

For the record, I'm not claiming iOS is best for anyone. I'm simply pointing out that you choose an incredibly narrow focus for criticizing it's UI, and that many of your criticisms seem based on a lack of knowledge of it's capabilities.

Symbian, on the other hand, is long past it's expiration date. EPOC32 was a terrible platform when Symbian was founded and it remained a terrible platform till today. Slapping Qt on top of it is simply putting lip stick on a pig. Nokia may not have made the best choice by picking WP7, but they certainly made the right choice by dumping Symbian.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by mrstep
by Neolander on Fri 18th Feb 2011 07:26 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by mrstep"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

But ... something like every 1 in 12 people on the planet visits Facebook every day. Lacking first class support for these sites basically means that Symbian is missing one of the biggest communication mediums on the planet. Ignoring that because you aren't interested is symptomatic of the kind of attitude that has caused Symbian to be in the position it is today.

And you think that iOS brings such first-class support ? Third party devs did all the job, really. And if you're saying that requiring use of third-party apps before the OS becomes good enough is a sign of quality, I'll start to wonder if Windows 9x could have a future in the smartphone world...

Besides, you don't need thousands of third-party applications to access a website, one is sufficient, and zero can even be sufficient as long as the web browser is good enough and well-integrated... But I disgress.

I don't think we're ever going to agree there, so I believe I'll leave you thinking that Symbian is the DOS (or the Mac OS9 if you think it worked well once, take your pick) of mobile operating systems and go back to something more interesting on my side.

Edited 2011-02-18 07:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by mrstep
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 18th Feb 2011 19:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by mrstep"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

You've basically limited "communication" to your rather limited definition of SMS. For many people Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, etc are their primary communication vehicles. Email is a close second


If that was the primary design consideration in IOS I certainly don't see it. Winphone 7, Motorola's motoblur interface, those seem more tuned to that kind of thinking. I think a neutral observer would have to agree that iphone is more app centric and symbian is more communication centric.

Reply Score: 3

Sounds like you need to try webOS
by Moochman on Thu 17th Feb 2011 21:50 UTC
Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

I just have one thing to say to you: Try a webOS phone. Not only is the "start-typing-to-find-something" ("Just Type") one of its key features, but it also shows you notifications at the bottom of the screen regarding any kind of incoming communication--missed phone calls, SMSes, chat messages, e-mails, Facebook messages and (in the coming 2.1 version) Twitter. Tap on the notification, and the relevant app opens. Or flick the notification to the side and it stops bothering you. How's that for communication-savvy? Also, there's no need to go hunting for your communication apps in a big menu--you can just leave them all running in the background and flip through the cards to find what you're looking for. Not to mention, even if the cards are all closed, you still don't need to open a specific app to start an action--just start typing the name of the person and you get a list of options of ways of contacting them. Oh yeah, that works because the phone is smart enough to recognize the same person across services ("Synergy")....

Speaking as someone who used to have a Symbian phone, webOS is *way* better.

Btw, this article was a fun read and a great eulogy for a great OS. I still have the utmost respect for Symbian (and EPOC before it) as a pioneer in the field of powerful portable devices. It's sad to see it go, but somehow, it's also time...

Edited 2011-02-17 21:58 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Why not ;) As soon as HP start to sell an unlocked mid-end (< 300€) device lasting reasonably long on battery in my country, I could be very interested in WebOS.

At the moment, the "unlocked", "mid-end" and "battery" side of the WebOS ecosystem (at least the part available here) seem to be a bit lacking, sadly. Hope this is to change in the future.

In meantime, I'm also interested in having a look at samsung's bada offerings. Sounds like the closest thing to a Symbian successor in the mid-end market so far, and it comes with a nice notification system and better integration of various means of communication. This comes with a cost, though, noticeably an AppStore-like app distribution policy... But well, I'm going to write an article on that anyway once I've gathered enough info on the subject ^^

Edited 2011-02-17 22:11 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, depending on the price and availability of the Pre 3 whenever it comes out, I might just be looking to sell my unlocked Pre 2 for around 200€ at that time.... ;) ...battery life is around 2 days if you don't do much with it, one day if you do a lot of web-based stuff ;) .

Reply Score: 2

benmhall
Member since:
2006-03-08

This was an excellent and thoughtful article that raised good points throughout. Well done and thank you for contributing it to OSNews.

Symbian can now take its place alongside many great but ultimately failed operating systems:

- AmigaOS
- PalmOS
- BeOS
- MacOS 9.x and earlier

Personally, I never met a Symbian phone I liked (I've owned a few for testing purposes) but missed them entirely in their heyday. It's a sad fact that the OS' time has passed, as will eventually be the case with all operating systems.

I haven't used Windows Phone 7 but remain skeptical. I truly wish that Nokia had purchased Palm and taken WebOS as their own. (Or even better: If HP had licensed it to Nokia.) Still, I think that HP will run better with it than Nokia would have, had they purchased Palm.

Having used Maemo, a platform that showed so much promise four years ago, I think it's a good thing that Nokia has gone with an OS outside of its complete control. Anything owned or created by them directly would run up against too much organizational inertia with the Symbian folks. Witness Maemo, Qt, Meego and probably many other aborted attempts at modernizing that I'm not aware of.

Still, it's sad.

Reply Score: 1

Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

I am curious, what was the technical innovation of the MacOS classic? All the praise I've heard was about UI consistency, I don't think I've heard much about the underlying OS.

Reply Score: 3

benmhall Member since:
2006-03-08

I am curious, what was the technical innovation of the MacOS classic? All the praise I've heard was about UI consistency, I don't think I've heard much about the underlying OS.


When the original MacOS came out it in 1984 it was very innovative. Many would argue that it offered the first usable GUI. Sure, it wasn't the first GUI, and the underlying OS wasn't great by 2011 standards, but it was nothing short of revolutionary in 1984.

The original MacOS introduced people to the modern GUI, had great UI consistency, and held its own quite well for decades until other preemptively multitasking and multi-user systems became commonplace.

The rest, of course, is modern history. Sure, the OS eventually needed to be replaced but on balance, it aged rather well, I'd say.

Reply Score: 1

nostalgia
by l3v1 on Fri 18th Feb 2011 07:25 UTC
l3v1
Member since:
2005-07-06

Personally, I don't miss symbian, for all the reasons the poster says people remember it. Clunky, slow, buggy, but yes, the UI in itself wasn't that bad.

What is sad that it indeed seems to represent the end of the era of the mobile phone being a phone. I don't like the trend where everyone seems to want to shove a low memory low battery life small PC into my pocket. They seem to manage, since I also have an Android device currently, yet I hate I have to carry a charger/usb cable everywhere (and I almost never use data over 3G).

As a connecting (I think) question (somewhat rhetorical):

Why do you people think we can't see "normal" form factor (display on top, standard mobile phone keys below, no hd display, no touch screen, normal key control) phones being produced with Android on them? I'd buy it. Lots of people would.

Edited 2011-02-18 07:26 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: nostalgia
by Neolander on Fri 18th Feb 2011 07:50 UTC in reply to "nostalgia"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Why do you people think we can't see "normal" form factor (display on top, standard mobile phone keys below, no hd display, no touch screen, normal key control) phones being produced with Android on them? I'd buy it. Lots of people would.

Well, afaik this is the kind of hardware which Android was initially supposed to run on. But where Android is now, it'd be hard to put it on a real phone. Too many parts of the OS and third-party apps are optimized for finger use, porting Android would require the same effort as porting Symbian on touch hardware has required. Maybe more, due to the performance side of things.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: nostalgia
by l3v1 on Fri 18th Feb 2011 08:11 UTC in reply to "RE: nostalgia"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, I'm not an android dev, but I guess a new UI for key control could be done if [market] demand exists. As hardware goes, there have been phones (having a "phone" form factor) with sub1G arm cpu's running winmob6.x, and quite usable, similar hw capabilities could be enough to run a suitable customized Android. Also, since a smaller screen (well, 240x320 isn't that small), most Android market apps wouldn't be usable (especially games, good riddance), but that in my view would be a good thing. Just a [smart]phone (emphasis on the phone part) with a stable and good os and longer battery life.

Just as an example, something similar in looks to the (good old Nokia's) c3-01touch&type, but with android on it.

Edited 2011-02-18 08:14 UTC

Reply Score: 3

They should have done like Apple...
by dimi on Fri 18th Feb 2011 11:12 UTC
dimi
Member since:
2011-02-18

I think Nokia should have re-designed from scratch the OS, instead of trying to patch it and add features that was never planned for.
This is what Apple did with their MacOS 9 and came with MacOS X.

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

This is what Apple did with their MacOS 9 and came with MacOS X.


Nope. Apple tried to do that for years and failed miserably, so they bough NeXT instead and modified it to look and behave more like classic Mac OS.

Reply Score: 5

iOS home screen
by Paradroid on Fri 18th Feb 2011 11:32 UTC
Paradroid
Member since:
2010-01-05

I think they've thrown Symbian out too early and not handled the communication of future direction well. Never announce that your products are obsolete until you have a replacements available to buy.

I see lots of sub-£100 PAYG feature phones on sale in my local supermarket that look perfect for continued use of Symbian, with WP7 taking over at the high end - and gradually tricking downwards.

Pleased to see you compared the iOS home screen to Windows 3.1 Program Manager, I've been drawing the same comparison lately in something I wrote, saying "The home screen is still an elegant but simplistic grid of icons that launch programs, reminiscent of the style used by the Windows 3.1 Program Manager."

Reply Score: 1

Comment by siki_miki
by siki_miki on Fri 18th Feb 2011 11:46 UTC
siki_miki
Member since:
2006-01-17

Nokia are idiots. They literally allowed Microsoft to take their own market and destroy what's left of Symbian (at least the high-end phone version - I have S40 cheap phone and the OS works perfectly, saves battery, and does everything such a phone has to do).

But while Android is a CPU burner (I doubt WP7 isn't), it's developed from scratch for a touch interface and is a better smartphone OS than Symbian. Especially in the UI part where it captures the interest of young crowds previously in love with the iPhone. Well at least Linux runs the show here (current #1 spot), even if benath a semi-open platform.

IMHO, WP7 is too radical, I doubt that Nokia will be happy with sales. It is a bad choice that people won't stand in a row for, even if there's Nokia brand on top and beefy hardware (and of course, top quality associated with the manufacturer).

That's why it is crucial to keep alternative at hand and that is Meego. Or secretly work on Android adoption and later, phase out Microsoft.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by AnythingButVista
by AnythingButVista on Fri 18th Feb 2011 14:32 UTC
AnythingButVista
Member since:
2008-08-27

When PalmOS died, I wanted to get a Palm Centro to have as a collector's piece from the end of that era. I never got around to buying one though. Now that Symbian is going away too, I managed to buy a Nokia E63 to have something from that great OS that Symbian was...

... Except that Symbian is anything but great. Those annoying popups asking what data connection to use are something people have been complaining for years, but that Nokia chose to ignore. You can start typing in some edit fields just by focusing on them, while on others you have to click the selection button before you can start typing. Way to fail on UI consistency! In some Settings screens on/off settings are toggled just by clicking on the selection button while others will bring up an additional popup with two items (On and Off) when clicked. WTF?!?

Everybody likes to focus on how Nokia failed to match the iPhone's user experience but the truth is, not everybody likes the iPhone and not everybody wants an iPhone copycat. Nokia could've had the best darn anti-iPhone out there for users who value efficiency and productivity over trying to look cool. But they failed. Just like Microsoft failed with Windows Mobile and like RIM is beginning to fail in the latest BlackBerrys, Nokia decided not to improve the usability of their non-touch phones - where they were strong, in an attempt to succeed in the touchscreen phone arena - where they were weak. The result is that now two failing companies (Microsoft and Nokia) want to join failure with failure and expect success out of the whole thing.

Edited 2011-02-18 14:38 UTC

Reply Score: 3

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by hehe93 on Mon 21st Feb 2011 13:49 UTC
hehe93
Member since:
2011-02-21

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Reply Score: 1