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The OS/product that was never released is always allowed to have former staff come out and explain how wonderful it was and how stupid management was to cancel it. Comments like " it was a clean design written from the ground up!" are abound.
Maybe it was in this case. You never know. But, sometimes, things aren't released because they were written badly and/or failed to meet the functional requirements they were created to meet.
PS. And from glancing over the few reviews, linked in 7710 Wiki art, it did seem to have some problems (well, hardly anything doesn't, comparably early in the evolution of particular device class); but it also seems that some other factors played a major role in mostly* axing it.
*apparently Maemo devices (curiously, in context - clearly meant to not compete with mobile phones) were some sort of continuation and refinement of Hildon UI? Edited 2011-11-23 19:21 UTC
We ARE talking about Nokia, the company that makes new, excellent OSes, just to say "lol, just kidding, the first device with this OS will be the last one" about every two weeks.
after trying android/winpho7/webos/winmo6.5/symbian^3, i REALLY miss my n900.
EVERYTHING compared to a n900 is just, well, toy ... Edited 2011-11-24 13:10 UTC
So, I'm not the only one...
This is not the first article to suggest this, so I am more or less prepared to accept this as a truth until new information suggests otherwise; The politically powerful S60 faction was Nokias problem all along. Disgruntled Maemo developers suggested something similar, that the Symbian team wanted to keep Maemo/Meego down to not threaten S60, and then this article piles on on top with (the relatively modern and clean) S90 being killed off for the sake of (the archaic) S60. Elop may have been right when it came to one particular move at least, killing off S60, it clearly hasn't been going anywhere for a long time, and by the sounds of it it was poisonuos to the internal politics.
Perhaps, but it's probably never quite that straightforward. In this case - not only it's not clear if we can call the S90 (even relatively) modern, the S90 can be hardly called "clean" (glance over some reviews of one shipping S90 handset, that I mention in a nearby post)...
...also relatively to S60, which seemed not so much archaic as "too soon" - it did its thing in an era of quite limited hardware (while S90 seemingly ignored that factor, and with very poor results judging from conclusions of its reviews), when mostly following & expanding the UI paradigm of S40* (which is not Symbian) gave decent results for a time - but also baggage, when progress of handsets & expectations outgrew that initial UI model. Add to that the natural inertia of something (still) fairly popular.
*early S40 (or late S30, not too different at the time) were the handsets tons of people thought about when saying "I prefer Nokia because they are easy, pleasant to use"
And now Elop didn't strictly kill off S60 (which anyway, for better or worse, is apparently on the best-selling touchscreen smartphone around, 5230 at 150 million), he killed "Symbian" (by then Anne IIRC; and now some name starting with B, I think) - which in turn seems ...still not quite on par with some benchmark platforms of today, but mostly back on its feet & improving.
It's not like its "replacement" really goes anywhere, so far.
A lot of food for thought in that, but lets just also note that the iPhone is much closer to the introduction of S90 phones in history than it is to the present day (1107 days from S90 announcement to iPhone announcement, which was 1780 days ago today).
That doesn't have to mean all that much, but it was certainly not all that early, or "too soon", to start down the path towards a more modern smartphone.
The time to the present day is entirely unrelated to which past moment was more optimal and/or how any given moment impacted sensible, at the time, choices (or, really, guessing them few years earlier, in a quite volatile field)
There are points when things become "good enough" - and if you are near one of them, then 3 years make a huge difference (plus, Moore's "law" and such). But NVM time spans, look at the basic hardware of the two, they're in different class (while, curiously, 7710 has to drive more pixels). Also: benefits from tech & process refinements, optimisations throughout (and, heck, iPhone wasn't even strictly a smartphone for its first year; they focused on core package, probably more pliable for nice integration)
I used E50 for a time, an S60 handset with internal hw that seems not too far from 7710 - only, with somewhat faster CPU, and of course driving non-touchsreen 240x320. It was fairly decent (and for a few years already, on its path; essentially only just hitting "outgrew" point)
Now, as I pointed out, S90 was also simply just not as great as some would suggest. UIQ was probably much better (plus notably earlier) ...alas, I seem to remember it having some problems with performance (certainly my buddy grumbled about it) Edited 2011-11-24 14:27 UTC
To put that point more clearly; having S60 has ever since the iPhone not been a good place to be for the smartphone market, whereas having something more modern may not have been a good place to be pre-iPhone. As it stands though Nokia has suffered with a too primitive platform for longer than they would have suffered with a too ambitious platform if that had arrived in the S90 timeframe. The exact pros and cons of S60/S90 aside I mean, it certainly seems like an ambitious play would have been the right thing to do at that time.
Also UIQ really was pretty nice, I used a UIQ3 phone for several years. Still, certainly not an iPhone competitor in that state, and hard to speculate what continued work on UIQ would have looked like.
I was a Nokia employee at the time and I remember fondly the internal presentations where we got to play with the 7710 a few times. On the old days where they would collect feedback from multiple Nokia sites.
Not sure if Nokia would have continued with the Series 90 if they would be better today, but for sure one headache for developers has always been the Symbian development environment and here the Series 90(80) were not better than Series 60.