Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Sep 2010 23:20 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Well, this certainly isn't particularly surprising. The rising popularity of Android leaves more victims in its wake than just Windows Mobile. Sony Ericsson, one of the major manufacturers of Symbian phones (other than Nokia) has just announced it will pretty much abandon the platform to focus entirely on Android - leaving Nokia as the sole person cheering for team Symbian.
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RE: I used to love Symbian...
by Neolander on Mon 27th Sep 2010 17:57 UTC in reply to "I used to love Symbian..."
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

As another E63 owner, I'd like to discuss some of these points

The build in browser is, well, no comments as I don't want to be rude (some say "yeah, it runs flash" but what's the point when it takes 1 minute to open a page, reloading it 2 or 3 times on the way, even with flash disabled?).

Yeah, it sucks for every page that's a bit crowded. Sounds like they fixed it in later releases of Symbian, though. For us, well, Opera Mobile just does the job well, and can be put on the home screen...

Then we come to the e-mail, oh the e-mail... I mean, I have an E series, a business phone, and it can't handle HTML!? WTF!?

Of course it can. Just open that Attachment.html file you see in just all HTML e-mails. I'm glad that the HTML version is not opened by default myself...
-It'd probably slow the phone down a lot (the E63 is made to last a little week on battery when used carefully, not to suck it up in one day with a 1GHz processor. Moreover, as you mentioned, the built-in browser is not that great).
-It requires an Internet connection for some reason (I don't have a data plan, and being able to download my mails when on wi-fi and then read them later is a much welcome feature)
-HTML is often (ab)used for the sake of making shiny graphics. Including with text. Readability of such picture-only mails with non-resized text on a phone screen is poor at best.

Most of the information of a mail are contained in the text anyway. HTML is just for cosmetics and vulnerabilities, so it's better as an option IMO.

And now, the bugs:

1) Open a contact and edit it (suppose that you were editing it to copy the phone number or some other info into an sms or a note). Do an accidental change (say, erase the last char on the name or phone number). Now try to undo that... Right...

I agree with that, it's annoying that you can't cancel your modifications in some places. Calendar is another one.

2) Call someone. Tell that someone to cancel the call (busy tone). See how long your phone takes to get to the home screen.... Right...

Less than a second in most cases, though it can be longer occasionally. I close applications which I do not use, though, by using the red button, or menus and the task manager for those apps which do not follow symbian's HIG (like, say, Opera Mobile and Funambol...)

3) Connect to a WiFi network. Try to get the IP you were assigned to.... Right...

How is that useful on a phone ?

4) Open the browser, enter an address. Now open a new tab. Wait, what, where?!

5) Open the browser. Open a non-mobile optimised page. Count how long does it take to load, how slow the phone gets, and how many times the page is reloaded during the process... Right...

Fixed by opera mobile, as you acknowledge yourself.

6) After the last firmware update, the special chars of my keyboard have gone crazy. So, I'm using the portuguese layout, and some accents aren't working anymore (regardless of the label on the key itsel). I have to run into weird Shift+Ctrl combinations when with the old versions, everything would work.

Wow, that sucks indeed. I'm glad I didn't try to update my own firmware (USB cables are too expensive ^^).

7) And the brightside, call audio quality is the best (puts SonyEricsson in a corner) both for me and the person on the other side of the line, and battery life is not bad.

Not bad ? ;) Try to find a phone with similar capabilities that does only half of that. It's one of the reasons why I bought my E63. Pricing was a good motivation too. And after using it for sometimes, I'd buy it again for one thing that's not about hardware : the OS gives you fast access to everything you often need, unlike things like iOS or Android where simply making a call can take ages compared to the symbian approach.

I mean, C'MON!!!! I've bought a business oriented phone and this is what I get? No wonder people are disappointed. Then I get to my PC and I have to deal with that crappy OVI suite, or (the old and good) pcSuite trying to convince me to download and install that piece of crap!

Really ? In my case, it told me about that OVI suite once, I said no, and I never, ever heard about it again ;)

There, and this is why I am a very unhappy nokia customer about to jump to Android.

Good luck with your next phone ;) Maybe you too will come back to nokia after trying what the competition has to offer and being disappointed. At least, looking at my girlfriend's N86 and especially the much welcome improvements of its version of Symbian, Nokia know how to admit when they make a mistake.

Edited 2010-09-27 17:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I used to love Symbian...
by thavid on Mon 27th Sep 2010 18:40 in reply to "RE: I used to love Symbian..."
thavid Member since:
2009-06-23

NeoLander, good points you raised, lets see if I can cover all of them:

The Browser
Yep, Opera Mobile give Nokia a hand here (I have both mobile and mini installed, and only use this last one while on UMTS/GRPS to save some euros), but still, you kind of feel like a browser is an important part of a smartphone and such behavior from Nokia doesn't quite feel right.

The E-Mail
I am aware indeed of the attached HTML file (kind of like some OpenSource groupware suites in the webmail interface). But when I click it, lol, my all times favorite browser is fired up :p I know the E63 is not the beefiest phone around, but nowadays, specially in this segment of devices, I would say that the phone could at least have an option to automatically show the messages in HTML (not open them in the browser tho). That way, users could choose if they want clear text or HTML to suite everyone's needs.

1) I wasn't aware that the calendar was suffering from this blow as well :| The way I see it: if such basic things were left untouched, I wonder how's the rest... Can't avoid feeling pessimistic on this one.

2) In my case (very often), if I call someone and that someone gives me a busy tone, I press the Red button to go back to the home screen and so whatever I need to do. The thing is, while the busy tone is playing (and it doesn't stop for about 3 or 4 seconds), the phone application kind of freezes.

3) It is useful if you are a techie in certain scenarios. For me it is useful, plus, if I can see security information of the network, why can't I possibly see my IP?

4) & 5) Yep, Opera covered the gap here, more or less.

6) I did the update hoping that most of the issues I described here were gone.... yeah.... ;)

7) Hum, indeed, but for an E series and full qwerty keyboard, I would expect more as well. Forgot to mention the price as well: €150 unlocked in store, not a bad deal at all!


New phone
Either Android or iPhone OS (on an iPod Touch, as I don't want data plans and paying more than €500 for a phone is not in my plans). I need a smartphone to take with me everywhere, that's the truth. The main reasons that lead me to buy this phone were wifi, built in VoIP client, e-mail and SSH (via PuTTY, installed separately). I will not go back to symbian until Nokia ditches the OVI store, which lacks content and organization. Besides that, I've seen symbian in the early days and I don't like the evolution it took since the release of 3rd edition phones (and trust me, IO was symbian ALL THE WAY!)

PS: pcSuite is constantly nagging me with updates, when all there is is a new software to install (OVI Suite), nothing to update.

Nokia, hope you guys are reading this!

Reply Parent Score: 1

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

NeoLander, good points you raised, lets see if I can cover all of them:

Well, you know, I wrote that post in a hurry, and when I rode it again I discovered that it was lacking in many areas... Will complete it here, hope you like the new version even more ;)

The Browser
Yep, Opera Mobile give Nokia a hand here (I have both mobile and mini installed, and only use this last one while on UMTS/GRPS to save some euros), but still, you kind of feel like a browser is an important part of a smartphone and such behavior from Nokia doesn't quite feel right.

Well, Symbian 9.3 dates back from 2007, where if I remember well the web browser wasn't seen as such an important part of smartphones, except by Apple who just released the iPhone thing (which still ran on EDGE and couldn't receive MMSs). I've heard that Symbian^3 behaves much more nicely on the web.

The main problem with this imo is not that Nokia made an incapable browser at that time, but that they don't backports new releases of symbian to other phones.

On the other hand, doing that on low-performance hardware like the E63's could be quite difficult... After all, with no application open, my E63 has 23MB of free ram according to PC suite, and symbian is not very good at swapping...

(PS : Did you know that you can use mini-like data compression on opera mobile ? Just use opera turbo, that you can enable on the settings panel. It makes access times quite worse, though.)

The E-Mail
I am aware indeed of the attached HTML file (kind of like some OpenSource groupware suites in the webmail interface). But when I click it, lol, my all times favorite browser is fired up :p I know the E63 is not the beefiest phone around, but nowadays, specially in this segment of devices, I would say that the phone could at least have an option to automatically show the messages in HTML (not open them in the browser tho). That way, users could choose if they want clear text or HTML to suite everyone's needs.

Sounds like a good idea indeed, maybe you should report it to the symbian foundation (like your other gripes with the OS). I often think of doing that myself, but when looking at those shiny newer releases of symbian I have the feeling that they'll tell me most of it is already fixed.

1) I wasn't aware that the calendar was suffering from this blow as well :| The way I see it: if such basic things were left untouched, I wonder how's the rest... Can't avoid feeling pessimistic on this one.

On a more positive note, one of the highest ranked feature requests on symbian foundation's website is a trash, so part of the cancel issue might be subject to change...

2) In my case (very often), if I call someone and that someone gives me a busy tone, I press the Red button to go back to the home screen and so whatever I need to do. The thing is, while the busy tone is playing (and it doesn't stop for about 3 or 4 seconds), the phone application kind of freezes.

Hmmm... Annoying indeed. What effect has pressing the home button in the hope that the application closes itself in the background while you can do whatever you want ? Is the phone completely frozen ?

3) It is useful if you are a techie in certain scenarios. For me it is useful, plus, if I can see security information of the network, why can't I possibly see my IP?

Good point. After all, that network information screen will only be watched by techies anyway.

7) Hum, indeed, but for an E series and full qwerty keyboard, I would expect more as well. Forgot to mention the price as well: €150 unlocked in store, not a bad deal at all!

Indeed, I bought it at around €260 myself ;) Not twice as much but nearly. Was yours brand new ?

In my case, I tend to be more kind towards my E63 because I've tried lower-end full keyboard phones before. The LG KS 360 especially was memorable. If you think that symbian 9.3 is buggy and unpolished, never try this one. In fact, don't try it even if you don't think so. Before it, I had never seen in my life a phone which doesn't even manage to reliably delete all SMSs in the inbox ><. My E63 was an attempt to go mid-end in order to get some polish and nice features without spending too much in a high-end phone I have no use for, and it did work...

New phone
Either Android or iPhone OS (on an iPod Touch, as I don't want data plans and paying more than €500 for a phone is not in my plans). I need a smartphone to take with me everywhere, that's the truth.

Well, hope that you won't find the Android equivalent of my LG360... AFAIK, polished touchscreen phones are still for rich people, but if you don't need to make calls the iTouch might indeed be a good option.

The main reasons that lead me to buy this phone were wifi, built in VoIP client, e-mail and SSH (via PuTTY, installed separately). I will not go back to symbian until Nokia ditches the OVI store, which lacks content and organization.

Well, some days ago I tried to download a specific app (Skype), and for such a use case it works quite well. My own issues with OVI store is...
-Infamous loading times
-Often forces you to update, which can make your phone dreadfully slow for minutes before you can actually get your app.
-It took them a lot of time before user account and app downloading and installing was done right (though now it finally works properly)

Besides that, I've seen symbian in the early days and I don't like the evolution it took since the release of 3rd edition phones (and trust me, IO was symbian ALL THE WAY!)

Didn't have this chance, I discovered symbian with 9.3 and only noticed that many nice apps from the past can't be used anymore (nethack, EEmame... I'll miss you).

Well, it's surely far from perfect, but there's several things which makes it good enough for me to give it a second chance with my next phones...
-E-Mail and texts, my #1 means of communication by far, work very well
-The homescreen is just perfect, once you've set it up properly. Never seen something like that on my previous phones, nor on phones and mobile devices I see around. WiPho7 plans to bring something like this, but I'm not sure their implementation will be as good. For a combination of instant access to applications AND instant knowledge about what's going on, the symbian homescreen is a pure wonder.
-The main menu is properly organized (except in the settings region), instead of being a stupid and unsearchable heap of applications.
-Aside from doing what I want, this phone and the OVI ecosystem bring a lot of well-polished extras on the table when you look for them. Youtube, Opera Mobile, Skype, Funambol, the calculator and the translator, the file browser...

Then, the thing requires some developer love and lots of polish before adding any new feature to the mix, in my opinion. Specifically, the following should be fixed :
-The aforementioned cancel issue
-The out of memory issue. There should be more free memory for apps, and background apps should just be swapped out instead of wasting precious memory.
-The occasional slowdowns and lockups of the interface. They should not exist. On a sidenote, killing apps should be a near-instant process.
-Opera mobile should be better integrated in the system and made the default browser. Except if they manage to get their webkit-based monster fixed, which would be the best option of course.
-Management of multiple Wi-Fi networks is ridiculously bad. I can't set several networks as preferred networks, so since I equally use two wi-fi networks (home and work), I have to put the default network setting on "always ask" mode. It's highly annoying.
-On the same wi-fi topic... Currently, if your wi-fi network's signal strength is too low, symbian won't detect it as a preferred AP and hence not show it in the network list. And you can't reload that list either. You're more or less stuck with canceling your current task and starting over.

Reply Parent Score: 2