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Busy 2011 For Nokia But E7 Delayed Again

David Gilbert

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Busy 2011 For Nokia But E7 Delayed Again

Nokia is striking back. Following rafts of complaints about its lacklustre Symbian OS and inability to secure a foothold in the smartphone market, leaked slides of its plans for 2011 promise multiple updates for Symbian, 1Ghz processor-powered smartphones and even dual-core phones with something intriguingly call “true-zoom camera.”

However, on the same day that these ambitious plans come to light, it has been confirmed that the E7 slider phone from Nokia has been delayed once again. First seen by us in September at the Nokia World event, it was slated for a December release but this has now been pushed back to a worryingly vague “early 2011” release. The E7 is a business-focused device designed for working on documents on the go and features a 4in touch display, using Nokia ClearBlack tech to make it easier to read outdoors and a slide out Qwerty keyboard.

Along with the release of the E7 next year, information has come out of the 2010 International Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing, where slides showing Nokia’s plan for 2011 have been spotted. The first slide shows details of up to five planned updates for the Symbian software in the next 12 to 18 months with the first one due in Q1 2011. The first update is said to bring up to 50 enhancements including a more intuitive browser. The rest of the year will see updates bringing “a new look and feel for the user interface, a more flexible home screen, an updateable HTML5 browser and an easier software update experience."

This will be good news for owners of Nokia’s smartphones, such as the N8, and comes on the back of the Finnish phone maker taking back control of the Symbian OS recently . It will, it seems, be keeping promises, made at the time, of bringing out more frequent, incremental improvements to the software on an on-going basis. Interestingly there has been no mention of MeeGo in all this, though this could be down to the fact that we are not getting all the information from the Conference.

On the hardware side of things, Nokia is planning on equipping up-coming models with 1Ghz processors and more graphics memory. Though no specific models were mentioned, the slides did indicate the phones would be released in Q2 and Q3 of 2011. There are also plans for phones with dual-core processors and what they call a “true-zoom camera” but we won’t be seeing these until late 2011 - or more likely early 2012.

With Android snapping at Nokia’s heels for its share of the smartphone OS market, Nokia will want to make good on these promises and try and regain some lost ground.

Source: Computerworld

Aidey

December 14, 2010, 9:00 pm

By the time the E7 is released they may have a native working web browser, I know that Opera is available, but Nokia really shouldn't need a 3rd party browser, bearing in mind how long it took for S^3 to be available.





I'd say it's a given that they'd be using 1Ghz and Dual Core CPU and better spec GPU in their high end smartphones. I am sure HTC, Samsung and Apple will be doing the same. The most important feature is a smooth OS whether it's Symbian or Meego for users. As after using Symbian since June 2002 before taking the plunge and swapping to Android OS since late October, they (Nokia) will need bring something amazing out for me to consider believing that a Nokia is at the top of the smartphone sector again.





I do expect them to continue to be successful in lower end sector as their name still carries great weight and their lower end phones are still very easy to use and are usually excellent value for money.

swift11

December 14, 2010, 9:26 pm

When will we get a Nokia N8 or C7 review ?

Ed

December 14, 2010, 10:01 pm

@swift11: http://www.trustedreviews.com/...


and the C7 is on my desk right now.

Chris

December 15, 2010, 12:20 am

I wonder if 'true zoom' means optical zoom. There's a reason why that hasn't been done - the lens will be bulky. That's fine in a camera, but a phone?





That said, I'd be intreagued to see what they come up with.

Sleeper

December 15, 2010, 3:02 am

This is a reiteration of Nokia's previously stated commitment to improving the UI - and David, to be clear here, the Symbian OS is anything but lacklustre, the UI on the other hand is a bit iffy - so no real surprise.





One of the reasons I bought an N8 is because I was aware of this commitment. I have the phone for 12-18 months and it will only get better on the UI front (which, to be fair, is perfectly usable, just a little clunky). In the meantime I continue to enjoy every feature you can imagine on the phone coupled with excellent call quality and battery life.





In the long run it's the better choice. That's just how it is.

Hamish Campbell

December 15, 2010, 12:42 pm

@sleeper - err no, thats just how you see it.





Meanwhile you've been using a clunky UI for 12-18 months.





Anyway, cool that nokia is getting back on track. I'm intrigued to see how MeeGo will fair and it eventually symbian will be dropped in it's favour, i presume they have some sort of long term strategy to consolidate on one smartphone platform.

Ikillgiants

December 15, 2010, 2:29 pm

Well this increases my temptation to buy a C7 (pending Ed's review). Although I'll probably get one anyway - I'm a Nokia fanboy.





From my exeperience, Nokia's updates are real improvements. I recently updated my E72 from version 2 to v5 - many of the irritating quirks were smoothed out. However, some apps were added that I didn't ask for. This includes a version of Monopoly by EA that seems to always cheat to beat me!





What did surprise me was how functional and usable the Ovi software was. Having fought with the Ovi software suite when I bought my E72. I was expecting the software to still be awful nearly a year later. It's still not perfect but it is a lot better.

Sleeper

December 15, 2010, 3:04 pm

@haim





Err... yes, actually. The UI first release is in February by the way so I'll have had the phone for five months by then. I should also point out that a UI that is a bit clunky is, in my opinion, far less of an evil than, say, a phone where you have to go outside to make calls or that won't even last a day.

Neil B

December 15, 2010, 3:40 pm

@Sleeper, I'm with you on this one. Give me a clunky UI on top of an excellent OS and hardware any day of the week. Much better than an excellent UI on top of mediocre OS and hardware in my eyes. It would seem though that we are in the minority on this one, people have very different priorities I guess.

Ed

December 15, 2010, 3:46 pm

@Sleeper: Seriously, you still think the iPhone is that bad? I've never dropped a call and it consistently lasts at least two days. That's just how it is. And, yes, "In the long run it's the better choice" really is just your opinion.

Sleeper

December 15, 2010, 4:00 pm

@Ed





I don't think the iPhone is bad at all, quite the reverse. However it does have limitations and when you have Hugo saying "Just make it possible for me make a phone call without having to go outside in the snow and I'll be happy!" in the iPhone 5 features article then that's one of them. So, please; let's not gloss over them.





With my iPhone owning friends it's about 50/50 with the ones who have iPhone 4's being better off in terms of call quality. About half of them can kill the signal by bridging the antenna gap (they all have cases so that's not an issue anymore but still...). We also do the pub test (phone from inside) and my Nokia always has a better signal on Vodafone than the iPhones. Whether that's an issue with Vodafone or not I couldn't say.





My point is that if Nokia do tidy up the UI then I'll have a phone that does everything your iPhone does to the same level of satisfaction and a lot more besides. I can assure you that if they balls it up I'll be out of Nokia land before you can say boo to a goose.

Ash

December 15, 2010, 6:01 pm

@Chris





Periscopic lens could solve the issue. I remember having a very slim Minolta Dimage X digital camera with such a contraption. I don't see why it couldn't be done in a phone.





Have a look at the cross section image in the link below





http://www.techtree.com/techtr...

Ash

December 15, 2010, 6:06 pm

Btw, did you guys try using the N8 as a game console/BBC iPlayer using HDMI out. IMO its the phone's coolest feature, after USB on the go! None of the phones can currently do it.

swift11

December 15, 2010, 7:23 pm

Symbian's technical advantages in a nutshell:


https://sites.google.com/site/...





Compare this with Android, which is Linux + Java ...

Ed

December 15, 2010, 11:33 pm

@Sleeper: Hugo sits right next to me and while he sometimes has to go outside, I've never had to. That said, I'll concede that it's not the best, I'm just saying it's not as bad as everyone makes out and is on a par with plenty of other, much less maligned, phones.





Let's face it, there's little to suggest Nokia is going to significantly improve the UI of Symbian to the point where it will rival iOS, Android, or WebOS. If they were, they'd have done it for Symbian 3 at launch. If, by some miracle, they do bring it close, then you may be vindicated but in the mean time you'll be enduring a poor interface for little real world gain. What's more, both the N8 and C7 aren't ahead on hardware if you consider screen size/resolution important - they trail the vast majority of the competition.





I'm intrigued that if you are happy to jump ship, why you haven't done so already.





@Ash: Can't say I used it as a console, I must admit, but tried iPlayer. HDMI out is definitely a cool feature but other phones do have it.





@swift11: That slide is meaningless. The fact that Symbian is faster on any given hardware is of no advantage if the hardware on one device is faster than the other, which is generally the case for Android. The only place this really matters is in battery life where the lower spec hardware should mean greater battery life (though often this is countered by using a smaller, cheaper battery) but so long as you're getting a couple of days, what's the problem? If battery life really is that important to you then fine, but beyond a certain point it simply isn't a big consideration for most people.

rav

December 15, 2010, 11:40 pm

@Ed


Do you just stare at your iPhone and marvel at how pretty it is!!! :-)





Seriously though, my iPod touch just about lasts two days with fairly constant use.

Ed

December 16, 2010, 12:00 am

@rav: Right... The iPod Touch has a smaller battery...

rav

December 16, 2010, 12:09 am

@Ed


Surely the GSM radio would be a much bigger factor? My WiFi is only on when I'm in the house.





I really wish Apple would stop making things thinner and just start increasing the size of it's batteries.

Sleeper

December 16, 2010, 12:20 am

@Ed





Your comment doesn't make sense. You might as well have asked why Apple didn't release MMS or Copy and Paste or a proper camera at launch. Products improve otherwise why are you using iOS 4.2 and not Mobile OS X 1.0? It's the same principle only Nokia appeared to concentrate on getting the hardware right first and the software later which is kind of the opposite to what Apple did.





As for hardware, the screen resolution is good enough for me at 210 ppi. The other hardware features like a good OLED, excellent camera, FM transmitter, etc mean more to me than increasing pixel density by an amount that makes no real difference in the first place (the iPhone 4's display is an exception here but then it falls down on camera, etc). I guess it comes down to what each individual views as important which is fine as long as we don't assume there is some universal standard because, frankly, there isn't.





As for not jumping ship yet, I'm unsure what's not clear here because whilst the N8 is the best option for me now if it doesn't continue to improve it may not be in 12 months time as I expect Android to have resolved its power problems by then and the iPhone 5 to have better call quality.





I find it a bit sad that on one hand there can be endless enthusiasm about what Apple or Google might release in future updates and then almost a contemptuous dismissal about what Nokia have stated they actually will do. How do you know 'there's little to suggest' when they've been clear on what they're doing and the alpha UI videos have already been seen?





This is the kind of approach that just makes me shake my head. You don't know and you've already judged it. That's wrong, Ed. Sorry, but it is.

Ed

December 16, 2010, 3:23 am

@rav: Well, there are multiple factors. I was admittedly being a bit facetious but the fact remains that the two can't really be compared. I definitely agree on the thinness issue, though.





@Sleeper: No, because (as I've pointed out before) the iPhone brought something else new to the table in the form of a revolutionary UI so got away with its deficiencies. In contrast, the N8's plus points are at best of niche benefit: the camera quality, while better, isn't enough better than most, especially as it doesn't have truly tangible benefits like optical zoom; most car stereos now have USB ports so the FM transmitter is hardly essential; how many people are really likely to plug their phones into their TVs and take advantage of the HDMI port (indeed, surely more people would rather use the wireless DLNA streaming feature available on some Android phones).





I'm not saying the N8's plus points are pointless, but to the vast majority of people these features pale in comparison to having a device that's easy to use.





Doing a bit of reading around, I came across this Nokia-centric website: http://nokiaexperts.com/defini... which rather summarised my thoughts nicely. Even in the opening gambit of its "definitive" guide the writer suggests that the N8 is only likely to interest Nokia/Symbian die-hards. In a follow up piece he then goes onto to suggest he may get rid of his phone because it's just too far behind the competition: http://nokiaexperts.com/nokia-... Admittedly he doesn't actually get rid in the end but the fact remains that he was very close to doing so.





I'm yet to hear or see anything about these new UI updates - I'll look into it tonight/tomorrow.

Sleeper

December 16, 2010, 3:52 am

@Ed





Yes, the iPhone absolutely bought a new and revolutionary approach to smartphones... in 2007. Since then it's had three further iterations, each one adding features that existed on other phones for years. It is a fair comparison.





The blog you link to sums up my thoughts as well but more from this later post:





http://nokiaexperts.com/folks-...





And it's just as well he did because here's Matt Miller's thoughts now:





http://www.zdnet.com/blog/cell...





He bought one for his wife too because she values the feature set it has and because, and here's the key thing, it met her particular needs.





The problem when I read some sites these days is the expectation that we all want an extremely easy to use phone (as opposed to a merely quite easy to use one) with a good web browser and selection of apps and not everyone does.





Have a look at Deloitte's survey on what the motivating factors for buying a smartphone in the US are:





http://www.deloitte.com/view/e...





You'll need to download the PP but in summary it ain't apps, it's price, features and call quality.





Which brings me to my main worry about TR. If you're focusing on aspects of a phone that are not necessarily what people actually want (and Hugo's initial N8 review was a classic off this) then what use are you?





Please don't do this because but when you start writing things off without giving them a chance or even looking at them then that's a rocky road to go down for a review site.

Sleeper

December 16, 2010, 4:07 am

@Ed





Here's the alpha video.





http://mynokiablog.com/2010/11...





This is rough and obviously things will have moved on but you get the idea.

swift11

December 16, 2010, 9:28 am

@Ed: battery life is important for a phone, indeed !


If you Google "Android battery life", you'll get about 32 million topics, lol

swift11

December 16, 2010, 12:36 pm

This whole Nokia debate is funny, because:


* Nokia is by far the biggest phone manufacturer in the world, but they have zero presence in the US and in the very influential US media;


* Symbian is an excellent OS (the UI is always debatable) with a low BoM; Android which is (the much despised) Linux + (the much despised) Java, needs big CPUs to function properly;


* Google is the marketing master; Nokia is more hardware-oriented of course, but their software strategy is excellent:


http://www.paniccode.com/2010/...

Neil B

December 16, 2010, 12:54 pm

@Ed, the FM Transmitter maybe niche but it is genius and genuinely impresses people who see me use it every day. DNLA streaming has always been in Symbian Series 60 devices I believe, something I've had in my phones for the last 5 years.





As ever, it's horses for courses but the niche features as you call them, are deal breakers for me.

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