Ever since the announcement of Nokia getting into bed with Microsoft shook up the mobile phone world last month, the question on most people’s mind – at least those with an interest in these things – has been what now for Symbian?
Symbian is a much-maligned smartphone OS but one that continues to be very popular, only recently being toppled from the top spot by Android. In an open letter to developers Purnima Kochikar, vice president of Forum Nokia outlined where Nokia stands on the Symbian platform. Nokia has been re-evaluating the Symbian roadmap since the announcement and is planning on bringing out a strong portfolio of products in 2011-2012. “These devices will take advantage of the strong integration of devices and services as well as our strength in areas such as imaging and location-based services. They will also include improvements in hardware performance such as GHz+ processing capabilities and faster graphics speeds.”
As well as bringing out new handsets, the Symbian software itself will also be getting a bit of spit and polish with a number of updates during this transition period. The first major update will arrive in summer, delivering a new home screen, new flexible widgets, new icons, a faster browser, new Navbar and a new look and feel to Ovi Store and Ovi Maps. Addressing the question of a specific date for a wind down of Symbian, Kochikar fails to give a specific answer. “We hope to bring devices based on Windows Phone to market as quickly as possible, but Windows Phone will not have all language and all localization capabilities from day one.”
This means there will be a phased wind down of Symbian with some markets getting the Nokia Windows Phone devices first (major markets like western Europe we imagine) before rolling out to other markets such as China, India, Russia and Turkey where Symbian is still the leading smartphone OS. Addressing the issue of Qt, the development platform for Symbian and future (possible) MeeGo technology, Kochikar said Nokia is committed to investment in it “as the best toolset for those platforms" adding that they are "focusing on future developments in part by our plan to divest the commercial licensing business, used mainly by developers of embedded and desktop applications beyond the mobile market."
So while the Nokia Windows Phone devices may not be seen for almost 12 months, the company will still have a number of new devices to be going on with and will keep Symbian updated so as not to lose too many of its customers.
In other Nokia news it seems as if the Finnish giant was not deterred by the ruling earlier this week from the International Trade Commission (ITC) against its patent infringement claims against Apple and has sued the Cupertino outfit again over seven more perceived patent infringements.
Among the patents involved are ones relating to multi-tasking, call quality and Bluetooth accessories. This latest patent battle means Nokia currently has some where in the region of 46 separate patents involved in legal battles across the globe. It must be good to be a lawyer in Finland.