back to article Nokia accidentally unveils OS it should have had in 2009

Nokia is expected to unveil the a major refresh of its Symbian OS today, bringing it bang up to date with competitive phones from two years ago. Owners of more recent Symbian^3 models should be able to update their handsets eventually. Nokia unveiled a teaser for a mystery announcement of "something new for Symbian" on Monday …


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  1. Milkfloat

    already in the wild

    Search a little and you can get hold of Belle right now. Whilst I am not brave enough to install it myself, it certainly looks interesting. I wonder how long it will take to get it out the door officially?

  2. tmTM

    Way too late

    Too little too late - it's Nokia all over.

    They've lost a great number of users, no-body wants their smartphones anymore.

    This update would have been nice a couple of years ago, now there's only the blind faithful left to enjoy it - everyone else has switched and is not likely to go back.

    Rolling out the last of the symbian updates before putting it all to bed?

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge


      Except that corporate buyers like their phones and the departure of WebOS and HP leaves room for them.

      Few people make the traditional candybar shaped business phone now and there's still a market for such devices.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      I guess I'm a nobody!

      I've currently a Samsung ace, middle of the road android fare, running the latest version, yes some nice touches, but maybe I was expecting too much, the number of clicks it takes to do all the things I regularly use isn't any different; radio, podcast, gps, check email, send messages, camera, music.

      I'm not one of those who doesn't see the point of O/S released after 2001, however the phone has become about as smrt enough for what I'm doing; a dual core 4" would be overkill.

      The "nokia/symbian is rubbish meme" suits me fine ... just picked up an N8 for a ridiculous price (there's nothing blind about it, I've checked out the competition, and with Belle it'll certainly do me until I'm due an upgrade).

    3. Monkeyboy88


      What an idiot... New nokias are showing up everywhere even with Anna. Nokia is on the rise and with Belle coming out, It does look very promising, something different for a change from just iOS and Android. Most people are very very happy with Anna. I have a C7 Silver and with Anna, and it rocks, way quicker than iOS and Android. It really is a powerful OS and now very very smooth and slick. Just show's what Nokia can now do, and it is only going to get better! UNDERESTIMATION AT YOUR PRIORY - I love it when people underestimate! - They get a surprise... My wife used to work for Apple in Singapore. They are now in crisis as they have lost there focus and now with Jobs leaving, shares are tumbling down, and Apple will fall with a thud. People in my country prefer Anna and Belle to the dull and boring iOS. All I hear is complaints about Apple and Android. Nokia is back in a big way...

      1. Andus McCoatover

        I call TROLL!!

        "Nokia is back in a big way..."

        You must be absolutely fuc*king daft. OK, buy some Nokia shares...

        Actually, to counter my own statement, I want 5 grand's worth of Nokia shares, fuc*king cheap at the moment (Last time I had some I sold at €17). Now a little over €4.

        When Microsoft buys Nokia, they'll be at a premium - I'm guessing €8,50

  3. Stone-eye


    After saying no N9 will they ever get general release?

    C'mon Nokia get some last good handsets out before Ballmer steals your soul.

  4. The Bit Wrangler

    So sad...

    I've seen this running on an N8 and it is STAGGERINGLY good. Elop must've seen this before he made his dumb call, what was he thinking ? Admittedly it's a long-time too late but it could've been the start of a fight-back for Nokia - they built a lot of good-will and I reckon a lot of people would keep with them without Windows but with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Fully agree

      Been running it for a few days and it's great. I have no interest in WP whatsover, especially since I'd have to run desktop s/w to sync stuff over - smartphone me hole.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I thought they were a Windows shop now? Win7Phone7Series7DeluxeProHomePremium7 beig the bestest phone OS ever?

  6. Patrick O'Reilly

    If Android was like Apple

    I think that Symbian update looks great. However it's very similar to Android what with the swipe down notification bar, widgets, app drawer etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ever see the Nokia N900 and Maemo ?

      As per title.

  7. Dinky Carter

    At last...

    I've just got back from driving around Europe with my N8 velcroed to the dashboard. Ovi Maps provided faultless, offline GPS navigation while the Music Player shuffled thousands of MP3s held on a standard USB memory stick, with the N8's FM transmitter pumping everything through my car's sound system. And of course I took countless snaps and videos with the 12mp autofocus camera.

    Featurewise the N8 seems to outgun iPhone and Android, and with (at last) a decent UI I don't think I need to upgrade for at least a couple of years. Except perhaps to an E7...

    1. Tegne

      I've still got 13 months left on the contract for my N8

      I'm nervous there's not going to be anything approaching a phone that suits my requirements as much as this by the time I come to renew my contract. Namely the awesome camera, built in 'free' worldwide GPS and ability to play pretty much every movie standard out of the box. Anna was an ok upgrade but Belle looks awesome.

      1. John 62

        why nervous?

        1) You've got 18 months left to enjoy your phone under the terms of your contract.

        2) Why do people think they need to upgrade when they get a new contract? Or that they need a new handset every year? That's what keeps the service price up for those of us who aren't fixated by the new shiny. If your phone satisfies you now, it'll probably satisfy you 18 months from now.

        Sure I could have upgraded my SE k750i back in the day, but I kept it until it stopped charging reliably and the vibrate stopped working. My iPhone 3G is still going strong. Slow, yes, very slow compared on an iPhone 4, but it's working well enough that I don't have to change.

  8. Kevin7

    Looking good

    I might even dust off my Nokia N8 and upgrade it when its out. At the minute I'm still using my E72 as the N8 is almost unusable in its current form.

    1. Insane Reindeer

      Even after Anna?

      If so care to share what makes it still so unusable?

  9. Nick

    @ Kevin7 - re. E72

    I know what you mean... but more and more I've found myself putting up with the N8 for its great camera and hdmi output. Opera on a nice big screen is also nice.

    But the foibles of any Nokia smartphone pale into insignificance when compare to the steaming turd that is Ovi Suite...

    1. hewbass
      IT Angle

      ... So don't use Ovi Suite...

      (it's not like it is actually necessary to get the best out of the phone itself).

      Mind you, I find nothing wrong with it apart from the fact it only runs on Windows (and therefore only on my work laptop)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ovi Suite

      Even a few months ago it was fairly crap, but the latest versions have been working fine for me.

  10. Jolyon

    I'm interested

    Would very much like to give this a go.

    At the moment I use an E71 for calls / texts and a ZTE Blade for data - not yet found a phone that can do everything I want that has the battery life of a decent Nokia phone.

    What's the N8 like in this respect?

  11. Da Weezil

    Too late

    The uncertainty around Symbian already drove me to Android.. My old handset died and I needed a phone NOW... and didn't have the luxury of waiting to see what Symbian crumbs fall from the Nokias table. My partner has just ditched the last Nokia in this house.. a steaming pile of N8something that has been consistently disappointing throughout its life.

    Nokia lost at least 4 sales to this family alone.. looks like Elops plan to gut the company so it can be assimilated by Redmond is progressing nicely. We wont be back.. unless the Nokia board/shareholders grow some and sack Elop and start making decent hardware again running on a decent o/s.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    They HAD an ecosystem around Symbian

    It was growing (Ovi Store downloads now 9m+ a day). The developers serving the Symbian ecosystem would have helped serve MeeGo too, and vice versa.

    Nokia destroyed it by switching to Windows Phone, which doesn't have an ecosystem worth talking about.

    The latest Symbian Belle update would easily have allowed Nokia to remain competitive in the mid-range for a good while to come. The fact Elop knew this just makes his shockingly inept announcement killing Symbian on Feb11 so much worse as it was completely unnecessary.

    1. Nick Kew

      Meego killed the ecosystem too

      I well remember the buzz around Maemo at FOSDEM in February 2010. The N900 was the forerunner of Great Things, although the hardware was a big disappointment after a year with the superb E71 in my pocket.

      That was the developer community.

      Nokia abandoned us a couple of months later when they orphaned maemo and switched to Meego. So now Android was left as the only show in town for those who value freedom but don't want to be orphaned in a cul-de-sac.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not the case at all

        When Nokia folded Maemo into MeeGo, the platform focus had already shifted from being about the Symbian platform, or the Maemo platform, to being just the Qt platform.

        You no longer developed for Maemo, MeeGo or Symbian. You developed for Qt. That was - until Feb11 - THE Nokia platform.

        Nokia never abandoned or orphaned Maemo for MeeGo, they provided Qt frameworks on Maemo and that was what you developed for. Anyone developing for Maemo or MeeGo outside of Qt (SDL excepted) is an idiot.

        If you develop using Qt you can even deploy your app - unchanged, other than packaging - on Android.

        Nokia did however screw their developers by dumping Symbian and MeeGo, because these developers had invested time and effort making the switch to Qt, and while it may still have a future with S40 and Symbian, it will never reach it's true potential under the current Windows Phone strategy.

        Elop could even be heard promoting the Qt platform in the months leading up to his WP7 announcement, and for this reason alone many Nokia developers finally gave up on Nokia in disgust at their underhand behaviour and switched to Android (not Windows Phone).

  13. Graham Bartlett

    E72? Bad luck

    I got one myself. Still got a year or so to go on my plan from Virgin Mobile.

    It could be worse, I guess. But it could be a *whole* lot better. Never mind Ovi and cruddy apps - how's about an email app that can check itself whether I've got email, instead of me needing to do a manual refresh each time? or when you're at home, having your phone use your wireless network for everything instead of 3G? Jeez.

    1. Dinky Carter

      Dig into the UI

      Your quibbles can be rectified by digging into the tortuous S60 UI and changing the settings appropriately (eg periodic e-mail check & WLAN usage)

      1. Sarev

        Re: Dig into the UI

        Very helpful response that. Doesn't help with all of the apps which ignore the central config (e.g. your 'Destinations') - OviMaps, I'm looking at you. Nor does it help when it randomly doesn't see your wifi network(s) and decides to use 3G anyway. It's taken me a LOT of time and money (PAYG internet) to get this bloody phone to stop using up all my credit. Can I get my money back off Nokia?

        1. Dinky Carter

          "Helpful advice"

          That's why I said 'tortuous' UI.

  14. Schultz

    Forget the ecosystem

    Users don't need an ecosystem of 9m apps. They care about some 5-10 applications which should be simple and easy to use (apple showed the way).

    But if you have no clue what to do with your OS / app base, then you may pray that one of the 9 million apps fills the need of you customer. Didn't seem to work for Nokia though.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Elop laid bare

    Carpetbagger. Corporate Raider for Microsoft.

    Mind, the Nokia management were so clueless - spending ten times what Apple do on R&D but unable to deliver anything - that it's no surprise they bought Elop's pitch.

    1. asdf


      >Mind, the Nokia management were so clueless - spending ten times what Apple do on R&D but unable to deliver anything

      Euro bureaucracy at its finest. Whose truly clueless though are the shareholders and board. They are the ones to blame for letting it get to all this.

  16. cocknee

    Keeps me happy!

    Having been a Nokia Fan for years but dissapointed with all the ones after the N95, I was very pleased with the N8 and now Anna has made it great, can't wait for Belle.

    Have a Blackberry - hateful pile of poo, can't even do email formatting correctly and as for the browser GRRRRR

    Had an iPod, well did until I got my N8 and thought what's the point

    As for the iPhone, it has evolved into a good phone (the early ones were style over content) though still not worth the Jobs Tax, it aint that good especially with it's closed format, have to use iTunes therefore Windoze or Mac to do anything on it, though IOS5 may change that.

    Android is still immature, maybe in a years time it may be there, though with Google buying Motorola, they'll be doing an Oracle (Oracle 11g/ Solaris) I'm sure!

    But as most have said, a bit bloody later Nokia! and as it would appear that someone is strangling the company until Windoze arrives, maybe they'll be doing a Google when it's cheap enough.

    When will I upgrade my N8?

    a) if it breaks (with maybe an E7)

    b) something else comes on the market with

    - the battery life

    - the camera quality

    - the call quality (still unsurpassed)

    - bluetooth that works (not iphone)

    - flash that works

    - maps that are only bettered by Tom Tom (at nil cost)

    - non proprietory interfaces (simple USB)

    - reasonable cost

    - hell freezes over

  17. asdf

    expect more of this

    I expect more and more cool stuff that's to be discontinued will continue to come out of Nokia. Mostly because the sociopath middle management that ruined the company has turned its destructive infighting and defending their fiefdoms towards the M$ dominated future. Therefore the few boffins left can complete their projects in peace.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New N8 Camera App too

    There's a new, updated, N8 Camera app available from Nokia Beta Labs - it includes 30fps video recording, an improved user interface and other functionality such as rule of thirds grid for both videos and photos.

    Very worthwhile update, works flawlessly on my N8 with Anna.


  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My last phone was Windows Mobile and my current is iPhone 4 (because Windows Phone is a steaming pile of crap), but Belle looks pretty good. In fact I think it looks better than the iPhone

    Shame Nokia are dropping Symbian in favor of Windows Phone

  20. Steve Netting

    Just what I was looking for...

    ...until Nokia killed Symbian. I now have an HTC running Android.

    I'd have loved to have stuck with Nokia but what's the point in investing in a dead platform?

    This version of Symbian looks fantastic though - the whole situation is very frustrating :(

  21. Monkeyboy88

    Anna is EXCELLENT!

    My Nokia C7 is better than iphone and android with Anna on board, it rocks, and operates really well - It really is much better than iOS and android already. The c7 in silver with Anna is beautiful, smooth and is way quicker than iOS and android. Anna is sooooo quick and powerful. And the quality is very very good. Recently I have seen more brand new Nokia's than new iphones or androids... It seems as though Nokia in my country have really done something very very good for the people. All I hear is good comments from very happy customers, apple is dying, it's had it's time. Nokia ARE on the rise in a big way now! On the ground more new Nokia's are everywhere! Good...!

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