Symbian has unveiled its second major software update in the space of six months with the arrival of the Symbian Belle operating system on the Nokia 700, 701 and 600 phones.
Francisco Jeronimo, research manager European mobile devices with analyst IDC, said: ‘The Symbian OS was behind in good user experience compared to iOS and Android OS, and Nokia became the third biggest smartphone player, with 15.5% market share by the end of second quarter 2011, according to IDC. The new Symbian Belle is an extraordinary improvement from what Symbian was a year ago.
‘For the first time, the user interface and user experience of Symbian Belle significantly closes the gap with Android and Apple iOS user interfaces and will help to attract current Symbian users to the new Windows Phones to be launched this year. If Nokia had launched this new Symbian Belle one year ago, the company would have remained the worldwide smartphone market leader.’
Jeronimo added: ‘Above all, the previous Symbian Anna and the new Symbian Belle demonstrate that Nokia is focusing on execution. To launch two versions of a platform within a period of six months also demonstrates that Nokia can be faster than its competitors in meeting customer expectations. While Google and Apple are releasing new versions within approximately 12 month timeframes, Nokia is doing it within six months.’
The analyst also noted that the continued development of Symbian by Nokia demonstrates the company’s total commitment to the OS. In February this year, Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop announced a shift in the company's platform strategy to Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS, but also mentioned that Symbian would continue to play an important role while the transition to Windows Phones takes place. Nokia confirmed today that further updates to the Symbian platform will continue into 2012.
Symbian Belle increases the number of home screens from three to six, providing more room to display applications and services. Live widgets now come in five different sizes, making the home screens come alive and giving users more flexibility to personalise the user experience.
It also includes a pull-down menu and taskbar to access notifications from any of the home screens and further enhancements to the web browsing experience. One of Symbian Belle’s newest features is the single-tap NFC sharing and pairing capability. This allows contacts, videos and images to be shared with other NFC-enabled devices and smartphones, as well as pairing with NFC-enabled mobile accessories such as speakers and headsets.
Nokia said that the availability of Symbian Belle on newly shipping versions of the Nokia N8, E6, E7, X7, C7, C6-01 and Oro, as well as by download, will be announced closer to availability.