Symbian Conference: Nokia Tube 5800 hands-on & other musings
I was at the Symbian conference today in London. I heard a couple of keynote speaches about the vision for the future of Symbian, and of course I heard the mantra ‘developers developers developers’ said in a not so Ballmeresque way but very much with his energy in mind.
The truth, though, is that they’re right. The battle for developers was launched by Apple last year, and so far, they’ve managed to make it one of the sexiest platforms to develop for, in spite of all the limitations put in place by his Steveness.
However, Symbian, and more specifically, Series 60, have the largest installed base of Smartphones in the market, so it stands to reason that it isn’t too late to recover if they fix what they need to fix in order to compete in a post-iphone world.
One of these attempts is the Nokia 5800 xpress phone (see link below for a video):
I got to play with it, and I must say that I’m impressed with how they were able to adapt the Symbian OS to behave like an iPhone. Touch delay was noticeable, and some apps were clumsy in how they transitioned to text input (messaging for example), but the touch Series 60 does show a lot of promise, and once they figure out how to easily allow people to install apps a la Appstore, Nokia may very well have some good mojo on its side.
That said, other initiatives, like making the platform free, will do wonders in equalizing the playing field for the Symbian camp.
I also had a chance to play with Sony Ericssons G900 and G700 as well as the Samsung Innov8. The G700 felt pretty good, and their touch/stylus implementation wasn’t bad at all. The Innov8 was powerful, but large, and left me desiring something more (can’t quite put my finger on what was missing).
Overall, I think Symbian is taking the right steps to continue to keep itself at the forefront of the smartphone market. Hopefully more manufacturers will take the platform further than it has gone to date. However, I hope that for all Symbian users sake, a better and easier way for apps to be purchased across Symbian devices regardless of UI platform (Series 60/UIQ) is quickly put into place so as to efficiently promote the work of developers to come.