Symbian and the Case of Growing Noticeable

Discussion in 'Symbian' started by Antoine Wright, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. Antoine Wright

    Antoine Wright Neighborhood Mobilist Super Moderator

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    I don't get up as many editorials here as I used to, but that hasn't stopped me writing from time to time. Here's a snippet of a piece that I just published titled "Symbian and the Case of Growing Noticeable." It should bring to light some of the traits around Symbian which make it a hard sell to some, and a bucket of opportunity to others:

    Read the rest at my site, though feel free to comment here or there towards your thoughts on it.
     
  2. Hook

    Hook Phone Killer ;-) Arrrrr...f

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    Watching Symbian in the US reminds me of watching Linux, though Linux is more of a success story in the US than Symbian. Linux is a very nice platform, but as long as it isn't widely pre-installed on the computers people buy, set up and ready to go, most people aren't going to use it.

    Same with Symbian-- unless Nokia and other Symbian platform makers play the game with US carriers, they don't have a shot in the US as a major player. I'm not sure they need the US market, but thay aren't likely to get it without a big push from a major carrier.

    However, there are other problems for both Symbian and Nokia. For Symbian, it really has been too slow at updating the operating system and user experience. For Nokia, its penchant of introducing services that are nowhere near ready from a usability standard and then actually trying to force people to give up what has been working just fine is a problem.

    In all, what Apple and now Android (and probablt WebOS) have done is to create a very smooth user experience, smooth enough to not be terribly derailed by the flaws that still pop up. Then the experience is pushed by the carriers. Thus we have the odd phenomenon of people buying pocket computers they mostly don't need and using them as phones and picture frames the way people used to (and still do) buy powerful computers to play solitaire. This isn't a criticism of those people, and many of the people with these devices in this forum don't fall into this category. However, this is a very hard market for Nokia and Symbian to be anything but a small niche player.

    All of which makes it a bit frustrating to be someone interested in Symbian in the US. Ultimately, I wasn't tough enough, though something likt the E7 sure does get me looking. ;) However, I'm not really who Symbian and Nokia need in terms of the US market.
     
  3. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    For the average user - not gadget enthusiast, just a user - the question is: will they be able to pick up a Symbian^3 device and use it as easily as an Iphone (doubtful from what I hear) or Android device? If so, said average user will not care and will be just as happy with a Nokia as anything else. Only techies worry about the OS. Nokia needs to emphasize its brand and downplay the Symbian part. If Nokia's name continues to be associated with high quality hardware and they are not hampered by usability issues, they will be fine with the consumer. j It's the carriers they have to work on. They have already indicated that short term, they will continue making GSM devices since that's what most of the rest of the world uses. Since LTE is on the horizon, it makes no sense for them to devote effort into CDMA devices so Verizon & Sprint are out for now. I think it's great that their new devices are equipped to work on either T-Mobile or AT&T, especially since carrier uptake has been so slow.

    Since North America is the largest smartphone market, I don't think Nokia can continue to rest on its laurels in the rest of the world. They must succeed here and must be able to continue to hold or improve their position everywhere else.
     
  4. Antoine Wright

    Antoine Wright Neighborhood Mobilist Super Moderator

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    I will say this much (battling a cold), Symbian's UI is duplicated in whole or in part by every mobile device platform except webOS. The learning curve issues with it's UI were and are always overemphasized by louder media with less exposure to smartphones. That is not to say it's easy, but it never has been the issue it is made to be.

    NAM is not the larges smartphone market, it has the largest ratio of smartphones to feature phones.

    Carriers are an issue here. The US marketplace is different, and whether Nokia or other Symbian licensees feel they need to adjust they will. But bluntly, catering to the CDMA market here is a black hole, it makes not sense right now for Nokia to do so. LTE is more to their liking, and you should expect something neat there when those networks start being turned on.
     
  5. Drillbit

    Drillbit Mobile Deity

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    True. The US has the largest ratio of smartphones to feature phones in the world. Although they have only 7% of the total global handset market.

    What this figure can also mean, its the rest of the world that has the most potential for smartphone over featurephone shift, and that the US market itself may have less growth room compared to other regions of the world.
     
  6. zap2

    zap2 Apple User

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    Thats just silly. Sprint and Verizon have somewhere around 100 million subscibers. HTC, Samsung, Motorola all seem to make money have CDMA devices(as well as GSM models).

    That being said I think Nokia has more pressing issues, which are design a phone that can compete with Apple, Google, and to a lesser extent Microsoft on UI. RIM took some good steps with BB OS 6, but if I were Nokia, I wouldn't be as concerned with RIM. Honestly S^3 is taking a while to hit devices. Sure the N8 is coming quite soon, but over all the vast majority of Nokia's devices are S^1, which is just old at this point. Nokia better do better when it comes to getting S^4 devices out the door. Having so many different OSes plus different software versions of this OSes is terrible for their ability to show their improvements.

    Its a better OS then say Windows Mobile 6.5 is, but at this point in the game, I would have hoped Nokia would have gotten more S^3 devices out.
     
  7. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    I'm guessing Nokia has an easier time sending GSM phones, which they already produce for the rest of the world anyway, than CDMA. Especially since Verizon will be introducing LTE before the end of the year. Even AT&T won't have it online until some time next year, they say.
     
  8. zap2

    zap2 Apple User

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    No doubt, GSM makes more sense for almost every company. Honestly, my biggest downer for Symbian is Nokia's lack of ability to get S^3 out the door. I don't really want the N8, that form factor has tons of great device already(iPhone, Nexus One)

    Give me the form factor of the E71/E72 with a biggest screen and S^3(I'm assume S^3 can run on low resolution screens) and you've got me interested. Or at least ship the N7 with the N8.
     
  9. Hook

    Hook Phone Killer ;-) Arrrrr...f

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    Actually, I think a bigger problem is that Symbian^4 isn't out the door. Symbian^3 looks to me to be too little too late.
     
  10. SyncRaven

    SyncRaven Mobile Deity

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    Sorry to bring an old thread back from the dead but:

    It's true that most people aren't going to use linux - but one big difference is for linux it really doesn't matter that much.
    A hardware company has to ship hardware or they are sunk - but 2-5% of nerds in the world who are coding their own software for free can continue that indefinitely.
    So to me linux desktop is a success - it's only a failure when people expect it to be an OS for everyone instead of what is it and probably will always be.
    I find all the articles saying linux desktop failed funny since it hasn't failed in this household since i've managed to convert my wife who previously refused to give up IE..
    Sorry if I went off too much a tangent there though..

    You could be right but from my perspective I think symbian core OS was just as good on the experience front, just not marketed as well. Apple and Android have been very good at hyping up their products as new and innovative, to a crowd of tech enthusiast that don't like to stay still.
    Most people seem to follow the herd, so once another company gains the slightest marketing momentum it's hard to get noticed.
    Nokia could have re-skinned V3, called it Symbian Hyper Core, and made some pretty graphic/movement effects - and if they marketed that as the next best thing people would have purchased it :). With most people it seems to be the perception of change more then any real changes under the hood.
    I mean, not long ago IOS couldn't even multi task, which is something windows ce handled pretty well in the 90's - but you could play bowling games by shaking your phone around so it was apparently the bee's knees :).
    So I think nokia/symbian primarily failed to market. Microsoft is another example of that failure in my opinion.
     

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