Tag: symbian

Nokia kills Symbian

Although it has been on life support for a while, the former rubber boot maker Nokia is about to pull the plug on its most successful product in November.

Nokia has announced that it will halt shipments of handsets bearing the self-built Symbian operating system sometime this summer.

According to AllThingsD, any remaining handsets will only be sold in emerging markets to deplete stockpiles.

We might see a few Symbian phones tip up in places where they have not heard of Android or Windows 8 and apparently there is still a demand for some of the low cost handsets in those regions.

But the move will bring a slow painful death for the OS, which is looking more dated than a Tunisian oasis.

Officially it also means that the terms of Nokia’s Faustian pact with Microsoft will be complete and the company’s fortunes will be ever linked to that of the Vole.

Nokia said that the Nokia 808 Pureview handset, the last Symbian handset the company produced, was a fitting end for the once-beloved system.

The Nokia 808 PureView acted as a bridge for the next wave of innovation now seen in the Lumia 925, a Nokia spokesman said. 

Android leads in mobile developer interest

Mobile app developers are still in love with Android and iOS, but the latter seems to be losing appeal. Interest in Windows Phone and BlackBerry is flat, while Symbian and Bada are on their way out.

According to Vision Mobile’s latest Developer Economic Report, developers are still looking for a viable alternative to Android and iOS, but they are having a hard time finding one. The report, which covered 3,460 developers across 95 countries, also notes that app development for tablets is increasing.

Android leads in terms of developer interest, and it is extending its lead over iOS. Android interest stands at 72 percent, up four percent from June 2012, while interest in iOS is down five percent, from 61 to 56 percent. Windows Phone and Blackberry are flat at 21 and 16 percent respectively. HTML5 is also getting a lot of traction, with 50 percent of respondents interested in it.

The real money is concentrated on iOS and Android. Most developers use two or more platforms concurrently, but developer platform choices are slowly narrowing, which is bad news for smaller platforms.

Although Android gets a bigger slice of the pie, most developers take the iOS-first approach and they prioritise development for Apple over all other platforms. Developers also moaned about the need to improve HTML5 APIs, but they believe HTML5 is becoming a viable alternative to native development.

Developers feel HTML5 needs better native API access, a better development environment and better debugging support. An increasing number of developers are starting to focus on tablets and the iPad is in a clear lead. TV development remains niche, with just six percent of Android developers interested in the Smart TV hype.

The report found that advertising is still the most popular revenue model for developers, at 38 percent. However, new concepts such as in-app purchases and Freemium content are also making their presence felt. In fact, in-app purchases are now the second most popular revenue model on iOS, with 37 percent of developers on board. Google’s AdMob remains the dominant mobile ad platform, adopted by 65 percent of developers. 

Nokia starts selling Microsoft phones in China

For a long time Nokia was the King of the Eastern telephone networks but failed to tackle the increased numbers of smartphones from Apple and Samsung and saw its sun set.

Now it seems that Nokia is banging on the back door asking if it can have its market back. This time instead of Symbian based phones it is using Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 7.

Nokia’s push in China is a test run for the Windows 8 release. So far the operating system has had limited success in Europe and the United States.

According to Reuters,  Nokia Chief Executive Stephen Elop wants to use models based on the Lumia 610 and Lumia 800 smartphones.

The Lumia 800C will be sold without a carrier contract for $573 from April. Pricing for the cheaper 610C model, to launch in China in the second quarter, will be announced later.

The phone models will be based around the CDMA technology of China Telecom, the nation’s third-largest carrier. Nokia plans to bring all four Windows Phone models to the Chinese market in the second quarter and also adopt China Unicom’s wireless technology.

Eventually the plan is to have the Nokia Windows Phones will eventually run on all three of China’s mobile networks including China Mobile. 

Nokia, Microsoft hope Finland will save its app ecosystem bacon

Nokia and Microsoft will invest millions of euros in a university course aimed at kickstarting app development in the Windows Phone operating system.

While Apple and Google are flying ahead with growing app developer communities, Windows Phone is languishing at the back of the pack. With this in mind the two firms will be investing 9 million in an app development programme in Finland. 

The AppCampus at the Aalto University will attempt to foster the creation of start up companies to work on the Microsoft platform.   For its part, Nokia will also see its mostly dead Symbian platform getting some attention.

Starting in May this year, students applying will be hoping to make the best of Aalto University’s premises, coaching services and business network. TechEye has visited and the university, in Espoo – near Nokia HQ – is a hub for start-up businesses. Microsoft and Nokia will also help bring any products to a wider audience, giving a bit of guidance in commercialising their ideas. Finns are still proud of their Nokia, even with the job cuts and Microsoft exerting its influence, so the companies have chosen the location of their initiative carefully. 

A lot is resting on the creativity and hard work of the Aalto students.  With such a gap between Windows Phone and its competitors, there is a risk they could be arriving later to the app development scene than an undergraduate to a Monday morning lecture. 

Of course, Nokia has released some well received phones recently and the Lumia handsets hint at something of a return to form.  But for smartphone users hardware is often not enough, particularly as many phones bear a striking similarity to each other, and strong app content is absolutely crucial.

Android and iOS have been racking up hundreds of thousands of app in their respective stores, around the half a million mark – but Windows Phone is languishing way behind, with approximately 70,000 apps.

Investing in the university programme might be a sign of the gulf between its rivals, it does at least appear to be another step in the right direction for the two fims.

According to Ernest Doku, mobile expert at uSwitch.com, the investment is “much needed” in order to start to think about catching up with its smartphone competitors.

“Despite the tens of thousands of applications currently available on Windows Phone, the platform itself is still a long way behind Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, both in terms of development and market penetration,” he told TechEye. “Inevitably software developers tend to focus much of their attention on the more lucrative revenue opportunities presented by Apple’s App Store or Google Play, leaving Microsoft’s OS out in the cold with a paucity of quality content.”

With a lot of ground to make up it seems the duo will have to invest a lot more time and money to create a vibrant app development community.

“Nokia and Microsoft have placed a massive bet on the success of Windows Phone, and with apps such an integral part of the mobile ecosystem, this university programme is likely to be just one of many concerted efforts to stack the deck in their favour,” he said.

Windows overtakes Symbian in the UK

The numbers of smartphones with Microsoft Windows software have surpassed those using Nokia’s old Symbian system in Britain.

According to research released by Kantar, the figures for the last three months to mid-February, after the launch of Nokia’s Windows-based Lumia 800 model, showed Microsoft’s market share rose 5-fold to 2.5 percent in the British market.

Market share for Symbian decreased to 2.4 percent from 12.4 percent a year earlier, according to Kantar.

Generally though the British market is dominated by Google’s Android with a 48.5 percent share and Apple with 28.7 percent.

Kantar claims that the result shows how well Nokia had shifted to Windows Phone 7 (WP7) and there were strong signs that WP7 Nokia handsets are starting to make an impact on the European smartphone market. Lumia 800 took 87 percent of Windows Phone sales in Britain

Kantar analyst Dominic Sunnebo said that the fact that WP7 sales have overtaken Symbian based on one handset is encouraging.

He warned that Nokia will need to expand its range quickly in order to keep up with next generation competitor products being launched in the second quarter.

Nokia's Stephen Elop announces a camera

Ex-Microsoft man, Stephen Elop, has announced some new Nokia devices at MWC – including one camera which also doubles up as a phone.

While this time last year Elop was defending a round of enormous job cuts that swept the Finnish phonemaker, as well as batting away rumours about a Microsoft takeover, today he has been touting a Nokia handset as an amateur photographer’s wet dream.

Presumably named after the acid-house drum machine, the Nokia 808 Pureview boasts a huge 41 megapixel lens, which is a lot by most people’s standards. Many of the current camera phones on the market ship with 8 megapixels. Nokia has always been well known for making great hardware and its cameras are no exception. To prove it, Elop demonstrated the power of the 808 Pureview by taking an extreme close-up of the Beeb’s technology respondant Rory Cellan-Jones’ face, here, which he described as ‘uncomfortable’.  

Despite proclaiming the death of Nokia’s ill-fated Symbian OS, the 808 will not be a Windows Phone device. Microsoft’s favourite handset manufacturer will release the camera with Symbian because the technology had been in development for five years, Elop told the BBC. A puzzling move. We’re calling the decision the Symbian WTF.

If it was Nokia’s aim to confuse the industry, it seems to have succeeded. By making its 808 the focus of its announcements, Nokia has hacked open the corpse of Symbian and put a couple of new AAs into its pacemaker. How, exactly, are we to feel about a new Symbian phone? Device makers will agree that a phone’s success is largely about its ecosystem. That’s one of the reasons Blackberry is struggling so much. It will be confusing for the consumer and, as playing around with Voodoo is widely regarded, bad juju.

Nokia has had a hard time convincing the world that its products can cut it in an Android and iPhone world. But it has recently become the biggest manufacturer of Microsoft smartphones, thanks mainly to the relative success of its Lumia. Speaking of which, Elop also today announced the Lumia 610, a spin-off social media-centric phone which will be available in Nokia’s characteristically bright colours.

Nokia and Microsoft to spend a fortune on marketing

Rumours that Microsoft and Nokia are set to spend over $100 million on marketing Windows 8 tablets and smartphones are rubbish, according to veteran vole-watcher Paul Thurrott, who claims that they are going to spend a lot more.

Thurrott said that he has been given the real marketing figure and it is a lot more than “in the neighborhood of $100 million.”

Thurrott said it’s going to require shedloads of money to convince punters to buy millions of Windows Phone handsets in the first half of 2012. Not only will it need a new set of phones, it will also require increased contact with tech enthusiasts, increasing retail-worker recommendation rates through training and sales incentives, and other methods.

This will cost over $100 million in the US and it looks like Microsoft has tapped Nokia and its hardware chums Samsung.

According to the internal Microsoft documentation Thurrott claims to have seen, the total cost of this marketing tsunami is $200 million and that is just in the US. On AT&T at least, Nokia is outspending Microsoft two to one.

The plan includes sales incentives for retail workers which will get them recommending Windows Phone as an alternative to Android devices and the iPhone line. Average workers will make $10 to $15 per handset, depending on the number sold.

Microsoft is expected to make a big announcement at CES this coming week when we will all know for certain. It will be its last.

Nokia's Microsoft phone is not the comeback kid

Hopes that Nokia might be able to turn its fortunes around early using a Windows 7 phone have largely failed.

Despite the fact that the Lumia 800 has won good reviews, only two percent of Europeans say that they are interested.

According to a survey by Exane BNP Paribas, while there appears nothing wrong with the phone, the punters are just not interested.

Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu warned that the smartphone market was consolidating fast and was being divided between Google and Android. Phones using Microsoft software only have a two percent market share, he said

Nokia’s shares have fallen over 20 percent since the October 26 launch of the new phone, with investors fearing Nokia would be unable to claw back the market share it has lost in the past few years.

Irritatingly, phones using Nokia’s old Symbian software, still outsell Windows phones by 10 to one.

Nokia insists that there is a lot of “positive momentum” for its Windows phone but is not giving the world any numbers. It pointed out that Nokia had never counted on the first Lumia phones to lead to a quick turnaround but instead expected it to be the first step towards recovery.

Swedbank analyst Jari Honko told MoneyControl  that Nokia could win back market share in feature phones and in smartphones.

He added that Nokia’s product portfolio had got a lot better since Stephen Elop took over as the chief executive in September 2010. The hope is that the 2012 Windows 8 upgrade could also attract a wider audience by making the way smartphones, tablets and PCs work more similar. 

Nokia officially spins off Symbian

Nokia’s operating system, Symbian, has officially left the building. 

Following an agreement earlier this year to spin off the ailing OS to developers at Accenture, the deal has finally closed. It will see some 2,300 employees worldwide forced into the clutches of Accenture. They will make their move from China, Finland, India, the UK and the US.

The murmurs we’ve heard about Accenture tend to be that it’s not exactly a joy to work for. Although it has financial might and is rooted in the major markets, critics say it’s not a hive of innovation or activity.

Accenture claims it will provide and support Symbian software development to Nokia up until 2016. With the announcement, at last, of Nokia’s first Windows phone hitting the wires this week, it seems Accenture’s involvement will be very much a transitional phase.

In a statement, chief exec at Accenture Marty Cole said the business will grow in mobility and embedded software. Cole also said it will work with Avanade, a spin-off that Accenture has a majority shares of, to keep a close eye on developing Microsoft technologies which it will also give to Nokia.

Specifically, a Nokia spokesperson told TechEye that from the 27th of April it announced plans for a “strategic collaboration with Accenture that would result in the transfer of Nokia’s Symbian software activities.” 

“This activity covers the update and development of the Symbian software platform that is used in various models of our current product range,” the spokesperson continued. “So specifically Accenture supplies software support and development.”

We asked if Nokia will be a customer up until 2016 or if it just has the option of being a customer until then, but have not received a reply at time of publication. 

Nokia flees Romania

It seems that the Finnish rubber boot maker Nokia is following the same policy as the ancient Romans and pulling out of the town of Cluj in Romania before the barbarians arrive.

Nokia is cutting 2,200 jobs by closing the its plant in Cluj, Romania, as it struggles with falling sales and profits. The last time the city of Cluj saw a pull out on this scale was in 274 AD when the Romans did not feel they could prop up the city any longer. The city was a wasteland until the Middle Ages.

It seems that Nokia’s policy of disconnecting people from their pay packets in Romania will not end there. A further 1,300 jobs will be cut at its Location and Commerce business unit, which includes the world’s largest digital mapping business, Navteq.

These lay offs are on top of plans set out in April to save a billion euros by laying off 4,000 staff.

Reuters said that the switch to Microsoft software for its smartphones will be too late to save any jobs. 

Nokia’s share price has halved since it announced the Microsoft deal on worries the company will lose so much market share before the new phones come out that it might never make up lost ground.