Home > 3rd edition, 5th Edition, Android, aPPLE, Nokia, OVI, Qt, Rant, Symbian, Symbian^3 > The Western blogosphere and their constant negativity concerning Nokia.

The Western blogosphere and their constant negativity concerning Nokia.

I think all of us here have borne witness to this, major US/UK blogs and their stance towards Nokia, Symbian and anything smartphone related originating outside of the US, the exceptions being HTC and Samsung for reasons obvious to anyone with eyes. The question is why?  Why is it that Nokia get constantly lambasted for doing ANYTHING or mocked for coming to the table too late while the others are constantly praised for doing admittedly mundane things (Facetime anyone?) . This post/rant is intended to look at common criticisms leveled at Nokia and by proxy, Symbian, each of which will be evaluated as best as possible by yours truly. Let’s get started then!

1. Symbian is old antiquated technology, it should be dropped.

Easily one of the most common criticisms leveled Nokia and Symbian’s way and easily the most simple to refute. Many mention that Symbian OS is old and has no place in the current web-connected, social network driven world currently infesting the western world. Taking a quick look at Symbian’s history and the roots of the OS, one would be inclined to agree that some of the basis of this argument has real world fact associated with it.

The EKA2 kernel used in current iterations of Symbian and responsible for controlling the interactions of the software with the underlying software was conceived of in 1998 and came into being by 2003. That’s not at all to say that the kernel in its current implementation is the same as it was then, but the idea that devices have limiting CPU, memory and other similar limitations was a major part of the kernel design. This as opposed to the somewhat less limited kernels being used in Android (Linux 2.6.xx kernel) and iOS (based on Mach micro-kernel) which were initially built for larger, less power-dependent computing solutions.

Oddly enough the Mach3.0 micro-kernel used in Mac OS X and by proxy iOS was completed in 1994 while the Linux 2.6.xx branch came into being in 2003. By this logic, Android should be the newest of them all and subsequently the best  ight? As we’ve seen time and again, new does not necessarily equal good with Windows Mobile 6.x based on the CE 5 kernel being nigh on terrible for mobile devices.

EKA2 also allows things that other mobile kernels, specifically iOS  cannot, in particular pre-emptive, priority based multitasking without requiring each thread/process to relinquish CPU time in addition to tight regulation of CPU runtime and API calls.

Detractors for this argument would say that it’s the way in which the user interacts with the interface that matters most and that Symbian is the worst of the big 3 when it comes to the new hotness, touchscreen devices.  That is a valid argument with the Menu and soft-key based interaction method used in legacy Symbian devices S60 v3.x translating very poorly to good touch experience as demonstrated by S60v5. iOS on the other hand was built for direct-interaction and less dependent on hardware buttons, abhorring them in all but the most necessary of circumstances.On the other hand, Android was initially conceived for Blackberry-esque devices and as such maintains a degree of dependency on hardware buttons, Menu, Back, Home and occasionally search. The interaction methods differ significantly between the 3 and for touch interfaces one could argue that iOS is distinctly superior to the other 2.

The differences between the other two interaction methods are less clearly stated and arguably neither is significantly BETTER for most users.  Clearly both have moved towards the newer direct-interaction methods with S^3 and newer versions of Android but the legacy underpinnings remain.

Key takeaway:

“Old” is relative and in a great many cases, having legacy code or kernels is not necessarily a bad thing. It is the implementation that counts most.


2. There are no apps for Symbian

I’ll start with the blatantly obvious caveat that apps do not make the OS or the platform but they damn sure add to it. That said the app situation with Symbian has been in dire straights for a number of years. Initial moves with Ngage 1.0, Download and Ngage 2.0 were almost universally derided in part because of issues with both the carriers and less than stellar implementations. That said, the idea was there and it took a brilliant effort by Apple before carriers were in any way willing to ALLOW such use of their networks, much less one that they stood to benefit in no way from. Applications have always been available across the internet and in repositories like GetJar and millions of forums online for sideloading applications to Nokia devices. The thing is, most users didn’t know or care about how they could do this in the first place and Apple’s effort was admittedly the best implementation of a centralized, on-device store.  The Android store followed soon after the apple store and then the Ovi store 1.0 which in reality should have been called a 0.5 beta version when first released (it really was bad).  In time the store client has improved but the situation with developers did not and the number of quality apps available for the platform has stagnated. The question is why?

Devs were put off by two things, the lack of an easy signing/submission/distribution pipeline and the lack of good, easy-to-use tools and IDE’s. Nokia realized this and made significant moves towards rectifying this issue by acquiring Trolltech and leveraging the Qt environment to allow for easier app development across multiple hardware and software platforms. Additions to the Qt portfolio under Nokia’s stewardship have been almost unanimously praised and the streamlining and ease of use of the submission pipeline have grown significantly over their prior implementations.  Detractors would claim that all of this has done little to change the current devices and applications on the market and they would be right, to an extent. Before S^3 devices came to be, there was little to no market utilization of Qt even if the devices supported it. Furthermore, they would claim that Nokia’s platform seemingly lacked halo devices to draw developer and consumer attention. While I can in no way vouch for the attention of the consumers, it’s blatantly obvious that developers are interested in Qt. Most recent estimates place the number of downloads of the SDK in excess of 1.5 million since it’s release in June of this year. These figures tell a startling tale, interest in Nokia’s platform has grown, even if the end results have yet to be seen.

Key Takeaway:

A number of issues plagued App development for Nokia devices including different hardware platforms, OS versions, OS types, distribution methods and coding/testing difficulties. Nokia has responded to nigh-on all of these and has put together a plan to tie together all of their devices and platforms under a single unified Qt umbrella.

Now that we’ve caught our collective breath!! 🙂

Part 2 of this rant will cover some of the other issues and criticisms leveled at Nokia and will hopefully paint a somewhat brighter picture of their future direction, regardless of what the mainstream media (falsely) may say.


  1. Dave
    December 16, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Amen for this, very, VERY well said. I’ve been saying similar for a while, yet there are still plenty of idiots (retards?) who just spout the same old rubbish about Symbian being old, needs to be brought up to date ….

  2. Georg
    December 16, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Not again!
    2 days ago there was the long pro-Symbian article, yesterday your boss had a rant againt Nokia for the new dealy of the E7 and now you with yet another rant.
    The fct is that Nokia made it easy with their mistakes and now we are talking only about feelings, preferences and loyalties when we should be talking about devices, OS and apps.

    • Andre
      December 16, 2010 at 9:08 am

      Lol….this post has been on my mind since July 😛

  3. December 16, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Excellent post.

    Hating Symbian is almost an internet meme which for the most part has no actual solid substance to hate other than:

    “Other people on the interwebs hate it, I must too, even if I haven’t used it or understand it”

    Perception of downfall/failure of Nokia is excellent for everyone except Nokia and fans. Such negativity, even if heavily unsubstantiated, can still greatly influence against Nokia’s favour, especially if promoted by major blogs/internet personalities (often with Anti-Nokia agendas.
    Call something a particular name enough and it sometimes sticks, “complicated, old, dying, unintuitive…etc” even if not necessarily true.

    Apps aside, the main thing that I can observe is that Symbian DOES desperately need a UI fix to appear as “modern” as its counterparts, i.e. flashy jazz. Fingers crossed for Qt – one solution to rule them all? :p

  4. December 16, 2010 at 9:37 am

    excelent p0st
    we dont care wt 0ther says
    we r stick with n0kia f0rever
    go n0kia g0
    long live nokia

  5. December 16, 2010 at 10:25 am

    OLD SOFTWARE
    OLD HARDWARE
    NOT A GOOD STORE

    just that
    no 1.000.000 of words

    only just that…

    i was a great nokia platform user but actually google/apple are the best for
    -PLATFORM SOFTWARE
    -HARDWARE
    -STORE

    three crucial points in our era

    • Rant
      December 16, 2010 at 10:47 am

      Hardware is debatable; It is the same now as with the Pentium wars back in 1998/1999 or something? People are just skewed because of numbers. While Nokia does use a little bit too much yesterday’s hardware, 1Ghz procs aren’t all necessay. Maybe the N8/C7 etc could have done with a A8 at 680Mhz just for the heck of it but more is overkill.

      Same goes for RAM, 512 is better!!!! Why? Don’t forget that a not everyone knows what the numbers actually mean thus they go with bigger is better.

      Software is a valid point, 2011 is make or break for Symbian/Nokia.

      The store; Yes at the moment it isn’t up with the arguably better Fruit store. But with HTML5 and the lot maturing a think we could look at a shift from native apps to web based apps that only need a browser. Not really a good defense to have a bad store now, but staring blindly at apps is of no use.

    • Dave
      December 16, 2010 at 11:04 am

      What old software? Did you actually bother to read the article above? obviously not.

      Google don’t actually build the hardware (so how can they be best at that?), the store is a bit of a mess, and the platform software is inefficient. Look at the performance of an Android device running a 600mHz processor. its dire.

      Heck, even the Desire HD totally failed to play a 720p divx file I threw at it, despite its supposedly amazing CPU. Same file played perfectly in the N8, despite “only” having a 680mHz “ancient” CPU.

    • Jerome
      December 16, 2010 at 10:26 pm

      I do consider Apple Iphones and Google androids phones as plasticraps, no battery, stamps pics, blondes and fart apps for anything and nothing, closed and linked system for the fruit, colorful and excited for the gogole ones but nothing very useful for those who really need to work with their smartphones, to rely on them. Trying to compare the N8 hardware with the others is just like talking megahertz without even knowing what they do with it. Well, you’re nearly right on a point: Symbian is a proper working OS, not an extatic explosion of joyfull promises.

  6. Rant
    December 16, 2010 at 10:40 am

    It is a nice piece and all, well written and does give the feel you know what you are talking about.

    But….
    All the technical underpinnings, all the efficiency and what not in the world can’t help the general perception of people to change.
    At the moment it is mostly blogs and the more tech savvy people that are calling Nokia dead, past it or whatever. But I’m also starting to see the normal people (or normobs, courtesy of Steve S.) getting fed up with Nokia.
    This is not in particular due to blogs are other influence channels, but more because of their own experience with current devices, S60v5 in particular.

    A lot of people have bought the v5 devices in good trust, it is Nokia in the end so it must be good or at least sufficient. But we all know the drama of the N97, basically the N97, the X6 and so on. I must admit that most of the devices mentioned is based on a relative small group, but the N97 must be seen as a major flaw. The Mini is my own perception and the X6 is from a friend who has had her device in the shop more often than she has had it in her pocket.

    On to the matter at hand; everybody knows it is harder to gain trust then to loose it. That is what has happend with Nokia the last few years. People try something different for a while and stay there. In the process they recommend said devices/brand to someone else.

    While the new S3 devices are capable of winning back a few souls they are not really the ‘gamechangers’ that are necessary.
    I’m really anxious to see what is going to happen in 2011, if the general concesus about Nokia won’t change than it might get stuck with a certain reputation alongside the good hardware reputation.

    (Sidenote: This is mostly based on the touch experience rather then the v3 type phones)

    • Andre
      December 16, 2010 at 10:36 pm

      That is a very fair point. And one that I daresay I agree with wholeheartedly. Unless you show people how good something is outright you can’t really expect them to know or care for that matter.

      That said, I’ve found a lot of the criticisms being levelled at them above and beyond what their faults have merited. People still lambast the Ovi store AND development for Symbian when their only experiences with it were well over a year ago. The Ovi store a year ago is so much worse than the current implementation whereas the other two stores have improved but not nearly in the same league of improvement the Ovi store has seen. (In terms of client development and improvement for example)

      That said, there are still issues that were rectified majoritatively that we’ve yet to see the fruits of. It is something that takes time and patience, though hopefully not too much because I’m personally considering moving away from Nokia if I see nothing worthwhile by June of next year.

  7. IMarius
    December 16, 2010 at 10:53 am

    The worse thing is that alot of this negativity comes from so called tech blogs , i mean how tech savvy are these people if they cant tell the different between a OS and UI, but what is worse i know when updated UI thats coming with the E7 will come out , you will see articles like ”oh symbian is nice now , but its too little too late ”.

    Either way just hold the course , updated symbian , meego , and qt are all the future of nokia.

  8. Mark Anderson
    December 16, 2010 at 11:03 am

    The biggest problem is perception. I had a conversation with an editor at one highly respected Uk review site yesterday around this and their perception is that Nokia will never get it right. These guys don’t even appear to want to give them a chance.

    This is a huge mountain for Nokia to climb and to be honest it’s largely their fault that they’re in that position to begin with.

    • Dave
      December 16, 2010 at 11:07 am

      Totally agreed – its all about perception. I’m fairly certain that Nokia could have got this a lot better if they’d improved the stock font/icons – the tech press just saw something that looked similar to what had gone before.

      Also, a lot of these bloggers/news types seem to have a seriously lack of editorial ability (Gizmodo, and to some extent engadget).

      • Mark Anderson
        December 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm

        I take Gizmodo about as seriously as they take user security. 😉

      • Johnny Tremaine
        December 16, 2010 at 4:22 pm

        It’s not Gizmodo that’s an issue.

        When The Guardian, the Times, and Reuters are giving Nokia a hard time and handing out bad reviews to devices, that’s a problem, and it’s not ‘just perception’.

        Nobody wants to lay any blame on Nokia for releasing crappy devices, everything from the N96, N97 and Mini, E72 and others.

        The company has also allowed their brand image to wane, to be seen as old hat. They’re about as cool now as Westinghouse or Philips.

        • chfyfx
          December 16, 2010 at 4:40 pm

          do not trust the media too much. they lie all the time.

  9. chfyfx
    December 16, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    In my opinion, it is a good thing Nokia is being attacked all the time. Because if they do not attack, their beloved brands will look weak to people. Their costumer needs to be told that they are better than others, which is pathetic to me. Nokia makes statements with their products instead of bashing others. I just simply like the way they work this.

    On the other hand, competition is always good. Nokia is now feeling the challenge and trying hard to find the answers, which is like dream come true for cellphone lovers.

    The only thing is that I hope Nokia would not lose its culture and fall into those consumer mind controlling marketing thing.

  10. λóρδ λμ™
    December 16, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Symbian is the best os i ever used on phones. Those who says that symbian is old,useles n scrap are dumbass.

  11. ibzter
    December 16, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    The only thing bad about symbian devices is that they have always been run on less powerful as compared to the competitors, i’d love to see those ghz’s (=P) go up and still maintain a good battery and ofcourse a revamp of the UI which feels OLD OLD OLD really because it should change, and a change here would mean a very good thing because ppl like change

  12. Jerome
    December 16, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Everyone should use the platform that match his needs. Shouting that Symbian is old and crappy is a perfect shout for thoose who like the incredible choice of farting apps you find in the other stores. I came back to the N8 from an Iphone 4 and I stopped reading Stefan Constantinescu’s posts to focus on my real needs: the N8 has never deceived me; great battery life, essential interface, reliability. It’s different. Meaning.. ” You laugh at me because i’m different and I laugh at you because you’re all the same”.
    I dont care about the challenges, the market shares and the “youtube comments experts”, I just wanted a phone that work well, a great tool, sometihng different.

    My N8 is not an “iphone to be” and I love it this way 😉

    • chfyfx
      December 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm

      Exactly how I feel. best gps, best camera/camcorder, hdmi, strong built, solid battery life… and it is still improving

  13. syd
    December 16, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    To each his own!
    I went from nokia 5800 to galaxy s and now to C7! Android is all flashy yet when it comes to basic call and text I had to navigate my way so much it was crazy! Also call quality and signal strength is where nokia rules!i commute by train 45 miles to work and go through many tunnels, samsung struggled to get good signal for calls or web browsing yet both my nokias had great signal except when in tunnels!
    hence I am back to nokia and it meets my needs well!
    And nokia support there devices well whereas other brands not so much.
    Also hardware numbers are just that! Bit like mega pixel of few years ago! C7 seems to do well with only 680mhz processor and when I played hd divx on nokia c7 it played smoothly yet galaxy s wasn’t! So its down to how well an OS utilises available hw.

  14. Stan
    December 16, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Stupid posers don’t like Symbian because it doesn’t have blonde hair and big boobs.

  15. jeprox
    December 17, 2010 at 10:00 am

    i own an N8 and i installed a lot of apps.. and i still don’t experience the “low memory warning”..

    while my gf owns an HTC Desire.. she always have troubles with the low memory warning..

    the problem with nokia is that, when there are problems with the nokia phones, the owners post it immediately on forums. while android owners or iphone owners, don’t.. or if they do, their quite a few..

  1. December 17, 2010 at 12:07 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: