Similar to Matthew Miller (an avid WinMo fan) giving up on Windows mobile, Ricky Cadden and Rita El Khoury of Symbian-Guru.com have resigned from being advocates of Symbian. The popular Symbian-Guru.com site will also no longer be updated.
To them, I say, Welcome to the club. If you have been following Mobility Nigeria for at least a year, it should be no news to you that I gave up on Symbian waaaay back in July 2009 after I got the Nokia E75. Note that until then I was arguably Symbian’s Number one advocate in Nigeria. Until my abandoning the ship, I had branded myself “Symbian Inside“.
Basically, Ricky and Rita have expressed the same issues and frustrations that I have had with the Symbian platform, and boy, have they expressed it well. Here are a few excerpts.
If you recall, when the Nokia N97 was announced, we all drooled over it endlessly. We marveled at its features, its monstrous internal storage, sliding hinge assembly, 1500mAh battery, and more. We waited a disturbing 6 months for it to actually be available…only to actually get it. The launch firmware on the Nokia N97 was so bad, I sincerely hope that whoever gave it the A-OK to be released has been fired from Nokia. It took them another 6 months just to release a firmware that wasn’t rubbish, and now, the ‘flagship’ languishes behind other devices, frustrating owners like myself more and more each day.
Despite getting one that was manufactured much later than the initial batch, my Nokia N97 had the famed camera slider issue, where the ‘protective’ lens cover was actually damaging the lens it was designed to protect, flooding photos with the dual-LED flash and making them useless. The GPS, once strong, now loses signal every 10-15 seconds, making the free voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation offered by Ovi Maps a complete waste (not to mention the POI database in my area is abysmal). Don’t bother filling that 32GB of internal storage with music – it’ll bog the phone down so much you won’t be able to use it for a thing.
The pissant processor in the N97 is another aspect that completely kills the device. The phone is hardly able to keep up with the operating system’s multitasking capabilities, frequently running out of RAM and slowing to a crawl. Worse, the C: storage – where you install 3rd party applications and where the majority of Nokia’s own products install themselves – is so small it’s ridiculous. After installing Nokia Messaging for Email (which should have been pre-installed in such a flagship device), Ovi Maps’ latest update, and Ovi Contacts, I’m left with less than 10MB free. To add insult to injury, this 10MB tends to disappear on its own – I’m down to 2MB after being at 10MB a week or two ago. The only way to recover it is to hard-reset the phone, which I’ve done several times, and then painstakingly re-installing all your stuff. It still takes me close to an hour, and I would consider myself a pro.
And if you are thinking about how glorious the N8 looks, Ricky has this to say:
You may be saying, ‘well, sure, but the N8 is set to come out any month now, shouldn’t you give it a fighting chance?’ Yes, of course I *should*, but I won’t. When the Nokia N8 was first announced, I was dead convinced I would purchase one out of my own pocket. I started putting money aside, ready to even pre-order the N8 as soon as I could. However, the more I use the Nokia N97 as my primary device, the less I’ve been convinced that the N8 is going to be better. Time and time again, Nokia’s high-end smartphones have arrived with pathetic processors, stingy amounts of RAM, and small batteries – why should I put up another $500 of my own money ‘just to see’?
I’m afraid, I agree with his sentiments here. Nokia has a track record of throwing out great specs in recent times but letting users down with performance on their high-end devices. Personally, I have chosen not to argue with that track record.
PS: Read about fears concerning “Out of memory” error on the N8.
When I think back to 3 or 4 years ago, when the iPhone and Android were first launched, I remember how they were a joke for many Symbian users. But look at them now! Look how much has evolved and grown in those two, software and feature-wise as well as ecosystem-wise. Four years ago, I had a long list of arguments to use when friends told me they’re getting an iPhone. But year after year, that list grew smaller. Now I just stand there and nod, knowing that there’s nothing I can argue with. The mobile space has seen a mind-blowing acceleration, hugely thanks to the iPhone, and meanwhile, Symbian and Nokia have stayed the same. I have now come to expect that whatever feature is still missing from Android/iOS will probably be added soon in a future firmware update. I wish I could have the same faith and certainty about Symbian.
Symbian rules the Nigerian mobile space at the moment, but I find using Symbian devices a pain. The lower end devices fare much better, but once you cross the line to high-end, it is a mess.
So far, so good, my experience with Maemo has been beautiful. But I am not sure that I love MeeGo‘s childlike icons (even the name sounds like something for kids). I won’t mind an Android device either, and should the gods at Cuppertino choose to smile on me with a QWERTY iOS device… Yes; a guy can dream. BlackBerry is addictive and easy to use, but let down by the built-in browser. If only RIM can get that new super-browser on to their devices early enough. Bada – we wait. Windowsphone 7 – still vapourware.
Anyway, this is all interesting. The mobile OS fight is on (actually, it has been on for years now). May the best platform win!