Symbian-Guru gives up on Symbian

Posted by Mister Mobility

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.

From Ricky:


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.

From Rita:

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!

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18 comments

  1. Despite all those flaws, it seems Nokia has more fanboys than apple and google. Because many still try to riducule you for using the iPhone.
    By the way, I am posting this using Opera mini on iPhone 3g just to show that the iPhone is indeed evolving.

  2. IG,

    Yes; Nokia has its share of fanboys – like one guy who showed up here yesterday and who I promptly shut up.

    Fanboyism is one of the many things that I cannot stomach. It is just silly for people to deride other platforms simply because it isn’t their favourite or because they don’t understand them. Intelligent criticism is a different kettle of fish and is very much welcome. Every OS has its flaws. And people have different needs and tastes.

    Do enjoy your iPhone and ignore the brutes.

  3. This post of yours just further depresses me. i bought a nokia 6710 navigator like 2 months back and its the worst phone to have ever greased my palms! Its too buggy: keypad locks up, memory issues as highlighted in the article above. out of control touch sensitive zoom bar that messes up the camera, pic gallery, ovi maps and browser! Inconsistent net connection. The phone at times could be totally unusable.

    3 visits to Nokia care and they cant seem to fix it. And on the forums, people worldwide have exactly the same problems. Why is Nokia still shipping the phone? Just do a search on forum.nokia.com for the details of the pitiful state of this S60 3rd ed. FP2 phone.

    Well its 50k down the drain: my savings kissed the dust: now how do i get rid of this phone? Cant afford another smartphone…and this was my first nokia. I just feel sick…sick! I’ll be filling a report to the NCC for further action!

  4. Yomi, you made a very valid point in your article which represents truly what I feel. I have never been a fan of the SYmbian architecture because of the drab UI. ANd from the reviews of the N97, there was no way I could’ve gotten one. Nokia’s last reign in the top expensive smartphone niche was the Nokia N95. That was a very good phone in its time.

    Now back to the N8. The Nokia N8 is a very good phone in terms of features. But then you still can’t compare it with other monsters in the field in terms of Hardware features. It is yet to be released, so we can only watch and speculate. Most other top phones have a minimum of 512 MB RAM and 1 Gigahertz CPU. The Nokia N8 has only 256MB RAM and ARM 11; 680 MHz processor. Examples are the iphone4, the Motorolla Droid X, and the Samsung Galaxy s. All with superior hardware to the Nokia N8. PErhaps you may not blame Nokia N8, because the N8 is reputed to be cheaper, cominmg at only 370 Euros.

    Whatever, I think Nokia should put its act together. Like Eldar Mutazin said, instead of playing catching up to other manufacturers, it should set the pace with innovation. Like it once did in the N95!

    Let the best mobile operating platform win!!

  5. David Ella,

    I feel your pain so much. It is painful to spend so much on a device and get the short end of the stick instead.

    Why is Nokia still shipping the phone?

    Whatever the reason, it is not in the interest of the consumer. They probably do not care.

  6. @yomi,i don’t seems to understand this “it should be no news to you that I gave up on Symbian waaaay back in July 2009 after I got the Nokia E75 .”
    Can you pls explain the reason in details.

  7. @computer: The very same reasons stated in the news item above. That is why I also made this statement:

    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.

  8. I quite understand that but could you please state the issues you had with the nokia e75?

  9. @computer: I could endure the sluggish s60 interface. I could endure the sluggish S60 web browser. But I could not stand the E75 letting me down at critical times in the area of email management. Unforgivable. Take a look at Smartphone blues: S60 and Gmail for more.

  10. Thanks for the response. . . I currently use a nokia e75 so was wondering what issue you faced, though its all depends on how and what we use our mobile to do. . .am planning to get a nokia n900 though when am done making best use of almost of the features of my current phone.

  11. @computer

    If i may ask. How do you use Bolt browser on windows XP? Thats what is displayed on your posts on this site.

  12. I’m using a bolt browser on my nokia e75 and not via pc. . . Though its possible to use such on pc through the help of an emulator.

  13. @computer: Odd how your E75 is misrepresented as a PC. In Bolt settings, is there an option for the browser to be recognised as a PC rather than as mobile? That may be the issue.

  14. @yomi,for real, i don’t see any reason why i’m to use mobile layout in the preference in my bolt settings. I’m using desktop layout.
    You know one will surely enjoy it using desktop layout on such phone but i can’t say this is the main reason why its misrepresenting it as windowxp.what do you think?

  15. @computer: Only one way to find out – change that setting to mobile and post a comment with it so we can see how it is recognised. You can then change it back to mobile for your everyday use.

  16. Lol! The secret has revealed! I’m back on my desktop layout.
    @yomi,i’ve a little problem with bolt while posting in your site. . .it shows 404 error not found whenever i submit a post, i then click on back and submit again, it then shows please post a comment.
    So, i decided to reload to the page to see if the message has been posted and i realized it has been posted. What do you think can be done to stop this manipulation?

  17. When I read it ‘THE LAST POST’ on there website i said to my self, it is better to be a lover of Gadgets (like I am) than to be a fanboy.

    People say Allaboutsymbiam has refused to comment on the issue.

    One wonders who to blame Nokia or Symbian, but what i know is that these guys are business men and even without anybody talking we expect them to do something to make there business better.

    But it saddens the mind when such things happen

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