Symbian Is Dead. Long Live Nokia Belle!

The Nokia Belle Flagship

Part One: Primary, Secondary, Belle?

I have always wondered what Nokia meant when they said that they were adopting Windows Phone as their “primary smartphone platform”. Why “primary” if there is no secondary? Right?

Also, why have they gone through the trouble of renaming “Symbian” to “Nokia Belle” if this is the end of the road?

Are you following my drift? I have consistently suspected that Windows Phone will not be the only platform that Nokia would push in the market. The legacy of Symbian is too big, too strong, and too useful to be thrown away completely.

Okay, so Nokia has killed Symbian. Symbian is dead; long live Nokia Belle OS.

Part Two: Belle, Carla, Donna?

Before Symbian was killed, Belle, Carla and Donna were just names for subsequent versions of Symbian. However, note the radical shift since Symbian was killed. Now, Belle is the OS, and there are no more official references to Carla and Donna. Instead we hear of “Nokia Belle Feature Pack 1”, which is what Carla used to be (see Nokia Belle FP1 is Carla).

Are you following me? Nokia dropped the “Carla” moniker and replaced that with FP1. I bet that instead of Donna, we will hear of FP2.

Symbian OS is dead. Long live Nokia Belle!

PS: Nokia 808 PureView runs Belle FP1 (Carla)

Part Three: My OS Looks Better Than Yours?

My article on the brilliance of what Nokia has done with the 808 PureView, the new Nokia Belle flagship, has expectedly generated a lot of buzz. As usual, a comparison of different platforms showed up, with the respective chief whips of Android and Symbian (that dead platform) showing up to pitch for their camps.

I am going to build this argument around a statement made by the chief whip for Android:

The simple fact is that Belle only looks so good when compared with previous Symbian versions not against Android or iOS.

Do you know what is wrong with this statement? It is the pre-supposition that one OS looking better than another invalidates that other. In other words, the idea that Android looks better than Belle makes Belle redundant.

Of course, it doesn’t take much to see that such an idea is preposterous. It is plain silly and flies in the face of reason.

Different car brands look better or worse from one another, yet they all sell. Same for TV sets, clothes lines, and wrist watches. Heck, even ladies have different levels of beauty, yet have their fair share of male suitors. See the point? They sell to varying degrees. But they sell.

Plus, if we follow that line, Android is a rather poor copy of iOS, UI-wise. Odd, but Android sells anyway. See why Nokia Belle continues to sell, even after its precursor, Symbian has been killed by the American tech press and by Nokia’s CEO?

Fact: Nokia Belle is good enough for many people. As a matter of fact, it meets the needs of some people better than either iOS or Android could ever hope to do.

A friend who wants a new phone spoke with me yesterday. I made a number of recommendations, which she turned down. She wanted the Nokia 500, a Belle smartphone. She had her mind made up. Nokia smartphones did it for her and she was getting that particular model. She had also had the chance to use one for a few hours and was in love with it.

Smell The Coffee!

Now, y’all that keep speaking of the Symbian ecosystem, please note the difference: there is Symbian, the platform that is being killed. And then there is Belle, the resurrection and the life (I know that sounds blasphemous; sue me).

Get it? Nokia won’t admit it. But here is the best kept secret of the mobile industry, and its coming from me: Nokia has re-invented the most popular and most successful smartphone OS ever. Nokia Belle may never rule the smartphone landscape like its precursor, Symbian, did. But, who cares?

The important thing is this: Symbian OS is dead. Long live Belle!

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26 comments

  1. Mister Mobility, thanks for these insights. People nowadays only seem to spread lame info from American (mostly) blogs without pausing to ask if it computes at all. Find time to read Stefan Constatinescu’s IntoMobile post on the Nokia 808; his Nokia hate is sickening. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/whenK3

  2. I have always wondered what Nokia meant when they said that they were adopting Windows Phone as their “primary smartphone platform”. Why “primary” if there is no secondary? Right?

    Sterling reasoning!

    It is interesting what a little qualifier like ‘primary’ can do to the semantics of a sentence.

    Mr. Mobility, thank you for demystifying the ‘Elop Strategy’

    Long live the Bellies! Down with the Zombies!

  3. Do you know what is wrong with this statement? It is the pre-supposition that one OS looking better than another invalidates that other. In other words, the idea that Android looks better than Belle makes Belle redundant.

    Of course, it doesn’t take much to see that such an idea is preposterous. It is plain silly and flies in the face of reason.

    I’ve also read things like: Android battery life is trash; people should stay away from Android because it guzzles data; Android is too open to attack, and I can also say those are meant to invalidate Android which will be perprosterous and plain silly considering that Android is still doing very well.

    You said Android and Symbian whips, but whatever comes from the Symbian party against Android won’t matter because you belong to the Symbian crowd.

    1. Dear Harry, do point us to one article published on this site that tells people to stay away from Android because of it’s data and power guzzling nature. Quote just one article and include the link. I dare you.

  4. Your “primary, secondary platform” hypothesis is indeed very plausible, going by recent developments. But whether it will prove to be a sound strategy on Nokia’s part remains to be seen. At this crucial time when they have lost a lot of ground to the competition, I would have thought that Nokia would focus their energies on making a solid comeback. If we are to go by your theory, it would appear that the company has instead committed itself to maintaining two distinct software platforms, concurrently. Is the Finnish giant up to the task of creating compelling UXes, nurturing a vibrant dev community and attracting popular platform integration on Windows Phone and Belle? At the same time? Wouldn’t it be spreading its precious resources too thin?

    I’ll wait on the launch of yet another Belle device to be fully convinced of this theory, that the latest 41 megapixel wonder is not Nokia paying its last respects to the legend that Symbian was. Till then, I’m content to observe with keen interest.

  5. If nokia releases another belle phone only then will i believe what you said Mr Mobility. From all indications be it named symbian or belle, nokia will ONLY produce Windows as its smartphone OS. Sorry for the bad news but the truth hurts.

  6. A sudden twist.

    This is going to be very interesting. I’m keen on watching how Elop Evolves Nokia. All eyes on you man.

    Meanwhile, I still miss my Samsung Galaxy SII. There are apps I’ve gotten used to there–they increase data spend–and love dearly but are not available on my Nokia Belle. As soon as I get my unlimited wifi, I should pick another Robot to kick around with.

  7. (
    Meanwhile, I still miss my Samsung Galaxy SII. There are apps I’ve gotten used to there–they increase data spend–and love dearly but are not available on my Nokia Belle.)

    Give me examples of those Android apps that you can not find in Nokia Belle.

    Maybe, i could help…

  8. Oga Eye.Bee.Kay, there is no official Twitter app for Belle. Moreover there is no decent third party twitter app too. The only credible twitter app for Symbian Belle is Gravity! which is not free. In fact, it is even overpriced!!

  9. @Mr_Mobility,

    My sentiments exactly. I couldn’t have put it better than you have done.

    Symbian was my first love. Now that the mighty Phoenix has risen from its own cremation ashes, temptations to go back is becoming almost irresistible.

  10. Great Article, Yomi. It is as if you’ve had an Epiphany! This is great deductive and elucidative reasoning & thinking. I just hope that your inferences giving the limited clues from Elop is correct. I so wish that Symbian would survive. Even if in Belle. I can’t contemplate the negative. Variety and competition keeps innovation alive.

    With the preview 808, it appears Nokia is now embracing its only recent past when it used to come out with feature-laden products and innovation that leads the mobile industry. I hope this would lead to something great despite forces against Symbian’s life!

  11. @eyebeekay, does symbian belle have Google goggles, google translate or Auto-CAD app? If you think there are no apps in the android market that have no equivalent on symbian, you are dreaming. If you can find equivalents for the above apps, please inform me

  12. i hope this article is true and play out for Nokia. i love my Android but wont desire a dead Symbian/belle. The more of these OSs we have the merrier. It helps innovation. I am sure Nokia competitors have started strategising on how compete in imaging relm after the launch of pureview.
    But i will like us top clear certain things out here. Is belle not a build off Symbian ? If it is, then its not going to live long. Its Death certificate has been signed for 2016. This was according to Elop at the MWC.

  13. this article actually got me thinking seriously nd then i wondered … what if ‘killing symbian’ only means killing d name … just like nokia has done by renaming all ovi services eg ovi maps is now nokia maps & ovi store is now nokia store. And those formerly ovi apps are getting updates so its not like the apps/ services are ‘dead’ . so nokia probably only ‘killed’ the name ‘symbian’. i say also long live belle, carla, donna ….. up to jenna

  14. If you think there are no apps in the android market that have no equivalent on symbian, you are dreaming.

    If i think ALL Android apps have equivalents in Symbian?

    My response to this is not as convoluted as u have framed it.

    Of course NOT.

    There are apps on both sides that have no equivalents on the other side. These are mostly specialized apps – like your AutoCad.

    So what?

  15. @eyebeekay, for months you ve been asking for apps on android that have no equivalent on symbian. I just gave you three. To be sure, there are thousands of android app with no symbian equivalent. But you would struggle to find a single symbian app with no android equivalent. In most cases, the android equivalent will be far better and more refined. Your dislike for android bothers on naivity. Most android users here were symbian users for years and that includes me. Needless to say, the switch to android has been seamless. I dont see anybody hear complaining. On the other hand, from the way you talk, I dont think you have used android well enough. If you have, you d know that symbian is no match. Belle is good but android is better. Far better. Even symbian strong point Bluetooth file transfer is handled better on android. You dont have to keep saving each file received via bluetooth. Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice but the general consensus even among symbian fanboys is that Android is a far betttrr and more refined OS.

  16. Mr Mobility. What happens if your prediction fails? Have you taught about that? It is a big risk your are taking here, you should have been more objective to be on the safe side. I must warn you will loose lots of readers if your analysis fail. Sticking out everything for belle like this can self destruct. Well time reveals all things.

  17. @Efe, How can i continue to argue with so much unsubstantiable assertions from you?

    By the way, i like that ‘tip of the iceberg’ con. You provide three apps, then assert there are thousands.Impressive!

    Okay! happy?

    For all it is worth, have a look at some objective analysis here.. http://goo.gl/M0bdK

  18. As for me, I love Nokia phones especially the belle platform. I own nokia N8, good for me, user interface is friendly, but i want Nokia to have confidence in belle, and to stop WPs. Moreso, the confidence they will have will move supporters to start rolling apps for this nice platform. LONG LIVE BELLE!!!

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