What Does Android OS Do That Symbian OS Does Not Do?

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I had a long discussion with someone on Twitter today, and along the line, he made the following statement:

Symbian is the most power efficient mobile OS there is. Which really isn’t saying much because it doesn’t do much

I may be wrong, but the above statement seems to stem from ignorance or just plain fanboyism. I used two Symbian devices (Nokia N8 and Nokia E7) this year, and there was NOTHING that I got done on Android, iOS, WindowsPhone or Blackberry that I didn’t get done on those devices.


Yes; each OS does specific things in different ways, and some have strength in one area and weakness in that other area. But for crying out loud, statements like the above just….. stink. Let’s call rubbish what it is – RUBBISH.

No; I don’t use Symbian any longer. As a matter of fact, I am moved on. But facts are facts, and lies are lies.

Can anyone tell me in clear terms what AndroidOS does that Symbian does not do? No bullshitting. Just say it straight: “You can browse the internet on Android, but cannot do that on Symbian“.


For the avoidance of doubt, I am not asking for things that Android does better than Symbian. I am asking for things that Android does that Symbian is not capable of.

Any bullshitting comments will be deleted. I’m not going to waste my time responding to bullshit and going round in circles.

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53 comments

  1. Well, that will take some doing. I mean being able to state anything That Andi can do – That Simbi can not.

    In-built wireless hotspot support is one,though..

    Any more?

  2. And you feel you’re not a geek. Give me a break!. Expressing emotions most people reserve to other human beings to things as inanimate as mobile operating systems!. My “Geek radar” is going off like crazy!!!

  3. erm erm, non custom o.s upgrade to any o.s version? no nid to be waiting for ovi for months who might then come out with an upgrade that just added increased touch sensitivity,smooth scrolling and music player pictures

  4. APNs of all known GSM networks are nicely baked in in the OS. what means is you don’t need to fiddle with APN configuration except for GLO that uses multiple APNs.

  5. Live wall papers.. I envy my friends sg11 home screen. His wall papers are always busy doing something while my N8’s (Symbian flagship) wall paper just stays frozen like frozen chicken.

  6. what this means is you don’t need to fiddle with APN configuration except for GLO that uses multiple APNs.

    Interesting.

    I know mtn and zain have multiple APNs too (can’t say about Eti-Salad). Not just glo..

    When an APN h! as to change (e.g Zain becomes AirTel), does Android update the APN OTa, or what?

  7. Androids make clearer calls than symbian…and symbian sends text messages faster than android…..hehehe…na wa for una geeks for this site self..i guess being a geek has levels now…yomi and harry are professors of geekhood…eyebeekay is a doctor (ph.D) 🙂 lol

  8. When an APN h! as to change ( e. g Zain becomes AirTel ), does Android update the APN OTa , or what?

    The next iteration of firmware update will most likely take care of that. For Zain changing to airtel, my understanding is that the old APN still works, so that’s not an issue.
    And for the record, all the APN, bundled with my phone are still working including that of GLO still work, only I had to configure glosecure APN for the bonus data from GLO.

  9. This certainly is a rhetorical question, i think? They’re both app based OS which get updated frequently adding new features to them. I could say Android’s got face unlock but symbian could get that feature thru a 3rd Party app.

  10. On android you can get hardware functionalities enabled which where not provided by manufacturer. This you cannot have on symbian. Let me give an example. My sgs did not come with LED Flash. However, I was able to flash a kernel that made LED flash possible using the capacitive touch buttons. It does this flawlessly.

    @ Yomi, why did you rule out what android does better? We have a lot of those oo. If permitted, I would have given you like 10 right away. And this is one reason why a lot of people switched from symbian to android

  11. .
    .
    .
    However, I was able to flash a kernel that made LED flash possible using the capacitive touch buttons.
    .
    .
    .
    Belushi, you have custom ROMs available on Symbian too.

    I just lack the liver to do things line that.
    Have a look @ http://is.gd/iNZf03

    That is NOT an Androdian edge o..

  12. I did my best to follow the twitter argument between iYomiAdegboye and bigbrovar. It was really interesting, but after a few hours I got annoyed.

    This its why I refuse to be drawn into such arguments. Stick to what’s best for you. I’ll do the same. And let’s respect each others views and choices.

    I haven’t used an Android phone yet, so I can’t answer the title Question.

  13. @Harry
    “APNs of all known GSM networks are nicely baked in in the OS. what means is you don’t need to fiddle with APN configuration except for GLO that uses multiple APNs”.

    Symbian does dat too. Just slip in a new sim n u’ll be served with d network’s APN(s) even before the network sends u config settings. Glo is well taken care off too, although i have to keep one APN at a time so i delete unused APN(s). If i need the APNs next time, i do a factory reset (settings only) n i get all APNs back.

  14. Am goin 2 post wot symbian does dat android does not do.
    . Runnin java (.jar) efficiently wit out needin any extra app.
    I don’t like android, cos i hate touchscreen 😀

  15. crosswire Says:
    December 13th, 2011 at 9:25 pm Browsing with Opera Mini 4.2.14912 on J2ME/MIDP Device

    Am goin 2 post wot symbian does dat android does not do.
    . Runnin java (.jar) efficiently wit out needin any extra app.
    I don’t like android, cos i hate touchscreen

    Guy. You must be uninformed of the various hardware types android has. Yomi even has a review of a qwetry android phone. So research first. Besides Nokia is going mainstream with touch screen.

  16. You are automatically notified of newer version of any application downloaded from the Android market and you can also configure the Android market to automatically update any app when the update is available.

  17. You are automatically notified of newer version of any application downloaded from the Android market and you can also configure the Android market to automatically update any app when the update is available.

    While that is a good thing, I do not think that is an OS attribute- per se.

    Many Symbian apps also inform when an update is available.

    The Android method may be more effective-in this case- but out is nothing to whistle about.

  18. @crosswire, better start getting used to touch screens. Even Nokia is going that way.

    @eye bee kay, I know you can have custom firmwares on Nokia, that was why I didn’t mention that. custom roms help improve on the OS, enabling some functions in the OS that didn’t come with stock firmware. However, i mentioned hardware functionality. The sgs didn’t come with any LED notification. when the phone is idle and I have notifications I won’t know unless I was there to hear the sound. But this kernel flashing now allows the capacitive touch buttons to flash LED for every notification. This I consider as an addition to the hardware. I stand to be corrected though.

  19. Ability to switch off data network with all ease in android

    Overruled. Symbian Belle takes care of that – Editor

  20. Symbian Belle not officially available to all Symbian^3 phones yet!

    So, Android 2.3 (not to mention 4.0) is not available for all Android devices yet. Its Android all the same. The feature that you mentioned exists on Symbian Belle devices in the market.

    I didn’t ask for what your 3-year old Symbian phone can do. I asked for the current capabilities of Symbian OS. Feel free to live in the past if you please.

    Next please.

  21. @jikong1:…

    Ability to switch off data network with all ease in android

    On my 3yr_old Symbian Nokia 5800, i swipe down, (DzSoft SettingBar)- then tap (QuickNet). Done!

  22. @jikong1:….

    But this kernel flashing now allows the capacitive touch buttons to flash LED for every notification. This I consider as an addition to the hardware.

    No- i disagree. That is actually trivial.

  23. I now throw out this challenge to knowledgeable Androidians in the house….
    ..
    Show me a single thing you think Android can do-that Symbian can NOT (naitvely or not)…
    .
    .
    AND I WILL POINT OUT A SYMBIAN APP THAT CAN PROVIDE THE SAME FUNCTION.
    .
    .

  24. @Eye.bee.kay

    …Show me a single thing you think Android can do-that Symbian can NOT (naitvely or not ) …
    .
    .
    AND I WILL POINT OUT A SYMBIAN APP THAT CAN PROVIDE THE SAME FUNCTION.
    .
    .

    You already know File expert – sharing of your files and folders with any device that has WiFi and a non-proxied web browser locally and can also transfer files directly to other devices that have File expert installed in them via WiFi, that’s more like WiFi direct but limited to devices running File expert.

  25. @Harry, http://is.gd/GQzMmy should be helpful.

    The Author of That post said ‘unique to Android’. I beg to disagree.

    Apart from custom ROM, I do not see any other properties exposed in this app list that can not be matched by (a combination of) Symbian apps.

    Believe me.

  26. @Eye.bee.kay

    If you think belief is the way to go, then I believe you but you probably won’t be able oh find an app that would enable you share your files and folders through WiFi or even transfer files directly through WiFi.

  27. @eye bee kay. You replied ‘No- i disagree. That is actually trivial.’ but you didn’t mention if such can be done on symbian. Trivial or not.

    I would also like us to keep to the topic and not add 3rd party apps. There are apps on all the OSs.

    @harry, wifi direct is available natively on sgs2. Not sure if its same for symbian.

    The most recent symbian I’ve played with is the N8. So all I say here is as compared that phone. Can any of our symbian fans confirm motion sensors that can enable you respond to or initiate an action on symbian? Not app enabled. An example is I can mute my sgs2 by just turning its face down when a call comes through.

  28. @Eye.bee.kay

    You can also user it on Android – with some tweaking

    It is actually Android ’s delinquencY
    ( immaturity ?) That made this app necessary
    in the first place .
    SYMBIAN does not need such an app !

    Android does not need tweaking to use it. There’s a version for Android and Android doesn’t actually need it. The only condition in which I ever use it is when I need to browse the other device’s file system through my phone to either copy or move a whole folder from my phone or from the other phone and place it to a particular location on the other device or my device directly without transferring first and moving it later.

    Blueftp did not emerge to solve Android problem but rather for J2ME devices and was later ported to other platforms. I was using it extensively on my Sony Ericsson K750i java phone before it was ported to other platforms.

    If you don’t think speed means anything, then maybe we should go back to using infrared instead.

  29. Belushi
    Harry,
    I think this debate is becoming unfocused.

    Android merely baked in features that are EASILY duplicable via third party apps in Symbian.

    There are deficiencies on both spouses that need ti be addressed by third party apps.
    Nobody had so far been sale to mention a single edge Android has over Symbian.

    That is the crux of this discourse.

    So- when people life to talk about the superiority of Android, i know they are just talking out of ignorance..

    Belushi: your flipiver ti silence calls is available on any OS that recognizes the presence of an accelerometer -symbian inclusive!

    So my Nokia 5800 does that- NATIVELY..

  30. @Harry…
    Android does not need tweaking to use it.
    )

    Really? Can you install java apps DIRECTLY on Android devices? Just asking.

    If So, why do you have an avalanche of questions like http://goo.gl/u944v ?

  31. @Eye.bee.kay

    Really ? Can you install java apps DIRECTLY on Android devices? Just asking.

    Maybe you need a reread my comment again. Blueftp has a version for Android and so need of installing java version.

    My initial fear when switching to Android was that I may not be able to find replacement for some of the useful apps available to me on my J2ME phone. The pleasant surprise was that I found even better apps and numerous for each category that making a choice sometimes is the only issue.

    The only thing I’m missing on java right now is the Opera mini mod – the Russian version.

  32. (
    The pleasant surprise was that I found even better apps and numerous for each category that making a choice sometimes is the only issue.
    )
    Good- so an ordinary Joe can not just install a Java app on an Andy. Interesting. Immaturity, or what again?

    That alone (inability to install Java apos) was what stopoed me from buying a version of the thin Motorola L7- years back.!

    Would you not say this is another negative for Android.? Thought only Chinco phones have such deficiencies. Or do we just agree That Android phones are for the uber_geeks who need a Ph.d to access file systems, and tweaks to install ORDINARY J2ME files?

    What if i have a Java app i absolutely can NOT live without?

    This same issue came up with the Samsung Jet some time ago..

  33. (
    The only thing I’m missing on java right now is the Opera mini mod – the Russian version.
    )

    The most comprehensive and stable Java version is 3.12

    how about exploring http://is.gd/dQeVKI ?

  34. @Eye.bee.kay

    Good – so an ordinary Joe can not just install a Java app on an Andy . Interesting. Immaturity, or what again?

    That alone (inability to install Java apos ) was
    what stopoed me from buying a version of
    the thin Motorola L 7 – years back .!

    Would you not say this is another negative
    for Android . ? Thought only Chinco phones
    have such deficiencies. Or do we just agree
    That Android phones are for the uber_geeks
    who need a Ph .d to access file systems, and
    tweaks to install ORDINARY J2 ME files ?

    What if i have a Java app i absolutely can NOT
    live without ?

    This same issue came up with the Samsung Jet some time ago ..

    Now don’t go sounding pathetic. Is there any thing in my comment to suggest that I couldn’t handle java application installation on Android?

    Yes maybe average Joe won’t be able or comfortable to install java apps on Android nor is java applications required. What you get from the Android market more than takes care of whatever you can possibly dream.

    Well when you can not leave without a mere java application when there are alternatives, you are simply confirming what Mr. Mobility once labelled you – an app addict.

    Sorry to use that term but there’s very little I can do to help an app junkie apart from suggesting that he be taken to a home for rehabilitation.

  35. @Eye.bee.kay

    I know about Jbed and have used it to run numerous java apps but you should know that running an application designed for keypad java phone is not the same as running it on touchscreen java phone or even Android java phone for that matter.

  36. Wot android requires 1ghz dualcore to run, symbian runs wit 256mhz single core. = more power efficient.
    Apps is wot defines a phone. Java apps have grown in complexity. I know android can run java via another app. But it doesn’t beat simbi. Simbi’s only deficiency is in their touch phones.

  37. (
    you should know that running an application designed for keypad javaphone is not the same as running it on touchscreen java phone or even Android java phone for that matter.
    )

    That is illogical!

    Are you telling me there are no Java apps designed for touchscreen?
    Opera mini mod 3.12 works well on my Symbian touchscreen. It IS J2Me. Android can not run it directly. Symbian can. End of story.

    So- iowning an Ambroid means foregoing all Java apps. ? Heard of an appstore calked getjar?

    I think we should just close on this note..

  38. @eye bee Kay, ” Android merely baked in features that are EASILY duplicable via third party apps in Symbian.” If that is your opinion of those functions on android, then there is no point. I have only been mentioning those things that came stock with my phone and I couldn’t do on my friend’s N8, neither could he. Though you mentioned some that are available on symbian (which I appreciate for knowledge sake), if wifi direct that comes with my android is available through an app on symbian,then say so. That is what the topic is about. Not that it is baked into android or not.

  39. @Eye.bee.kay

    Are you telling me there are no Java apps designed for touchscreen?
    Opera mini mod 3 .12 works well on my
    Symbian touchscreen. It IS J2 Me. Android cannot run it directly. Symbian can . End of story.

    So – iowning an Ambroid means foregoing all
    Java apps. ? Heard of an appstore calked
    getjar?

    When I said that I’m missing Opera mini Mod, maybe I should have elaborated on that.

    If you know Sony Ericsson K750i, you probably would also know that its greatest problem is the central navigation key. Mine almost rendered the phone unusable after about 11 months of purchase.

    If you’ve also used Opera mini Mod on non-touchscreen keypad java phone, you may have known how highly configurable the app is. almost every action can be performed with keypad shortcut.

    What this means is that I never have to touch the centre navigation key except I need to type something in the text input box, and thus reducing drastically the frustration I would have been going through in using the phone which also helped to prolong the life of the phone.

    I grew so accustomed to these keypad shortcuts that when updates to the mods where released with newer exciting features but with no English language translations available, I had to somehow try to figure out what the cryptic Russian alphabets and words were supposed to mean. That enabled me to continue using the Russian mod (modification) of Opera mini.

    That was before Blueftp came on board. Then, there was no decent free file manager application for java phones and again, Sony Ericsson K750i required signed java application to be granted free access to the file system without constant irritating security prompts. To save a file for instance, you have to respond to this security prompts like seven times, but the last version of Opera mini Mod that I used on the device managed to reduce the prompts to 3. The idea is that the mod was acting as a browser as well as a powerful file manager and more.

    I have had guys praise UC Browser’s download manager here as one of the edge it has over Opera mini and that is undisputed fact too, but the UC Browser’s download manager is inferior to that of Opera mini Mod. Mind you, this not the official Opera mini browser.

    There had been instances where some sites that offer java applications would not allow you direct access to the main jar file but instead only present you with the jad file. With Opera mini Mod, getting the jar file is very trivial.

    There had been times I needed to send my friends some documents. This would naturally means going to the cybercafe and paying between N150 – N200. All it takes is changing the file extension to .jpeg and then sending it through MMS.

    I can also visit a webpage and convert it directly to text for any purpose. I can even view a microsoft word document file though without the formatting.

    The list continues but as you can also see, most of these needs are adequately taken care of by Android. The only other thing is designed ease of use that is achieved through keypad shortcuts but since my device does not have physical keypad, that gain is dashed.

    The bottomline is that my missing Opera mini Mod now is more of nostalgic than productivity induced.

  40. Gee! So much geeklishthat i’m scared to post my opinion. All in all, i do believ Simbi is more ‘stable’ and power efficient. Imagine andoid running on a 256mb ram (even v1.6-Donut)….and Now we’re hearing Quad-Core….seriously!!!!

  41. @Harry
    “You are automatically notified of newer version of any application downloaded from the Android market and you can also configure the Android market to automatically update any app when the update is available”

    Ovi Store
    version 2.08, enables the automatic detection and provisioning of updates
    for applications that have already
    been installed. Check http://goo.gl/r1s8R for details.

    “If you think belief is the way to go, then I believe you but you probably won’t be able to find an app that would enable you share your files and folders through WiFi or even transfer files directly through WiFi.”

    Remote Multi Drive
    application (Symbian & Android) is a highly
    configurable,
    multifunctional server for
    sharing files and folders
    from mobile over local Wi- Fi / WLAN network and
    over the internet. Check http://208.110.88.207/RemoteMultiDrive/

  42. Hmmmmm. This is y geeks can’t do biz. They don’t get it. What makes u think that an os built from linux can’t run Java. Google purposesly left it out. They wanted to force developers to build android only apps, indirectly marketing their os. guess what it is working cos allen davik is coming to blackberry and meego. look at android app market and compare it to get jar market. from the beginning google wanted to creat their own niche. they never wanted to share.

  43. Lets just get this cleared.symbian is more dynamic.why do i have to look for a 3rd party app before i can get little work done.

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