I just caught a very interesting and revealing post over on the Symbian Foundation’s Blog … The key quote for me was the following:
Nokia’s endorsement of Symbian specifically marks out our future as a mobile computing and communications platform for the masses, globally marketed in smartphones costing $150 and under, and being an essential ingredient for helping others embrace the power of new types of communication.
Symbian will maintain it’s role as the smartphone for the masses which is where such a powerful, flexible platform belongs. An exciting aspect of this is that it also means that the offering will continue to have a huge impact on the lifestyles of people around the world.
This essentially confirms Nokia is done with the high end market for Symbian and I don’t care what the public talking heads keep saying about Symbian being their core smartphone OS. The cues have all been there, but now stated publicaly, we see that Nokia’s smartphone for the masses truly does indicate a focus on mid-tier products given the price points and certainly retains Nokia’s focus on emerging markets as well.
It’s great to see that what we currently define as smartphones will be moving downstream to offer more capabilities to more people. It’s also quite sad though that Nokia has yet to make a real move on the upper end to attract and retain interest in both developer and prosumer markets.
Before anyone jumps all over me for not bringing up Maemo …
The N900 is a nice device, but it’s still way to hyper focused on the geek, and not ready for a mass market audience. I’m sure there are more steps in the master plan for how Maemo will evolve, but they have yet to be revealed on any level and whatever rumors have trickled out have yet to be stated boldly enough to instill confidence. Nokia did not even have the courage to market it against the N97 (a vastly inferior S60 product) last year. All the current efforts for Maemo are still largely based in WOM … no real push upstream to a broader market.
What a difference a year makes! Last year, I carried two Symbian devices, had my N810 in my travel bag and regularly rotated through devices as the situation warranted. I probably had between 3-5 additional Nokia devices within an arm’s reach. Today, I am not carrying any Symbian devices and there is no Nokia gear in my bag either. I’ve got an iPhone 3GS and a Blackberry Bold 9700. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything … in fact just the opposite. While I was so hyper focused on supporting Nokia, I failed to notice how quickly the Blackberry platform had evolved and though I tried to ignore it, was all to aware of what was happening with the iPhone.
Nokia has yet to actually change their game though we all know the rules changed a few years ago. Perhaps there’s still a surprise waiting, though it looks like the same show has simply traveled to a new town.