The king was on his final legs – Symbian as soon as dominated the smartphone world, however the introduction of the iPhone adopted by the arrival of Android spelled the tip for the platform. Nonetheless, it will not go mild into that good night time.
Symbian is the core of the OS and there have been a number of person interfaces constructed on prime of it. Sequence 60 is maybe the best-known amongst them – it made its debut with the Nokia 7650, which was not solely Nokia’s first digital camera telephone, but in addition the first mass-market Symbian telephone (there have been some area of interest telephones earlier than it).
Nokia 7650, the primary mass-market Symbian telephone
For essentially the most half, Sequence 60 ran on telephones with a show between 2 and three inches. The UI was constructed round a D-pad, which was used to navigate between components on the display screen, and a number of other sensible buttons, which triggered context-sensitive actions.
There was additionally the Sequence 80, utilized in QWERTY-packing Communicator telephones from Nokia, however the Finns primarily used S60. None of these Communicators had a contact show, anyway.
There was additionally Symbian UIQ, which was constructed for PDA-style gadgets. We revisited that department of Symbian again in our Sony Ericsson P910 Flashback. UIQ was designed for touchscreens – resistive touchscreens that had been supposed for use with a pointed stylus extra so than a finger (a finger, particularly a fingernail, labored more often than not, although).
Sony Ericsson P910
Quick ahead to 2008 and we get to Symbian Sequence 60 fifth version or because it was later known as, Symbian^1. This one was a Symbian UI constructed for contact, however as an alternative of drawing inspiration from the now-dead PDAs like UIQ did, third version cribbed from the iPhone. We’ve already mentioned the the reason why it failed in our Nokia 5800 retrospective – bolting contact on prime of a D-pad based mostly UI simply didn’t work.
The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic was a serious push in the direction of contact UI – a failed one
As we speak we need to deal with what got here subsequent, Symbian Anna, which arrived a yr after the launch of Symbian^3 (Symbian^2 launched solely in Japan). Anna was unveiled in early 2011 alongside the Nokia X7 and Nokia E6. The E6 was a bar telephone with a QWERTY keyboard (and a 2.45″ contact show), however the X7 was all contact (4.0″ show).
We up to date our Nokia C7 evaluation to cowl all the brand new options – let’s go over them collectively. Actually, this feels extra like rediscovering the restrictions of older Symbian as an alternative. Was it actually that unhealthy? Sure, it was.
Maybe the 2 largest upgrades that got here with Anna over ^3 had been the brand new keyboard and the brand new browser. “That’s it?” you might be pondering. Nicely, an image is price a thousand phrases, so right here it goes: the portrait keyboard of Symbian^3 is on the left, the one from Anna is on the proper.
In case it nonetheless isn’t clear, what you’re seeing on the left isn’t an app that’s sharing the display screen with the keyboard. No, that is the textual content enter interface – it coated the entire display screen and confirmed a panel for textual content and the keyboard beneath. In distinction, Anna’s keyboard (like every sane OS at the moment) simply appeared on the underside half of the display screen, obscuring a part of the app but in addition leaving the opposite half seen.
And sure, the one portrait possibility in ^3 was a digital T9 keyboard. In case you needed QWERTY, you needed to go in panorama mode.
That is what we imply by contact options being bolted on prime of a non-touch OS. The textual content enter interface made sense when telephones had 2.6” shows with 240 x 320px decision, it simply wasn’t price it to separate such a display screen between textual content and app.
It was worse than it might sound too, since multi-touch wasn’t supported that means that you just couldn’t hit a number of keys even on the total QWERTY keyboard in panorama mode – and if you happen to kind with any form of pace, you’d do exactly that. Multi-touch wasn’t out there in Anna both.
As talked about earlier, the opposite large improve was the browser. Within the early days of cell Web there was this factor known as WAP, which was very restricted. Finally as screens acquired higher, CPUs acquired quicker, RAM elevated and cell knowledge acquired faster, telephones ventured into the true World Extensive Internet, the one which PCs had been shopping. However this required a brand new era of browser to get the total expertise.
The browser UI was redesigned to go away as a lot of the display screen to the web page – the standing bar/URL subject had been on prime, there was a again button within the backside left nook and a menu button within the backside proper. Talking of URLs, you can kind one in with no foolish textual content enter UI masking up your complete display screen.
Tabs had been supported as had been new internet applied sciences like HTML5. Flash nonetheless wasn’t fairly there – the Symbian browser might solely do Flash Lite 4. This beautiful a lot excluded enjoying Flash video games and watching YouTube movies within the browser (you had to make use of the app).
There have been different enhancements too. For instance, Symbian had supported residence display screen widgets for some time at this level, even a number of residence screens. Nonetheless, navigating between them wasn’t as fluid as on Android – you’d swipe to the facet, then the sliding animation would play out. With Anna (like on Android), the homescreen would instantly observe your finger.
Nokia additionally polished the e-mail app, the calendar app and the Ovi Maps app. It modified the icons to the still-popular squircle form too.
Issues had been trying good – properly, trying higher – however Anna was nonetheless properly behind Android. Former Symbian customers like Sony Ericsson and Motorola had converted to Android, it was simply Nokia that saved the outdated OS going. The Finnish large had much more enhancements within the pipeline, nevertheless, these wouldn’t be sufficient both.
Do you keep in mind Symbian Anna – and is it reminiscence or a nasty one? We could have a better have a look at that adopted it Symbian Belle subsequent week.