Is Symbian truly Dead?

There’s been so much talk about the impending demise of Nokia’s Symbian platform, the operating system powering almost all the phones in the Nokia range.

The Symbian operating has come in a lot of iterations over the years but the relevant ones today are;

SYMBIAN S40 – Introduced in 2002. It is regarded as the world’s most widely used mobile phone platform and is found in hundreds of millions of devices, mostly in low tier phones and a few mid-tier phones like the Nokia X3.

SYMBIAN S60v3 – Introduced in 2005. It is found in mid to top tier phones like the Nokia E series, N Series and C5.

SYMBIAN S60v5 – Introduced in 2008.Also found in mid to top tier phones like the Nokia N97, 5230, X6, C6 and 5800

SYMBIAN ^3 – To be debuted in Q3 2010 with the Nokia N8 smartphone. The OS is expected to feature better graphics, support multiple touch, better multimedia and multi tasking.

Collectively, the different Symbian platforms account for over 50% of the low and mid-tier sector’s total sales, with 27 million handsets shipped in Q2 2010 alone, a figure some manufacturers can not boast of in a year. This sector, i believe, is Nokia’s strength and i strongly believe that a very substantial part of this market are the emerging markets, mainly Asia and Africa. And with the highly anticipated release of Nokia C1 (Symbian 30) and C2 (Symbian 40) dual sim phones in Q4 2010, the market share can only grow bigger.

One thing is sure though, Symbian is no longer the OS of choice for high end phones because of its limited capabilities. Nokia’s response to the big players in the high end sector will be the MEEGO OS. It will definitely not be for the poor, at least not for now, the same way Symbian 60 phones were not for the poor when they debuted.

Meego OS is a merger of Nokia’s Debian based MAEMO and INTEL’s Fedora based MOBLIN OS (Mobile Linux).With this alliance, the resulting Meego OS will not be based on any major distribution, they are infact starting from the scratch. Meego powered devices are expected to debut before the end of 2010,but these devices are not limited to just smartphones but tablets and netbooks too.

Meego is not expected to replace symbian (immediately) as Nokia’s platform of choice, the two OSes are expected to coexist with Meego OS on high performance, high end smartphones, supporting different processors.

Definitely some platforms, like the Symbian 60v3, will be phased out like they’ve done with some other variants in the past. I doubt if Symbian in general will be phased out, at least not in the immediate future. The market has been segmented, cheaper priced devices with less fancy features, based on Symbian OS, will be made affordable to the penny pinchers while the bigger boys (and gals) will go for the better featured and premium priced Meego OS based devices.

Reactions, objections, infuriations Welcomed!

PS: Just read it up that there was never a SYMBIAN 60V4 because the No 4 means badluck in some Asian Cultures. Well, i guess it goes to show where most of Nokia’s bread is being buttered.


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