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back to article Symbian Anna makes her debut

Owners of the latest Nokia phones can now update to Symbian Anna, assuming their operators permit it, but having caught a glimpse of her younger sister they might not be impressed. Anna was announced back in April, and has been available to developers for a while, but can now be installed on N8, C7, C6-01 and E7 handsets. It …

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Anonymous Coward

Sorry Bill...

... Caleb beat you to it: http://www.reghardware.com/2011/08/18/smbian_anna_update_now_available/

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Viva la Symbian!

"the platform is far from dead and continues improving even if the focus of attention is on iOS and Android these days." Just waiting for Nokia to announce a reversal to Symbian!!!!! Viva Symbian!

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Gimp

Careful now. You'll pop a vein in excitement!

I think by the number of Ovi store downloads along with the fact that the Anna update was trending on Twitter suggests there's still a lot of interest despite what the naysayers are proclaiming. My N8 is the first true smartphone I've had and I've had very little bad to say about Symbian. I updated to Anna this morning and so far so good. Belle is going to be the real biggie though.

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Anonymous Coward

Say what you like about archengel46

He's an intellectual powerhouse:

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/38013/

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Facepalm

I need my eyes testing.

I thought that said Sybian.

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WTF?

Will Symbian ever die!?!

Meego users don't want it, and I don't see why Microsoft (and Trojan Elop) would ever want it... So why is Nokia still wasting energy on this bloated dinosaur?

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FAIL

Bloated? Symbian?

So let me get this straight. The built-from-the-ground-up-for-low-powered-low-memory-devices O/S is the bloated one, not one of the pruned-down-from-a-desktop-or-server one's are the slimline ones...?

Really?

I'll keep my 'bloated' Symbian phone and you can keep your 'slimline' Linux/Windows/OSX (with the odd desktop debugger left in).

Oh, and can you tell the other 6 Meego users, ta.

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Boffin

Agree with Windows and OSX

but Linux is pretty lean and mean... DamnSmall Linux was down to 40-100MB yes that Megabytes as of like 5-10 years ago. Its a pretty lean and efficient OS from the beginning.

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Anonymous Coward

40-100mb is still huge for a mobile

But Linux can run in much less that, though it wasn't originally designed with embedded or mobile use in mind.

I remember running QNX in single digit MBs of RAM so maybe Rim will be able to do something good with it as it was designed for embedded use. If it's good enough for nuclear reactors and weapons systems then it should be able to handle a phone :)

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@calagan

Because people don't like WinPhone and are concerned about Google slurping their personal data via Android?

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Megaphone

Red sky in morning. Nokia take ....

Windows is 4% of the global smart phone market, even if it doubles and Nokia grabs 80% of the Windows market (which it wont), Nokia smart phones will be lost in the tsunami caused by Android and IOS, and even the old ripple waves of Symbian. Thus proving to all that Ellop must be a graduate of new math, an idiot, or both.

The N9 is by far the best phone Nokia has ever made. Even as a 1.0 release it has proven itself of being able to stay a float behind the wake of the IPhone super cruise liner. This is the platform to be on. Yes it might be an unknown, but better to be in unknown waters and still control your ship, then to try and get through the perfect storm of disaster waiting for you with Windows.

Message to Ellop: Reverse Windows course fast! All hands on deck! Your heading into iceberg territory in a single hull ship. You have some rather experienced seamen on the Nokia ship, listen to them and let them guide you to a save and prosperous harbor. And stop acting so smug, show some humility.

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Nautical metaphors FTW.

Much better that the old school 'It's like if you bought a car...' crap

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4%?

According to Gartner, Microsoft have dropped to 1.6%.

Bit of a disaster in anyones book.

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Links lead nowhere...how very Nokia...

I don't know if was just my copy - but in the Nokia press release that announced Anna (sent out this morning by Hugin) all of the hyperlinks that were supposed to point towards info on Anna actually lead to a blank page...which sort of sums Nokia and Symbian up!

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Belle is super

I'm running Belle and really, really liking it. No need for Android for me now (that's the only other o/s that was in the running as IOS and WP both require desktop software, which imo is an utter fail).

As for Elop, he's some snake-in-the-grass for throwing this away in favour of WP, but then again he is an MS trojan so what was to be expected.

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Silver badge

Ditching Symbian

The arguments for ditching Symbian have been explained at length, and they're nothing to do with political decisions.

Getting Symbian^3 up and running on the Broadcom chipset used in N8 etc cost an absolute fortune and took over 18 months. The codebase for Symbian is now so old, and has been adapted to so many different platforms over the years, that changing one small thing invariably lead to problems elsewhere.

Symbian was no longer value for money. It was taking too long to bring up on new hardware, and the people who did this work were very expensive, because there's no influx of new, cheaper Symbian programmers (compare with Linux, where a lot of contributors actually work for nothing).

The time and cost estimates for bringing Symbian to the next generation of System-on-Chip hardware made the OS unsustainable. Add the extra work needed to provide Qt on the platform, and it gets very expensive. And with only Nokia was paying the bills now, there's not even any licencing money coming in to cover it.

Nokia knew this was a problem, and so MeeGo was lined up to fix the problem. Unfortunately it faced the same kind of issues, but in this case a lot of the work seems to have been to port it to a platform (Intel's super-low-power Atom SoCs) that never materialised at all. There's a reason why N9 is on a last year's ARM hardware...

As of this morning, I'm running Anna on my N8, and am looking forward to Belle later this year, because it really does close the UI gap on Android, but Symbian's problems are ones of age and complexity, not technical ability.

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Anonymous Coward

Probs sure

Anna has basically been ready since February and shipping since April on the X7 and E6. QT is where they said things were going, and that's basically done, and in the meantime there's no Nokia WP phone, hardly anybody wants the WP phones that are out there. Nokias management has been horrendous, imo they should have consolidated their range into maybe six phones at most and concentrated on those.

Come 2015/16 or whenever there's no more cheap Symbian phones being made I'll be very interested to see how pricey WP7/8 phones dependent upon pc software will be selling in Asia and the like. The answer is Nokia ones sure won't as Nokia will be dead and buried by then.

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Parrot parrot

"The codebase for Symbian is now so old, and has been adapted to so many different platforms over the years,"

So, the codebase under iOS (BSD UNIX) and Android (Linux) are springchickens that have never been adapted to any platform?

Have a think.

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Bod
Childcatcher

free = good, not free = evil

" (compare with Linux, where a lot of contributors actually work for nothing)"

and people have a go at Chinese slave labour ;)

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@Kristian Walsh

The problems with Broadcom were mainly due to lack of GPU memory on the phone. That and buggy software coming from both sides. Chip vendors make money from hardware, not software so if it just about works... it works. As for Symbian devs being expensive... as I've been one for over 6 years I can completely refute that. They're no more expensive than a contract with Accenture.

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title

I didn't know that Broadcom made SoCs. I thought it was mainly network stuff. Anyways, some time ago there was a discussion regarding Symbian and modern chipsets, and I asked why on earth they still make it run on ageing ARM11s instead of using A9s or at least A8s. I was told it had nothing to do with the Symbian code base, but I am skeptical as a individual who has seen it and fought with it.

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Anonymous Coward

honestly, Symbian runs fine on A8, A9, x86.

The binaries work just fine - I saw S^3 running on OMAP3 hardware years ago and ARM multi-core devices around the same time.

They're not necessarily optimised to make best use of the hardware, but that doesn't seem to bother anyone these days.

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Silver badge

@AC 16:22 ,,, *Relatively* expensive

... I mean if you want something done with Symbian, you've got to hire a professional.

With Linux, you can often find some (naive) young developer to do it for the price of a new graphics card. This is the attraction of using Linux

(and it's also a delusion: once you get off x86 and PC hardware, Linux is a bitch to get running well, but that doesn't stop decision-makers jumping onto the "Free" bandwagon)

I'd heard about the GPU RAM problem before alright, but wondering there's more to Symbian's inability to leap to ARM Cortex might have more to do with the code than the cost of parts.

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Headmaster

Younger sister?

Curiously, it means "elder brother" in Tamil!

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Anonymous Coward

@Kristian Walsh

The main thing for manufacturers of phones is the BOM (bill of materials). Nokia decided long ago that it didn't want Symbian anymore for high-end phones, so it didn't put it on high-end hardware. That high-end hardware isn't so high-end anymore... Hell, Symbian even runs on x86.

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Silver badge

Dunno about that...

They only high-end phone that Nokia produced without Symbian was the N900, and that was never a mass-market proposition, and it's only in the last year that Nokia has fallen behind the competition on raw specs numers.

Of course, part of that is that Symbian simply does not require the enormous CPU requirements of Android's not-quite-Linux and not-quite-Java-but-still-interpreted-bytecode OS stack, but to the easily fooled (i.e., tech bloggers) Nokia's hardware now looks underpowered.

There's also Nokia's habit of doing 90% of a great product in their hardware. The N8 is short of GPU RAM (20Mbytes), and if it had been given a bigger battery would be untouchable for battery-life. Small penny-pinching, and trying to launch comparable and competing devices in each segment, left Nokia with a lot of "nearly great" hardware.

The worst example was the N97, which was short of all kinds of memory. For the sake of saving a couple of euro on the BOM, it went from being the most advanced smartphone on the market to a complete joke. In one stroke, Nokia lost the tech-nerd market.

Looking at the leaks of Belle, Nokia see their best bet to be in making Symbian Belle a comfortable place for ex-Android users. A wise move, I think; I know a lot of people who are not impressed by the quality of their Android phones, but do like the UI and web-browser.

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Holmes

Dunno about that...

Yeah the N97 was a pile of shoot but every phone on the market has it's issues and Nokia's are no different (N97 excepted as it was nothing BUT issues). Find me a perfect phone and I'll find you a fault.

The build quality on HTC, the awkwardness of the SE phones and don't get me started on the Jesusphones. The technerd market follows the next shiny thing to come out. The N97 may have annoyed many but if Nokia pull the cat out of the bag with their Windows phones (I know it's a gamble but do you really think they would put out something worse than their current crop?) just see the tech nerds come running.

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huh

I have been running Anna on my Nokia e6-00 since I brought it a month or so ago. Its far from user friendly and a bit restrictive awkward, tiny touch buttons to hit.

However its the only phone that isnt carrier/network compromised. Many phones, for example blackberry claim to be SIM Free/Unlocked etc giving the impression the carrier hasnt had its fingers in the pie. Then you find for example with blackberry you still require a data connection just to run things over WIFI? Why is this, you need a carrier data connection to connect to blackberry apps even when WIFI is usable and present.

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