WHY NOKIA’S SYMBIAN ISN’T GOING AWAY JUST YET
It’s been a year since Nokia and Microsoft announced their strategic partnership. With Windows Phone 7 headlining their smartphones, Nokia has been grabbing the headlines with their WP7 Lumia series, while their Symbian-powered devices have taken a back seat. But Symbian isn’t exactly dead.
Sales of Nokia’s Symbian Series 40 (S40) devices, which include the Asha series unveiled in October 2011, have hit the 1.5 billion mark since their introduction in 1999. Nokia believes that 675 million out of the 1.5 billion devices sold thus far are still active devices.
The Asha series, which blur the lines between feature phones and smartphones, is currently available in more than 100 markets and will be expanding to more markets in the near future. This is a testament of the overwhelmingly strong demand for the four-month old Asha product line up. MWC 2012 also saw Nokia debut three other Asha devices, the Asha 202, 203 and 302, reinforcing the company’s strategy and commitment to connect the next billion around the world.
Termed as «Smartphone Lite», these Asha devices have features that are comparable to smartphones. For example, the Asha phones come equipped with Nokia Browser to provide a fast and affordable web browsing experience, with data compression up to 90%, which translates to smaller downloads, lower data costs and faster rendering of web pages.
Symbian devices come with a growing, vibrant eco-system of services and apps. The Nokia Store reached a new milestone in February this year with more than 13 million daily downloads. The percentage of downloads by S40 users shot up to 250% in a year and accounted for more than 30% of the total daily downloads at the Nokia Store.
In addition, there are also 350 developers with apps that achieved more than 1 million downloads, further evidence that Symbian is not dead in the water. Apps and publishers find developing web apps for S40 faster and easier as Nokia provides attractive incentives, like flexible pricing options in its Store, broad device and service application programming interfaces (APIs), familiar tools and libraries.
All in all, the Symbian platform appears to be in good health as Nokia continues to profess support for it alongside Windows Phone 7, albeit on a much smaller scale. The combination of a global, extensive user base of more than 190 countries, a complete development platform to build quality apps and options to suit the business model of developers will ensure that the days of Symbian and ‘Smartphone Lite’ devices aren’t numbered as yet.