Should Nokia flip the Symbian switch back on to stem the tide?

Summary:The latest financial report is out from Nokia and things are not looking good. They are seeing success in North American, but falling hard around the world. If they breathe life back into Symbian, can that help outside the US?

The latest financial figures have been released for Nokia and ZDNet writers covered it pretty extensively (links below). I read through Andrew's post and see he talked about the highlight for Nokia here in North America where sales and services are up 45 percent thanks to the Lumia and Windows Phone. However, figures are poor across the rest of the world where Symbian reigned supreme until just a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, Stephen Elop killed off Symbian with his "burning platform memo" and after recently purchasing the Nokia 808 PureView I have to wonder if Nokia could have been in a better financial position if they had continued Symbian development.

If you take an honest look at Symbian and the power and customization that is built into the operating system you will find it is a very capable platform and with continued development and support from Qt developers it could be even better. Symbian was never popular in the US since Nokia pretty much gave up on North America just as Sybmian was getting ramped up and more advanced. If US consumers remember Nokia from the past, it was usually associated with the free phone your carrier gave you that could survive a tornado or hurricane and not a device that was a smartphone.

Related ZDNet Nokia coverage

Throughout the rest of the world though, Nokia's Symbian lineup did very well and led the smartphone market with an incredibly high market share for years. I understand that Symbian devices were on a slight downward trend when Mr. Elop came to Nokia, but that was due in large part to the success of the iPhone and rise of Android. I think Nokia should have continued Symbian development alongside of their embrace of a brand new and untested mobile operating system, Windows Phone, rather than cutting all the existing platforms off at the knees and throwing all their eggs into one basket that is precariously balanced on one company, Microsoft.

As I stated in my review of the Nokia 808 PureView, Nokia still knows how to innovate and make fantastic products. I have been using my 808 PureView with my T-Mobile SIM in it for over a week and it is still more than capable to perform with Symbian Belle FP1. Symbian was the rock upon which Nokia was based and without it I fear they have to rely on Microsoft and Windows Phone too much for any chance of a comeback in the mobile space. I am doing my part to support Nokia and Sybmian, but is Nokia doing their part achieve success?

Topics: Mobility, Nokia, Smartphones

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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