Nokia's final Symbian smartphones to ship this summer

Nokia's final Symbian smartphones to ship this summer

Summary: There will be no send-off for the last of Nokia's Symbian shipments.

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Two years after Nokia pinned its future on Windows Phone, the Finnish handset maker will this summer ship the last of its Symbian smartphones — bringing a quiet end to the platform that not so long ago ruled over Android and iOS.

According to the Financial Times, Nokia will not memorialise its final Symbian shipments with an announcement in part because there is still inventory in some markets that needs to be sold. 

Throughout Nokia's transition to Windows Phone, which began in 2011, it continued to ship a dwindling but significant number of Symbian smartphones. 

'Android before Android': The long, strange history of Symbian and why it matters for Nokia's future

'Android before Android': The long, strange history of Symbian and why it matters for Nokia's future

'Android before Android': The long, strange history of Symbian and why it matters for Nokia's future

In Q1 2010, Symbian's rule was on the slide, but the 24 million shipped held a dominant share at 44 percent (well ahead of second-runner RIM, which held 19 percent). Of course, the roughly 50 million shipped each quarter back then were a fraction of today's booming smartphone market.

By 2012, Symbian development had been handed to Accenture and Nokia's attention was on restructuring and Windows Phone. Nokia had also slashed its Symbian marketing budgets, accelerating its demise.

Last quarter, Nokia shipped 1.2 million Symbian smartphones worldwide, accounting for 0.6 percent of 216 million devices — three quarters of which were Android, according to IDC

The last Symbian smartphone Nokia made, the Nokia 808 PureView, arrived in mid-2012 with a whopping 41 megapixel camera, but despite its fans, with an abandoned OS and high price tag, it failed to secure wide carrier support

But it was not made in vain, according to a Nokia spokesperson who told ZDNet it was "fitting" that the 808 was its last Symbian: "This phone extended the platform's pioneering tradition, and acted as a bridge for the next wave of innovation now seen in our latest models, like the Lumia 925."

Though Symbian is synonymous with Nokia, it was once, like Android today, an open platform that underpinned the what was arguably the first smartphone — the large screen, data-centric Ericsson R380 launched in 2000. 

For a quick summary Symbian of highlights from Nokia's own labs, here's a brief run down from the company's press team:

  • The first Symbian phone Nokia produced was the Nokia 9210 Communicator, which hit the markets in June 2001. It was the first phone in GSM markets that brought a multimedia experience in full color, with a full-keyboard to boot.
  • A year later, the iconic Nokia 7650 was released, a device many people consider as Nokia’s first real Symbian phone with its S60 user interface. The Nokia 7650 was a pioneer in many ways: it was the first S60 phone, it had the first integrated digital camera and it was the first phone with polyphonic ringtones. It's no wonder that the phone made the cover of The Economist magazine under the title "Computing’s new shape".
  • The first Nokia phone with a touch screen was introduced in November 2004. The Nokia 7710 was the only commercial phone which ran on Series 90, another Symbian operating system (OS) platform developed by Nokia which was later merged into S60.
  • The first S60 touch phone, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, was launched in 2008. It was aimed at music lovers with the "Comes with Music" solution.

Topics: Mobility, Android, iOS, Nokia, Smartphones

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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5 comments
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  • Oh Well, At Least Asha Is Selling

    For all Nokia's claims of "no plan B", there may still be some part of it to survive the failure of Windows Phone...
    ldo17
  • Farewell Symbian

    I actually quite liked Symbian in many respects. The N95, which ugly was extremely innovative at the time. The only drawback was the typically underpowered hardware, especially with the touch screen phones. The N97 with 128MB RAM and ~400MHz processor is one example.
    DJL64
  • Sad Goodbye

    Nokia deserve to have their Windows phone succeed. The company have put so much into the advancement of mobile phones over the years along with excellent value.
    How many owners have dropped their Nokia phones unlimited times to find that these robust electronics never failed?
    mongrel1999
  • Very sad

    I hope Microsoft really pulls back and do all the improvements necessary to make WP succeed. Dont kill NOKIA please.
    AshwinRao
  • Supernova

    Nokia did the whole supernova experience, from a giant flash, to merely nothing. Their comeback with MS has proven to be amazing. Sales are still to peak, but the products are innovative, beautifully designed and great to work with. Go Nokia.
    Bojan Rakić