Nokia unwraps Symbian smartphone duo

E6 and X7 smartphones: all about Anna - the Symbian OS update...
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor on

E6 and X7 smartphones: all about Anna - the Symbian OS update...

Nokia E6 Symbian smartphone - running Anna update

The Nokia E6 smartphone is running the Symbian Anna OS updatePhoto: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

Nokia has announced two new Symbian smartphones - including a touchscreen Qwerty hybrid update to its business-focused Eseries handsets.

The Nokia E6 retains the earlier, BlackBerry-style form factor of the E71 and E72 but has both a physical Qwerty and capacitive touchscreen on the front of the handset.

The second device, the Nokia X7, is a high-end, touchscreen-only consumer device aimed at the gaming and entertainment market.

Both handsets will be available in the second quarter of this year and will run the latest iteration of the Symbian OS - an update Nokia has called Anna.

The Symbian refresh brings new icons to the OS, along with enterprise-grade security and messaging enhancements, a faster browser and easier text input, including the option of a portrait virtual keyboard on touchscreen handsets.

Ovi Maps has also had a refresh via Anna, to make it easier to use and search for locations.

Existing Symbian handsets - including the C6, C7, N8 and E7 - will be able to get the Anna update as an over-the-air download, said Nokia, adding that Anna is "the first in a series of updates" coming to Symbian - also likely to be given female names.

The E6 and the X7 are launching in Q2 this year but Nokia could not confirm whether the UK would be in the first wave of countries to get the E6. The last business-focused handset Nokia launched - the E7 - came to the UK later than other launch markets.

The announcement of new Symbian phones comes after Nokia jumped into bed with Microsoft earlier this year, announcing a strategic alliance based on using Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 OS. At the time, Nokia said it remains committed to Symbian as it switches to WP7 as its primary smartphone OS.

Asked why a business should choose to deploy the Nokia E6 smartphone to its workforce, rather than opting for a WP7 handset, a Nokia spokesman said the E6 offers a better experience of Microsoft's messaging software than Microsoft's own mobile OS.

"Nokia E6 overall is a very, very good smartphone," he said, noting that the Microsoft Communicator mobile app is only available on Nokia smartphones.

"[The E6] offers today the best Microsoft messaging experience. So if a company runs Microsoft infrastructure, Nokia E6 is the best product choice for them - providing them, in a very nice form factor, the capability to do email, instant messaging and the ability to [mobilise] the [data] built on the Microsoft infrastructure," he said.

A significant part of the software, including the Microsoft Communicator mobile product, is actually software developed by Microsoft, supported by Microsoft and certified by Microsoft for the Nokia E6, the spokesman added.

Nokia has not announced when its first WP7 handset will launch but analysts have speculated it may not arrive until 2012. Meanwhile Nokia estimates it will sell 150 million Symbian handsets in the coming years as it moves over to WP7.

Nokia also announced that its Ovi app store now has more than 40,000 apps and that downloads from the store have hit five million per day.

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