Power failure mars Symbian Anna update rollout

Symbian phones including the E7 and N8 can now be upgraded to the keenly-anticipated Anna version of the OS, but many have been unable to download the update

Nokia has rolled out the much-awaited Anna update to its Symbian platform, but the process has not gone smoothly for everyone.

People using smartphones such as the N8 and E7 were given the chance on Thursday to download the new version of Symbian, which features significant upgrades to the operating system's browser, maps, input and general feel, as well as to its email and instant messaging capabilities. However, many in the UK and elsewhere found themselves unable to download Anna.

"We want to apologise to Symbian smartphone users," Nokia said in a statement on Friday. "A power failure where a number of our servers were located caused download issues for some users. Please bear with us — we promise you'll be able to download Symbian Anna again soon."

The problem affected some — Nokia did not say how many — who were trying to download the update through Nokia's Ovi Suite desktop software. Most owners of the E7, N8, C7 and C6-01 handsets were able to update wirelessly, but mobile operators in the UK and Germany got Nokia to force customers in those countries to download the update through a broadband connection.

In a blog post entitled Why Does Nokia Do This To Itself?, CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood said the experience must be "galling" for Nokia.

"It seems Nokia has learnt no lessons from the Ovi Store debacle in May 2009," Wood wrote. "Once again, the company's servers appear to have buckled under the strain, leaving most of those who tried to upgrade disappointed."

Once again, the company's servers appear to have buckled under the strain, leaving most of those who tried to upgrade disappointed.

– Ben Wood

Wood suggested that the problems were "partly a result of Symbian's popularity" as, despite its winding down as part of Nokia's big switch to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, Symbian devices are still hugely popular in Europe and other markets.

"Rather than delighting the customers in Europe's two biggest markets who have persevered and remained loyal to Symbian, Nokia has once again left them disappointed, if only for a day or so," Wood wrote. "Nokia already has a dismal reputation when it comes to software and this does nothing to dispel that idea."

When Nokia and Microsoft announced their Windows Phone deal in February, Symbian was given an official prognosis of two years. However, Nokia said it intended to use that period to sell 150 million more Symbian phones, to add to the 200 million already in users' hands.

The Anna-upgradable handsets are still on sale, and new units will be sold with the new OS version, Nokia said. Smartphones that are already shipping with Anna onboard include the Nokia X7 and E6.

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