The E6- Does it represent Symbian’s niche?

| April 13, 2011 | 27 Replies

The first thing I thought when I saw the announcements made at Nokia’s Symbian event was “wow, that E6 sure is a looker; Wish the X7 was as exciting as this is.” Strange that I’d think that, especially given the larger screen and more expansive, touch-based interface on the X7 as opposed to the E6 but there was a vibe, an expectation if you will, that the X7 would unanimously disappoint. Part of this disposition is due to the nature of the X7. Like pretty much all Symbian^3 devices, it has nigh-on the same specs in every meaningful category as the N8, which, bar it’s camera doesn’t really bring as much to the table as we would have hoped for.

Odd then, that I’d find the E6, a device running the exact specification barring minor screen differences, a keyboard and certainly less of a multimedia focus to be the better of the two recently announced devices. Even more so when I think about my purchasing decisions in the past; I eschew keyboards (moving or otherwise), small screens and business-centric devices as a rule.


After a couple of minutes pondering this very problem I realized my best experiences with Symbian, where it worked best all happened on keyboard-toting, touch-screen absent devices. The successes of the various E-series candy-bar communicators is more than testament to this belief. ย And while I’d always wished for a touch experience as far back as when I used a 3250, the Symbian experience was geared around the soft-key and menu buttons. Further, Nokia’s forays into the touch market have been more or less failures for the simple reason that they retained a user-experience with much more in common with the button-driven paradigm than the touch paradigms upon which iOS and WebOS were based (Android is excluded given it’s origins on BB-esque devices).

The E6 from what has been shown thus far has a home screen that better fits the form-factor than the current implementation of widgets fit devices like the N8 or X7. Hardware that’s more befitting to the conservative, business nature of these devices while at the same time providing a stability and richness of features that can rarely be rivaled in other devices of this class and concurrently increasing usability due to the more granular nature of the controls available. The marriage of the touch-screen to this form factor doesn’t change these facts, rather accentuating them, giving an even better experience than was previously thought possible in this class of device

Yes there are promised UI changes for the larger-screened devices, yes there is more powerful hardware supposedly on the way, but it seems, in this author’s humble opinion that Symbian’s origins will forever be closely intertwined with it’s future, limiting the heights to which it can attain. The E6 may likely represent the pinnacle of Symbian’s niche in the smartphone world, the best of what is sure to become a vanishing niche.


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Category: Nokia

About the Author ()

So you've read something I've written. yay!! As you already know, my name is Andre and I'm currently a student based in Atlanta. Much like Jay, I pretty much blog here in my free time. Follow me on twitter @andre1989 or contact me directly at Andre(at)mynokiablog(dot)com. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.
  • Does

    Hello, I don’t have the same opinion about this E6. In fact I do thing full-keyboard smartphone are a basis for Symbian. Let’s look further .. The “super-smartphone” market is lead by Android, the “Premium-smartphone” is lead by iOS; There is still a fight betwin two market leader as Nokia an Rim for the buisness centric market. Rim is close to launch a Touch-Buisness devices family .. so this E6 is prepared for a dogfight.

    Well prepared ? Whereas I’m a Symbian fan, I don’t think it is well prepared. The gap betwin those devices is to short ( Bold vs E6 ) .. We will see after.

    We have just to believe that E6 + E7 will be a killing solution for buisness sector, otherwise Symbian will be clearly .. dead.


    • Ali

      I think it’s simply because you don’t ahve to deal with the extremly frustrating symbian shit keyboard

  • John Ray

    It was what I was also thinking. The E6 was more tempting compared to the x7 simply because the improvement are more evident when it is compared to previous E series’ qwerty phones. X7 was just like another version of the E7 sans the keyboard and the case. But aside from that it does not bring anything really new. Understandably, the X7 is set for the gen-x’s and the price point looks reasonable.

  • cgf

    can have e6-like form factor?

    so future nokia phone will be all touch phones after symbian dies?

  • Poop

    E6 looks amazing I actually want one and I have an N8

    • stylinred

      my sentiments exactly. the white one is especially appealing

    • fahoum

      yep, same here, i want a nokia e6 for everyday use(mainly for the battery life and compact size), and my n8 for weekends.
      did they say when r they getting this things in stores?

    • inept

      I agree, but with caveats.

      This is the device I was waiting for to upgrade my E71… But I got tired of waiting and I really wanted a Xenon flash so I got myself an N8. If this had been released as a successor to the E71 in a timely fashion, I certainly would have bought this. The E72 was a fiasco and did nothing to uphold the awesome pedigree of the E71.

      That said, it’s April, 2011 and knowing what we know about the future of Symbian, I think the E6 is a really tough sale. I would have expected a second generation S^3 device of this form factor these days but Nokia is only rolling out its first.

      Bottom line: Appealing but 1-2 years too late. If viewed in isolation, I think that the N8 and the E6 are the only two really interesting devices in the S^3 lineup. If compared to the competition, the N8 is the only device in the lineup with any really distinguishing characteristics worth spending money on (of course I mean the camera).

  • Zahid

    well i also think that e6 is better of the two especially the pixel density which is i guess equal to that of iphone 4(326 ppi).
    Where as x7 being 4 inch has less pixels than 2.46 inch screen of e6!!
    and e6 is also cheaper than x7 and even has a bigger battery!!!

  • 352×416

    Nokia have said they will increase efforts on s40 feature phones like X1 etc. So not all new Nokia phones will be touch.

    My guess is an increasing % of new Nokia phone will be touch enabled.

  • Tinkle

    Dear me, you’re on a roll to put down Symbian today aren’t you Andre? Are you being paid to be a full blown Windows Phone fanboy convert, or does it just come naturally?

    Clearly you’re not familiar with actual smartphone stats and reality in the world. Tomi Ahonen, the leading phone stats guru in the world, compiled the following stats (amongst many others):
    Smartphones are 18% of all phones. This is split into 25% of those smartphones being used for business and the rest consumer. Within business smartphones, who has got all the noise? Blackberry of course. And yet Nokia Symbian smartphones beat them. Symbian has 44% of the global business smartphone market, and BB only 39%. The E6 is now the leading business smartphone from Nokia’s portfolio. Given they lead the business smartphone market therefore the fact you’re saying the E6 is niche shows how out of touch with reality you are, which is likely linked to your desperate Windows Phone fanboyism.

    • A-S-D

      Actually E7 is the leading business smartphone in Nokia portfolio, but I get your point.

    • Mark

      Fuck off, Smith.

      • MJT


    • Jay Montano

      Liking Windows Phone and Disliking/being disappointed in Symbian are not one and the same.

      I think there was also some disappointment in terms of hardware too not so much Symbian itself. As tweeted last night – “I know today wasn’t meant to be a big announcement day, but still, people look at Nokia and see yet another mediocre handset.”

      It’s like Nokia isn’t helping Symbian by giving it bare minimum/just enough in processing/ram department. Yeah we know Symbian doesn’t need it. But should flagships like the N8/E7 be limited to just what it needs? What about looking onwards 6 months (from release date). What about other resource hungry 3rd party apps? During transition to touch, Nokia should have given Symbian a crutch. Oodles or RAM, C: memory, more powerful processor, but no. They gave it bare minimum. We ranted about this before WP ever existed (or became publicly known).

      For me, it wasn’t Windows Phone that made my eyes stray away from Symbian, it was Maemo 5. It showed how Nokia can do the important things properly. Browsing, multitasking, yes, thank you done. That and it had processing/RAM that was top level for its time. Why on earth has Symbian’s browser been so utterly painful to use when right around the corner there’s this beast called MicroB? Thank goodness for Opera otherwise I couldn’t browse the net on Symbian phones.

    • I put down things that deserve to be put down :).

      Consumer facing smartphones aren’t business phones furthermore if you read everything I had to say you’d note that I wasn’t saying the E6 only occupies a “niche”.

      I was saying that devices like the E6 are where Symbian is best, where Symbian actually WORKS and where Symbian’s success likely lies in the future as opposed to devices like the X7 and N8.

      Reading is good for you Smith ๐Ÿ™‚

  • yup, agree – thought the same thing – when i looked at the promo video, Symbian really makes sense on a device on these dimensions. Makes RIM look stupid.

    but the X7 looks like another me2 device.

    i miss buttons on a phone – and i think this has made me re-think me options

  • Cod3rror

    I agree Nokia’s keypad devices are great.

    I always say the last best Nokia phones are:

    Nokia N86 8MP – For multimedia
    Nokia E71/E72 – For business

    These are the last really good Nokia phones.

  • h3csc

    I can’t help but agree with you Andre. The E6 is absolutely a fantastic device and it blend so well together with Symbian. The fact that it has a D-Pad for navigation turns the touch input into an option (except the fact that you still jave to touch the softkey to work) rather than a must. The nature of Symbian doesn’t seems to fit well with touch input even in the Symbian Anna interation. I personally believe that Nokia should keep Symbian for this class of device for the years to come. This is a relm that Windows Phone 7 can never step it’s foot in.

  • Deaconclgi

    I wonder how gaming will translate to the E6, for example, Need for speed shift. I would like to be able to use the hardware keyboard to control the games ust like with my N82 and Ngage 2.0 games.

    I would love to see One remade using the GPU!

    While on the topic of games…I installed Shift on the Astound and it kept freesing at the EA screen. Has anyone been able to play Shift on their C7s? I am wondering if this is just a issue with the Astound firmware and not with the C7.

    Strangely,I had to rebuy a few games due to some false “You have to update this software to a compatible version” or something of the sorts when trying to download apps from my Ovi account. Basically, rebuy what I already bought to get the same sis file….

    • MJT

      What a fail… Anyway, hack your Mobile with the latest log enabled instalserver and then you can mirror every installed content for later replacing once downloaded content

  • Nitin

    Nokia has complete dominace on non touch based qwerty or alphanumeric keypad phones ….name a single manufacturer or device which was able to beat Nokia e series ‘Supremo’s’ E51, E52, E71,E75 & E72 even E63 has done really well. Symbian OS is designed and works well with non touch based phones period.

    • inept

      Ummm… RIM? RIM is a huge player in Keypad/QWERTY smartphones and they outsell Nokia’s Eseries phones.

      • Nitin

        I am talking about global market my friend….RIM is no where close to outselling Eseries …

  • Mavrick

    All we need now is for Nokia to release a non-touch version of the E6. I don’t want to use the touch screen at all if i can help it.

    Given that S60 will most likely be abandoned, they should probably release an update to the E5 based on S^3.

    • Rant

      As far as I can tell you can operate it without using the screen at all. Apart from the option button etc. but otherwise it should be possible. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • wAyNEbvtb

    Well…. An e-series fan here…. I think nokia e6 is perfect…. Not one weak point…. Just wondering if N8 HD games like avatar, sims and so wud support on it and can u play using d-pad instead of screen….. Wish the screen was bit larger…. Like e61i…….