Reader Generated: N97 and Symbian^3 in hindsight

| April 23, 2012 | 205 Replies

Here’s another interesting comment from one of our readers, snowflake.  It was to the post:

Though that comment above was a reply to a very specific mini discussion that evolved from that post.  It suggests that the N97’s failure might be more significant than what some might consider, destroying people’s faith in what Symbian had once accomplished. It reiterates again that the problem isn’t Symbian, but S60 and Nokia’s execution. What would have happened if Nokia picked Hildon UI?  What about UIQ? Did you know how good Symbian was for touch already before S60 5th?

BTW, before you go on to read the comment, here’s a piece from the Register, highlighted later by Steve Litchfield.

There comes a time when Nokia could have chosen not to play safe, break away from what was then the traditional phone UI to this strange touch based experience. But they stuck it out with Series 60 which turned into a ‘time bomb’ as some have mentioned in comments.

Here’s another comment and another whole thread more inline with this post. You guys shared what you would like to change at Nokia. npo4 left some interesting here:

Anyway, the original comment that started off this post:


I wrote at AAS during 2009 and 2010 that all the Nokia fans were hugely underestimating the damage being done by these devices to Nokia’s reputation particularly the top end purchasers who simply weren’t prepared to put up with chronically unreliable devices having been exposed to the example of iOS devices.

…Whereas (owing to the number of times I had to take my N97 back in for repair during 1st 3 months of ownership) I got to know the staff at my local West London Carphone Warehouse (nearest Nokia Service Point) pretty well and in this largish store they had had every N97 bar one that they had sold returned by customers – I’ll just repeat that so it sinks in for the fanbois EVERY SINGLE N97 except one sold by a large West London phone shop had been returned because the customers were so dissatisfied with it – and according to the store staff 9 in 10 of them went on to buy the new iPhone 3GS. So no it didn’t do well and nor (in the UK at least) did the N97mini it sank without trace as did the X6 after it.

In reality only one Symbian device ever sold again in any volume at all in the UK and that was the N8 mostly to the fans and mostly to those that hadn’t bought S60v5 device (as these were still locked into contracts). The promise (made at 2010 Capital Markets Day) was that major landmark Symbian release for H1 and hence the interest and pre orders in the N8 helped by it’s delay into October. However by the time the N8 and more more importantly S^3 was finally released (six months late by from revised schedule and nearly a year from original Sym Foundation timetable) it was just so disappointing given the protracted wait and what else was on the market by then particularly compared to the way Android had improved (and there was the end of Symbian). So there was some demand for N8 both as it had been such a long time on pre order and carriers had probably pre signed up for it having been promised much improved OS from the year before. Hoever the reality of S^3 was so disappointing that carriers barely signed up for any more Nokia devices in UK. S^3 received broadly negative reviews and must have been a very disappointing product and far removed from what the carriers had been led to expect. So the N8 was cut some slack on account of it’s remarkable imaging abilities but the general usability was broadly criticised, S^3 looked far too like S60v5, it was still unstable (tho not as bad) which was unforgivably stupid and had ridiculously obvious missing features that were going to get flamed like no portrait keyboard and rubbish browser. The E7 (which was even further delayed into Spring 2011) sold almost nothing in UK and was barely stocked in any retailers, the C6-01 I never actually saw in store and even the C7 which should have stood some chance really sold poorly.

So far from only Lumia’s doing badly and being returned, in the UK at least the greatest damages had been done by the disastrous N97 and their failure to address that or offer compensation or recall the product (in the long run it would have saved them billions).

What I can’t understand about you rabid fanbois is how relaxed and tolerant you are of how much Nokia has messed up Symbian an none of you ever seem to mention the really sad missed opportunity and direction that was UIQ. Symbian was forked as a result of Nokia pressure and the path they chose to pursue was always more regressive than other variants, so it’s not as if there was some technological golden age, far from it Nokia actually massively held Symbian back right up until UIQ tragically disappeared and none of it’s legacy was ported into the Foundation. S60 has always been a technological dead end in my view.

Oh and by the way Nokia didn’t manage to deliver on a single one of the categorical commitments made to investors at capital markets day 2010, not one. That’s why OPK went.

Cheers Janne for the tip


Category: Nokia, Symbian

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