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Why Nokia won’t divorce Symbian for Android?

Yesterday, rumors about Nokia looking into running Google Android OS on an upcoming smartphone drew a lot of attention (via Guardian). Nokia has flatly denied any plans to go Android and refreshes its commitment for the Symbian platform.

androidNokia is forever married to the Symbian platform and it’s going to be a long shot if we can ever see a Nokia handset with an Android OS in it. Why?

Well, first of all, there’s that $700 million dollar reason. Nokia bought out the remaining 52% of Symbian last year for a reportedly €264 million ($368 million) big bucks.

Nokia is also promoting its own non-profit Symbian Foundation which combined several different operating systems (Symbian OS, S60, UIQ, MOAP) and made the whole thing open source (read: free, just like Android).

Nokia also bought into a lot of other properties that ride on the same ecosystem. One prominent example is Navteq for $8.1 billion (it has to make money off of Nokia Maps to get that investment back). Going Android also means dropping Nokia Maps for Google Maps (Navteq provided maps to Yahoo, Google and Microsoft and makes over half a billion in sales a year).

Last month, Intel and Nokia announced a strategic partnership and support development of Moblin and Maemo platform for future mobile computing devices.

Nokia is slowly losing the smartphone wars — analysts at HSBC reckon Nokia had 47% of the global smartphone market in 2007; that was down to 35% last summer and 31% at the end of the year {via}. Meanwhile, the Blackberry, iPhone 3G, Palm Pre and Android phones are gaining momentum.

If Nokia gives in to Android as the better platform than Symbian, it will continue to lose market share in the growing smartphone market. It has also invested a lot of marketing money and resources to promote Ovi. It looks like it’s Symbian or nothing for Nokia.

Do you think Nokia should just drop Symbian, specifically the S60 platform, for a better one?

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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26 Responses

  1. Darren says:

    nokia can learn from Acer –> windows + android, LOL

  2. whaâ„¢ says:

    oo nga naman. bakit mo bibitiwan ang company kung saan ka nag invest ng milti million..

  3. Mike says:

    Hard to say, Abe. They put in a lot of money in Symbian. If somehow, Nokia can foresee a bigger market share by shifting to Android, then who knows?

    Personally, I still like Symbian better than Android. While Android comes with cool new bells and whistles, it still has a few kinks that need to be ironed out.

  4. BrianB says:

    Symbian still has great potential. They just need a UI that competes with iPhone, Android and WebOS.

  5. lance says:

    They need to realize that giving mediocre experience to their userbase won’t benefit them in the long run. Why not dedicate a portion of their large R&D funds to furnish the next symbian succcessor? S60 5th edition is too messed up already even their eye candy treatment to it fails in most angles.

    I believe the best thing for them is to die or innovate with Symbian. Adroid or any other OS won’t help them. Hehe

  6. bengtotpogi says:

    It’s about as much probability as Apple getting Android on their phones. No way that’s going to happen… symbian ftw!

  7. sky says:

    They should just innovate Symbian.

  8. Eugene says:

    Correction: Google no longer gets map data from Navteq since early last year. They now get map data primarily from Tele Atlas and their own Map Maker (plus some country-specific data sets here and there). Google dumped Navteq just as Nokia’s acquisition of Navteq was approved by European regulators.

  9. techme says:

    i think nokia should start to rebuild symbian! the specs for nokia phones are nice but the software i.e. symbian is very slow they should give symbian a new life by making a new and more friendlier interface, make symbian quicker etc. if they can do this they will definitely be on par with competition. with android, palm’s new os, iphone os, the current symbian feels very old school and very worn out! please nokia improve symbian before its too late!

  10. Mark Jason says:

    there’s no need to shift from symbian. They should just take part on improving the OS. Android and Apple’s OS are clean, cool and smooth while symbian is too organized, laggy and slow. That’s what made their touchscreen flagship (5800) not that successful. Maganda sana nilang kuhanan ng ideas yung Series 40 interface ng nokia phones. Mas modern ang look.

  11. Victor says:

    Symbian is good. Kelangan lang ng mods and adjustments to ‘fit in’.. The market is flexible.. I dont believe the nokia will lose its ‘ground’ control despite na fall at the smart phone area. Para lang yang competition ng windows OS and Mac.. and other OS’..

  12. yuga says:

    @Mike – they’ll risk their stocks hitting rock bottom if they do. All that billion-dollar investment for nothing.

    @eugene – changed the sentence to past tense.

    @lance – I think it’s bloated.

    @Mark Jason – the S40 platform has much better potential.

    @victor – well, that’s 3 straight years of decreasing market share. If I were Nokia I won’t wait for the 5th year.

  13. Miguel says:

    Series 40 is a closed OS for Nokia “Featurephones”- you can’t write apps on it unless it shipped with the system. It just happens that the J2ME virtua machine runtime is such an app.

    And another thing to note with S60 – it can run on much lower CPU. Android and iPhone currently run on >500 Mhz high-end CPUs.

  14. Victor says:

    @yuga yes sir, nokia definitely needs to do something.. Hmm, maybe the price, the software and the design? Not to mention features of course. Pansin ko pag smartphone nga bihira nokia.. Actually kahit ako blackberry nasa isip ko. Hehe

  15. jctechcom says:

    then this will be symbian + nokia = forever…

    but hmmm for me symbian is ok with nokia.. because there are lots of existing symbian softwares out there…

    but! I still love windows mobile =P and soon I want to try an android phone…ohh I just remembered someone already made a way to install android in omnia ^_^


  16. symbian should improve, rewrite again from scratch, now google android next stop google chrome OS http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/introducing-google-chrome-os.html

  17. Mark Jason says:

    @Miguel No, I’m not saying that they use S40 for their future smartphones, what I’m trying to tell is, they should try to reinvent symbian na may touch, look and feel of S40. Kasi, it’s more easy to navigate through kesa symbian. And the annoying header (don’t know exactly what it’s called) should be removed! They should display the battery and signal indicator, time, etc. like the S40, and other modern OS’s do which takes up only 1 line.

    @Mr. Yuga, well at least you agree. haha. Symbian’s functionality (like support for many apps) is excellent, however, yung interface talaga ang bulok IMO

  18. ZitsBoy says:

    i think nokia’s move to put SymbianOS in the open source community is the right step just a few years too late.

    developing OVI is another good step but again a few years to late..

    do you see a pattern developing here?? i really believe nokia should look into reviewing their current business model as a whole, else they might not be able to buck the trend (multimillion dollar investments be damned).

  19. eric says:

    nokia should learn from samsung, they almost carry all the mobile OS. dalawang beses pa lang akong guamit ng nokia, only as a secondary phone. hindi ako mabuuhay kung hindi windows mobile os ng phone ko.

  20. lowellton says:

    what is good in s40? look n feel? go for s60

  21. Very useful information, always good to learn more.

  22. dirch says:

    Thing is, developers want to develop apps that can be used by more users. I think smart phones in the future are all about the apps that can be installed in it. I own a nokia s60 5th edition phone and comparing the available apps with what’s available for the iphone, You can see why iphone is so popular.

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  24. Jham says:

    ang masabi ko lang sa nokia.. maghire sila ng magagaling na programmer na kaya iupgrade ang OS nila na tulad ng ANDROID at IOS same lang lahat naman ng logic at life cycle ng code niyan… different Programming Language ang ginamit pero isa lang ang point makagawa ng OS… logic lang ang hindi makuha nila, dati sa pinas nokia ang sikat. ngayon kahit china phone natatalo sila. bakit? dahil mura na my features na wala sa nokia at meron features na wala ang nokia…
    ano laban ng nokia vs tv phone
    nokia vs 2sim card
    nokia vs wifi+2sim+android+tv cheaper price
    maganda lang kay nokia ay ang camera
    market strategy sa features mahina.
    kung maglalabas ang china na unit with high-end camera paano na?

  25. magflicks says:

    there’s no need to shift from symbian. They should just take part on improving the OS

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