Although things are looking dire for Symbian now that Nokia has taken over the reigns and effectively reduced the foundation to a token presence, Jo Harlow, Nokia’s senior VP of smartphones, has committed the platform to staying fresh, including a preloaded Swype gesture-based keyboard in the next update, and near-field communications in some existing devices starting early next year. Harlow also had some promising things about the frequency and quality of upcoming Symbian updates:
“In the past if you bought a device, you got one or two software updates. We will now begin to deliver software updates more frequently and more of them. Visually, you’ll see some significant upgrades coming, to keep the experience of the device fresh and new for the consumer.”
That’s heartening to the Symbian faithful, and if the newly-formed SYMBEOSE organization can help deploy these improvements at a a respectable clip, maybe this whole transitionary phase will have been for the best. That might sound a bit too optimistic given the circumstances, but Nokia seems to be doing well enough despite the growing competition.
NFC in mobile phones still has a long-way to go before it’s something practical, but if Nokia and Symbian are really willing to muscle their way to the forefront of that particular market, it will be a distinct advantage they could claim. By comparison, Swype is more of a sure bet, and an easy way to get credibility among folks who prefer all-touchscreen devices and need a reliable, natural keyboard.