Nokia starts rolling out Symbian Belle, Mac users left out in the cold

Yesterday evening Nokia announced that users of Symbian Anna devices can now update to the newest version of the operating system, Symbian Nokia Belle (see video below). Seeing as how I got my girlfriend a pink Nokia N8 for her birthday last autumn, I told her to rush over to my place with her smartphone and a microUSB cable so we could begin the update process. It’s not that I didn’t trust her to do it herself, I just wanted to see first hand what Nokia Belle looks like on a Nokia N8. And even if she did want to do the update herself, she can’t because she has a MacBook. That’s right, you need a Windows PC to perform this update. Not a big deal since Windows has the dominate share of the computer market, but still, it’s an inconvenience for a quite a few number of people.

Anyway, we sit down in front of my netbook and load up All About Symbian to follow their step by step guide to update to Belle. They say the first thing you should do is download Nokia PC Suite. Ignore that. You can if you want to, the program will ask you to reboot your computer, but when all is said and done and you click update an error pops up saying that an executable is missing. See, Nokia has two desktop software applications. One is Nokia PC Suite, the other is Nokia Suite. Similar names, but two radically different apps. Nokia Suite took a little bit longer to download, it also asked me to reboot the computer, and then when everything was configured properly and we hit update … nothing. The app crashed. Mind you that my netbook is nothing more than a Windows 7 machine with Spotify and Google Chrome installed. No viruses, no bloat, it’s cleaner than fresh snow.

So I reboot the computer, again, click update, and Nokia Suite finally starts working. It downloaded a file that was close to 300 MB in size, backed up my girlfriend’s phone, flashed the software, and then it finally worked.

Total time to get all this done? 94 minutes!

What does she think of the new software update? It’s hard to say since we had to run to a movie and then hang out with a few friends later that evening, but her initial impressions after an hour with the device was: “Why didn’t they make it like this from the beginning?”

And that’s the real question, why didn’t Nokia make Symbian in 2008 or 2009 look and feel as good as it does in 2012? Would they be in the same situation that they’re in now if they picked up the pace?

Update: Those of you who follow the All About Symbian guide will now not have to deal with the same hassle that I went through:

  • See, Nokia does not have two desktop software applications. Nokia Suite replaced Nokia PC Suite.
    You wouldn’t have had to go through all this trouble had you just gone ahead with using Nokia Suite only.

    • I haven’t had a Nokia phone in over two years, how exactly was I supposed to know that there are two suites? More important question: Why is All About Symbian linking to the Nokia PC Suite instead of the Nokia Suite?

      • Boy, will have to bring it to their notice then. It was a known fact that Belle is only going to be available via Nokia Suite, so they shouldn’t have linked to PC Suite.

        Otherwise the general public experience has been very smooth. Nokia Suite backs up the data, installs belle & then restores the data.

  • Sorry Stefan – I’ll buy you a beer next time i see you as compensation!

    And obviously we got confused by the multiple PC Suite links, even if we did get the name right.

    • Thanks! And no worries, we all make mistakes sometimes when linking to stuff. Keep up the great work with All About Symbian and All About Windows Phone. Despite what most folks think about me, I’m a huge fan of the stuff that you, Steve, Ewan, and David put out on a regular basis.

  • Anonymous

    Stefan, I updated two N8s and an E7 last night vai Nokia Software Updater on my MacBook Pro – in OSX. Ā It worked flawlessly.

    So, you’re post is a bit in error.

  • Javed Aqthar Hussain

    I miss the old Anna “email widget” that was nice with white text and black bg. Pls gimme back my Anna email widget šŸ™

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