Final time we appeared again at Nokia’s try to modernize Symbian with Anna, however that was solely step one. The following was referred to as Belle, which introduced the long-lived OS even nearer to the trendy design of its Android and iOS rivals.
Belle introduced necessary high quality of life adjustments that made the interface way more nice and usable. Nonetheless, there’s no escaping that Symbian was enjoying catch-up to its rivals.
Let’s begin with the fundamentals and we do imply “fundamentals”. First, the homescreen bought an enormous overhaul – you can now have as much as 6 panes, up from 3 in Anna. And as a substitute of the one-size-fits-all strategy to widgets, widgets have been now resizable and may very well be stretched or squished to one among 5 sizes.
And these have been dwell widgets that might dynamically present messages (chat, electronic mail, social community updates). There was a fair higher place for notifications to go, however we’ll get to these in a minute.
We additionally have to cowl the app drawer, which dropped the deeply nested labyrinth of folders for a flat strategy – all shortcuts have been seen, you simply needed to scroll to get to them. You might nonetheless add folders should you wished to, however you now not felt such as you have been navigating Home windows 95’s Begin menu. Even higher, you can now put shortcuts on the homescreen itself, beforehand you had to make use of shortcut widgets, which was a clunky answer.
Then there was the notification shade. Popularized by Android makers and later adopted by iOS, this was an always-accessible place that had necessary toggles (cellular knowledge, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Silent), plus all of the notifications from apps.
The app switcher, nevertheless, remained unchanged. Additionally, should you discover within the app drawer, some apps have a dot of their higher left corners – this indicated that an app was operating.
Symbian was old-school like that, it allow you to manually handle which apps are opened whereas Android and iOS do it mechanically and discourage such intrusions by the person (although a “Shut all apps” button continues to be a typical sight on Android).
The net browser was improved a bit from what we noticed in Anna with assist for kinetic scrolling (that it the web page follows your finger as you pan round) and textual content reflow, which made desktop pages (which was many of the internet again then) simpler to learn on cellular. Full Flash assist was nonetheless lacking, however FlashLight 4 promised to play YouTube movies at 360p.
Nokia was an early adopter of NFC and it pushed it to new heights with Belle. You might faucet two units to pair them – this may very well be used with two telephones to rapidly alternate data or you can faucet a cellphone to a pair of headphones or a Bluetooth speaker to attach them.
Anna was introduced in April of 2011, Belle arrived in late August. The brand new OS model arrived with the Nokia 600, 700 and 701, however outdated units weren’t left behind – Symbian^3 phones have been up to date too (Nokia N8, E7, X7, C7, E6, C6-01 and the Oro). Telephones that originally got here with Anna (just like the Nokia 500) would get Belle too, after all. By 2012 the older units that have been nonetheless on sale (e.g. the Nokia N8) began arriving with Belle out of the box, saving you the effort of a handbook replace.
The final incarnation of Symbian Belle was Feature Pack 2, which reworked the digicam interface, added a video enhancing app, up to date the browser with HTML 5 assist, promised a “considerably sooner” keyboard and included Nokia Automobile Mode (a simplified UI for the cellphone’s display screen meant for use within the automotive).
Properly, technically it was “Nokia Belle” at this level because the Finns determined to drop the Symbian branding.
The telephones had gone as much as 1GHz processors and even 1.3GHz within the case of the Nokia 808 PureView and have been outfitted with 512MB of RAM. For comparability, the primary era of Anna telephones had 680MHz processors and 256MB of RAM.
Nonetheless, even mid-range Android telephones of the period have been beginning to change over to multi-core CPUs outfitted with 1GB RAM. Symbian all the time ran higher on resource-constrained units than Android, however Moore’s legislation was nonetheless going robust and ultimately new chipsets enabled new capabilities on Android, issues like full Flash assist and extra superior video games.
The roadmap to the longer term included Symbian Carla and Donna, the previous deliberate for late 2012/early 2013 with new widgets, a brand new internet browser, much more NFC options and issues like Dolby Encompass. Donna was scheduled for late 2013/early 2014 and would have been solely launched on telephones with dual-core processors, serving to to shut the efficiency hole to Android and the opposite competing OSes.
Worrying new broke on Could 23 2012, saying that Carla was canceled. Not so, stated Nokia officers a few days later, truly Carla could be launched as Belle Feature Pack 1. And there got here a Characteristic Pack 2 as we talked about above, however that was not Donna. Donna would by no means be launched and there have been no extra function packs both.
The Nokia 808 PureView turned the last Symbian phone – the OS actually went out on a excessive word. We will solely speculate what would have been if the Finns caught with it and launched new telephones with Donna.