Nokia to officially discontinue Symbian mobile OS this summer

By on June 12, 2013, 4:00 PM
nokia, symbian, windows phone, smartphone, operating system, lumia, os

Once the most popular mobile operating system in the world, Nokia’s Symbian will officially be shown the door later this summer after falling from grace in 2011. The move will allow the Finnish handset maker to focus their full attention on Windows Phone devices now that they’ve gained a bit of traction in the market.

A Nokia spokesperson noted that it took 22 months to get a Symbian smartphone out the door but with Windows Phone, it took less than a year. With the latter, Nokia spends less time tinkering with deep-lying code and more time crafting user experience elements that make a difference.

The decision isn’t really a surprise at this point as Nokia announced back in January that the PureView 808 would be the last smartphone they’d produce running Symbian. Even in the face of defeat, Nokia still managed to sell half a million Symbain-powered devices during the first quarter of this year. That of course pales in comparison to the 5.6 million Lumia phones that shipped running Windows Phone during the same time period.

Nokia was once the undisputed champion in the mobile sector but that all changed as newcomers Apple and Google led the way for a new breed of smartphones packed full of innovation. Simply put, Nokia wasn’t able to keep pace with the changing times and thus, relinquished their top spot.

Of course, Symbian had a few bright moments – namely the Nokia E61 and E71 (think older BlackBerry handsets with full QWERTY keyboards), the Nokia N95 and the N8. Oh, and the PureView 808 which hit the scene in February 2012.

User Comments: 5

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

As obvious as this decline seems (and is!) it's still kind of stunning that Symbian was still the number one smartphone platform in the world until 2011. Such a quick collapse!

2 people like this | Det Det said:

It's been on a decline since 2007 and it was just barely above Android in the very beginning of 2011 (see the second graph in: [link] ).

They simply lost track of the ever rapidly changing market and believed whatever they produced would sell. They did, but their competitors wouldn't simply watch by and sit on their asses for years to come.

The main debacle was obviously the lack of innovations. The multimeda (camera) equipped BlackBerry Pearl series back in 2006 proved to be highly successful, followed by the subsequent success of the Curve 8300 and Bold 9000 series. This was all pretty much due to extensive carrier partnerships, which fueled both enterprise and consumer markets.

Then came January 9 of 2007. The day that Steve Jobs revealed the iPhone, a device that Apple had been working on as the "Project Purple" since 2004. Boasting a powerful mobile browser, a new touch screen interface, strong multimedia capabilities and (later) a bundled application storefront with many mobile apps, the iPhone was already beginning to be referred to as the "BlackBerry Killer" by some in the media.

It took until 2008 for Nokia to start fighting off RIM with Nokia E71 and iPhone with 5800 XpressMusic. Both were well received. E71 was awarded both Editors' and Readers' Choice on, as well as the Phone of the Year and the Best Smartphone at the 2008 Mobile Choice Consumer Awards. 5800 XpressMusic also received full 5 stars in the January 2009 issue of the Mobile Choice magazine.

22 October 2008 also saw the release of another touchscreen device, the very first phone marketed to be running something called the Google Android mobile operating system. This was the HTC Dream, also known as the T-Mobile G1. 6 months later T-Mobile USA announced they had sold one million units. HTC's time had come and that of RIM's was already beginning to end. The subsequent releases of HTC Hero and Desire were a success. The Desire, strongly resembling the device that Linus Torvalds loved, Nexus One, was praised by Techradar as one of "the best they've ever had."

But like of so many before it, HTC's success was short-lived. With the release of the iPad in April 3, 2010 and the superseded version of the Nexus One now co-developed by Samsung/Google, the Nexus S, followed by the tremendously successful and attractive Galaxy S series Samsung and Apple started regaining their lost ground.

Which is how we arrive at today. With the fearsome competition at the mobile market with previous champions willing to do everything they can to regain their once lost glory it's an extremely crowded space. BlackBerry as well as Nokia are pretty much going all-in with their BlackBerry 10 and Nokia Lumia lines, respectively. iPhone 5 did not prove to bring out new innovation as much as expected, instead relying on what already had been done in Android. HTC will not sit by and watch the Galaxy S3 and now S4 hold onto its place as the best and most attractive Android phone. With the release of the superior build quality of the HTC One Samsung is now ready to adapt with the Galaxy Note 3 still rumored to continue with the long run plastic due to its similar desing with the S4.

The winner will not be decided by the biggest market share at whatever point in time, but the incessant flow of innovation and the new rule in the game: "adapt or die".

misor misor said:


...the new rule in the game: "adapt or die".

wow, nice info there @Det.

Det Det said:

@misor, thank-you. To be honest that wasn't the reply I was excepting, since usually after such long posts (that are even longer than the article itself) I usually get these clever little remarks that are something like "cool story, bro" or "nice essay there".

Spent quite some time coming up with a good response even, yet I didn't, so thank you for not making me send one.

Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Yes, that was very well written comment @Det

I still have my Nokia N82 privately, as the Swedish mobile operators apparently can't figure out how to forward SMS to another number, only calls.

So now I have both my HTC One S company phone and my old trusty Nokia, truth be told though only another Nokia is able to beat it's picture quality. I hope Nokia releases a Windows based successor to the Pureview 808 phone.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.