Flashback: Symbian Belle almost caught up to Android, but it was too late

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Belles new homescreen let you add and resize widgets

Final time we seemed again at Nokias 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 opponents.

Belle introduced vital high quality of life modifications that made the interface way more nice and usable. Nevertheless, theres no escaping that Symbian was taking part in catch-up to its rivals.

Lets begin with the fundamentals and we do imply fundamentals. First, the homescreen bought an enormous overhaul you possibly can now have as much as 6 panes, up from 3 in Anna. And as an alternative of the one-size-fits-all method to widgets, widgets have been now resizable and might be stretched or squished to considered one of 5 sizes.

Belles new homescreen let you add and resize widgetsBelles new homescreen let you add and resize widgetsBelles new homescreen let you add and resize widgets
Belles new homescreen allow you to add and resize widgets

And these have been dwell widgets that might dynamically present messages (chat, e-mail, social community updates). There was an excellent higher place for notifications to go, however effectively 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 method all shortcuts have been seen, you simply needed to scroll to get to them. You possibly can nonetheless add folders should you wished to, however you now not felt such as you have been navigating Home windows 95s Begin menu. Even higher, you possibly can now put shortcuts on the homescreen itself, beforehand you had to make use of shortcut widgets, which was a clunky resolution.

The revamped app drawerThe revamped app drawerThe revamped app drawerThe revamped app drawer
The revamped app drawer

Then there was the notification shade. Popularized by Android makers and later adopted by iOS, this was an always-accessible place that had vital toggles (cellular information, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Silent), plus all of the notifications from apps.

The notification shadeThe notification shade
The notification shade

The app switcher, nonetheless, 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 working.

The app switcherThe app switcherThe app switcher
The app switcher

Symbian was old-school like that, it allow you to manually handle which apps are opened whereas Android and iOS do it robotically 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 a lot of the net again then) simpler to learn on cellular. Full Flash assist was nonetheless lacking, however FlashLight 4 promised to play YouTube movies at 360p.

The Symbian Belle browserThe Symbian Belle browserThe Symbian Belle browserThe Symbian Belle browser
The Symbian Belle browser

Nokia was an early adopter of NFC and it pushed it to new heights with Belle. You possibly can faucet two units to pair them this might be used with two telephones to shortly trade info or you possibly can faucet a telephone to a pair of headphones or a Bluetooth speaker to attach them.

The NFC tutorial app from BelleThe NFC tutorial app from BelleThe NFC tutorial app from Belle
The NFC tutorial app from Belle

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 previous units weren’t left behind Symbian^3 telephones 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 field, saving you the effort of a handbook replace.

The final incarnation of Symbian Belle was Function Pack 2, which reworked the digital camera 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 telephones display screen meant for use within the automobile).

Effectively, 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 technology of Anna telephones had 680MHz processors and 256MB of RAM.

Flashback: Symbian Belle

Nevertheless, even mid-range Android telephones of the period have been beginning to change over to multi-core CPUs outfitted with 1GB RAM. Symbian at all times ran higher on resource-constrained units than Android, however Moores legislation was nonetheless going robust and finally 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 net browser, much more NFC options and issues like Dolby Encompass. Donna was scheduled for late 2013/early 2014 and would have been completely launched on telephones with dual-core processors, serving to to shut the efficiency hole to Android and the opposite competing OSes.

Flashback: Symbian Belle

Worrying new broke on Could 23 2012, saying that Carla was canceled. Not so, mentioned Nokia officers a few days later, really Carla can be launched as Belle Function Pack 1. And there got here a Function 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 characteristic packs both.

The Nokia 808 PureView turned the final Symbian telephone the OS definitely went out on a excessive notice. We are able to solely speculate what would have been if the Finns caught with it and launched new telephones with Donna.

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