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Symbian Belle gets official, brings Nokia 600,700, 701 – Layman’s Take

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Finally the day came, August 24, 2011.

wall

Nokia Facebook page was a hot topic among Nokia Fans and bloggers since some days due to a mysterious message on their page with a countdown heading towards today. It didn’t stayed long enough as a mystery among Nokia fans due to some goof-ups (?) from Nokia side itself, when they accidently leaked the name "Belle".

7pm

Even though I am rarely blogging nowadays due to office things, but like always I been active on twitter @nkumar_ and like others I was also wondering about the message "This time it’s personal" and even sent a "funny" tweet as well. Though I am yet to figure about the exact motives behind the tagline, Google sent me to this link that was written by Chief Scientist, Accenture long back in 2009. Not sure, but was it first sign of Accenture’s involvement in Symbian?

Anyway, the news is bigger than these small speculations… it is about Announcement of three super cheap smartphones equipped with well awaited Symbian Belle (Yes! you are reading it right.. Symbian Belle, I know even Symbian Anna roll out not finished yet). So let’s talk about the new joinees first.


On August 24, 2011, Nokia has announced three new mid-range smart phones and one headset. All of them have their own firsts. Let’s discuss about each in short.

Nokia 600

People living in Asian regions might have noticed that the fight at low price segment have became fierce recently. Many of the people, who might have been non-smartphone users till now looking for cheapest options possible to taste the whole new world out there. But still when it comes to suggesting friends that what is best for them at price around 10k-12k, it never been an easier choice. Earlier I been suggesting people for Nokia c5/E5 and for those who want touch only, there was no options but Nokia 5230 like phones

Nokia just made the choice easier with a phone official touted as loudest smartphone till date. I definitely would like to check this out someday as I know a few for whom the loudness been the most important criterion always even if the voice quality goes to trash box. Thank God, it’s a Nokia, so I wont even doubt on Voice Quality this time.

When it comes to look and specs, then one would not call Nokia 600 a super impressive one, but once you bind it with the price segment and other devices available in similar price point, then sure you find a lot of reasons to smile.

1 GHz ARM 11 (Single CPU) Processor, 512 MB RAM, 340 MB internal memory, 1GB ROM, 3.2" Capacitive TFT screen …. sometimes one feels like he is reading specs of some 20k+ phone. And for those, who just wanna to skip a Nokia for Symbian, its just beyond anything Symbian you seen till date, its Symbian Belle.

Here I want to read some fine prints about the hardware and clear some doubts here about the phone  ..

  • This device supports Penta-band, WLAN 802.11 b/g/n, HSDPACat10 14.4 Mbps & HSUPACat6 5.76 Mbps.
  • It has a GPU unit (though not N8/C7/E7 one) and also all the popular sensors and new double tap sensor.
  • People doubting over GPU inside, take a look here. GPU Memory increased to 128mb from 32mb of N8/C7/E7 etc.
  • Graphics performance is also boosted from 200 MPixels/s to 1000 MPixels/s for all three handsets.
  • 5 MP camera on it is a Full Focus one, but supports 720p recording at 30 fps.
  • It should be one of the first Nokia devices to have internal FM receiver means FM without headphone
  • It got a FM Transmitter built in to share music over frequencies (88.1 – 107.9 MHz)
  • Full plastic build.
  • Just 2GB internal storage though it got 32Gb MicroSD support
  • It doesn’t have an Auto Focus camera means no chance to take macro shots.
  • It doesn’t have a front camera or even capability of native video calls.
  • Even though the claim is 15 hours GSM talk-time, you are still stuck with BL-4J 3.7V 1200mAh battery.

So in all, you got a phone that is loud, light as less 100g, launched at 12k around, got all the frequencies to run across the globe, got the WLAN caliber, got Bluetooth 3.0, got NFC and innovative ways to make use of it, has the caliber to run your 3D games, can shoot 720p video and blessed with an interface that even premium users like Nokia N8/E7/C7/X7 users still dreaming for. Anything you missed for 12k worth?

I am still wondering that why we are still stuck with hardware Call\Call End key and specially the Menu button? It was supposed to end with Symbian Belle.


Nokia 700

I was surprised when Nokia was calling Nokia 700 as smallest smartphone in the world. Its definitely not the smallest, if we are talking about all smartphones and we seen Nokia C5 likes already, but as the official blog post explains its the most compact touch monoblock smartphone in the market right now, because other might have managed slim profile at 3.5"/4", but no one managed such a slimmer handset at 3.2".

The Nokia 700 measures just 110 x 50.7 x 9.7mm and weighs only 96g (lightest of the three handsets announced). Nokia 700 might have been regarded to have the most superior display among the three launched devices. A clear Black AMOLED 3.2" capacitive display, which would be a big assurance of day light visibility and durability over time. Gorilla Glass perfectly matches the slim profile of the handset as it can slip into your pocket easily without even caring for scratches etc.

While most of the features of Nokia 700 go similar to Nokia 600, but apart from looks, there are some fine print changes as well.

  • You can be assured of a stunning visual experience due to CBD AMOLED and slim profile.
  • Though unlikely but it seems to have a superior Nokia Email version than Nokia 600.
  • It got 1GB user storage in comparison to 340mb of Nokia 600.
  • Can add 32Gb MicroSD  card with HotSwap support.
  • The back battery cover is metallic, which means durability for me.
  • Constructed using materials like bio-plastics, recycled plastics and recycled metals, its Greenest Nokia
  • The slim profile costed badly over the battery which is now BP-5Z 1080 mAh means half the battery life
  • No Internal FM Radio Antenna for this one means you need headphones for hearing FM.
  • No FM Transmitter included

 

If you ask me, then while the slim profile sure gonna make this phone look very attractive, but at a price of 17k around, the absence of front camera and a proper battery life will be deal breaker to many. I can understand that both the things are design compromises for making the smallest Smartphone+Touchphone ever, but not sure if many would like to miss front camera at this price.


Nokia 701

The looks definitely gonna remind you of some handsets you seen recently.. Nokia C7, Nokia C7-01 and Nokia Oro, but the same form factor and looks got a new frame, Symbian Belle this time.

While Nokia 701 should be called as most premium device equipped with Symbian Belle as of now. At first, I found it strange that Nokia skipped to provide it the glorious AMOLED screen even if CBD and Gorilla Glass still here, but later came to know that the device uses the same IPS display panel as Apple devices nowadays (though resolution would be the same 640 x 360 px). Nokia even calling it as brightest screen in the world in terms of Luminance.

While the features are definitely upgraded over others in this around 19k priced device,  let’s go through the fine print of the hardware.

  • It has a 3.5" IPS CBD Cornered Gorilla Glass screen.
  • Contrary to other two models, it got two microphones and hence noise cancellation capabilities.
  • We have a 8MP wide angle (f/2.8) Full Focus Camera here on back and a VGA Camera on front.
  • 8GB internal storage though not clear how much user storage. Same 32Gb Card support (no Hotswap)
  • No clear words over battery, but I am expecting a 1350 mAH battery here.
  • FM Transmitter is here.
  • No Internal FM Radio means no without headset FM like Nokia 600.

So, you can see that apart from the Full Focus Camera, there seems to be less compromises made with Nokia 701. This handset sure seems to unsettle the sales of Nokia C7 likes. Thing is when it gonna come.

For those looking for the official specs sheet and comparison, should check it out here or if you feel lazy, then screenshots here ..

1-600x1092

41-600x777

3-600x1112

 21-600x723 Screenshots credit to @mynokiablog 


Nokia Essence Bluetooth Headset

After using Nokia BH905/BH905i, while I was stunned by the quality output they provide, at the same time, I was always left disappointed by the huge size of them. I mean even if I can afford the alien look after wearing those big ones, it wasn’t that affordable to carry them around. Look like Nokia finally managed to bring the tech into practical sizes now.

Nokia Essence really makes a big claim that is 99% noise cancellation and coming from the makers of Nokia BH905/905i, you have no reasons to doubt on the same. Unlike the usual Bluetooth headsets, you get a controller here for farward/reverse/play/pause and ear buds like wired headset brings you the goodness of both the worlds.

The launch price at 8.5k is sure not a cheap one but such quality headsets are always aimed to a premium audience, which knows that how much value a peaceful music has.


Symbian Belle

Nokia officially announced Symbian Anna back in April, while it got delivered in mid/end of August and before August could have ended, we got a fully changed and polished update called Symbian Belle. Definitely it seems so exciting on paper and no doubt Symbian Belle is exciting, but hearing the words that its coming to existing devices by some Q4 seems to be same frustrated wait game.

In no way, I was expecting today’s event to bring Symbian Belle for my Nokia N8, but this time I was hoping them to keep the gap even more closer like just a month. But anyway.. when you take a look over Symbian Belle then you will find that this negative preface is just because Symbian Belle is just too good. Its something which if would have arrived in last year, then the market story might (?) have something else.

First let’s watch yourself that why we say that Belle is not the Symbian we knew till date.

While I am sure that you will find yourself stunned by the visual experience here, let’s summarize that what’s new about Symbian Belle

  • Free-form, resizable, live widgets: Finally Symbian got a modern and flexible widget system and now its over third party developers that how much innovations they can bring in.

It feels like Maemo days back to Nokia. Not only shapes but there is one more thing to notice about the widgets that they seems to remember their positions for Landscape mode and portrait mode separately.

  • More homescreens:As you might have noticed that Symbian Belle is the one which have six home screens not the Symbian Anna as we suspected earlier. People into tech already aware of the fact that the limitation over number of home screen is due to performance reasons, so I am still not sure if Nokia N8 etc will get the same six home screens or not. Likely yes.

  • Completely new Android like Status Bar I will agree that it felt totally like my Galaxy S, when I seen the first leaked video. Same four toggle icons, same clear button placing and same way to put notifications.

It seems that like Apple, even Nokia ran out of new ideas about dealing with notifications. But on the other side, as far as a user is concerned, I am happy about it as Android had one of the best way of notifications (though were more of an aid due to limited multi-tasking) and sure such styled notifications with full multi-tasking supported Symbian gonna do wonder.

 

  • Modernised navigation:Finally a much needed change to Symbian Two Menu structure.

A back button and options button along with context sensitive search button at the bottom is sure not exactly what I guessed in one of my post before, but sure seems to be solving much of legacy annoyances.

  • New apps:A new suite of powerful business apps from Microsoft includes Lync (IM for businesses, like Microsoft Communicator), Sharepoint, OneNote, Exchange ActiveSync and PowerPoint Broadcaster.

  • Informative lock screen:While Lock Screen on Symbian Anna is already an updated one, Symbian Belle takes it one more step further. The lock screen now tells you about missed calls, messages in your inbox and more, so you can check your phone at a glance. You can now also add a coloured wallpaper to your lock screen.

 

  • NFC devices:With Symbian Belle, Near-Field Communications (NFC) is now deeply integrated into the operating system, so you can share pictures, connect with accessories, and check-in – all with just a tap. NFC pairing just look like WebOS way, NFC serves the purpose of linking two devices while the data get transferred over Bluetooth only without intervening the user itself.

 

  • Visual multitasking:Yet to receive a screenshot on it, but it seems to be similar with what we have seen in case of Maemo, where the card style task switcher was able to show you the current state of app like running video in a video app.

Done with reading? Watch one more video about it.

Video via s60v3zone


So, this was all what Nokia announced today and one more announcement was of more importance, where they official said that Symbian Belle will NOT be the last Symbian Update and many more will follow. What do you think about it? Can we start recommending Symbian again? Do tell me, I am all ears on @nkumar_ or nitish@nitishkumar.net

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Written by Nitish Kumar

August 25, 2011 at 4:08 am

8 Responses

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  1. Well, that sums up everything. A big thanks for the exhaustive post.

    Amith (@goramallu)

    August 25, 2011 at 4:20 am

  2. While i liked the hardware specs,the 3.2″ screen is let down especially if they are using 16:9 format the width of the phone is ridiculously small.Also at 12k when they are released there will be plenty of others with 3.5″ screens(but yeah none may have the hardware) and for me screen size is at the top of my list.

    • Well! Nokia 701 has the 3.5″ screen and you will soon see a 4″ model as well. ;)

      Nitish Kumar

      August 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm

  3. I can only say one word… IMPRESSED

    Send that Trojan Horse, Elop back to his country… all this work of Symbian was the plan of Anssi…
    Damn…WP7 sucks compared to Symbian (Belle or not)!

    Now if only we had a E7 with all the things missing (32GB internal memory, microSD slot, 12MP Carl Zeiss camera, NFC, removable BP-4L battery) we would have the king of phones!

  4. I’lm with u on that ! MR KUMAR , GREAT PIECE KEEP THEM COMING ! Even though I have the N8 , I find these phones tempting , but the N8 is a much better smartphone ! Now if I could get an E7 with this CPU/ GPU. Combo with a micro SD or an E6 with this same combo , that would be awesome , I’d go for either one !!

    bronzedragon18

    August 29, 2011 at 9:43 pm

  5. Hello again Mr . Kumar , again , great piece ! My N8 recently.died ( it was one of the notorious first batch ) , and the Nokias I’m considering are the 701 , N9 and the E6 . Nokia promised us 10 Symbian smartphones this year and we’ve seen 6 . One should be the 900 , the WP phone another is reputed to ne the 801 , a QWERTY version of.the N8 . Can u confirm this and if so , do u know when it will come out ? Also , do u know if Nokia plans to release a 1 ghz Symbian Belle version of either the E7 or the E6 ? If any of these 3 will be available soon , I’d probably wait for them ! Thanks in advance !

    bronzedragon18

    September 26, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    • Three must be coming by Belle update announcement, but no comments about model names. Also no iconic one seems to be coming. Mid range devices only.

      Nitish Kumar

      September 26, 2011 at 10:49 pm

      • Thanks Mr Kumar , I’ll take ur reply to mean that as far as u know , neither the.Belle versionsof the E7 or the E6 r coming nor r the 900 or the 801 darn ! Also it seems I owe u an apology : What Nokia actually said was that during the 12 month period from June 2011 to June 2012 , no less than 10 new Symbian 3 smartphones would be introduced ( we’ve already seen 4 ; 500 , 600, 700,701 ) .Personally , I find it hard to believe that none of the other 6 will be iconic … And by three , I presume u mean the 600,700 and the 701 ? Again great article , very informative and useful !

        bronzedragon18

        September 28, 2011 at 5:33 am


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