Nokia unveils new Symbian phones

14 April 2011

ESPOO: Nokia has unveiled two new Symbian phones which incorporate Microsoft features, as the firms move towards a shared "mobile ecosystem" after signing a partnership deal in February.

The E6, targeted at business people, and the X7, aimed at those who use their phone for entertainment content, will both feature a range of improvements, including an updated version of Ovi Maps and a faster web browser.

The new phones will also include access to Microsoft features such as SharePoint and Exchange.

Jo Harlow, head of Nokia's Smart Devices business, said: "With these new products and more Symbian devices and user enhancements coming in the near future, we are confident we can keep existing Nokia smartphone customers engaged, as well as attract new first-time and competitor smartphone users."

With the growing popularity of smartphones, rivals including Apple have taken share from Nokia over recent years.

In February, Nokia and Microsoft announced that the two firms had established a "broad strategic partnership" with which they would build a "new global mobile ecosystem".

Part of this plan will be for Nokia to adopt Windows Phone as its "primary" smartphone strategy, which would mean phasing out its Symbian operating system for use in its higher-end phones.

Just prior to the announcement, Stephen Elop, Nokia's incoming ceo, issued a memo to staff, which compared the Finnish firm's corporate predicament to a man standing on a "burning platform".

He added: "Symbian is proving to be an increasingly difficult environment in which to develop to meet the continuously expanding consumer requirements, leading to slowness in product development and also creating a disadvantage when we seek to take advantage of new hardware platforms."

Alongside the announcement of the new phones, Nokia has also released figures showing that downloads from its app store, the Ovi Store, have hit 5m per day.

This is a significant improvement from November 2010, when this total was 3m. The number of apps available to users has also increased from 5,000 to 40,000 year on year.

But the Ovi Store remains far smaller than Apple's market-leading App Store, which hosts around 350,000 apps.

Figures released by Apple in January 2011 suggested that 1,000 apps are downloaded from the App Store every three seconds.

Data sourced from Nokia/Cnet; additional content by Warc staff