Nokia Releases New NFC Handsets Sporting Symbian Belle

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Nokia has released three new smartphones running Symbian Belle OS, but will anyone care?

Nokia has taken the wraps off its new legacy operating system – Symbian Belle – in a move that some may feel is akin to a doctor trying to unsuccessfully resuscitate a corpse.

Symbian Belle offers users some user interface improvements, new apps, and enhanced feature support. It follows hot on the heels of another version of Symbian (Anna), that Nokia recently released for Nokia N8, Nokia C7, Nokia C6-01 and Nokia E7 handsets.

Symbian Belle however is available on three new smartphones, namely the Nokia 700, 701 and 600. These new handsets feature near-field communication (NFC) support.

NFC Support

“Symbian Belle powers all three, with single-tap NFC technology sharing and pairing, the most personal user interface so far and a more powerful mobile web browsing experience,” said Nokia. “As well as allowing content to be shared between devices, NFC capabilities allow any of the three new smartphones to pair with NFC-enabled mobile accessories such as speakers or Bluetooth headphones and headsets.”

Nokia has also launched the Nokia Essence Bluetooth Stereo Headset, which can be paired with any NFC-enabled smartphone simply by tapping the two devices together.

Indeed, the single-tap option for NFC sharing also allows handset users to share their contacts, videos and images with other NFC-enabled devices and smartphones, simply by tapping them together.

New Handsets

The Nokia 700 is being touted as the most compact touchscreen monoblock smartphone in the world, measuring just 110 x 50.7 x 9.7 mm.

The Nokia 701 is said to be “sleek and stylish” and boasts “the world’s brightest mobile display for indoor or outdoor use” thanks to its 3.5 inch ClearBlack display.

Meanwhile the Nokia 600 is aimed at music lovers and is reportedly Nokia’s loudest entertainment smartphone at 106 Phons. It comes with built-in FM radio antenna for listening to radio without headphones and FM transmitter that makes it possible to broadcast music from the phone to any FM radio.

“After bringing exciting new features to the Symbian user experience only two months ago with Symbian Anna, we are now driving the platform even further with our most competitive Symbian user experience ever,” said Ilari Nurmi, Vice President at Nokia.

“Symbian Belle and the three new handsets we are launching today show our commitment to continue delivering Symbian products that allow people to choose what is most important to them in terms of user experience, design, functionality and price,” said Nurmi. “These will not be last products or updates we will deliver on Symbian.”

Symbian Belle

So what does Belle bring to the party? Well Symbian Belle increases the number of home screens from three to six, providing more room to display apps and services. Live widgets now come in five different sizes and the status bar now incorporates a pull-down notifications tray

It also features further enhancements to the web browsing experience and better multitasking.

The Finnish handset giant is of course trying to raise some interest in the latest version of the Symbian operating system.

Symbian Cut Off

But ever since Nokia made the decision in February to opt for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 in its flagship handsets, there has been speculation as to why Nokia is persisting with Symbian.

That said, Nokia will be releasing more Symbian handsets until 2012, but Nokia will not be Symbian’s principle driver going forward. In May CEO Stephen Elop used a video interview on Nokia’s Conversations China blog to confirm that Symbian support would continue until at least 2016.

In June Nokia finalised its agreement with Accenture, which will see the IT services giant take control of the development and support of the Symbian operating system going forward.

It is clear that the decision to jump ship to Windows Phone 7 is hurting Nokia, both financially and in terms of market share.

In July Nokia posted a dire set of financial results that revealed a collapse in its handset sales, leaving the Finnish handset giant languishing in the smartphone sector behind Apple.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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