With a pair of new smartphones, Nokia is showing no immediate signs of letting up on its Symbian operating system.
The E6 and the X7, both announced today, will be the first smartphones to ship with Symbian Anna, the latest update to the mobile operating system, which is used primarily by Nokia. Earlier this year, however, Nokia signed a deal with Microsoft that will make Windows Phone 7 the principal operating system on its smartphones, with the shift the Microsoft OS starting as early as next year.
The Nokia E6 is designed with business customers in mind. It boasts a 2.46-inch touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard. Nokia said that the smartphone can maintain its battery life for 681 hours on standby and boasts more than 14 hours of talk time over GSM. Users can listen to music in offline mode for up to 75 hours.
To appeal to business customers, the Nokia E6 comes with access to Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Communicator Mobile, and Microsoft SharePoint.
Study: Android, then iOS to rule phones in 2016
Dear Stephen Elop: Suggestions for saving Nokia
Nokia: Symbian to 'help Microsoft go downscale'
Nokia X7 review from CNET UK
The Nokia X7 , meanwhile, ditches a physical keyboard in favor of a large 4-inch AMOLED touch screen and virtual keyboard. It boasts an 8-megapixel camera and fully integrated social networking functions, allowing users to check in on their Facebook and Twitter accounts out of the box. It also comes with the Galaxy on Fire HD and Asphalt 5 HD video games.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on when the E6 and X7 will launch and how much they will cost.
Nokia is committed to bringing Symbian Anna to as many of its latest releases as possible. The company said today that in addition to the E6 and X7 smartphones, it plans to make the operating system "standard" on the Nokia N8, Nokia E7, Nokia C7, and Nokia C6-01 in the coming months. Other models will receive the update via download in the near future, as well.
Anna delivers several enhancements, including better security and hardware-accelerated encryption. Its improved e-mail support has "full meeting request support," Nokia says. In addition, it delivers faster Web browsing and an improved Ovi Maps application, according to Nokia.
"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," Jo Harlow, head of Nokia's Smart Devices business, said in a statement today.
But actually attracting new smartphone users might be Nokia's biggest challenge.
Speaking to CNET in an interview late last month, ABI Research senior analyst Michael Morgan said that Nokia is bound to see its smartphone market share decline this year.
"In 2011, Symbian is going to start to deflate rapidly," Morgan said. "I believe that a lot of Nokia users will convert to a new OS platform and stay there--they won't go back."
So, where will they be going? Android, Morgan says. He believes that by 2016, Android will own 45 percent of the smartphone market.