Nokia looks to be in serious trouble. They’ve delayed Symbian^3, which was supposed to be the sort or basic catch-up version of their main smartphone OS. Symbian^4 is supposed to be the move ahead again version and who knows when they’ll release it. Meanwhile, Maemo or whatever they’re calling it these days is more like vaporware even though theoretically it’s out on a couple of devices.
Hey, you know what? Maybe Nokia just can’t write good software.
Think about it … when was the last great release of software from Nokia. The first version of Symbian S60. Which, if you remember your history, was actually written by PSION. Symbian has not improved in any major way since then. The first Symbian smart phones were epic – the Nokia 7650 was way ahead of its time in 2002 and make Nokia the smartphone kings. But after that they didn’t seem to be able to put out a really substantial upgrade.
Big companies have a long history of not being able to complete operating system upgrades. Back in the late 80s early 90s Apple managed to fail to create a new OS not once but twice – Pink and Copland – were both epic failures of massive proportion. Making software is hard.
The question is, can Nokia learn how to do it. One option - which I have advocated in the past - is to simply ditch Symbian and get on to the Maemo train full stop. But it’s not clear if Nokia has the guts to do something so drastic.
Well, they’d better grow some, because they haven’t put out a competitive smartphone since the N95 three years ago. Their current offerings are jokes. Android, Blackberry and iPhone are way ahead of them. And, the investors are starting to figure it out. Hopefully Nokia’s shareholders will beat them up until they take the drastic measure before it’s too late.