Along with Android, Symbian is probably the platform that will suit me best in the long-run. One could argue that, as of early 2009, Symbian S60 5th Edition from one angle is the most solid and well-rounded mobile OS available (please feel free to disagree). I will naturally keep my eyes on Microsoft’s mighty old-school OS as well – the eternally delayed 7.0 will hopefully be a fundamentally revised and revamped incarnation of Windows Mobile. Palm’s webOS – a Linux-based operating system that will make its debut on the Pre, also looks very promising. As a fan of Symbian, it’s however good to see that both Sony Ericsson and Samsung favour Symbian for their upcoming flagship devices Satio (Idou) (SE) and Omnia HD (Samsung).
Besides being quick, feature-rich and user-friendly, Symbian is also by far the best platform for mobile gaming. Flawless emulators are available for all the major consoles and the games are even more enjoyable than on their original platforms, since the emulators add more functionality and you can carry all your old favorites with you in your pocket. And of course, Nokia has many handsets with dedicated gaming buttons and hardware 3D acceleration (like the Nokia N95 8GB) and has their very own N-Gage mobile gaming platform.
Overall, Symbian is an advantageous platform for emulation and porting. Ports of Quake (2 and 3) are running smoothly on many S60-devices (and Doom, of course) – even Windows 95 has been booted on the N92. Android has naturally also been put on Symbian devices, but so far there’s generally too many glitches in the ports for every day usage.
If you take a look at the amount of RAM and the speed of the processors of Symbian phones, you generally get low numbers compared to an average Windows Mobile device. But that kind of hardware are of less importance with Symbian, since the OS is so optimized and use less system resources – hence such comparisons are quite irrelevant. To illustrate this, smartphone tasks performed on my Xperia X1 which has 256MB of RAM and a 528 MHz processor, that usually takes a couple of seconds, are performed on my Nokia Tube (128MB RAM, 369 MHz CPU) in an instant with virtually no delay at all (but don’t get me wrong, I’m really into WinMo as well).
Another thing I enjoy about Nokia S60 devices, is that you feel quite safe knowing that the Finnish mobile giant is constantly developing new applications, solutions, technologies, updating previous software/firmware and making it all available to you. Not least via the Nokia Beta Labs. Their indoor positioning system, Nokia Point & Find and Sports Tracker are other fine examples of this. I also applaud Nokia’s OVI initiative, especially the synchronization services (similar to those of Android and Apple’s MobileMe) with notes, contacts, calender, email, to-do lists et cetera on your phone being synchronized over the air with an online account, and vice versa. Microsoft is jumping on the sync bandwagon as well with My Phone. For more Symbian related topics, check out the Symbian Category.