THE LONG AWAITED Symbian Anna has finally hit the market and is available as a software update for the Nokia N8, C7, E7 and the others. The Symbian Anna is an update to the Symbian^3, released by Nokia a few months earlier.
Key features of Symbian Anna include virtual QWERTY keypad in portrait mode, split-screen text input, an updated web browser, stronger security, an updated icon set and improved Maps functionality amongst many more enhancements & improvements.
Symbian Anna, also known as the PR2.0, brings a lot of new features and reworks the system visuals, but is it enough to extinguish the fire on the “burning platform?
Let’s check it out...
1. New Icons: Anna comes with a set of new rounded icons which freshens up the menus of the updated Symbian^3. It also pleases the eye with real-time scrolling as it basically means that you can gradually scroll between home panes. The transitional animations will follow your finger in real-time, just like in iOS and Android.
Right: The all new Symbian Anna rounded and cleaner icons.
2. Hi Speed Browser: With partial HTML5 support, hardware acceleration for smooth CSS animations and a new clean UI (with always visible back button and support for searches straight from the address bar), Browser version 7.3 is a breath of fresh air for Symbian. But while it does support Flash Lite, choppy performance was often an issue. The reworked browser supports multi-touch, which works well.
3. Full-QWERTY portrait virtual keyboard: Up until the Symbian Anna update was announced, owners of Symbian^3 had to make do with the triple tap numeric keypad in portrait mode. Finally, Anna brought a full-QWERTY portrait virtual keyboard. You might find it hard to get used to Nokia's positioning of the numbers in a couple of rows instead of just one like on other systems, but except for that there's nothing fancy about this keyboard which just works.
Image: The all new Symbian Anna Full QWERTY portrait keypad.
4. Upgraded Maps Application: The maps application in its latest version has the familiar interface, but more functionality as it now integrates new public transportation routes and allows quicker searches. You can also download full country maps directly without using a computer.
5. Upgraded Calendars: With its dual-pane layout in the monthly view, the Calendar application in Anna becomes even more useful. You can tap on any day on the left panel, while on the right all of your appointments are shown. You can also use multi-touch to zoom in/out switching between monthly and weekly views.
The Symbian Anna update is available in the following countries this week: Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Thailand, UAE, the UK, and more.
To sum it up all...
Nokia has done good enhancements & upgrades with the Anna, but while they touch on some of Symbian's core issues, they don't completely solve them and Browser 7.3 is just one example. Some of the issues remain unaddressed – the confusing navigation, outdated home-screen widgets and overall sluggishness of the platform.
But even before this first major update has rolled out, Nokia sets the bar high for Symbian Belle, the second important overhaul of the platform, by mentioning: “if you like Android then you’ll love Symbian Belle." There's no clear release date for the update, but after those words, we can only hope that it's sooner rather than later.