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FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia will continue to support its Symbian operating system until 2016.
Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop made the statement in an interview on Nokia's Conversations China blog - the interview is in English - that Nokia, through its support partner Accenture, will provide updates to Symbian at least until 2016. Elop said, "Even as we go through a transition to our primary smartphone platform, Windows Phone, you will see that continued investment and I know there have been questions about how long does that continue and we've now been very clear about that - that software updates to Symbian devices are expected until at least 2016."
Elop's decision to shift Nokia from using its Symbian and Meego operating systems onto Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system has been widely criticised, and the announcement that Symbian development and support had been outsourced to Accenture was seen as the final nail in the coffin for the operating system. To calm fears that the millions of Nokia users with Symbian phones will be left in the lurch, Elop said, "So there's a long history still to be paved for Symbian in the future."
Nokia's N8 and E8 smartphones both use the latest version of Symbian, and while users are unlikely to stick with those devices until 2016, Symbian, for all its foibles, was very much seen as Nokia's baby. Elop made no comment on Meego, the Linux-based operating system that the company had been developing in partnership with Intel before it announced the switch to Windows Phone.
While Nokia's devices running the Symbian OS looked dated against Apple's IOS and Google's Android, Meego had the potential to compete with its contemporaries. Intel is still pushing Meego, however with Nokia now all but ignoring it in favour of Windows Phone, it seems unlikely that Meego will ever reach a large consumer audience.
When asked what phone he was using now, Elop replied that Nokia's homage to Liberace, the Nokia Oro was in his pocket. Perhaps it's an apt phone for the Elop era Nokia - all image with very little substance. µ