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Symbian is here to stay, says Nokia

Phone maker is still supporting the platform, saying it has "obligations to our users, developers, business partners, and customers."

Nokia stalwart Symbian isn't quite making its exit yet even though the world's largest phone maker is switching to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 as its primary smartphone platform.

The Nokia E7 smartphone
The Nokia E7 smartphone Nokia

"Just because we're changing our direction in terms of smartphone platform, it doesn't mean that the existing platform is completely broken," said Vlasta Berka, general manager for Nokia Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei, at the launch of the E7 smartphone in Singapore today. "We still have obligations to our users, developers, business partners, and customers."

According to Nokia, there are currently 200 million Symbian users around the world. The Finnish outfit said it expects to sell about 150 million Symbian devices going forward.

"Symbian is here to stay. Symbian will still be around, but it's just going to go somewhere around the corner," Berka added.

The latest E7 smartphone features a 4-inch AMOLED display, physical QWERTY keyboard, 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, 16GB of onboard memory and a suite of enterprise solutions. It retails at S$989 ($774) in Singapore.

Berka also tried to allay fears that Nokia will cease support for the Symbian platform. He said over 50 improvements, from visual to performance enhancements, will be rolled out for the rest of this year.

Last week, Nokia's Chief Executive Stephen Elop noted that the Qt development environment that is used for Symbian devices would not be usable on Windows Phone 7 applications. He said this was to ensure that differing platforms don't confuse developers or consumers.

According to Gartner, Symbian's market share dropped from 46.9 percent in 2009 to 37.6 percent in 2010.

(Source: Crave Asia)