Enterprise Mobility: Nokia Astound's Hardware Weighted Down by Symbian 3
The Nokia Astound, offered exclusively from T-Mobile in the United States, boasts hardware that would make any manufacturer proud: a 4.4-ounce body that's streamlined without feeling excessively lightweight or cheap, a 3.5-inch AMOLED high-definition touch screen and an 8-megapixel rear camera (in addition to a 1.3-megapixel front one). The 680MHz processor is adequate for running games and apps, and the battery is capable of a full day's work. However, the Nokia Astound is also saddled with Symbian 3, a clunky and outdated mobile operating system prone to crashing, with near-indecipherable menus and an antiquated browser. Symbian's bright spots are few and far between: Ovi Maps, a solid navigation-and-mapping module, and a small but reliable Ovi Store for apps are the main ones. The tiny virtual keyboard doesn't help matters, even if it does support Swype. If nothing else, Symbian will rekindle your appreciation for how Google Android, Windows Phone 7 and Apple's iOS have all emphasized simplicity and ease of use in their respective user interfaces. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop recently announced a new partnership with Microsoft that will see Windows Phone 7 ported onto the Finnish manufacturer's smartphones. That might allow the company to survive in an increasingly aggressive smartphone marketplace, but the switchover to a new operating system and user interface will come too late for the Astound. At least the top-notch hardware makes for superior calling quality.