With Belle, users can also boost productivity on the go with a wider selection of Microsoft Apps, such as Lync and OneNote.
Users who have the latest Symbian Nokia smartphones can now update them to Belle, which brings a new look to their screens, thanks to the latest user interface. Belle delivers more personalization options than before. Users have up to six home-screens that are possible to personalize, along with a larger live widgets display. A long press and a drag to the side of the screen moves shortcuts from one screen to another. The update is available to users who have a Nokia N8, E7, E6, X7, C6-01, C7 or Oro device. For Nokia 500, Belle will be made available within the next few weeks, the company said.
The interface also includes new features like imaging applications with high-definition video recording at 30 frames per second and a visually improved browser enabling enhanced browsing and viewing of Web videos. The menus have been simplified and a notifications bar has been added to make accessing key settings or features faster. In addition, Belle users can also boost productivity on the go with a wider selection of Microsoft Apps, such as Lync and OneNote that will soon be available for free download on top of Belle.
Widgets like the clock, email, music player, favorite contacts and the calendar have been redesigned and now come in five different sizes and rearranged to create a more personalized set of screens. There are also new "Toggle" widgets for tasks like switching on Bluetooth and changing profiles. The maximum number of home screens rises from three to six, while the status bar sports a modern, flat look and incorporates a pull-down notifications tab that incorporates common settings and notification of incoming messages, missed calls and the rest. In addition, the navigation and options bar at the bottom of the screen sports a modern, new look, similar to that first seen on the Nokia N9.
Belle will be available in the majority of the markets this week, including countries like India, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Poland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Vietnam and Indonesia. Users can check the availability of Belle in their home country in the companys Belle pages including an update rollout status page. As Belle is a major update, users will need to connect their phone to a PC to perform the update. To start, users must have the latest version of Nokia Suite (3.3 or later) running on the computer. Then users can connect their phones to the computer with a USB cable. The company has also made available a step-by-step video.
Nokia shipped 113.5 million units during the fourth quarter of 2011, down from 123.7 million during the same quarter a year ago, IDC analysts said in a Feb. 1 report. Overall, the market grew 6.1 percent year-over-year, moving a total of 427.4 million units during the quarter, up from 2010's 402.8 million. It was better growth than analysts anticipated, though still below the 9.3 percent growth logged a year earlier.
"Nokia has been quick to adjust its retail experience, customer engagement and hardware bug fixes," IDC reported. "At the same time, the increased focus on the Lumia, combined with changing market conditions in key markets, has prompted Nokia to change its strategy on Symbian smartphones. Fewer Symbian devices will be sold in 2012. Still, Nokia's broad distribution around the world and manufacturing capabilities make it a serious contender to maintain its leadership position."
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.