Nokia, Despite Microsoft Deal, Is Planning Symbian Event April 12

Nokia is inviting the media to a Symbian-focused event in London April 12. Despite its new commitment to Microsoft, Nokia has said it will continue to support Symbian for a time.

Nokia's new commitment to Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system doesn't mean it has given up on Symbian all together. The phone maker, which had promised to continue supporting Symbian, has sent out invitations to the media for an April 12 event where attendees will "Discover what's new with Symbian smartphones."

According to the Boy Genius Report, the event will take place in London-a far larger market for the fading OS than the United States has ever been.

During the fourth quarter of 2010, Symbian lost its longtime role as the leading global mobile OS to Google's Android. While Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericcson, Sharp and Fujitsu jumped ship from Symbian-opting instead for Google's Android-Nokia held fast, reaffirming its commitment to the OS and pledging to continue to invest resources in the development of the OS, even as the Symbian Foundation lessened its involvement.

However, former Microsoft executive Stephen Elop, upon taking on the role of Nokia CEO in September 2010, acknowledged that the company was in need of a "radical change." He went on to explain this in a Feb. 8 memo to employees, describing the company as needing to do something "previously unthinkable" or else perish.

That previously unthinkable move turned out to be a new commitment to Microsoft, announced Feb. 11 at an event in London. During a question-and-answer portion of the event, Elop explained that while Windows Phone would be Nokia's primary focus, Nokia has "over 200 million Symbian users out there," and that the company expects to ship 150 million more Symbian handsets as it transitions to Windows Phone over the following months and years.

It's unclear whether Nokia will show off new Symbian-running smartphones at the event-according to TechTree, Nokia has promised a dual-core 1GHz processor phone with a "true zoom camera"-or just updates to the OS, as it has also promised. According to the site, Gunther Kottzieper, a senior manager at Nokia China, told attendees at the International Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing "more than 50 enhancement would be added in four to five Symbian upgrades."

In the meantime, fans of Symbian and Nokia might want to consider the Nokia E7, which after a considerable delay is finally shipping. The GSM-running, 3G-supporting smartphone is unlocked-meaning there's no two-year contract attached-and priced at $679 on the Nokia site and $649 on Amazon. It features a 4-inch display, slide-out QWERTY keypad, the Symbian 3 OS, an 8-megapixel camera with 720p video capture, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, 16GB of internal memory, HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) output and support for corporate email accounts. Touted as "the ultimate business smartphone," it comes preloaded with Quickoffice, an Adobe PDF reader, F-Secure Anti-theft security software and Ovi Maps with free GPS navigation.

Whatever Nokia announces April 12, it will have to vie for attention with a goodie or two from HTC-also scheduled to make an announcement in London that day-as well as news from Microsoft about Windows Phone 7, scheduled to come from its MIX11 event in Las Vegas.