S60, Formerly known as ‘Series 60’. has really come of age. From humble beginnings with the Nokia 7650 to the soon to be launched ‘Tube’. I remember when the 7650 was the latest phone available in the market. A friend of mine had purchased it, and I was the lucky soul amongst my group to get to fiddle around with it for a whole day. The second looks I got form the opposite sex (hey I was in college!), Priceless!
I still remember how user friendly I found the OS. At no point in time did it leave me lost or scared. Nokia had hit the bulls eye! Everything the 7650 could do was revolutionary. It had more features than the next most expensive phone. It offered more customization than any other phone.
From those beginnings, Nokia began to work on this software. Then came the next step, when we started getting 3rd party softwares. It made the camera phone into a ‘smart phone’.
The next big break in terms of software, I believe came when it introduced the 6600 (and its variations). The software had really undergone a change. It could do a lot more. Through 3rd party applications it was possible to transform this into a full fledged mp3 player, one could increase the resolution of the camera, and what have you. Truly S60 had arrived.
From then on, It became a feature; ‘a must have’ for phones. I’ m sure at many places this is what made the difference when it came to buying a phone.
Then came the 6630, which completely changed the way we looked at a Symbian phone. It had incorporated a number of 3rd party solutions unto itself. One did not need as many 3rd party applications now. Oh, I almost forgot about the development of the Ngage platform. Even though it did not set the world on fire, it sure provided a decent spark. It showcased the ability of the S60 software to also be a entertainment phone in the truest sense. Mobile phone gaming really caught on after that in terms of development and acceptability. It wasn’t until the 6680 and 6681/6682 that S60 had really become a force to reckon with. With the integration of 3G services. It showcased the best of Nokia in terms of usability. The ‘smart phone’ market now had become a huge category. One over which Nokia had considerable influence. With such a solid software, other manufacturers had begun feeling the heat. Suddenly A SonyEricsson was not that good and others too. Who would have thought that an OS could change the fortunes for many companies.
But at the same time, other manufacturers had started catching up on the lead created by Nokia. They were offering similar and at times better solutions to the people. Java and Linux had increasingly become part of the arsenal of many a OS. Microsoft too had entered this market. Something had to be done.
The answer lies with the introduction of the ‘N series’. In many ways it was a step forward in redefining the market. While the ‘N series’ brought with it many hardware upgrades. It also a brought a heavily reworked and refreshed S60. The new edition had a lot of changes. In many ways it was just like when Windows 98 gave way to XP.
The new S60 (3rd edition) changed the way we looked at phones. One could do a lot more things with a phone now. In many ways the phones had started changing the way we looked at them, as mere calling and messaging objects. Around this time, the other ‘series’ softwares were put to sleep, namely the S80 and S90.
The new S60 allowed greater security and flexibility as compared to previous versions. Flash Players, mobile servers et all became a reality after the introduction of this new edition.
Then came the next step, Feature Pack 1. which added more features and security. (head on over to http://www.mobile-review.com/review/series60v3fp1-en.shtml to read a in depth look at the new OS)
And now it is the Feature Pack 2. This new pack seeks to change the way look at S60. Gone are the rather boring looks. In come, new ways of organizing menus, new features, etc. I wish that the FP2 is implemented on the N82 as well. Its not fair for only N81 and the new E series and N78 to bask in the glory! Nokia, I hope you are listening to me!
(for a in depth analysis of the FP2: http://www.mobile-review.com/review/nokia-s60-fp2-full-en.shtml )