Need to know – Symbian Anna

Nokia’s popped the cork on its E6 and X7 handsets by releasing a new version of Symbian OS

Symbian’s dead, right?

Wrong. Nokia’s moving to Windows Phone 7, but the first handsets aren’t expected until 2012 at the earliest. In the meantime, it plans to continue busting out handsets running Symbian^3 (the current iteration) and now Symbian Anna.

Anna? Is she pretty?

Yes. Well prettier than ^3, not least typographically. The new OS has redesigned icons and a fresh look that’s recognisably Symbian, but also a step towards modern smartphone OS design. It's not the Android-esque makeover we expected, but Nokia is promising further updates down the line.

They say beauty is only skin deep…

And they’re wrong. Anna has also made a number of improvements to the OS “experience” – the browser has been supercharged and there’s (finally) a portrait touchscreen QWERTY which Nokia has realised no longer needs to take up the entire screen. Ovi Maps – one of Nokia’s genuine triumphs in the smartphone age – has been tweaked to add public transport and better search.

Bet the apps are still rubbish

Okay – the Ovi Store isn’t anyone’s first choice for mobile apps, but there is hope. Of sorts. Nokia’s also unleashed a release candidate for Qt SDK 1.1 (an update to its developer framework) that should encourage new apps with better tricks.

Okay, I’m sold. What phone do I need to buy?

If you’ve already plumped for an N8, C7, C6 or E7, Anna will be beamed to your phone in due course. Nokia’s also announced the E6, a midrange touchscreen smartie, and the X7, a stainless steel, Gorilla glass-fronted, 4in beauty with HD video shooting on its 8MP cam. It’ll be available from 3 (who you may recall got a bit leaky this time yesterday).

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