Disclaimer: this is all my opinion. Games may not be why Symbian is dying. Kim-Jong may still be Il, not Dead.
Anything’s possible. Now onto the show.
I remember playing Bounce across a variety of Nokia’s – from black-and-white phones to the 7210 Supernova to the 5530’s 3D Bounce. That thing was practically the Angry Birds of it’s time. Nokia once was the most popular phone manufacturer here. Of course, that was before the smartphones wave hit and Samsung’s horribly same-ey touch designs began to conquer the market. (I’m not a Samsung hater, but dammit, those horrible phone cases irk me).
Sure, Nokia saw the smartphone potential way too late. They didn’t quite cotton on to how multitasking and software updates were essential. (Now I personally believe the smartphone scene is over-hyped – you can boast about 1.5 Ghz quad-core all you want, but when you spent 90% of your phone time listening to music and texting your girlfriend, that’s just a humungous waste of power. ) But why did Nokia / Symbian go down so drastically in the face of Android? Samsung Galaxy S3 users may have forgotten, but the early versions of Android couldn’t hold a torch to S60. Even now, point-for-point, Symbian can easily dish out enough damage to keep the iOS down. For one, it does true multitasking: only Android does that. Read http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/features/item/15746_Two_sweet_spot_flagships_Choos.php for the fanboy viewpoint.
I believe that it was because of the games. Yes, that’s right. Symbian was around for bloody ages: all the way until 2010, until it was overtaken by Android. Until Apple came along with their almost-revolutionary iPhone, the Symbian platform(s) was/were spread out across a wide variety of devices with incredibly varied screen sizes and input systems. Finding good games was a small nightmare, and from a development perspective, making games must have been hell. You couldn’t reasonably expect your game to be comfortably playable on the next Symbian device to appear.
iPhones, on the other hand, come with a centralized App Store, and it’s a given that things only get better. And of course there’s only a few models to worry about. And all of them have capacitive touchscreens and almost the same screen sizes. If you can play a game on an iPhone 2, you can damn well play it on the iPhone 5 and get the same experience. It’s so much simpler and easier for developers and gamers alike.
And along came Android with the mega-mass of Google behind it. Horrible flaky at first, it kept itself updated – and together with Angry Birds HD, beat down Symbian. All. The. Way. Down. Indie developers (like 2DBoy) and the triple-AAA’s of the mobile world – Gameloft, Digital Chocolate and others – cemented their status on Android and made way more money than they did on Symbian. . . and we all know how the story ends. Yes, the Nokia 808 Pureview is going to be a fitting monument to Symbian. Out with a whopping 41 Megapixel bang.
Symbian is now like the NES. Everybody grew up with it, but looking back, it’s too old, ugly, and downright useless compared to the new sexy shit we buy these days. Galaxy S4, anyone?