Symbian Belle coming to town

Something teasing appeared on Nokia's Facebook page the other day. A countdown to "Something new on Symbian". At the time of this post there are still 28 hours left until the uncovering.

However, the flash movie from Nokia's website was kind of a spoiler. They named it something like "Belle teaser", so you can imagine the surprise coming tomorrow.

Nokia will surely officially announce Symbian Belle, most likely with a new device. There are rumors that the new device will be the Nokia 700, a 1GHz Symbian powered phone.

However, don't get too excited, the new device will probably be available after a few months, and by that time the Belle update would probably be available for the existing army of Symbian phones that include the C7, E7, N7, C6-01 and the newer X7 and E6, and maybe even the announced 500.

Belle is supposed to really close the gap between Symbian and Android in the user interface and performance department. The new Belle homescreen can accommodate resizable widgets. The text only software buttons will be replaced in Belle with graphical buttons that are more intuitive. The back button will be placed on the left side of the screen instead of the right side as before. The new Belle browser will also have a revamped UI that will now accommodate more useful soft buttons on the bottom bar.

If Symbian Anna was still in the evolutionary stage and felt more like an incremental update for Symbian^3, the Belle is more like what we all expected from Symbian 4 a while back.

Nokia has also embraced the pull-down notifications area which is so popular on Android and has been adopted by iOS too lately.

One thing can be said about Nokia that cannot be said about many handset manufacturers. They have learned from their S60 mistakes, and are now releasing updates like crazy. First Anna, and now Belle make me believe that Symbian is far from dead, and I do think that Nokia will realize what a mine gold they have here and not give it up just yet.

For those of you who have not already seen what Belle brings to the table, here's a video of a leaked Belle firmware running on a Nokia N8.