Nokia recently introduced the Symbian Belle update to the world. They also announced three new smartphones running the Belle update viz. Nokia 600, 700 and 701. The company even promised users that the update will soon be available for existing Symbian^3 devices like the  Nokia N8, C7, E7, C6-01, X7 and E6. For a quick look at what Belle has to offer, read on.

Homescreen and lockscreen
The Symbian Belle update offers a refreshed homescreen which is quite Android-ish. Unlike Symbian Anna, where widgets are rigid and not too flexible in terms of placement, Belle provides different sized widgets that are quite free flowing (i.e. widgets can be placed or dragged anywhere on the homscreen). Another feature that caught our eye is the position of the widgets that are independent. This means that the position of the widgets in landscape mode and portrait mode are remembered separately. The lockscreen has been modded with new lock design and now has wallpaper support. It takes the wallpaper of that homescreen in which phone was locked as its background.

Fresh and peppy homescreen

Simple yet elegant lockscreen

Simple yet elegant lockscreen

User-Interface and Menu
One of the most noticeable features that Belle offers is a totally revamped User-interface. There are two bars, one at the top and the other at the bottom. The operator name, battery indicator, network indicator, time and other connectivity related indicators get fit in the top bar. The bottom bar consists of an arrow symbolizing back button along with different sets of options and shortcuts that vary in homescreen, menu and apps (system apps as well as third party apps). Coming to the Menu, Nokia has retained the Anna icons and removed the folder/sub-folder system. Now all apps get listed on the menu page by default. There is an option of creating a new folder though, so that similar apps can be grouped in one folder, if needed.

Menu redifined

Menu redefined

Notification bar –
There is a pull down notification bar which again is very Android-ish. The bar notifies missed events like missed calls and new messages. Four shortcuts namely Mobile data, Bluetooth, Wi-fi and Silence are present at the top which help the users to activate and deactivate them quickly with a single tap.

Android-style notifications

Android-style notifications

Browser
The update also brings in a highly optimised browser and updated Java version. Web pages get loaded faster than ever. Little modifications include thumbnail view of opened windows, refreshed UI etc. There is no full screen support though.

Optimised browser

Optimised browser

Thumbnail view of opened windows

Thumbnail view of opened windows

One of the main reasons for loss of interest amongst consumers and possible decline in market share for Nokia has got to be due to sluggish and outdated UI used by the company in the past. But with Belle, Nokia has shown some serious signs of improvement and are letting their customers know that things are changing. We think this update will definitely make Symbian fans all over the world happy and will even grab the attention of other Smartphone users. As of now, I can surely say Symbian may have died a painful death with the coming of Android et al but this is most assuredly it's second coming.

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