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Leaked Symbian^3 Belle Update on Nokia E7 Abandons Soft Keys for Navigation Bar



Leaked screenshots of the Symbian^3 Belle operating system firmware update, the one to follow Symbian Anna, reveals that soft keys are finally being abandoned on the Nokia E7 hardware that it was loaded on.

In the picture above with the list icons, you can see the older soft-key style navigation scheme on the bottom. The right image shows the transition to toolbar icons.

Soft keys, which are two bottom keys of the device, was a popular feature of Symbian and Windows Mobile as the platforms evolved from the PDA realm to the smartphone space. In the early days, the keys mimicked the functions of two menu keys at the bottom of what are known as dumb phones, or more elegantly referred to as feature phones. However, those keys have since been viewed as antiquated, as they often pull up small text-based menus that aren’t as finger-friendly for the touch experience found on more modern consumer operating systems like iOS and Android, and instead, hardware makers have moved towards a navigation bar at the bottom, which switched over from text-based menus to a touch-friendly GUI. The navigation bar could change and become dynamic depending on the app, the screen or task at hand, and would is akin, for desktop OS users, to the Ribbons UI on Office and Windows products today. For many, it’s seen as more intuitive as users don’t have to dig through menus and the basic functions and features are all displayed in plain view.

With the Symbian Anna update, also known as PR 2.0 release for Symbian^3, Nokia refreshed the UI to give it better icons and a portrait-oriented full QWERTY keyboard. Continuing on for Symbian Belle, also known as the PR 3.0 release, it’s nice to see more refinements to Symbian’s UI to keep it competitive with iOS and Android.

It’s just too bad, in my opinion, that these recent changes to the Symbian experience to modernize the Symbian operating system comes as Nokia is beginning its transition to the Windows Phone 7 platform. Though Nokia has committed to releasing and selling 150 million Symbian smartphones to keep the ecosystem alive in the midst of the transition, it would eventually become a Windows Phone 7 house. Despite its aging aesthetics and usability in the current Symbian^3 pre-Anna build, Symbian offers a lot of features and the Nokia N8 is the best in class camera phone on the market today. It comes pre-loaded with free Ovi Maps voice-guided turn-by-turn GPS navigation, a great messaging and emailing app, and a stellar camera. There are also subtle features, such as a clock on the sleeping screen, that serves to create a refined overall experience. despite those features, it had a lot of drawbacks–constant random reboots and lag–and hopefully Anna and Belle will help to spur more interest in the Nokia N8 and E7 as they both offer excellent build quality and amazing designs.

Via: My Nokia Blog



  1. Christopher Aiken

    06/22/2011 at 12:12 am

    It’s great that Nokia is staying strong despite the hefty transition underway.

  2. APai

    06/26/2011 at 2:07 pm

    I must say, that waiting for belle is going to be very difficult, anna is taking so much time. please do update the PR at regular intervals Nokia!

  3. Beelzebub

    07/06/2011 at 12:37 pm

    Wow.  I am in the market to replace my N95 & it saddens me to see the lag & random reboots are still an issue.

    • Instantly Over

      07/18/2011 at 7:54 am

      I’ve had my N8 for a year now and it has only once rebooted! As this is our standard work phone, my colleagues also have N8s – none of which have caused any problems. It has been a massive improvement on the iPhone I had previously, with more useful features than you can shake a stick at!

      • NokFan

        07/21/2011 at 12:38 am

        I agree I love my N8. I haven’t experienced any reboots, I do have one complaint. Until the Anna update happens, the native browser is one con but Opera Mobile is more than enough to compensate. So overall, again the N8 is awesome!

    • Gees N8 Blue/Black

      08/16/2011 at 6:25 am

      Its not really.. Had the Nokia N8 (Blue) since New and just recently done upgrade for another N8 but in black this time.. This handset is thee best phone i have ever owned but symbian Anna is needed..
      When you hear people saying reboot, its not reboot as in factory reset, its simple and its not that often and even if it was everyday its easy..
      Hold the power button in untill you get three vibrates… Job done!!
      Love Nokia and always will, their handsets are worth more than any apple device..
      Prove it?
      Ovi Maps- solid and excellent and its Free…. Apple Tom Tom app? £49.00
      Music- Download what you want just Drag and Drop Simple!! I tunes? say no more other than nightmare!!
      Camera- 12 Mega Pixel!! Best Camera on a phone to date!!
      Apple- 5 Mega Pixel? Nokia Done that over 5 years ago apple…
      Fm Transmitter- Play your music through your car speakers ( 1 of the best things ever!!)
      Apple? Sorry whats that?? £35.00 thats right apple…. if i want to play my music through my car speakers using my apple device i have to pay……. thought as much.. as if your handsets arent  expensive enough..
      Video/Movies- Like i said, had the Nokia N8 since New and yet it plays every video file i throw at it!!
      Apple….. yeh i tunes pay for it we know… getting skint by the second….

      So folks stop being vain!! You only buy apple to be like evryone else and have the most expensive device…
      Nokia Offers alot more at neary half the price!!!

      Just breifly on the the microsoft partnership…
      Symbian is getting stronger by the update but unfortnately not solid enough so the partnership is a good thing for nokia although would have preferred Nokia to fight on there own..
      But hey if you struggle in everyday life you get help right??
      Good on you Nokia…..

  4. Diago767

    07/23/2011 at 8:13 pm

    I agree, ive had my E7 for a while now and the only gripe i have with it is that it can be a bit weird about locking and unlocking the screen sometimes but other than that its fantastic, ive always been a nokia fan but i was sceptical about the way symbian was going untill i got my hands on an E7 in the shop, from that point i was sold ;)

  5. Anonymous

    08/01/2011 at 6:54 pm

    I have an N950 (as a developer) and it’s evident from the “Toolbar icons” image that Nokia are bringing the Harmattan “Swipe” UI to Symbian, which sounds like a great move – just a shame it didn’t happen sooner and maybe they wouldn’t now be destroying themselves by partnering with Microsoft.

  6. beko

    08/04/2011 at 9:23 pm

    i use a nokia c7 and i real like this phone the only problem is that i am really waiting for anna update and it is not there yet and there is no specific date for providing it for symbian 3 owners

    • GeesN8 Blue/Black

      08/16/2011 at 6:31 am

      There is…. release date end of august…

    • GeesN8 Blue/Black

      08/16/2011 at 6:31 am

      There is…. release date end of august…

  7. Adi24622

    08/06/2011 at 2:35 pm

    will this be for c6-01 also!!!!!its also running same gpu and platform

    • Paul Christidis

      08/19/2011 at 1:32 pm

      Yes, this is available for the C6-01 also.  I can see Anna on Navifirm right now.  Belle will be available too.

  8. Paul Christidis

    08/19/2011 at 11:49 am


    Regarding the comments about reboots on the N8, this was indeed a bug with the original firmware (PR1.0).  This bug was corrected soon afterwards in PR1.1.

    I am now running Anna (PR2.0) on my E7 and the improvement is amazing.  I don’t care so much about the portrait qwerty as I tend to use the hardware keyboard although it is useful for very short messages or entering urls in the browser.  I also don’t care about the browser enhancements (though it is a lot faster now) since I use Opera Mini and Opera Mobile (I’m a big opera fan).

    What I love the most about Anna is the PDF reader being smooth scrolling an supporting pinch zoom, the general performance increase when loading (none of that lag when opening folders) as well as the drastically improved homescreens.

    If anyone wants me to post steps on how to flash your phone with Anna (N8, C7 or E7), let me know but note: you need to download about 1GB on your PC, and you need to be running windows.

    • Deiveegan Rajinikanth

      08/26/2011 at 9:17 pm

      Hello Paul,

      Can you post the steps please…

  9. Takudzwa Wayne

    10/17/2011 at 11:45 pm

    Please post the steps…..and does anyone know when BELLE is being released on the E7??

  10. riyas

    11/13/2011 at 12:25 am

    pls tell me the steps for e7 update on s,belle

  11. Moroboshi76

    01/18/2012 at 9:49 am

    I’m running a leaked version of Belle on my E7 it’s amazing in comparison with Anna! Soft versione 111.030.0607 with custom version 025.007.C01.01…

    N8 widgets from versione 0609 run very well!
    E7 was a great phone when i bought it with Pr 1.1, was a better one with Pr 2.0 and now (with an unofficial update) with Pr 3.0 is definively great!

    I read that 
    UncleAlbert2 has a N950… i’d love having one!!!

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