'Support until 2016' confirmed by Nokia's Weber
A perfectly valid question, following Microsoft's buyout of Nokia's Devices division, is "what will happen to Symbian?", which I've already tried to answer. One of the points I tackled was what would happen to 'support' and it's worth pointing out that Nokia did address this officially yesterday, albeit in a single paragraph from EVP Chris Weber, quoted below. Though I do still have some worries and doubt that, with the best intentions, Nokia Microsoft can fully deliver for Symbian users.
Here's the relevant part of the article:
NC: We are getting a lot of questions about customer support for phones that were purchased before this announcement…
CW: Nothing changes. All of our guarantees and warranties and promises stand. And yes, that includes support for Symbian until 2016, as we promised. Nokia Care points, the whole customer support network, also moves over and we will continue to deliver world-class customer service to people who use a Nokia device now and in the future.
Good to hear this statement of intent, even if it will be somewhat strange calling up Microsoft to ask about the repair of a Nokia N8, etc. Some observations and worries though:
- Even though, in theory, a Microsoft-branded Care Point should be able to repair a Symbian-powered Nokia smartphone, and indeed the repair expertise should still exist, what about when the spare parts needed run out, a situation which is expected to start happening in the next 12 months? With the best will in the world, if you have a faulty motherboard or camera and there aren't any spares, then a repair isn't possible, however long there is to go 'until 2016'.
- Does 'Support' include critical patches and updates to keep compatibility with network changes and with cloud services like Google, Outlook.com, Facebook and Twitter? Hopefully so, but will there still be the impetus, manpower and expertise to implement the updates that are needed, two years from now?
- I'm quite sure that 'Support' also includes the running of the 'Nokia Store', which will almost certainly keep its name for legacy handsets, but we're already seeing commercial applications removed (e.g. see the starred items here), patchy device availability (in terms of incorrect tagging on items) and enforced stoppage of other content types, plus intermittent download errors. I'm sure further cracks will appear in 2014 and 2015. Yes, the Nokia Store will probably exist in 2016 on our handsets, but will it still be that viable a resource?
Published by Steve Litchfield at 6:38 UTC, September 10th