In an interview with the Nokia Conversations blog, China Edition, Nokia's CEO, Stephen Elop, said that "software updates to Symbian devices are expected until at least 2016", and that there is " a long history still to be paved for Symbian in the future". While Nokia has previously made it clear that Symbian investment would continue, the 2016 date is a definitive statement and may be further in the future than some have anticipated.The interview was posted to the Nokia Conversations Blog, Chinese Edition, this morning. The interview touches on a number of points, including recent strategy changes at Nokia, the importance of developers and the role of Nokia China as a global innovation centre.
The portion relevant to Symbian is:
So we are in a period where the investment in Symbian absolutely continues. Even as we go through a transition to our primary smartphone platform, Windows Phone, you will see that continued investment and I know there have been questions about how long does that continue and we've now been very clear about that - that software updates to Symbian devices are expected until at least 2016. So there's a long history still to be paved for Symbian in the future.You can see this, in context, in the full transcript of the interview below.
Stephen Elop also reveals that he currently carrying the Nokia Oro as one of his multiple devices, but notes that he also carries competitor products to "make sure he knows what going on in the market".
Full transcriptAnna Shipley (Nokia Conversation China Edition):
There is a Chinese saying that says 'the new broom sweeps clean'. You've been in your position now for six months and there has been a lot of change and renewal since then.Stephen Elop (CEO, Nokia):
That's right. It has been an exciting six months, we have had an opportunity to meet our customers, to engage with our consumers - to really learn what's going on within Nokia and around Nokia. As I think everyone knows at this point, on February 11th, we announced a whole series of strategic changes which were designed to strengthen out leadership, to really take us forward. Part of that change though is not just what we may do with product or organisation, but is very much about shifting our mindset to one of a challenger mindset, to reflect on the fact we have significant competition, we have to fight hard, we have to show intellectual curiosity, make sure we understand the competition... and of course everyone has got to be accountable, at the same time, for the results. So these are examples of behaviours that we are trying to change at the same time. Just another example I'll give you, is one of the pace at which we have to operate. We have to go faster and harder and more aggressively now, than we have ever gone before, because of the competition.Anna Shipley:
Innovation and developers are two key interests and areas of importance for you. What are we doing and what are you doing in China in particular, with those two topics?Stephen Elop:
Well, one of the key elements of our strategy, and this has been true at Nokia for some time, is that locally relevant applications are very important. There will always be those global applications that everybody likes to use all over the world, but we have focused for many years on providing locally relevant material, whether it's educational material, whether it things that help people in their business or whatever it is, things unique to that language or culture. Those are the type of things that really make a difference. So what we also have to do is create a great environment for the developers of applications, so that they can be effective. So for example, with the new plans around Windows Phone, we are making sure that there are the right developer tools and all the right incentives to help developers. Indeed with our online store, the applications for Windows Phone, Series 40 and Symbian, will all be collected together so we can get maximum exposure, as far as we possibly can, to help our developers.Anna Shipley:
So Windows Phone and Symbian are both hot topics, share with us where we are at with Symbian.Stephen Elop:
So we are in a period where the investment in Symbian absolutely continues. Even as we go through a transition to our primary smartphone platform, Windows Phone, you will see that continued investment and I know there have been questions about how long does that continue and we've now been very clear about that - that software updates to Symbian devices are expected until at least 2016. So there's a long history still to be paved for Symbian in the future.Anna Shipley:
So just to be really clear, that commitment means customer services, it means apps, it means services... it means all of the elements that our customers would currently expect.Stephen Elop:
That is correct.Anna Shipley:
At the end of April, as part of the ongoing strategy roll out and renewal, we announced that Nokia China would become a global hub for innovation. An exciting announcement, particularly for those of us who are based here in China, but what does that really mean and in particular what are the sort of things that are now going to happen in China, that we will see as a result of that announcement?Stephen Elop:
That was part of the announcements that we made in terms of the consolidation of our activities, what we described is that China would be one of the four principal R&D sites for Windows Phone and also that it is a very important site for the ongoing development of our mobile phones, if you like, the lower end devices that are popular in many parts of the world.Anna Shipley:
So as part of Nokia China becoming a global innovation hub we are on the look out for some new people. What are the sort of people we are wanting to join Nokia right now and what is the environment and culture like, that they would join?Stephen Elop:
That's a great question because where we find ourselves at Nokia is at an incredibly exciting time, where there are lots of challenges, where the market is changing, but there's so much opportunity and so the type of people for whom we are looking are those that want to come into an environment where great engineering is valued, where we care about people who are masters in their craft in engineering, in product development, hardware, software and so forth. Who want to be part of a company that is going to continue to change the world.Anna Shipley:
It is those type of people that we really want to attract into this company and now is a better time than ever to join Nokia because there is so much focus on building the next generation of products in a market here in China that is the largest for us in the world, but also building products that will be seen all around the world. And so if you are an engineer, a software development specialist, a testing person, any of those type of people, this is an environment where you can do some of your best work and also learn from a company that has a great deal of experience to help you advance in your career.
Final question, and it might be an easier question, but it might also be a hard question - it's one that people are always fascinated by, and that is which phones are you using right now?Stephen Elop:
Well first of all it it is not a singular question. I always have multiple phones. I always carry with a mix of our most recent products, even some products which are not out in the market place. But also competitor products, so I will always have a few competitor products to experiment with, to make sure I understand what's going on in the market. Today, here in China, one of the devices I'm very proud to carry is this beautiful device, which is the Oro - and this particular device is something we are very proud of because it brings some very fine materials together with a very proven platform - so it's something I'm using in-particular today.
Video of Stephen Elop interviewsource