My main place of work since September 2000 has been Symbian’s offices at #2 Boundary Row, a short walk from Southwark tube station in central London. During all that time, the building has displayed signs with the “Symbian” name.
But when I visited the site earlier today, the signs of Nokia’s acquisition of Symbian are now very visible: the Symbian signage has been replaced by Nokia signage.
1st February marks the next stage in the integration of Symbian, the company, into Nokia. As with all large changes, the idea is to tackle things stage by stage – to avoid too many things all changing at the same time. Legally, Symbian became a part of Nokia Group back in December. 1st February sees Symbian employees adopting new email addresses, new security passes, and logging into a new network. More changes will occur in the weeks and months ahead – including key dates in the launch of the Symbian Foundation organisation, and the availability of Symbian Platform releases (replacing the previously separate Symbian OS and UI releases).
Joining Nokia’s IS network also means retiring Lotus Notes as our mail engine (although we’ll keep using Lotus Notes for various internal discussion databases and other groupware purposes). Those of us who are working as part of the launch team for the Symbian Foundation are experimenting with Google Apps as the provider of our email services. I’ve had a Google Mail account for my personal use for a number of years, so I’m already familiar with this system. It’s got some fine features. My first couple of days using it for business purposes, however, are making me wonder if it really is fit for more demanding usage. Time will tell. In the meantime, to my mind it’s another illustration that browser-based apps are not yet fit to fully displace locally hosted apps. They’re not fit to fully displace such apps on the PC, and they’re very definitely not fit to fully displace such apps on mobile devices.