Well this is a pleasant surprise! I have had a Nokia N8 for a year now and my experience has been mixed to say the least. However, during this period, Nokia have continued to develop and release updates for it, and the OS it is running now is a far cry from the pile of steaming crud that it shipped with. The Symbian Anna update it received last year felt like an improvement, but ultimately the phone was still clunky to use with delays experienced all over the place, even when just opening photos and videos, and I found the portrait keyboard incredibly frustrating to use as the keys were too close for comfort.
However, yesterday my phone received the Symbian Belle update and so far it feels like a completely different phone. It was a little frustrating losing most of my settings, for instance I had to set up all my home screens again, and my email accounts. But it just feels so much snappier with photos and videos loading much quicker than before, and the annoying portrait keyboard has had a revamp with gaps between the keys so that adjacent keys do not get pressed so much.
So a dramatic improvement then, although the size of some of home screen widgets is a little annoying, for instance the new mail widget takes up half the screen, whereas before in Anna it was just a couple of lines. However you can have more home screens now (up from 3 to 6) but whereas before I had all my important widgets on one screen I now need to use two.
It’s just such a shame Nokia is abandoning Symbian as I feel they have made such good progress. I have read so many negative things about Windows Phone 7/7.5 that right now I would be happy to stick with Nokia (one reason is that I need rSAP support for the Bluetooth kit in my VW, which is not supported in WP7.x or many other phones either). What is confusing is that although Nokia have signed up to the Microsoft OS for future handsets, they are still planning new versions of Symbian, known as Carla and Donna, and even a new Symbian handset is due out, check out this article.
I think Nokia should be very careful about putting all their eggs in the Microsoft camp. If they do completely abandon Symbian they will lose a huge market for simpler non-smartphone type devices that are popular in the developing world as well people who, for whatever reason, do not want to go down the iPhone/Android route and also don’t want WP7.x. Symbian provides that additional choice that we will all lose if Nokia abandons it.