I am interested in developing for Symbian, but I have some doubts. Before I begin, let me state that I am 41 years old, living off software development since I can remember. I develop for Unix and Windows, in C++, I develop highly scalable distributed services and interfaces for financial industry and some other related stuff. As a side hobbies I delved into many other development branches, such as Windows UI development, GIS and other stuff I found interesting over the years.

I am concerned about long-term future of Symbian-based devices. I only owned one Nokia phone for about a year, a Nokia 8250, about 5-6 years ago. I was happy with it but then I had a Windows Mobile device for a few years and some other phones.

Since a few weeks ago I own my first Symbian device, a Nokia 5800.

I am disappointed about the slowness of the device and general lack of polish of its software. I was told that 5800 is actually the fastest Symbian phone, but I shudder to think what using those slower phones would be like. What disappoints me the most is that Nokia did not manage to reach a decent level of polish in 10 (?) years they've been making Symbian phones, yet Apple and others managed to catch up to and overtake Symbian's features and polish in a very short time.

My major gripe with Symbian is that users will dump it in droves due to its slowness and bugs, especially since they can see that other phones, such as iPhone are marginally more expensive yet run very fast and are extremely polished and ergonomic. There are just too many small and not-so-small bugs I encounter daily with 5800.

It seems to me that it doesn't make a lot of sense to develop for Symbian platform if it is losing market share rapidly. However, I cannot predict which other OS will dominate the market, as I see Microsoft's Windows Mobile is also quite bad considering they've been developing it for a decade. iPhone is brilliant, but they seem interested only in high end of the market.

The last question is: Is Nokia doing anything to address the slow performance of their Symbian phones and lack of polish? If they are, can you point me out to their latest developments in this area?

What do you think? Does Symbian have a future despite the fact that their phones are slow and buggy? I mean, Windows prevailed despite the fact that 16-bit versions were alwful beyond belief - so it's obvious that best technologies don't always win in the market.

Thank you for your thoughts.