Nokia delivers solid Belle update early (and late)

Nokia(s nok) released the Belle software upgrade for its recent Symbian phones on Tuesday, bringing additional home screens, much improved notifications and other features. The rollout is a day ahead of schedule, showing that Nokia is starting to make good on promises to deliver on time. Sadly, Belle is the type of solid update that Nokia didn’t have soon enough after the introduction of iOS(s aapl) and Android(s goog) touchscreen phones.
Much of Belle is meant to make the user experience more intuitive, simpler and effective. Here’s how the Nokia Conversations blog describes Belle in part:

“Nokia Belle delivers more personalisation options than before. You can have up to six home screens that are easy to personalize, leaving all your favourite applications and services only a few taps away. New larger live widgets display what’s really important to you right onto the homescreen, so you’ll always be kept up-to-date. Want to place a shortcut from one screen onto another? That’s simple. A long press and a drag to the side of the screen moves it to that screen.”

You can see a mix of desirable features already found in iOS and Android in Belle, perhaps the most prominent being the new notification method. It’s very much like the mechanism Android has always used, and that Apple adopted with its most recent version of iOS. Missed calls, emails and messages all appear on the notification window and there are one-touch keys to control key handset components, as well.
Had Nokia been able to advance its Symbian operating system to this level two years ago, the company might not have adopted Microsoft’s Windows Phone(s msft) platform last February. As they say, timing is everything.
The Belle update is widely available for the following handsets: Nokia N8, Nokia E7, Nokia E6, Nokia X7, Nokia C6-01, Nokia C7 and Nokia Oro. The Nokia 500 will see Belle within the coming weeks.