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JISHOU, HUNAN — I bought a Nokia e63 two years ago. It runs the Symbian OS. I’ve been very happy with it. No nasty surprises. No crashes. No touch-and-gone touchscreens, like on my defunct Palm Treo 680. It’s attractive and functional, and most importantly, reliable.

So, what has Nokia decided to do? Continue to develop Symbian, and make great Symbian mobile phones? Of course not! It has decided to abandon its OS, as Palm did PalmOS, and ally itself with the monster of Redmond — Microsoft.

Goodbye, Symbian. Hello, Windows Mobile. Just fucking great.

Sure, it’s not the end of the world. Even though Palm phones no longer use PalmOS, loyal users and developers keep the phones functional. (Not that it helps my Treo. It gave up receiving calls, then its touchscreen gave up accepting touches. “I vant to be alone,” it seemed to be saying.) So, I can expect the Symbian community will keep my e63 working and useful until I finally throw in the towel, and buy another phone.

Whether it will be a Nokia remains to be seen. Maybe I can eventually forgive Nokia for partnering with Micro$oft. Maybe it’s good market sense, but it’s not fair to the Symbian users. It’s not that I hate Windows with a passion (well, sometimes I do). I just enjoy using something that isn’t Windows-based.

Yes, I know there is the iPhone. Too pricey for me here. Yes, there is Android, but then I get to associate with another corporate monolith bent on conquering the world — Google. And WebOS? Palm doesn’t market in China, and it’s part of Hewlett-Packard now. Linux-based phones? They exist? Where?

In the immortal words of one of my former editors, Steve Cheski, “Progress sucks.” As much as I adore tech stuff, I’m getting real tired of the big guys swallowing up the little guys. I may just bite the bullet and buy a future generation iPhone (which I hear may be cheaper), if only because Apple has somehow managed to fight the good fight despite its smaller market share.

On the other hand, maybe Nokia/Microsoft will produce a great phone that’s just as reliable as the one I have now, and I’ll have to have one, Windows Mobile or not.

Meanwhile, I’ll look at my little red smartphone wistfully, knowing that someday we will have to part ways. Boo hoo.

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