Nokia Announces N8 – First Symbian 3 Handset

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Nokia has now officially announced the Nokia N8. Nokia has done the quick and sensible thing and announced the N8 officially – midst a lot of negative reactions from the mobile community.

Nokia N8

What we have here is a very high end spec handset with many of the great sought after features today, something which Nokia previously used to do. The N8 is the first mobile capable of doing all 5 bands of 3G; 850/900/1700/1900/2100 – which essentially means it should work anywhere in the world. This is definitely a better solution than having to produce different models for the North American Market and Europe / Asia. One would hope updates and upgrades will be universal with this move.

It also does Bluetooth 3.0, WiFi 802.11n, 720p Video capture, 12 Megapixel camera with Xenon flash – the latter something the Nokia community has been asking Nokia to give back since the N82. Most importantly the N8 runs on Nokia’s latest upgrade to Symbian – Symbian ^3 which alleges to fix many irks the previous OS has had for ages and hopefully make it a more modern experience.

Nokia N8 Specs:

  • Symbian ^3
  • BL-4D 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery
  • 12Megapixel Carl Zeiss optics with Xenon Flash
  • 720p HD video capture 25fps
  • GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 – WCDMA 850/900/1700/1900/2100
  • 3.5″ 16:9 nHD (640 x 360 pixels) OLED Capacitive Screen
  • Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light detector
  • Internal memory: 16 GB
  • MicroSD memory card slot, hot swappable, up to 32 GB
  • Bluetooth version 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate
  • HDMI Out
  • Micro USB connector with high-speed USB 2.0 and charging
  • 3.5 mm AV connector
  • WLAN IEEE802.11b/g/n
  • GPS.

Whilst these hardware specs are pretty awesome and what everyone honestly expected, there isn’t any one handset which could boast coming close to it. The only factor is that this will be released Q3 2010, which by then, we would already find out (officially) about the iPhone 4th gen, which according to rumors will be called the iPhone HD. What’s even more worrying is, once Apple announces the iPhone HD it will no doubt be available immediately or within 30 days of announcement, something that Nokia cannot match.

The N8 honestly looks great on paper, but the UI is basically the same, and with the reputation the N97 has built up on Symbian (which wasn’t all that great coming into 2010) will the masses really gamble on purchasing a mobile which still looks like it’s in the 20th century or go out and buy a modern more sleek handset with a more appealing OS whilst compensating for some top end features. The camera race as most will tell you was over, having a 12 Megapixel camera on a mobile isn’t really appealing to most, HD video capture will be the exception. What Nokia needs to do is bring out a fresh looking OS, and stop rehashing the same old style with tweaks and overlays.

Symbian is a powerful and capable OS, but its old, its aged and it doesn’t meet the standards of usability and expectations TODAY. Those N97 style widgets aren’t appealing, no matter how many screens can be filled with them. Take a look at HTC’s SenseUI – bigger widgets with more info. It’s not the quantity of widgets, the quality of them.

Whilst the N8 is priced at the right audience, has some great specs, it misses the most important point and won’t deliver; usability. Physically it’s vulgar, the choices of colors are hideous, green, orange, blue are not the best choices, especially the shades which have been chosen, which are really more olive, teal and tango, those might even be more appealing? Nokia’s failings have been in the user experience ever since the iPhone hit the scene. Android has taken note and taken action, even Blackberry has put some effort into making their OS appealing, Nokia all the while seems to be stubborn, ill-informed or just doesn’t get it. Will Symbian ^4 be the saving grace for Nokia’s high end handsets? We’ll probably find out in 2011, if you can wait that long.

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