Thursday, July 29, 2010

The N8, summary of life so far

The Nokia N8 is bound for the shelves towards the end of Q3 of 2010 and so far the device's journey has been quite colourful. In this post I'll sum up some of the buzz around the device and contemplate on it's future. All this in a strongly oppinionated but I'll try to give some sources along the way!

The N8 first made it's appearance in leaked photos of a leaked prototype. Consequently, by now it seems that the N8 has quite efficiently been blogged to death. It seems that a video showing the prototype N8 has been released every other day since the first leak in March (was it March? correct me here any time) of 2010.

Since then official pleas by Nokia to the blogging public, the Russian authorities and finally legal action against a blogger have coloured the hype surrounding this device. Throw in the leak of yet another (similar) device sporting a physical keyboard and it's remote mid-review wipe, cheap chinese copies sporting a physical keyboard, and you pretty much have the story of the Nokia N8.

The reception

The N8 has been received with mixed impressions. Although the stunning camera quality has been praised everywhere, the rest of the phone has received only lukewarm reviews. Most feel that Symbian^3 simply isn't different enough for the N8 to be something to get excited about.

However, the general attitude has been very anti-Nokia for as about long as anyone can remember, with Nokia's #1 leak man Eldar Murtazin leading the lynch mob. This guy gets his hands on pre-release alpha versions of devices and forms often negative views of the devices. He has been criticized for being too eager to bash Nokia products, as some things he has said prove to be wrong or fixed in the next batch of prototype devices. None of this is about to change, as the man now faces Nokia's legal team in accusations of stolen property.

Click here to read mr. Murtazin's initial thoughts (Google Translated from Russian).

What does the N8 mean?

I've spent some time trying to put the N8 in perspective with everything else that Nokia is (seems) to be doing at the moment. Here are some things about it that I think it stands to mark:

- "At Nokia, we can do slim and attractive devices with huge capacitive touchscreens"
- "At Nokia, we like to stuff our devices full of technical features not present in other devices. "
- "We are adamant about the possibilites of Symbian as a smartphone platform, and so S^3 is present in this device."
- "The N8 is a natural continuation of our strivings to include better and badder camera hardware into our N-Series devices."

( Bear in mind that these aren't actual quotes of Nokia's personnell! )

Here's a few thoughts on Nokia's strategy that they aren't quite as outspoken about:

- This is Nokia's attempt to get a hold on the competition and the trend of things: slapping on a gorgeous camera is something Nokia has been best at for years, so this is Nokia playing hardball at their own game.
- At the same time, the physical form factor is very foreign to be a Nokia device, thus marking that Nokia has subjected to competitors' pressures in this respect.
- The N8 must be a Symbian device, because MeeGo will simply not be ready by the release of the N8.
- Symbian^4 is still lightyears away, that's why the N8 must run S^3.
- The N8 will be sold at a price point, where only Symbian devices will be sold. In other words, Symbian will be the (high)mid range smartphone platform and only MeeGo devices will be sold at the highest smartphone price point.

Will the chicks dig it?

I think there's a chance that the answer is: ... Probably not.

I was tempted to write "Yes." but some field tests with female test subjects have ruled the device to being something between "OK" and "fugly". Why is it important if chicks dig it? Its because I feel that if the chicks dig it, then it has the chance for mass appeal. After all, roughly half of us are girls.

The males of the general public might find it quite enticing, however. It's got great specs, it's got the capacitive screen that everyone seems to want and you can do that pinching gesture. Personally I can say that the latter especially is nothing special. But hey, people come up with features they always want and ask after, whether they really need it or not. For example Bluetooth was a must for many, eventhough they never used BT devices. Of course as a result BT can now be found on every device.

It will come in nice colours, though (again, very unlike Nokia!):

So what do you think? 

What are your expectations and/or predictions for the N8?

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