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Nokia N8: Something Innately Good About It



Amidst all the news about the iPhone and Android phones, people seem to have forgotten about Nokia, the world's largest manufacturer of mobile phones, as far as sales are concerned. But there is a reason for that. While all the other manufacturers were bringing innovative new products to the market; with great design, user friendly interface and rich features and functionality, Nokia didn't quite seem to keep up and so slowly began to escape the news.

None of their recent phone launches made people sit up and take notice. However, their recent announcement of the N8 seems to be doing that. Armed with a bevy of features, the new Nokia N8 comes with an enviable specifications list. But its not just the specifications that make the N8 an important product. The phone also brings several new never seen before features for a Nokia phone, such as a 12 megapixel camera with xenon flash, 720p/25fps video recording, multi-touch capacitive OLED touchscreen, HDMI-out, anodized aluminum body, Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth v3.0, among others. But perhaps one of the most important features is the operating system - Symbian^3 - which makes the Nokia N8 the first device to flaunt this OS. Today we take a look at some of these features in detail of what is perhaps the most important device for Nokia in years.

The Design

The Nokia N8 has a mono-block design, but for the first time Nokia has used anodized aluminum in its design. So far they had restricted themselves to using steel when it came to embellishing their phones with metal, but for the N8 their metal of choice was a bit more up market. The aluminum will give the phone a rich feel and along with making it sturdy, also reduce the weight, which for a phone with so many features, is bound to be on the higher side.

The design of the phone is fairly simple but still quite good looking and definitely better than what Nokia usually comes up with. The phone looks sleek and sturdy, with curved sides and top and bottom, which gradually become narrow towards the edges. The top and bottom sides are completely flat and house all sorts of buttons and ports, from the 3.5mm headphone jack to the all important HDMI-out. The design of the N8 reminded me of the Sony Ericsson Aino though.

The Display

The Nokia N8 has a 3.5", 640 x 360 pixel, AMOLED display. The touchscreen employs the capacitive technology. Nokia has so far used a capacitive display only on the X6 but what they haven't used so far is multi-touch technology, a feat made possible by the new Symbian^3 OS that the phone sports. The display is capable of displaying up to 16.7 million colors and has a proximity sensor for automatically turning off when you bring it close to your face during a call. An ambient light sensor is also available for automatically adjusting the brightness level. Nokia phones usually come with excellent displays and we expect the N8 to be just as good, if not better. Also, despite the fact that it is capacitive, Nokia will be supplying a special stylus for certain markets such as China, where handwriting recognition is used a lot.

Camera

The camera is one of the biggest attractions of the Nokia N8. It is the first phone from Nokia to feature a 12 megapixel autofocus camera. Also, while other manufacturers often leave their cameras at impressive sounding resolution figures, Nokia has also equipped the camera with a xenon flash, a rarity these days on phones but at the same time a boon when it comes to photographing in the dark. Also, a first for Nokia is the ability of the N8 to record HD videos, 1280 x 720 to be precise, at 25 frames per second. If you think those are just fancy sounding numbers then you should take a look at the images and videos released by Nokia taken on the N8. One look at them and you'll realize that the Nokia N8 has all the makings of an excellent camera phone, perhaps the best yet.

HDMI-Out

What's the point of having such a good camera if you cannot watch your photos and videos on your TV? Well, Nokia has taken care of that and provided the N8 with HDMI-Out connectivity. Simply connect the N8 to your HDTV with the supplied HDMI cable and you can view all your photos and videos in their full high definition glory. The N8 also supports Dolby Digital Plus surround sound output through the HDMI.

Connectivity

The Nokia N8 is the first phone in the world to support five GSM frequencies. That is 850/900/1700/1900/2100! This means no matter wherever in the world you go, you can be sure that your N8 is equipped to support the service providers available there. It also supports HSDPA up to 10.2 Mbps and HSUPA up to 2.0 Mbps. Also, the Nokia N8 is one of the few phones announced so far to have Wi-Fi 802.11n support. If that was not enough, the Nokia also comes with Bluetooth v3.0, making it the second device after the Samsung Wave to have this feature. A-GPS is on board along with FM radio and transmitter.

Hardware

The Nokia N8 runs on a ARM 11 680 MHz processor and also has 3D Graphics HW accelerator. There was a time when Nokia smartphones used to have hardware graphics acceleration (remember Nokia N93, N95, N82?) but later they abandoned it for a faster CPU. Now the Nokia N8 has the bests of both worlds. With a dedicated graphics accelerator, the N8 will be able to display better quality graphics while gaming or image and video playback and it will also facilitate the high quality image and video recording that the phone is capable of, without stressing the processor which would be free to do other tasks.

The N8 also comes with 256 MB of RAM for all your applications, which should come in handy knowing how good Symbian is with multi-tasking. Also, the phone will have 16GB of built-in memory for all your files and furthermore it also supports a microSD card slot so you can expand it up to 32GB, taking the total memory to a whopping 48GB.

Software

Nokia N8 is the first device in the world to run on the new Symbian^3 operating system. An update over the previous S60 5th Edition, Symbian S^3 is supposed to focus on enhanced usability and better integration with social networking services. It now features a new home screen that you can populate with multiple widgets. Actually, there are now three homescreens, so you can keep even more widgets on your phone. The interface is now designed with touchscreen devices in mind, unlike the previous S60 5th Edition. You only tap once everywhere in the UI instead of the single tap-double tap nuisance of the previous OS. Most of the apps have undergone slight change in the design as well.

Many have said that the OS is not much different from the previous version and although features like enhanced usability, multiple homescreens and multi-touch technology are all good, it's too little too late now. We think Nokia should have done much more than add a few features that actually should have been there long time back. The competition has moved far ahead in terms of software development and if Nokia needs to keep up, it will take more than a spit and shine job. They should instead do with Symbian what Microsoft did with the Windows Mobile. Dump it completely and start anew with something like Windows Phone 7.





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