It feels like we've been talking about the Nokia N8 for a long time. February 2010 saw the first murmurings, followed by a string of leaks, rumors, semi-accurate previews and finally, around seven months later, a commercial release. In the meantime there's been no shortage of speculation over whether Symbian^3 still has a place among the smartphone elite, how the North American market will take to the N8, and indeed whether Nokia is still relevant in a world of Android, iOS and other successful platforms. That's a whole lot resting on a single device, so can the Nokia N8 shoulder the strain? Check out the full SlashGear review after the cut.
Nokia don't really intend end-users to open up the N8; the Symbian^3 smartphone follows the iPhone's example of using a non-user-swappable battery, and has a sturdy, creak-free chassis as a result. However, lack of manufacturer approval never stopped iFixit from tearing down a new gadget, and so they've taken screwdrivers and the rest to the Finn's finest.
After yesterday's Nokia N8 photo compression hack and 30fps silky-smooth video mod, now arch-tinkerer hyperX has outed another tweak to the Symbian^3 smartphone's optics. He's added an option to support continuous auto-focus during video recording, keeping footage crisp even as your subject moves around.
Video demo after the cut
Nokia's N8 may have begun shipping, but the number of people currently holding the Symbian^3 smartphone is still dwarfed by those still waiting for one. The Finnish company has just announced that the N8 will be available for online order - either SIM-free or on contract - and with immediate delivery from October 15th; meanwhile in-store UK retail availability will follow on a week later.
The Nokia N8's photography skills are already prompting plenty of discussion, but one modder has instead concentrated on squeezing out some extra performance rather than arguing over the standard results. Notorious Symbian-lover hyperX has already managed to coax the N8 into shooting 720p video at 30fps rather than the default 25fps, and he's also worked some magic on the smartphone's still images.
Final software, final hardware, finally shipping - it's N8 day, and the Nokia team is unsurprisingly pretty pleased with itself for making it inside the Q3 window. So how does the N8 hold up? We've used plenty of different prototypes along various stages of the development path, and it's fair to say some have been patchier than others.
Video demo after the cut
Nokia's N8 started shipping to pre-order customers today, slipping just inside their Q3 2010 promise, and the Finns were kind enough to offer us one of the first from the production line. Fresh out of Helsinki, the new N8's are certainly well made and feel just as premium in the hand as the prototypes always did.
Nokia's N8 has begun shipping, and you do get the feeling from the company's tersely-titled press release (which you can read after the cut) that they're getting no small amount of satisfaction from proving wrong the naysayers who predicted lengthy delays. To be fair, as we heard previously, you'll have had to be among the first batch of pre-order customers if you want to get your N8 smartish; Nokia says there'll be "broad availability" over the coming weeks.