Nokia may be carefully guarding the Symbian^3 build running on their Nokia N8 prototypes, but according to Lee Williams, executive director of the Symbian Foundation, the OS code itself "is almost completely mature." In fact, it looks like it will be ready before the N8 itself is; the first handset to market with Symbian^3 won't be the Nokia smartphone but one from an unnamed Asian vendor.
Perhaps someone needs to remind Nokia of the basics of advertising; this countdown board for pre-ordering the Nokia N8 was spotted earlier today by The Really Mobile Project, but that's only because they're at Nokia's headquarters in Helsinki. Dare we suggest that they might drum up more interest if it was somewhere slightly more publicly visible?
While Nokia's overall specifications for the N8 generally met with approval - if not, in the case the 12-megapixel camera, outright lust - the smartphone's 680MHz processor led to some criticism that the phone might not keep up with its Android and Windows Phone rivals. Over at Finestfones they've apparently had enough hands-on time with an N8 prototype to run some benchmarking tests, and the reassuring news is that, in comparison with previous Symbian handsets, it's quite the little speed demon.
Nokia's N8 smartphone has shown up for preorder on Amazon Germany, with the handset listed at €469.50 ($587) though with no estimated release date. No surprises with the hardware specifications, so we're still expecting the same 12-megapixel autofocus camera, 720p HD video recording and HDMI output.
It's strange what you can come across while out and about in town; SlashGear bumped into a developer friend of ours today, and they just so happened to have a Nokia N8 burning a hole in their pocket. With Symbian^3 still not ready for public consumption powered-on shots of the smartphone weren't allowed, and it's worth noting that this is still prototype hardware, but it's some of the most impressive pre-production hardware we've seen.
Nokia's N8 certainly seems to be creating some hype for the Finnish company, and we can't imagine that's going down too badly at Nokia HQ. Currently being picked over is the N8's ability to hook up to an external hard drive and access its files - something that we actually knew from the spec sheet back on the day of the N8's launch, since that detailed the USB on-the-go support - together with rumors that a 32GB N8 is planned together with the 16GB Nokia announced.
Nokia have offered a reasonable number of video demos of the new N8 smartphone, but one thing we've not seen before is how the Symbian^3 handset's browser works. A video has been quietly added to YouTube demonstrating not just page rendering but kinetic scrolling, multitouch pinch-zooming and flash support, but if we were you we'd watch it sooner rather than later: one version has already been taken down.
Video demo after the cut
After the Nokia N8's first - pretty appalling - preview we've been hoping for a second opinion on whether the eye-catching megapixel-toting smartphone really does spectacularly miss the mark. Happily Tweakers have filled that niche; the Netherlands site have put together a multi-page preview of the N8, and their conclusion is a more positive one than we've heard before.
After Nokia demonstrated the sort of photos its new 12-megapixel N8 smartphone could produce yesterday, they've followed up with a new demo that puts the 720p HD camcorder functionality to the test. The results are certainly better quality than you'd expect from most cellphones.
Video sample after the cut
Of all the mobile device companies out there today, you could make a strong argument for calling Nokia the most misunderstood. Fresh to the table this morning comes the Nokia N8 - capably specified and distinctively "of" the company - a device that on the face of it should slot somewhere in among the Droid Incredible, iPhone and Nexus One for lustworthiness. While the company press machine will happily tell you that more than 1.2bn people, worldwide, use Nokia devices every day - and Nokia enthusiasts can legitimately rival Apple fans for their rabid levels of devotion - there's already a sense among many that the N8 is just the latest flawed icing on a misguided corporate cake. Where is Nokia going wrong?
What does 12-megapixels, Carl Zeiss optics and a Xenon flash get you? If you're the Nokia N8 it gets you arguably class-leading photo abilities. Over at Nokia's official blog they've shared some untouched, unedited sample images taken with the new smartphone, and they're looking surprisingly good.
Check out sample shots from the N8 after the cut