It's real popular to be a Nokia Symbian fan in the U.S., but you can't fault me for liking my orange Nokia N8 even if I just used it for the fantastic 12 megapixel camera. We have been waiting for a long time for the Symbian Anna update and Nokia finally made it available for the Nokia N8, C7, E7, and C6-01. In addition, Nokia released an amazing camera software update in beta form that takes the N8 camera to the next level.
The Symbian Anna update was something that was talked about by Nokia in late 2010 and thought to come out in the spring. They ended up meeting their regularly pushed back deadline of end of August though and it really does breathe new life into these Symbian^3 devices. The update is available OTA and through the Nokia PC Suite and includes the following new features and updates:
- Much improved web browser
- Portrait QWERTY keyboard and in-context text entry
- New icons
- Ovi Maps version 3.6
- Updated Social application
- Updated Calendar application with split-screen month/day view
- Updated Photos app
- Updated mail application (this is MAJOR for me and puts the phone back in my pocket)
I found that Swype works in portrait mode, but won't give me the in-context entry format so I removed Swype since the in-context view is more important for me at this time. It would have been fabulous to have Anna on the N8 at launch and I think it would have made the device more appealing to people. There is a Symbian Belle update in the works that should also be coming eventually to these Nokia devices and this update looks to make the platform even more similar to Android. I like my N8 and the Anna update lets me use it as a primary device while the Belle update will likely keep it around even longer.
In addition to the Anna update, Nokia also released a camera update for the N8 that will eventually bring 30 FPS video recording (the current beta is at 25 FPS with an update coming very soon) and continuous autofocus for close-up video recording. I was traveling quite a bit earlier this year and tried using my N8 for recording video for reviews and it failed since it lost focus when shooting close up to an object. I ended up using my Samsung Galaxy Tab video camera instead.
Nokia also added a viewfinder grid so you can use the rule of thirds a bit more easily with the camera and video recorder. Remember that you first need to update to Symbian Anna before applying this camera update.