'

Nokia N8 – very first impressions

I'm at a mobile conference right now, listening to talk about value chains and the like. However, I just got my hands — very briefly — on a Nokia N8.

I'm at a mobile conference right now, listening to talk about value chains and the like. However, I just got my hands — very briefly — on a Nokia N8.

The N8 will be the first Nokia smartphone to carry Symbian^3, the first open-sourced version of the venerable mobile operating system. S^3 will also be the last version of Symbian to use the OS's familiar interface, with a complete refresh due for S^4.

Sadly, I didn't get to play with the interface — what I had my 30 seconds with was apparently running prototype firmware, and I wasn't allowed to do much more than handle the hardware. First impression: the N8 is lighter than it looks; thankfully not in a cheap, hollow way (sorry to say it, as I know it was popular, but I'm thinking of the N95 here).

The design, which is quite a departure for Nokia, works very nicely. The device looks different from anything else on the market, with its tapered, sawn-off ends. In a way, partly due to its thickness proportionate to its other dimensions, it looks very slightly like an iPhone in a trendy case. It sits well in the hand. The screen (on which I saw little more than a clock) looks fine — I'm certainly glad to see Nokia move towards credible devices with capacitive touchscreens.

And that's all I can tell you for now — sorry, not a lot, I know. But my brief encounter with the N8 has certainly piqued my interest in this device. Let's see what the open-source Symbian is like in practice, but the phone's certainly a looker on the outside.