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Nokia N8: Hardware Is Gorgeous, But Crucial Software Disappoints

Nokia (NYSE: NOK) has given bloggers and journalists across both sides of the Atlantic a sneak peek at their great new hope, the N8, slated for a Q3 release starting in Europe. It’s no secret that Nokia needs a high-end smartphone hit, but judging from a range of reviews, the N8 might not be the one. The verdict for the latest iPhone killer is strikingly similar: Though the N8 more than delivers on the hardware, the software disappoints.

U.S.-based InformationWeek was the most blunt, calling the software

5 Responses to “Nokia N8: Hardware Is Gorgeous, But Crucial Software Disappoints”

  1. Interesting to see the blogosphere echo chamber in action, with the same reviews of pre-production hardware being propagated over and over again. Just got my (production) unit yesterday. Among other things the review above claims that the N8 is ‘sluggish’ — that really isn’t correct, this may be the *most* responsive hadnset I have used.

  2. Salman

    Their hardware is great? More than S60’s gigantic memory leaks, it was the awful hardware on Nokia’s S60 devices that made the user experience awful.
    1) 128mb ram vs. Samsung i8910’s 256mb also running on S60.
    2) Slow CPU’s. Can you believe the first S60’s came out with only 364MHz. That’s awful for a software system that isn’t able to sustain memory.
    3) No GPU. Nokia claims S60 wasn’t coded up for GPU support.
    You can see their hardware was the real Achilles heel. There were times where I just wanted to slam the phone against the wall. If it weren’t for that their phones would’ve been amazing. In terms of usability, Symbian offers a LOT of flexibility; perhaps, even more than Android. Their’s great 3rd-party software and themes that allow the user to change the look drastically. I loved all that, just the hardware disappointed.

    Nokia is back tracking and getting things right and it may not be ostentatious, but I foresee Symbian^3 to be a very stable and functional OS. Personally, Symbian is the most functional operating system, it just offers so much flexibility – and I am American, gasp! All, the flashy gimmicks on a phone grow old fast, a prime example being the cover flow. All that said, this is a step in the right direction for Nokia.

  3. Just Me

    Jason – In today’s competitive market, if a 4-year veteran Symbian user still terms this evolution something to “put up with” than this device is absolutely dead in the water. I use a variety of devices daily – iPhone, Droid, and Nokia n96 mini. Let’s be honest – Nokia’s software environment is by the far the least elegant and most glitchy of the lot. They are stuck on a rev base that is more appropriate to 5 years ago than today, and they are not adjusting quickly or effectively enough to what is going on in the market. Comparing Nokia to Apple OS is not even fair, its not in the same category. More importantly, comparing any version of Symbian as well as QT and Maepo to android – all of them fall short. And this, with Apple OS and Android being far from perfect.

    Their hardware is great, although HTC is quickly catching up in terms of design. They should scrap Symbian and either start from scratch or release a modified version of Android OS. They deserve all the criticism they are getting – this is a company absolutely tonedeaf to its own slow self-destruction, which has continued to put out devices based on its 2002 product planning timeline, as if nothing in the industry has happened in the meantime.

  4. Making any comment on the software at this point is inconclusive. Nokia was very clear that this software is not final release. However, yes – it is a bit disappointing that this incarnation of Symbian is so similar to the present version. The fonts, menus, and other UI elements are very similar.

    However, as a 4 year Symbian user, I don’t mind this – as long as app support and services are there for the N8, I’m willing to ‘put up with’ the Symbian UX I’m familiar with.

    You didn’t highlight one bit of coverage, namely from Rafe Blandford and his videos from All About Symbian.

    Rafe (and Ewan MacLeod from Mobile Industry Review) who are very up front with NOK when they fail, seem to be satisftied with the N8 in their videos thus far. Another perspective amongst Dianne’s assortment mentioned in the original post.