Nokia Reveals N8: Its Disappointing 2010 Flagship Phone

by Matt Klassen on April 29, 2010

Nokia N8

It seems that every year Nokia releases a phone that it hinges all its hopes and dreams on, and this year, that phone is the N8. However, as with all the other flagship phones Nokia has produced in the past several years, the N8 looks ready to disappoint even before it’s been officially unveiled.

In a recent turn of events that played out in similar fashion to Apple’s prototype iPhone fiasco, the popular Russian tech site Mobile-Review got its hands on the prototype N8, the first phone to sport Nokia’s new Symbian 3 OS, and the reviews were, shall we say, less than glowing.

The results of the analysis by Mobile-Review revealed that while Nokia certainly knows how to sell a phone, with sales rates that far outpace even the most popular mobile companies in North America, what Nokia doesn’t know how to do is actually build a phone.

The early review declares that the Nokia N8 will undoubtedly turn out to be a poor rival to Android devices or the iPhone, with the damning news that Nokia’s brand new Symbian OS 3 is little more than Symbian 1 or 2 (take your pick) in a flashy new package. This means that if hopeful Nokia customers were hoping for a significant upgrade in the Symbian OS, perhaps an upgrade that put it into the same category as Android or the iPhone OS 4.0, they will be sorely disappointed.

While Nokia’s Symbian 3 will give users the ability to truly multitask (as opposed to Apple’s bastardized version of this feature), the rest of the upgrades and keynote features are really not all that impressive. In fact, it seems that most of Nokia’s additions with the 3rd version of their operating system are more in the catch-up category; meaning that the Nokia N8 will sport features that we’ve seen on several smartphones already.

Further, it seems that out of the box the N8 will not even hold a candle to the processor speeds, functionality, or phone extras (like cameras) that are already commonplace in the current mobile market. As a flagship phone, it seems the N8 is already lagging a considerable distance behind its closest competitors.

Like Apple and its recent iPhone debacle, however, Nokia is not taking this scathing critique lying down, and their damage control plan is in full swing. Nokia made an official announcement regarding their leaked flagship phone, wherein they chastised Mobile-Review for its unfair critique, and assured customers that the prototype N8 was not, I repeat, not, the phone that Nokia will ship this summer.

While it remains to be seen whether or not this official response is simply Nokia’s spin doctors hard at work to contain the damage done to a phone that they know realize will probably be a flop, or whether the leaked N8 is really a prototype without the latest Nokia software installed, this news certainly threatens to take a chunk out of Nokia’s profits this year.

Despite the fact that Nokia sells more phones in a minute than Apple does in a year, the mobile giant has seen its profits tail off and its stock prices fall in recent months, and there are (or were) high hopes pinned on the success of the N8. But before you get too concerned, I would guess the only lasting effect of this news will be that it has made it possible for Nokia to disappoint us yet again next year with their 2011 flagship phone.

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