Sure, there are quirks - not least the lack of a dedicated physical camera button, but the mix of Symbian, Ovi Maps and Lumia handsets gives Nokia a solid platform for its Windows Phone 7 devices. The user interface is functional, relatively straightforward and there are few surprises. Nokia's usual suite of multitasking controls (pin, zoom, home screen, more) are still there, so it's a surprise to see any Windows Phone.
Ovi Music is also a big selling point, and for many users it'll be the iPod-like 'OneTap' functionality - that is, you can put a file onto the device immediately after purchase or downloading from the store. There is also a Pandora-like radio app, and the N8 supports WinAmp playback and ASX, WMA, MP3, AAC and eAAC+ media files, along with DRM and AAC+. Music videos have access to the same photo editing features as the main camera, too, and Nokia's own natural language support means you can dictate and dictate your music into the device, too. The device includes lossless AAC audio, meaning app file sizes are smaller, and there's an SD card slot for loading tracks, to boot.
Saved games are limited to CSV files and the like, but there's a range of screen sizes, and there are no copyright issues - though Nokia understandably restricts where you can transfer content. The device is a three-year-old prototype, but it's expected to be available in the US in time for Christmas.
Within the US the Nokia N8 935 will be sold for $580 unlocked, but it'll run $950 when shipped from carriers. That's a much respected price/feature premium for the N8, but it's just the start of Nokia's smartphone ambition. It'll launch with a few more handsets and geographical ranges, bring the Ovi store to other models and map other platforms, but its flagship Symbian^3-equipped models (the N8 and E7) are the obvious first success.
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