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Nokia's N8 Hands On: The Game of Catch-Up Continues

If you compiled a list of the biggest big-bang moments in tech history, Apple’s January, 2007 introduction of the first iPhone would rank mighty high. Three and a half years later, the companies that dominated smartphones back then are still scrambling to compete with Apple’s phone. Especially from a software standpoint, and none more so than Nokia, the Finnish giant who has struggled to build even vaguely plausible iPhone competitors on its long-in-the-tooth Symbian OS.

Nokia’s newest flagship smartphone, the N8, won’t arrive until sometime in the next quarter, and when it does it may have a low profile in the U.S.: There’s no reason to think that AT&T or T-Mobile will pick it up and sell it at a subsidized price. Unsubsidized, Nokia is saying it’s a 370-Euro phone, which works out to about $450–aggressive given its pretty meaty features, but not a price most Americans will pay.

I got a demo of a beta version of the N8 today, and while it’s the clearest sign to date that Nokia is moving in the right direction, it’s also obvious that modernizing Symbian is a years-long project that’s still in progress.

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