The Nokia 808 Pure View arrived to mess up my plans for the day. Thanks Nokia!
It’s out of the box and doing updates as I type. I haven’t even set the clock or taken a picture yet – how frustrating!
As I took it out of the box there was one overbearing first impression that I really hope doesn’t affect the way I use the Nokia 808 – it’s big and heavy, although it rests nicely in the hands. It’s plastic too but that helps even more to ensure the phone stays put in the hands. The bigger screen and lower pixel density over the N8 (remember I’m coming off nearly 2 years of ‘testing’ the N8) lends itself to thumb typing in landscape quite well and the slight speed-up over the N8 is immediately noticeable. The Micro-SIM requirement was annoying but we’re nearly up and running.
The Nokia 808 PureView is here for long-term testing so you’ll see occasional posts and videos from me about various features. Obviously I’ll be looking closely at the photography aspect and comparing it to other cameras I have around here.
The N8 is powered down and sits next to my Nokia N82 – four years of Nokia cameraphone usage. I wonder if the 808 will bring that to six years of usage?
Falling leaves, an Indian Summer and a brand new HP WebOS tablet. That’s the scene we could be seeing if the information coming via Engadget is correct. HP will have two WebOS tablets available in 7 and 9-inch variants called Opal and Topaz.
While we expected the HP WebOS Tablet project to hit in 2011, September seems a long way away and falls behind the early Honeycomb Android, further iOS and possible MeeGo tablets. The timing will give HP a chance to ramp up the developer community so we’re expecting SDKs to be out before summer. In order to attract those developers though, something special needs to be announced. WebOS and product renders just won’t be enough.
On that topic, I have a theory that I first mentioned in Dec 2010. [For the record – You know if it happens I’m going to be Mr Told-You-So! ] It’s based purely on the need to battle against Android and iOS that HP, Intel and Nokia could get together on this.
Qt has already been ported to WebOS, it made it to the WebOS 2.0 build and it makes the perfect layer for Symbian, MeeGo and WebOS to join forces in attracting critical development interested. Without that developer interest, what chance do these products have? Partnerships could be taken one step further too with Intel providing early Medfield samples and with Nokia providing Qt skills for the WebOS SDKs. Take it one step further and WebOS could actually be built on top of MeeGo. There’s nothing stopping HP doing this, even outside a partnership.
How about Intel and Nokia helping to combine Ares, the WebOS SDK, and QT as a multi-product SDK? I think developers would be very happy indeed. It will be just another SDK like the .net, AIR and JAVA environments that already exist. Intels AppUp back-end could be unified with the other applications stores too and combined (especially with tricks like Intel Insider that I hope make the jump to Atom) there’s a better chance of negotiating major video, tv, book, game and music deals. Wi-Di technology could also be a USP.
I’m not a professional software developer and I know that a lot of these thoughts are idealistic and totally ignore the difficult tasks of cutting deals but I can see that Qt could be one very important pivot-point and with three major brands behind a single core OS, MebOS?, there’s a better chance that the dev community could be ramped up quickly. I also love the idea of a Cute-Devices brand. Without a partnership of some sort, will Symbian, MeeGo and WebOS survive?
I don’t usually cover standard smartphones on Carrypad but seeing as Nokia were kind enough to spend 2 hours demonstrating the N8 to me in DÃ¼sseldorf last month, I’ll be kind enough to comment on it and provide you readers with some thoughts.
[Photos, video and brief N82 photo comparison below.]
As someone who’s heavily into mobile and connected photography, (N82, X10i owner) the N8 interests me. As someone who’s also into a full, fast internet experiences, the N8 doesn’t interest me. ‘Step away from ARM11’ is my advice for anyone looking for a fast and full web experience and a few minutes with the iPhone 3, a well-optimised ARM11 web experience, will prove that even an optimised webkit browser isn’t up to the quality and speed of current high-end smartphones. Yes, Nokia will call the N8 a mainstream smartphone but at 450-Euros it comes in above the HTC Desire which is my benchmark for a 2010 smartphone.
My hands-on with the N8 left me with the feeling that it should be approached as a 3G media-camera rather than a smartphone. It’s more exciting if you think of it like that too â€“ a gadget. HDMI-out, 720p playback (I experienced a reasonable, but not stunning, playback), Dolby surround support with digital output is also exciting although I’m not sure who’s going to be selling content for that! Add in a quick and high-quality camera for static and video image work, a built-in editor, high quality 3G support, fast user interface and, something that I really value, a fast, scalable and high-quality MP3 manager and playback utility. There are a few other things too:
Ovi maps â€“ Free offline maps and turn-by-turn is invaluable for anyone that travels borders (try using Google Navigation when roaming on an Android phone!)
Quick access to SIM and MicroSD
AMOLED Screen (Great colour. Should save battery life in many cases over an LCD screen. Basic clock standby screen is always-on. Not that good in sunlight though)
On screen keyboard seemed good in portrait mode
USB On-the-go (USB hard drive access)
Potentially good gaming graphics
High quality YouTube playback? (In my opinion more valuable than Nokia TV)
12MP is impressive but does it perform. In my brief tests I was able to do a few N82 comparison photos and judging by the results (looking at ISO, shutter, F-stop settings used) the N8 is on the same level as an iPhone 4 when it comes to light sensitivity. I’d guess that it’s 2x more sensitive which sounds a lot but isn’t that significant when it comes to low light work. With the high quality optics, fast camera UI, video recording capability and high-power Xenon flash though, it definitely takes the lead as far as cameraphones go.
Sample Photos (8MP)
N82 Comparison â€“ Low Light Flash â€“ 8MP photo (More N8 images and sample photos at Flickr)
N82 (Left, 4:3 format, Original at Flickr) and N8 (Right, Original at Flickr) If you check the EXIF data on Flickr, you’ll see that there isn’t much of a difference in light sensitivity between the N82 and N8 although the N82 is probably using some heavy processing and of course, it has firmware that has been matured over 2.5 years! A crop of the two photos shows good quality on both cameras although this is only at 8MP. A 12MP N8 pic would obviously provide sharper images at larger sizes. N82 crop image on left.
Overall, the N8 gives much better camera experience with quicker response, faster preview, better ‘viewfinder’, better features and overall better results. It’s clear that it’s a worthy upgrade to the N82
The N8 is not a do-it-all smartphone or a no-brainer consumer smartphone like the HTC Desire or iPhone because it’s aimed at a market of mobile media users and creators who like to share with quality; People wanting a productive web experience with a choice of tens of thousands of apps need to look elsewhere. Having owned the N82 for over 2 years I know that the N8 can replace a compact camera and because it’s in the pocket, you’ll end up with more of those ‘real-world’ shots that are so satisfying. In family and friend situations, it’s a real advantage.
The N8 is a flexible, connected media partner and in a few months when the price drops by 10-15%, should be good value too. I certainly can’t think of a better connected camera in the market right now and it’s tempting to swap out my Xperia X10i for it although I know there’s a lot I’d miss.
[Sidenote: If anyone reading this in Europe buys an N8 and fancies swapping with an X10i, either temporarily or permanently, let me know because i’m prepared to give it a try.]
Not quite mobile computing but interesting anyway is Google’s Buzz. Its an extension of their social circle features and integrates messaging, timeline, media into mail and other Google apps. I won’t go over it in detail because there’s a ton of information and discussion already out there but I do want to talk a little bit about the Buzz layer on Google Maps for Mobile because at the same time as releasing the new feature on Gmail, Google also updated their maps clients to include Buzz features. You could argue that Nokia’s Ovi Maps and Ovi Contacts already have these features and that there are other apps and services out there that let you do this but I’m seeing at least the potential for some major integration across Google products here that, given their user base, will blow away the competition.
I’ve made a video demo with the N82 and the Omnia Pro which you’ll see below and personally, I think it’s exciting to finally see location, search, public multi-media messaging and threaded public discussion being pulled together on a map with my pre-existing ‘social circle’ in this way. I always thought Google Latitude had good underpinnings in terms of privacy and ‘friending’ but it never took off and although Buzz doesn’t seem 100% connected to Latitude’s idea of multi-tiered and friend-dependant privacy, it’s clear that Google could make the final connections very easily. Linking search, local friends, local events, photography in a live, localised way like this seems to have way more potential than the simple 140 character smart-bomb option.
There are still some things missing though. A client app would be nice but I assume that Tweetdeck and many of the other multi-protocol social messaging apps out there will link in soon and either Google Mail for Mobile or Gtalk will probably evolve along with Google Maps for Mobile. There’s also a lack of ability to embed the live maps and message stream in other places. The ability to ‘friend’ someone from the Maps Mobile app is also missing and of course, using GPS, 3G, maps, screen, GPU and GPU is going to KILL your smartphone battery life! Clearly a secondary device, something like the Dell Mini 5 with Buzz application is going to be better if you need to use this more than an hour a day.
It’s early days but I can see a lot of potential here. The ability to see local ‘buzz’ is just great and combined with local friend notification (already in Latitude) and event / threshold alerting, this is going to be a great step forward for mobile communications capabilities. Whether people latch on to the idea i another matter but in a quick test with my wife this morning, she seemed happy to add ‘the Buzz’ to her familiar and often-used Google Maps application. I can’t say the same introducing her to twitter and this could be the major advantage for Google; familiarity.
Although my Gmail hasnt been enhanced with Buzz yet (expected in the next few days here in Germany) I’ve been testing out the features from Maps Mobile. My ‘stream’ is here.