Nokia Closes Down N8 Release Speculation

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

Nokia fans briefly glimpsed a delivery date of 23 September for the long-awaited Symbian^3-based N8 phone

Nokia moved fast yesterday to close down an apparent leak, which suggested a 23 September release date for its much-anticipated N8 smartphone, the first to use the Symbian^3 operating system.

According to screengrabs on NokNok TV, the N8 phone was briefly visible on Nokia Online, Nokia’s own online store, with a dispatch date of 23 September, some weeks ahead of the dates published on other sites. The link apparently became visible in paid for Google Links, due to Nokia’s purchase of AdWords, according to the screen grabs on NokNok.

Nokia swiftly said it would not comment on the story, and the links disappeared, leaving Nokia followers to wonder whether this was a genuine leak or an error.

N8 to arrive after Nokia World?

Read our Nokia N8 review

Nokia needs a strong smartphone to fight back against the iPhone and Android, and the N8 has been hotly anticipated, featuring Symbian^3 – the latest version of the open source Symbian OS – a 12 Megapixel camera, HDMI video output, multi-touch, 16GB of memory and other features.

Early reviews of the N8 have found a phone with lots of features, and the video capabilities could make it an interesting contrast to the new Apple TV and iPod Touch, launched yesterday, as well as to the iPhone 4, which suffered antenna problems, after a sell-out launch.

The original launch was delayed a number of times, but two UK websites, and Mobilefun, have begun taking pre-orders for the phone, initially for dates in August, but these dates were later revised, a significant shift as the phone would then miss Nokia World a London event which includes speakers such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.

The new date – if genuine – just misses the show, but comes in earlier than the Play and MobileFun, which are currently offering 8 October and 1 October respectively.

What next for Symbian?

The phone is the first to use Symbian^3, the latest version of the Symbian OS, which has not had a great press ride so far. Gartner analyst Nick Jones said Symbian was like the Titanic, and criticised Nokia developers for spending “too much effort on stuff that really doesn’t matter,” while failing to make the user experience as good as Apple or Android.

Nokia has said future phones in the N range will not use Symbian, instead using the Meego Linux version it is developing with Intel. However, Nokia execs then commented that a future generation of N-series phones might switch back to a future version of Symbian.

Nokia is losing market share, but still has a massive lead in phones generally as well as smartphones. The company is reported to be looking for a new boss, so this year’s Nokia World might be Kallasvuo’s last.