The eagle-eyed crew over at AllAboutSymbian have noticed that the upcoming Nokia N8 smartphone has gone up for pre-order on Nokia's Italian web store for €469 or around US$613 including tax, with a release window of the end of September. Free shipping is included by entering a code on the page with a promise that customers who pre-order will be the first ones to receive the handset. Expect to see other Nokia web stores to start their pre-orders soon.
The N8 represents many notable milestones in that it will be the first smartphone to ship with the new Symbian^3 OS, yet also the last of the N-series to use Symbian with plans to subsequently switch to MeeGo. Nokia also has a significant amount riding on the success of the device in its battle to compete with Apple, Google, RIM, HP/Palm, and Microsoft in the OS stakes, while also going up against its manufacturer rivals. In a bold statement, the company's under fire CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, last week called the N8 the beginning of Nokia's renewal to regain the leading position at the high-end of the smartphone industry.
From my point of view, I think the N8 has the potential to be a decent device, but I doubt its credentials as a flagship smartphone due to its older ARM11-based 680MHz processor, and specs that in general are less impressive than the N900 and other top current devices, excluding the camera. However, as the new top Symbian model, and a high-end mainstream smartphone with a great camera, 720p HD video recording, and media features, it is a more tempting proposition. But a lot relies on the final user experience of Symbian^3 and support for the OS, with the price and how Nokia positions it in the market also being significant factors for potential success. The N8 could be the start of something for Nokia, but it will take another, more powerful device to compete at the top-end, perhaps the first N-series handset to run MeeGo? What are your thoughts on the N8 and Nokia's current situation?