Well the wait is finally over, two of the most important phones in Nokia’s history have now launched and are in stock at Mobiles.co.uk. The N97 is Nokia’s attempt to take back some of the market share lost to new kids on the block Apple and the ever more impressive Samsung, both of whom have released successful touchscreen mobile phones. Nokia have been slow to join the touchscreen revolution (the 5800 and a few internet tablets are their only touchscreen releases to date) but with consumers falling over themselves to get in on the touchscreen action, Nokia simply couldn’t lie down anymore. Meanwhile, the Nokia N86 8MP is the long awaited (and perhaps overdue) 8.0 Megapixel camera phone from Nokia, the companies first. But, with Apple once again dominating with its newly released update, the iPhone 3GS, and several manufacturers moving on to 12 Megapixel camera phones, is it too late for the N97 and N86 8MP?
On the face of things, the N97 doesn’t bring that much new to the party. Touchscreen phones dominate the market, 5.0 Megapixel camera’s are somewhat out of date and the Symbian operating system is hardly hot property in the wake of the young upstarts such as the iPhones OSX and Googles Android platform. So can the N97 still make an impact? Nokia certainly think so. The focus for the N97 is that it claims to bring the internet to your phone like no other. The new Symbian home screen allows you to add customisable shortcuts (or widgets) to the homescreen. Again this is nothing new, but the potential for this is demonstrated in the Facebook app. The Facebook widget sits on your homescreen and will let you log in with a few taps. Once logged in, the app continues to run, notifying you of a new message, telling you when you’ve been poked or tagged in a photo and letting you change your status.
That’s not all; take a photo with the 5.0 Megapixel camera and you can upload it straight to your Facebook page, tag friends and post comments. Put simply, the Facebook experience on the N97 is as close to using it on a PC that you’ll find anywhere and this is just one of the apps. The addition of a hardware QWERTY keyboard compliments web browsing as it gives you flexibility. You can use the touchscreen on its own for one handed web browsing, or open up the keyboard for faster text input whilst still having full access to the touchscreen to scroll and navigate web pages. Take a look online and you’ll find plenty of iPhone fans crying out for a QWERTY keyboard so for those people, the N97 is a natural choice. The comparisons with the iPhone continue with the huge 32GB internal memory, though Nokia gain the victory with the option to expand it further. The biggest area that could make or break the N97 is in the Apps department and with this in mind, Nokia have completely revamped their download service and released the Ovi Store, you’re one stop shop for Symbian applications. Can it take on the App store and, on a broader scale, the iPhone itself? Only time will tell, but the N97 certainly has the tools to do so.
As for the N86, it is without question that Nokia are late to the 8.0 Megapixel party but have they missed it completely or are they just fashionably late? Nokia will argue that they waited to launch an 8.0 Megapixel camera phone until they were confident that they could master the technology and, in turn release the best 8.0 Megapixel camera phone, not just another ‘also ran’. The N86 gets off to a good start as the first phone to feature variable aperture levels which lets users alter the amount of light the lens lets in. This kind of technology is usually reserved to Digital SLR’s so its inclusion in a phone is impressive. From sample photos we’ve seen (and taken) the N86 seems to perform admirably in low light conditions and bright daylight. The N86 8MP also a 28mm wide angle lens which lets you get even more into a photo.
Apart from the impressive camera, the N86 8MP also plans to take on the recent wave of gaming centric mobile phones thanks to full support for the Ngage gaming platform and the popular dual slide design which comfortably transforms the phone into a handheld games console. Support for the Ovi Store should provide a never ending supply of Ngage compatible games ranging from simple card and puzzle games to the latest releases including the new Transformers: ROTF movie tie in and WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2009. The N86 8MP also provides refuge for those of you in the market for a new phone who want top of the range features simply don’t want a touchscreen device (you know who you are).
Can the N97 and N86 conquer the touchscreen and camera phone markets respectively? Only time will tell. What we do know is that these 2 phones have now launched and are in stock at mobiles.co.uk. Click here to check out the N97 and here to see all the latest offers for the N86 8MP.