Nokia leaks, not announces, its N86 8MP

In an interesting move, Nokia has decided—at least for now—not to actually announce its 8MP camera phone everyone has been waiting for, instead choosing to officially unveil two new Eseries devices and two numbered sets.

Instead, Nokia leaked its N86 handset, which comes with an 8MP camera and apparently a Xenon flash at the back.

From the style of the device, we’re obviously looking at a slider with a non-touch version of S60.  The device looks very similar to the N85 but with just a hint of the N97.

What’s odd is that evidently the phone will be the “N86 8MP,” which seems like a needless marketing gimmick considering this is not the first 8MP phone and isn’t really that impressive anymore after Sony Ericsson showcased a future 12 MP unit yesterday.

Personally, this is about what I expected from Nokia.  I would have preferred their first 8MP phone to knock it out of the park, but since the N97 is the “flagship,” there are certain features that simply can’t be afforded to this new N86, a touchscreen being just one of them.

I love Nokia, but I think I’m passing on this phone.

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Nokia unveils its own app store based in Ovi

Nokia’s Download application has gotten a bit long in the tooth for some, so it’s a good thing today at MWC they announced their Ovi Store, which will facilitate both S60 and S40 applications.  The pricing seems to be set at whatever the developers of the programs want, so we could see anything from free to, as the picture suggests, 5 Euros or even higher.  Would you be willing to pay that much for a single application?  Time will tell.  Still, it’s great that everything will finally be combined into one location.

Sony Ericsson says, “Idou”

Today at MWC (well, technically a day before), Sony Ericsson announced their eventual plans to someday release a potentially great phone.

Sorry for the pessimism, but it’s just sort of odd that they’d showcase a phone they know won’t become available until the second half of this year—probably September-November, if I had to guess.

What’s odder is that the phone wasn’t actually announced, just showcased.  In essence, it’s a concept phone, similar to concept cars that you see at auto shows.  The Idou is an example of something SE could create, but its feature set and physical style may not exactly match whatever phone eventually makes it to the market.

The good news is that the phone looks does look great as it stands now.  It has a 12.1 MP camera with a Xenon flash and a touchscreen, all running atop the next generation of Symbian from the Symbian Foundation.

The codename stands at “Idou,” which is a change from what it used to be, namely, “Kokura.”  Perhaps Kokura was canceled and Idou is the successor to that project.  Either way, the phone certainly looks the part of a great phone, but my concern is what else it does.  What’s the video recording like (now that the Omnia HD has upped the ante considerably and only one SE phone records above QVGA)?  Is there a 3.5mm jack?  Given the fact this is a just a concept device, these questions may not even be relevant, and the final feature set may be completely different.

It’s an interesting tactic—showcasing a concept of a device with a massive spec list far ahead of the competition.  In one way, this is good because now SE will forever go down as the first company to show a 12 MP cameraphone, but to think they’re the only ones is foolish.  Samsung is known to have a 12 MP phone already, though it’s been held back.  LG will follow.  Probably Nokia too some day.  The thing is, the gap between announcement and release of the competitor’s devices will be much shorter than SE’s, and, for example, Samsung’s device may actually be on the market sooner too—just like how the C905 was announced first, but the i8510 was on the market first.

UPDATE: Idou, or whatever phone Idou becomes, will be officially announced (with all the specs made available) before summer.  The release is still set for the second half of 2009.

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Hikaru is W995

Sony Ericsson also just announced—yes, announced, not showcased—the W995, previously known only as Hikaru.

It has a very traditional SE design, which isn’t a bad thing, though it’s not exactly eye-catching.  The W995 features an 8MP camera, LED flash, face detection, WLAN, GPS, Walkman Player 4.0, and a QVGA 2.6-inch screen.

The camera is the most impressive part since Walkmans traditionally have very poor quality cameras.  This is the first phone (besides the W902) to feature an actual, usuable camera.

If you love Walkmans and need a good camera, there’s probably no other SE that will come close for a while.  For me, it’s not that impressive.  I’ve known about the feature set of the phone for quite a while now and nothing about it is immediately jaw-dropping.  Still, a good device, albeit a non-smartphone.

First Omnia HD/i8910 official photo

The first official press photo has leaked from…somewhere.  It matters not where it came from—what matters is that it’s here and we can clearly see that it’s running S60 (as evidenced by the signal strength and battery indicators at top) and that it has a custom TouchWiz skin/overlay in place of the standard standby screen.

I was wondering if Samsung would put such an overlay in the phone, and now it’s clear they did.  I think it’s a great move and will help greatly with the phone’s finger-friendliness.  Couple that with the rumored capacitive AMOLED screen, and this phone will be a pleasure to use.

If you don’t like TouchWiz, like all S60 phones, the custom overlay can be turned off and the standard standby screen can used instead.

MWC is ON in Barcelona!

Mobile World Congress is officially a GO in Barcelona, starting with Sony Ericsson on Sunday and Samsung, Nokia, LG and others on Monday and throughout the rest of the week.  I’ll be blogging about the coolest phones from the show and my opinions on them.

Samsung’s i8910 to officially be the Omnia HD

Or, specifically, the OmniaHD if the superscript is to be recognized.

I think it’s a very interesting name choice.  Of course, I prefer numerical names for phones the best (in this case, the i8910), but at least this is a cool name.  They decided against the codename of “Acme,” which is a relief since it can be easily confused with a pimple breakout.

What’s most interesting about the name is that there is already a Samsung Omnia in existence—a Windows Mobile device that shares essentially no characteristics with this new Omnia HD except for form factor.  So, this would lead me to believe that “Omnia” is not just representative of one device and its successors, but an entire product line or sub-brand.  “Omnia” may represent a new brand of Samsung high-end super smartphones.

Either way, at least its announcement is official now.

Source: PhoneArena