In a brief but surprising development, Samsung today officialy launched the Omnia HD in India. That is not what was surprising, the interesting thing was the the Omnia HD will hit India with a 1 GHZ processor rather than the 600MHZ ARM Cortex A8 that it is available with abroad.
Another interesting things is the name. When it was first announced, Samsung called it the Omnia HD, later on they decided it was better off with i8910 but on the Samsung India website, there is no mention of the i8910 bit. The demo models at the Mumbai launch although did carry the i8910 tag.
The device will retail at Rs. 33,990 ($700) similar to what the N97 sells for making it a very tempting high end Symbian device. Basic specifications include:
The much larger processor should hopefully help capture much better video as the with the 600 MHZ piece it did suffer from the problem of dropped frames while shooting in HD. All the device misses is a hardware keyboard. But as was the case with the N97, Samsung haven’t managed to ship the device with a decent initial firmware, so if they can do that in India, I’m sure a lot of people will give this device a long hard look before making a purchase decision.
Last week saw Nokia announce the ‘Surge’ for the American markets, this week they have spruced up the Surge and unveiled it under the name Nokia 6760. It features the same design of its US sibling that many hated (I didn’t) but comes with a 3.2 MP camera instead of the 2MP and also features a slightly longer standby and talk time.
S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2
3.84 x 2.28 x 0.61 inches, 4.38 ounces
2.4-inch QVGA display
3.2 megapixel camera
8GB of storage with microSD (it comes with a 2GB card)
5 hour talk time, 500 hours standby – 1500 mAh battery
Nokia Messaging comes as standard
Google Talk and Windows Live Instant Messaging services are also supported
Will be available during the third quarter of 2009 for €199 before subsidies and taxes
Initially available in black, red and white variants are expected later in the year for some countries.
Nokia doesn’t seem to have published a full spec sheet yet, so I am not sure if it retains the 2.5mm jack from the Surge, I sure hope not. Its still the same 2.5 mm jack.
The keyboard on that things looks really nice and at €199 Nokia sure seems to have hit a sweet spot, add to that a very good battery and could might just be looking at your spare handset. It should also make for a good entry level S60, if you can get over the 2.5mm jack. Check out the full specifications here.
The Nokia Conversations post mentions a Europe release, but I think it will be hitting India and other markets in Asia as well around the same time.
[UPDATE] – The Nokia 6760 Spec sheet mentions:
Opera 8 as the browser. Opera 8? That has surely got to be a mistake? (via: Stefan)
Nokia and AT&T today announced the Nokia Surge, a Symbian S60 3.2 QWERTY handset exclusive to AT&T. The handset completely breaks away from traditional Nokia design and is positioned as an entry level (80$ on a two year contract) social connect smartphone.
The press release hammered on S60’s multitasking ability along with the ability of the browser to handle flash video, something the iPhone still cannot do. The device packs a 2MP camera, a stellar 1500 mAh battery, a 2.4″ screen and weighs 4.38 oz. Sadly, there is a 2.5mm jack for headphones.
2.0 megapixel camera — Customers can capture quality photos with color camera and 4X digital zoom
AT&T Navigator — AT&T Navigator provides audible turn-by-turn directions, monitors traffic and alerts users when there is a slowdown or incident
AT&T Mobile Music — Customers can listen and download their favorite music from Napster Mobile, eMusic Mobile, XM Radio and more over the air
AT&T Video Share — The first-ever service in the U.S. that allows users to share live video over wireless devices while participating in a voice call
JuiceCaster — Customers can share videos and pictures from their wireless device to the Web’s most popular sites including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr
The Nokia Surge will be available through select AT&T retail locations or at www.wireless.att.com for $79.99 with a two-year service agreement and after a mail-in rebate. More details here.
All in all not many people till find this pretty, nor does it pack mindblowing specs. However, it has US 3G and if you are looking for a cheap QWERTY smartphone, the Surge could be it.
I have finally been able to get my hands on the Nokia N97 and in this post I bring you my first impressions based on time spent with the device on two separate occasions. At both times, it was a production N97 running the v10 firmware.
BLACK v/s WHITE
I was lucky enough to play with both the white and the black (its actually a very dark grey) version and the build quality on both was phenomenal. The slide was so tight that if I hadn’t studied the N97 online for so long , I won’t have known the direction that I needed to slide the N97 in order to reveal the keypad.
The biggest decision for people to make once they decide to get the N97 is white colour to pick. When I laid my eyes on the Black, I immediately knew that there was no way I would skip this for the white. The white isn’t half bad, infact it even enjoys the advantage of being comparatively finger print free as regard to the black sibling. However, to my eye the white had a more plastic feel to it and looked far less regal.
The keyboard is a hugely contentious issue for the N97, despite it being the first Nseries QWERTY device. Pictures make it look nice and large, however in real life it is not that big. This is probably because the N97 itself looks larger in pictures. So to give you a better idea I took a picture of the keyboard with a standard one rupee coin.
The first time I wrote a sentence on it, it took ages. The next sentence was faster and so on. Its basically a question of the mind adapting to the layout. When I played with the N97 again today, I coped much better with the keyboard and infact found the spacebar to be nicely placed, in the same position where my thumb would usually rest since this is a thumboard and not a keyboard where you would be able to use fingers.
The tactile feedback on the keyboard is okay and the D-pad on the left also does a okay job. Nothing special but at the same time nothing I would cry about. What I would cry about is the fact that there is no dedicated comma key and that a long press of the top row of the keyboard (which also houses the numbers) doesn’t place a numeral on the screen. For some reason Nokia thinks that when I long press ‘Q’ I want a series of QQQQQQ’s. Silly. Thankfully, this can be fixed via a firmware update and I’m counting on Nokia to pull through.
Nokia has actually nailed it with the design of the N97. Its packs a lot in a size that is not much bigger than the E71 in length and almost the same size as the 5800 in thickness. The tilt of the screen makes for very comfortable access to the screen while typing on the keyboard should you need to select something.
I also really liked the rubberised back on the N97 which in my book gives it a rich feel. Popping out the back over in order to access the microSD slot and the SIM slot is a bit of a task, but this is something you shouldn’t be needing to do considering it packs 32GB of inbuilt storage.
The versions I played with were identical to the ones that would retail in India so some aspects in this section will not apply globally. One such example is the applications Nokia is going to bundle with N97 in India. Utilities like Smart Guard, Wavesecure, Keypad Lock (for the swipe to unlock screen) will be onboard with a huge catalogue of local widgets available for download. Check out the complete list here.
While sending across a video I shot with the N97 to my Macbook, the N97 clocked an impressive 184 KB/s. The best I have seen other Bluetooth 2.0 Nseries/Eseries devices do is about a 100 KB/s. Surprising considering the fact that the N97 uses the same Bluetooth specifications as the older devices.
The N97 that is going to retail in India will also come with a case/pouch, pictured below. As you can see it is a slip-me-in design with the inside being made of soft cloth. It also has a hole to attach the stylus to it and I really liked this ability. The reason for this is that if the stylus is tied directly to the phone, it will invariably scratch the device when in the pocket. With this the phone will be inside the case, protected, while you will also be able to carry the stylus along.
Another good news for those of you in India is that the N97 package will also include the BH-703 bluetooth headset at no extra cost. This is suppossed to be true for the first shipment only so I am not sure if you will be able to take advantage of this later on. This move is similar to the one we saw in the US where the N97 pre-order came with a free BH-703 as well. Really well done Nokia India!
Lastly, to wrap things up – here are a few pictures with some commentary thrown in.
(The case is a nice addition, not too large in size so it won’t add to the bulk much)
(The stylus holder is a neat addition as well)
(The N97 fits snugly inside, but since I’m not a case person I don’t see myself using it)
(The proximity sensor on the N97 should prevent an accidental call pick up while taking out the phone)
(Most people hate the stylus that comes with the N97, I don’t)
(The ribbon that powers the screen. Since it doesn’t get stretched in any position, I doubt that it will be an issue at all)
(The keypad lock is amazingly convenient and very responsive)
(The camera key and the volume rocker both are pleasant to press)
(The back along with the camera shutter is something that looks good to me)
As you can see my initial reaction to the N97 is mostly positive. I did not get much time to look into the software, so may be there are a few grey areas there, but all in all it seems to me that Nokia have a potential winner here. Also, have you managed to check out the N97’s latest video – ‘Don’t Call It A Comeback’ video. If not, check it out now.
This is the first time I’ve seen Nokia come out with such a bold statement, it clearly shows how confident they are of the N97. I just loved the new connecting people screen (rumour has it that this took some convincing with the brand team!) and the ‘towering over the competition’ phrase in the lyrics. Killer stuff.
The facebook integration on the N97 is one of its most awaited features and Nokia had recently given us a glimpse of it via the Interactive Demo that went up a few days ago. The folks at Last100 have taken a look at what’s on offer and based on the screenshots it looks like a pretty slick application with great functionality packed in.
Here is a small list of what the application can do. Please note that I have compiled this list based on screenshots of a demo, so the final application should at least have this functionality and hopefully some more.
Update your status.
Manage friend requests and ‘pokes’.
Send and receive inbox based messages.
Write on a friend’s wall.
Upload photos directly from the device.
Follow your friends’ feeds (updates, photo uploads and so on).
View and copy events from your facebook account to your N97’s calender.
Hopefully Nokia will not let the application rot on the N97 alone and bring it to the S60 3rd Edition and well as other 5th Edition devices. In a recently released Ovi Store picture, the screen has Facebook application as a free download. Hopefully that’ll be Nokia’s gift to older devices and not that stupid visual bookmark.
This is one hell of a deal. Grab it now. Nokia USA if offering the N97 on pre-order for just $524.25 today, for some reason the pre-order price just fell. But if you add the promotional code CARTP409N the price falls to a ridiculously low $454.35. The best part is that you still get the BH-703 for free! Have a look for yourself. Both Black and White variant are available.
UPDATE – The deal is now history, it was probably an error. The pre-order price for the N97 is back to 699$. CARTP409N will still get you a 10% discount, but eliminate the headset.