The Nokia N8 is of course running Nokia’s Symbian ^3 operating system, and it’s the first device with the new OS. The home screen is similar to older Symbian operating systems with two softkeys in the lower corners, and signal strength/battery life in the upper corners. The difference appears in the 3 swipe-able home screens that can contain an arrangement of custom icons or widgets. This is, of course, similar to Spb Mobile Shell and Android UIs, however in this implementation the background photo can be changed independently on each screen and does not move with each swipe.
Text input is probably the biggest pain with the Symbian ^3 OS. You have to tap a text field and go into this bigger input area that doesn’t show anything else besides the input field and if you’re in portrait mode, you ONLY get a numeric input pad with three letters on each number. You can turn on T9 predictive text input, but it’s not on by default and doesn’t seem to turn on globally. In order to get a Qwerty keyboard, you have to turn the device on its side. Even then, text input isn’t that great as there’s no auto-correction or easy editing like we’ve seen on other platforms.
The N8 does come with some powerful applications though. You get a video editor to edit the 720p HD video that it can record, as well as a photo editor for those spectacular 12 Megapixel photos it can take. There’s also a “Social” app that aggregates Facebook and Twitter account feeds. Of course there are individual Twitter and Facebook apps as well. You’ve also got a few neat news and video apps that are included and a full featured free Ovi Maps GPS navigation program. Unfortunately, while the software and OS is very powerful and more feature-rich in many ways than its competitors, it can also be slow, buggy, and difficult to use.