The Nokia N8 has come a long way since its original release with Symbian^3. It has since seen an upgrade to Symbian Anna and now we have Symbian Belle which is a lot different than previous versions of Symbian. Actually it’s a lot like Android. Symbian Belle adds support for up to 6 home screens that you can pan through horizontally and the widgets that you can place on these home screens are no longer constrained to a single specific size. You now have widgets of all shapes and sizes which makes the home screens a lot more like Android and a little more messy looking.
You’ve also got Android’s drop-down notifications bar that can be accessed from any app. The notifications bar houses a few nice toggle switches as well,
but I was unable to find where the power saver battery option had gone. UPDATE: Pressing the power button once will show a menu with the power saving option. The applications listing has become easier to use as well. It’s no longer a multi-level listing. All apps are in one list by default and there’s a nice search button at the bottom that lets you quickly filter the apps by name. Folders are still supported in the app listing and you can arrange the icons manually if you want to.
The camera app has been updated and seems to be a bit faster in launching and focusing which is greatly appreciated. Photo quality and exposures are still better than any other phone on the market, though there aren’t any new features like panorama or burst shot modes.
The web browser in Symbian Belle is a bit disappointing though. It’s practically unusable on some sites. All of the other apps have seen some minor user interface updates to go along with Symbian Belle’s new icon-based ambiguous buttons command bar.
Overall the upgrade seems to speed things up in many places and improves a few things, but certainly isn’t anything revolutionary. Really it feels like just another manufacturer’s custom version of Android.