During CTIA, Nokia USA President Chris Weber confirmed that the struggling mobile phone manufacturer and previous world #1 in terms of devices shipped would indeed sell the company’s latest and possibly last Symbian flagship device in the 808 PureView after its debut during Mobile World Congress earlier this year was met with more questions than answers, including whether the device was even real or just a showcase for their new imaging technology.
The 808 PureView features a new camera sensor that uses oversampling to produce images that can be zoomed after the image is taken without image degradation, with the 41 megapixel labeling being a marketing tool more than the actual megapixel rating of the camera assembly itself. While the camera assembly is capable of shooting images at that resolution, the software is designed to downsample them to either 5 or 8 megapixels for further post processing and to ease storage concerns. The 808 PureView is the successor to Nokia’s previous imaging flagship in the N Series N8, which featured a more conventional 12MP CMOS sensor without the oversampling algorithms built into the PureView.
The phone itself will launch with a pentaband 3G radio compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile 3G networks along with Symbian Belle with future updates expected for the last major updates to Symbian before Nokia completes the transition to Windows Phone as its main smartphone platform going forward. With the phone expected to begin shipping later this month in Europe, India and Mexico, the two month lead time for the release of an official NAM version of the smartphone is well within norms for a US launch that was not initially planned during its official February announcement.
While pricing has yet to be confirmed for the US release, early estimates based on the European and Indian launches will peg the pricing of the phone to be inline with previous N Series flagships at $600-700 unlocked before additional fees for either shipping or taxes depending on where the phone is purchased. As for the lack of subsidies, US carriers have typically been resistant to Symbian devices in the past and marketing them with as little effort as possible, the poor marketing of past devices reflects that as T-Mobile’s own variant of the C7 in the Astound was the last Symbian-based smartphone to receive US carrier support and is now discontinued, despite being released in April of last year.
As Nokia has dismantled its direct sales channels in the US and is now selling devices directly through Amazon with very little in the way of after-sales support, it remains to be seen how many dedicated fans of Nokia’s high-end imaging devices are left in the US after the US division became strictly dedicated to Windows Phone. This is also reflected in the US portal for the company, which has nearly scrubbed all references to Symbian and Maemo/MeeGo save for random support pages.
It should also be noted that while the 808 PureView is intended to be Nokia’s showcase for its newest developments in imaging, the technology itself will be making its way to Windows Phone, albeit in a more heavily modified form, as neither Windows Phone 7 nor Windows Phone 8 feature the extensions and API support necessary to support the 41 megapixel sensor and camera assembly as found on the PureView itself.