Browsing through my Google Reader this morning, I came across this article from the guys over at NokiaUsers.net reporting that Vodafone has just confirmed a July release date for the Nokia N97 here in the UK.
You can read more about the handset over on Vodafone’s dedicated N97 page, but needless to say, this announcement is very good news indeed.
As some of you may or may not know, I am a card-carrying Vodafone member, I have been for some time and, upon hearing that the N97 was en route to my network of choice, I am very happy indeed.
Since it was first announced at Nokia World in December, the initial buzz has been largely positive.
In fact, I remember putting virtual pen to paper at the time and exclaiming how much the the prospect of this handset excited me; even going as so far to say:
“I firmly believe that the Nokia N97 is the replacement for my N95 8GB.”
However, as I mentioned, I wrote that at the tail end of last year and since then?
Well, some things have changed.
Since Nokia World, not only have has there been several opportunities for me to have hands on time with the N97, but also Mobile World Congress (MWC), has come and gone. This conference, previously known as ‘3GSM’ and held in Barcelona each February, is the largest telecommunications event in the world and this year saw the unveiling of the Nokia N86.
This 8 megapixel beauty took me completely by surprise at MWC, and although originally pitched as the successor to the much-overlooked Nokia N85 (the N86 test model above was in fact labelled ‘N85 8MP’ on its debut in Barcelona), to my mind the N86 is the true replacement for the N95 8GB.
I carry two phones. I have done for some time now and I have no doubt that this habit will carry on into the future. My current ‘handset strategy’ is made up of the aforementioned N95 8GB which acts as my personal device, and a Nokia E71 as my work/business phone. Whenever I’m testing new devices I always, always swap out my E71 and swap in whichever piece of gadgetry I happen to be reviewing (the latest of which being the Nokia 5800 Xpress Music).
However this was not the case with the Nokia N86. Two weeks after Mobile World Congress, just in time for MGoL VI in fact, I happened to find myself in possession of said 8MP wonder and I was that impressed I instantly made it my personal device of choice (if only for the few days that I was able to test it anyway).
This. Speaks. Volumes.
If you’ve read any of my mobile stuff in the past you’ll know how much I love my N95, it’s certainly been through the wars over the years and for any device to come anywhere near taking its mantle, it has to be something pretty special.
The N86 is that phone.
The N97, as wonderful as it is, to my mind could have well been labelled the ‘E97′. What with the full qwerty keyboard and ‘communicator series’-like design, the N97 bears more relation to the E90 than to any Nseries phone I’ve ever seen. When I read that Vodafone were going to be shipping the N97 this coming July, I immediately got on the phone and registered my interest. Fortunately it turns out that I am due an upgrade around the same time as the N97 is scheduled to release.
But that’s not all…
While I was the phone with Voda, I also enquired after the N86…
“It’s not one I’ve heard of Mr Whatley” …came the reply.
“Oh, would you mind checking for me anyway? I work in mobile you see and I really like the look of the N86, it has an 8MP camera and well, it’s very similar to my N95 8GB…”
“Oh here it is Mr Whatley, I’ve found it on our systems.”
“Yes. Nokia N86. Got it. Now… Ah.. Ok.”
“Yes, yes, what is it?”
“Well it is here, but it has a question mark next to it.”
“Oh. Is that bad?”
“Oh no Mr Whatley, it just means we’re still testing it. I can’t confirm that we are going to get the N86 in stock but I can tell you that we have it here internally and we’re testing the software to make sure it works correctly “
“Yes Mr Whatley. While I can’t go on record and say that it’s definitely coming, we are still testing. I can tell you that nine times out of ten, when it’s testing, it normally means we’ll be getting it sooner or later.”
“That’s great news, thanks!”
“You’re very welcome Mr Whatley, thanks for calling Vodafone.”
So there you have it. The N97 is coming to Vodafone in July and, from the sounds of things, the N86 won’t be too far behind it.