The Nokia N8 has been pitched by the Finnish company as their high end smartphone; indeed it does aim to replace the N97, th N97 mini and the N900, both of which are rather long in the tooth; the first one was announced nearly two years ago in December 2008!
However, the Nokia N8 is unlikely to be a competitor to the iPhone 3GS, let alone the iPhone 4 and there's a number of reasons for that.
Apart from the superlative 12-megapixel camera and the great electronics that have been bundled with it, the N8 is seriously under equipped to face the competition.
Nokia defended its choice of processor; the N8 will use an ARM11 processor - the same as the N97 - clocked at 680MHz (slower than an overclocked 5230) rather than 434MHz. By the end of the year, some smartphones will run on a 1.2GHz Cortex A8 processor.
It has only 256MB memory compared to 512MB for the iPhone 4 and its screen resolution is only 640x360 pixels; the same as its predecessors and comparable to entry level (yep entry level) models like the Nokia 5230.
In comparison, the iPhone 4 does 960x640 pixels. Then there's the operating system; Symbian OS is no longer competitive with any of the "modern" smartphone operating systems like the iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7.
OVI for example is woefully anemic compared to the likes of the Apple App store or even Google's App Marketplace.
This might explain why Nokia has partnered with AT&T to organise a contest for North American developers with $10 million worth of prizes.
Unlike past models like the N97, the N8 battery is sealed which means that it will have to be sent back to Nokia if there's any problems and worryingly enough, Nokia chose to get a smaller capacity battery (1200mAh vs 1500mAh) for the N8.
The only aspect where the Nokia N8 wins hands down is when it comes to pricing; The phone will go on sale at Tesco for £330 only, which is less than the £385 that the iPhone 3GS 8GB currently commands at the same retailer.
The N900 still remains, as far as hardware is concerned, a significantly more powerful handset. The problem though is that it relies on Maemo 5, which Nokia has abandoned already for Symbian^3 and MeeGo.