Nokia has just announced the 500, their first 1 GHz smartphone. It’s going to run the latest version of Symbian, known as Anna, have a 3.2 inch screen with a resolution of 640 x 360, 5 megapixel camera, quadband GSM/EDGE support, and pentaband (850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz) 14.4 Mbps 3G support, meaning it’ll effectively have high speed internet access regardless of where you are on the planet and which operator you’re using. WiFi b/g is also in there, along with Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, and even GPS, which is amazing considering that this thing will cost just 150 EUR ($215) when it ships towards the end of Q3 of this year. They’ll be 2 color options, black and white, and regardless of which one you choose there are going to be 2 additional backplates shipped with each Nokia 500 so you can pick whatever color configuration you want!
So what do we think of this thing? Is it too little too late or is there a chance that the Nokia 500 will help Nokia’s smartphone sales? Well … if Nokia manages to ship this thing on time, which we don’t believe they will based on their recent track record, then it’ll be on the market at the same time as their first Windows Phone, which sends a confusing message to consumers. Then there’s Android. Autumn has historically been a time when new devices are released, so all the hardware currently out on the market will see a significant price drop in order to move units. Who wouldn’t want to pick up a cheap HTC or Samsung that just until 6 months ago was considered high end? Don’t get us wrong, we’re eager to see how Symbian performs on a 1 GHz chip, especially when it comes to web browsing, but we’d rather have seen a Nokia N8 refresh featuring such a high speed processor than this budget handset that has a screen smaller than many of us can tolerate.
What are your thoughts?
Update: Nokia has just published the 500 on their developer site, which features in-depth technical specifications. We’re sad to say that the 1 GHz chip in the 500 is running on the ridiculously ancient ARM11 architecture. To give some perspective: Apple switched to the ARM Cortex A8, one generation more advanced than ARM11, with the 3GS in 2009; NVIDIA has the Cortex A9, two generations more advanced than the ARM11, in the Tegra 2; and the funny thing about all this is that Nokia has experience with the Cortex A8 thanks to the N900! Then there’s the fact that the 500 doesn’t have a graphics processor, so any clock speed increase compared to current Symbian^3 devices (N8, E7, C7, etc. run at 680 MHz) goes to the curb because it has to render everything in software. This thing is looking rather … blah at this point.