Nokia says the N8 is not delayed, but it probably is
It’s been announced for ages. The official unveiling was actually in April, believe it or not. And the device still isn’t shipping. The official word at first was “Q3”, which then turned, by way of rumors and, well, time passing, into “the absolute end of Q3“.
Yesterday saw official word from Nokia come out regarding the situation and that seemed to indicate a delay of a few weeks in the smartphone’s shipping.
Today is a new day, and with it comes another announcement from Nokia. See if you can make any sense out of this:
“There have been a few stories this morning about the N8 availability which we feel need clarification. As we have previously said, we still expect to start the shipments by the end of the third quarter. As with every global launch, when the device reaches the hand of the customer will vary by market and operator.
We have received a record number of online pre-orders for the Nokia N8. We had targeted our online pre-order customers to receive their N8s by the end of September. As it can take time from the beginning of shipment to arriving at their doorstep, in full transparency, we have advised our pre-order customers that they should expect their new Nokia N8 in October.”
So… they “expect” to start shipments in the third quarter (which, by the way, ends in exactly 9 days). But it will take time, from the beginning of the shipments, until the devices reach the customers’ doorsteps. Time that will make them actually arrive in people’s hands in October.
And this is supposed to be a “clarification”. Way to go, Nokia.
I have a theory. The first N8s destined for sale will be leaving the factories at precisely 11:59 pm on September 30th, thus naturally arriving in shops and at customers’ doorsteps in October.
Sorry for the attempted humor, but this is just becoming ridiculous. The third quarter consists of three full months. And while shipping the N8, from the factory, at 11:59pm on September 30th still makes it “shipping in the third quarter”, I don’t think anyone was seriously expecting that time frame when the N8 was announced. And I don’t think Nokia expected it back then.
It’s a strange game that Nokia is playing here, and judging by how many words they’ve used in such announcements as today’s to ultimately say almost nothing, I’d venture a guess and say that this is all about something entirely different.
“Show-stopping bug” comes to mind, yes. During Nokia World we heard rumors from credible sources that Nokia was planning to hand out loaner N8s for the press and bloggers to cover the conference. But they discovered some sort of serious bug at the last minute and had to make a new version of firmware and flash it. Because of time constraints, the flashing had to be done manually. They managed to reflash over 500 devices, but these were only enough to give to developers (which happened). So any plans to loan devices to the press were consequently scrapped on the spot.
Now, it would make a lot of sense if this bug was to blame for the launch delay. Yes, I’m still calling it that, despite Nokia’s best efforts. The hardware has been finalized for quite a while and, save for manufacturing issues, only a software problem can be responsible for a delay this late. Having to reflash tens of thousands of already manufactured devices probably does take some time, especially if those devices have already been boxed and prepared for shipping.
I don’t think we’ll ever hear a confirmation of this from Nokia, judging by how they’ve handled the situation so far. It definitely would have been nice to hear a more detailed explanation from them, but they probably don’t want the words “N8” and “show-stopping bug” in the same sentence all over the press and blogosphere after the N97 fiasco of yesteryear.