Home > Nokia, Nseries, Symbian > In depth exclusive: Dolby Labs on the importance of the Nokia N8 and a rebirth for surround sound

In depth exclusive: Dolby Labs on the importance of the Nokia N8 and a rebirth for surround sound

TechRadar has scored an exclusive interview with Jonathan Jowitt, Dolby’s senior technical marketing manager.

When watching movies (or videos in general), in addition to great visuals with an awesome and huge display, something equally important is the sound. 5.1 surround sound (5 speakers, 1 sub woofer) makes home movie watching totally blissful; immersed in the movie, it’s almost like being in it if you have really good sound (granted that your player can output 5.1 and not just mangle stereo). Hearing cars zoom around you, or the characters circle you – from action, horror, to comedy and family stuff, you just can’t beat having surround sound as opposed to standard stereo.

Click here for the full article. Thanks for the heads up marc/mrbean!

Key points below:

  • “Nokia N8 is more than a phone – it’s the first convincing PMP hybrid with 720p playback, HDMI out with 5.1 channel surround sound!”
  • Apparently, you could get (on the 16GB model) at least 30 90 minute movies (at 533MB per movie in MPEG4 h.264 – DivX average 700MB) . Though if you want more memory, you could just upgrade the memory card to 16GB or even 32GB.
  • 5.1 was not expected in handsets, and has arrived much earlier than expected on the roadmap
  • industry is going towards an MPEG container; H.264 720p with a standardised audio stream based around 5.1
  • “As a viewing experience derived from a mobile phone it’s kind of unsettling.”
  • Difference between what you get on iTunes is iTunes stuff is two channel, for N8 it uses multichannel
  • Huge step up from AAC
  • “If you had a white board session with a development team to determine what to put in a phone that Apple doesn’t have, you’d end up with the N8…They’ve included some definite iPhone/iPod-type beating technologies in this device. “
  • On Content, “That’s very much on Nokia’s agenda, but I can’t obviously give any content partners’ names away at this point because the services are not live”. Content, content, content. Users need a resource to obtain them for their Nokia device – something simple, easy to use and easy to pay for. So services coming soon for movie downloads on Nokia?
  • For full quality movie downloads, Dolby recommends side loading (like iPod, download to PC, loading to iPod) though I can’t see why the phone couldn’t download direct if both sources are downloading over WiFi (aside from battery drain).

Think about it – as well as your smartphone, this is your music player, your digital camera, sat nav and now full on HD movie player with 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus surround sound and more. It’s such a great value for money proposition when considering this is priced at 370EUR minus tax/subsidies. I’ve only just got a new point and shoot which I’m sure the N8 will make redundant.


  1. Roger Johnson
    July 11, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    The N8 is clearly a breakthrough device that blows away all other iPhones, Blackberries and Androids out there. The only question is whether Nokia will give all these amazing features the marketing they deserve.

  2. Frederic
    July 11, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    the only thing than N8 lack is the announce that it will be upgradeable to Symbian^4 in a major firmware update (like the uptdate of iPhones to iOS 4 and Android phones to Android 2.2). If Nokia announce this upgradeability, the N8 will be the best phone in the world.

    Nokia, we waiting this announce

    • mja
      July 11, 2010 at 3:22 pm

      2nd to that.

    • Roger Johnson
      July 11, 2010 at 3:25 pm

      Agreed too. Hopefully they will have the sense to both offer the upgrade AND announce it when/before sales start.

  3. Keith
    July 11, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    This IS the iPhone killer that people have been waiting for. A complete package of EVERYTHING in one device!

  4. JFH
    July 11, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    You should note that the article links to a different article where they state:

    “We arrived ambivalent to mobile phones and left coveting the small device like pathetic fanboy”


    • mja
      July 11, 2010 at 6:03 pm

      Says the N8 should be available in August from Vodafone!

  5. GordonH
    July 11, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    N8 seems destined for success. Nokia should provide legal content(movies, TV series, music) globally and price it reasonably.

  6. davidinspain
    July 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    How did they forget dobly headphone?

    • July 11, 2010 at 5:56 pm

      yes i too want dolby headphone with music player also supports dolby

  7. July 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I’m not a software expert, is there some technical reason why the N8 cannot be upgraded to symbian 4? Or hardware issue?

    • Jim
      July 11, 2010 at 5:03 pm

      it may be a hardware issue , but technically it can be upgraded, the problem is if nokia will support it official or it will be ported by the community. if it’s gone be ported by the community , a lot of bugs may appear and it will not be somthing for common users. at least that’s my opinion.

    • Frederic
      July 11, 2010 at 5:34 pm

      technically the N8 can be upgreadable to Symbian^4, but Nokia must take the decision to upgrade N8 to Symbian^4 when it become accomplished

  8. Jim C.
    July 11, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    If the N8 advertises correctly they can do well. However I do not think they will ever be as big as the iPhone. As a refurbished Macbook owner I know how Apple treats their customers. Sometimes it is not all about the features.

  9. July 11, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    As a N900 owner, it will be tough to buy another phone and get left out in the cold again. I have gone back and forth on purchasing the N8. By the time it is available,the story will have changed many times. How Nokia treats their customers sometimes runs the whole spectrum from great to awful. I have experienced both.

  10. Jim
    July 11, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    spain won. the octopus Paul was right http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya85knuDzp8

  11. JFH
    July 11, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Crap. Spain won. What a game.

    • Andre
      July 12, 2010 at 12:23 am

      Utter shite!

  12. IMarius
    July 12, 2010 at 4:18 am

    …meh one of the worse world cups i can remember (but the best team won). …..at least if my team (Ireland) had got there we could have been a good underdog and causes some upsets….oh well Brazil here we come.

    Oh and to keep something on topic , i agree with alot of comments here that nokia need to come out soon and confirm that the N8 will get a Symbian 4 update , personally i really dont see why it wont , as it should easily be the most poplar and most powerful(since its the last N-series on sym) symbian 3 phone there will be.

    • Jim
      July 12, 2010 at 5:14 am

      well I think there are to reason why they might not make this announcement:
      1. N8 will not have such a powerful hardware for S^4
      2. they are not sure if S^4 will look quite good for N series and they might decide to go with meego

      • Andre
        July 12, 2010 at 5:58 am

        The major issues with the ability of the N8 to run S^4 are RAM and processor speed.

        However, both are somewhat mitigated through the presence of virtual RAM and a “supposedly” underclocked processor in the N8. It’s best to adopt a wait and see approach.

        The main problem for OS upgrades in the past was paying the licensing fee for Symbian OS, which now that it’s open source is no longer an issue.

      • I hate Apple!
        July 12, 2010 at 6:01 am

        well i think it has a powerful hardware for “meego”… it’d be better if n8 gets a meego update than “symbian 4”
        cuz most people are tired of symbian OS and apps… my brother got an iphone and i got a 5800 v50 my own cooked firmware… but still symbian is noting compare to iphone.. now IOS 4 is a kick ass… im a nokia fan and hes an apple fan.. he makes fun of nokia every time.. and my answer is “just wait for meego”… lets hope meego will be a kick ass OS and kick IOS4’s ass….

        • Andre
          July 12, 2010 at 7:13 am

          S^3 is good, S^4 and meegi will be practically indistinguishable I honestly believe…. the 5800 vs iphone 4 comparison isnt fair….wait til the N8 to compare

          • I hate Apple!
            July 12, 2010 at 7:46 am

            the problem is the “waiting” is Taking so long… there is an iphone 3GS (Unlocked) with IOS4 for 200$ i can buy… im thinking of buying it… cuz i dont wanna buy any symbian phone anymore.. and the meego is taking along time to hit the market… and nokia is losing lots of fans… NOKIA COME ON DO SOMETHING!!! KICK SOME A$$!!

        • Roger Johnson
          July 12, 2010 at 10:39 am

          A.) Stop being impatient 🙂

          B.) Apps for MeeGo are written in Qt. And what can S60 5th edition, Symbian^3 and ^4 all run? Apps written in Qt.

          I rest my case 🙂

  13. N#O#R#U#L#E#S
    July 12, 2010 at 9:15 am

    s4 has completly rebuilt 3d UI..cortex processor and 512 mb ram are the min requirements! so forget it to N8!!

    • Aymen
      July 12, 2010 at 9:58 am

      this isn’t true, Symbian^4 don’t need a lot of ram and more powerfull processor, because Symbian^4 can work on the 100 euro devises, theses devises at 100 euro can’t have 512 RAM and more powerfull processor.
      Technically, the N8 can run perfectly Symbian^4, Symbian is very optimized and don’t need a very powerfull phone (like the needs of Android 2.2 or windows mobile 7), and Symbian^4 will need less ressources than Symbian^3 and will offer more amazing features and a new excellent UI that rival with Android and iOS, Symbian^4 will be the new “renaissance” of Symbian.
      Symbian Foundation said that the Symbian^3 is only an intermediate version, the major version with the big amount of new features and the full remaked UI will be Symbian^4, Symbian^4 is the major version of Symbian

      we hope that Nokia make decision to upgrade N8 to Symbian^4, this will be the most good news of N8 and for all Nokia fanboys

  14. Frank
    July 12, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I’m SO looking to install Android on that thing.

    • Andre
      July 12, 2010 at 4:34 pm

      You will fail, miserably

  15. John Wiegand-forson
    July 12, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Hardware is very impressive Software is also if you stop reading certain “blogs” 🙂

  1. July 11, 2010 at 2:03 pm

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