It has been almost six months since Nokia signalled its serious touchscreen intentions in unveiling the N97, so it's about jolly well time the handset went on sale...
Thankfully it looks like those still charmed by this spec-tacular handset won't have to wait long as today the Finns revealed the N97 has gone on pre-order at its UK online store for the sizeable sim free price of £500.
Now given this RRP is even more expensive than the £488 N96 at launch and a whole £108 more than a 16GB PAYG iPhone 3G what do you get for your outlay? The answer: rather a lot. For starters the N97 is the first handset (though maybe not for long) to have 32GB of native storage and it backs that up with a 16GB compatible microSD slot. There's a 3.5in 640 pixel wide resistive touchscreen (sadly not capacitive or multi-touch), HSDPA, WiFi, aGPS and a five megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens.
Clearly targeting those unmoved by touchscreen typing - especially given the resistive input - Nokia has also bolted on a full sliding landscape Qwerty keyboard. As always, you do pay for this extra addition however since the N97 measures 117.2 x 55.3 x 15.9mm (18.25mm at the camera) and weighs approximately 150g. That said, the N97 will be the first Nokia handset to launch with the early anticipated Ovi Store
Black and white versions of the N97 will be on sale (black all the way in my book) but for those looking for a subsidised network deal you may have some time to sit it out yet. The brave N97 native Skype integration has already seen the handset rejected by O2 and Orange and while this would seemingly make the bombastic mobile an ideal fit for Skype friendly 3 there has been no news of a deal to date. It also remains to be seen whether using the N97 sim free on networks such as O2 and Orange will simply see them detect VoIP data and block the necessary ports for access on their 3G networks. After all it has been a tactic in the past.
So be excited dear readers, but also cautious.