Nokia gathered together some of the UK tech press today to talk about the forthcoming Nokia N8, announced at the end of April, which will be their flagship handset on Symbian^3 operating system.

The N8 is designed to bring together a fast handset, with "better" camera (some 12 megapixels) and a capacitive touchscreen display and fuse mobile and home entertainment, offering a mini HDMI built right into the hardware.

The hardware design is centre stage here, and we think it looks like it has taken design cues from the automotive industry: there is a distinct retro-futuristic look to that tapered end.

But the design takes things further. You can't open it up and view the innards, which means you can't change the battery and externally you'll find a SIM and microSD card slot. It is surprisingly weighty in the hand. The cutout around the Micro-USB socket looks sexy too, in a Mac sort of way.

Sadly, Nokia wouldn't let us turn the N8 on, so here we have the hardware, in all its glory in a shocking lime green colour. Nokia asked us to point out that this is a prototype model, hence the C0, rather than N8, at the top left of the display.

The N8 is expected to land in autumn this year, when we'll be able to see whether Nokia has cracked this whole social mobile thing, or whether the lead-time to launch will leave the N8 behind the crowd.

UPDATE: We've had a second look at the Nokia N8, this time in full working order. We've grabbed some more shots for your viewing pleasure.

Additional photos by Paul Lamkin.