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Nokia N9: A savior or delusion

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Nokia N9: A savior or delusion
So, Nokia finally announced its MeeGo-powered N9 and all of a sudden we're getting all the more excited about the phone, the OS and the company's future as a whole. After today's announcement, we don't doubt that many have already gotten their hopes high for the Nokia N9. While this might be justified indeed, we wouldn't rush it just yet. There are still too many questions that need to be answered, before we know if the Nokia N9 will be ready to serve its purpose as a contemporary feature-packed high-end smartphone (that's what we want, right?), or simply turns out to be a sweet delusion with its attractive unibody construction and competitive spec sheet, but sub-par user experience.


All-touchscreen concept

It goes without saying that what has helped build most of the interest in the handset is its concept of having absolutely no keys to clutter the front. It's just you and that 3.9” AMOLED touchscreen. This, of course, makes the handset look somewhat innovative and intriguing, and we're totally in for it. Whether navigation will be comfortable though is another story. It depends on how it'll be implemented with the interface of the MeeGo OS. From the available demos so far (not much info), we can only say that it looks mostly straightforward. Whether this will be the case with the finalized product still remains to be seen.

Nokia N9: A savior or delusion
Nokia N9: A savior or delusion
Nokia N9: A savior or delusion

The screen plays a vital role when it comes to the positioning of the device on the market. In that aspect, the Nokia N9 seems well-prepared to us with its 3.9” display, which is pretty close to what some of you recently quoted as their most desirable screen size. We also find 3.9 inches to be a good balance between size and comfort. Nokia has been opting for AMOLED tech in its high-end smartphones ever since the N8, and we wouldn't blame it for the most part. AMOLED screens are indeed pretty impressive with their popping colors and high contrast levels, so the Nokia N9 is surely being competitive by counting on this particular screen technology.

One thing we should all be thankful to MeeGo for is that it finally brought Nokia out of the 360x640 world. The N9 will sport a contemporary resolution of 480x854 pixels, but it should be noted that for this screen res to stay relevant (at least in the high-end world), the handset should be released right about... now. Or at least very soon, because qHD phones are already popping up here and there.

Nokia N9: A savior or delusion
Nokia N9: A savior or delusion
Nokia N9: A savior or delusion

We wouldn't waste time discussing the device's build and execution. Nokia has showed us many times that it is capable of crafting beautiful and unique-looking handsets, and as it seems it won't disappoint us with the N9. It's not the hardware that we're uneasy about though, it's the software.


MeeWhat?

We are always getting excited upon hearing about a new mobile operating system that is gearing up to enter the fight. The more, the merrier, right? Plus, if the platform is good, chances are it will be able to gain some user adoption, as well as the attention of developers, and there you have it – more competition to speed up evolution. Unfortunately, up to this point, we've seen too little from MeeGo. We don't know what to expect. Sure, we saw the video demos, showing Nokia's implementation of the OS, but they hardly touched on the capabilities of the platform. From a design standpoint, it goes for a different approach. There seem to be no widgets on the homescreens, but instead, a lot of accent has been put on notifications and multitasking. Only when we get to use the phone, we'll know if this idea is working. What bothers us is that even on that official demo video, the interface is clearly not silky smooth, encountering some slight lag here and there. But if you'll be introducing an entirely new OS, which will be competing with the likes of iOS, Android and WP7, you better take things to the next level, not a step behind the competition. Anyway, we hope this will not be the case by the time the Nokia N9 launches.

One of the biggest issues with young platforms is the limited app support they have. Although we don't have any far-fetched hopes here, we do acknowledge the fact that a good part of the basics seem covered with MeeGo. It is expected that at launch time, the available app catalog will include fundamental titles like Skype, Facebook and Twitter, as well as some other goodies like AccuWeather, Foursquare, Vimeo, AP Mobile, Wi-Fi Hotspot app, Angry Birds, Galaxy On Fire 2 and Real Golf. Others will also be on board, of course. It won't be enough in the long run, but it looks like a decent start.



Seeing the audience's excitement and positive reaction to a new product by a manufacturer that is clearly struggling is indeed inspiring. Could it be that not WP7, but MeeGo is Nokia's future? And is it too late for the company to make a U-turn and get back to developing a MeeGo-powered portfolio? And why not, after all, Samsung managed to sell a few million units of those bada handsets. So why would Nokia, with its widely-recognized brand, be unable to introduce its own platform and manage to position it successfully on the market?

However, those are all questions we can't answer yet, although we wish we could. The still leading cell phone manufacturer by volume wasn't kind enough to reveal a specific release date for the N9, only said it's to launch later this year. But we hope Nokia execs are well aware that timing is of vital importance now more than ever, since considering the pace at which the industry is moving, the hardware they've come up with may soon be considered somewhat obsolete. Not once we've seen Nokia unveil strong products hardware-wise, which, unfortunately, have appeared tired and weak on the market, due to long delays. Here's for hoping that won't be the case this time. At best, the N9 will hit the shelves within a month, as one unofficial rumor implies, and thus appear as a surprising move in a market that still remembers who Nokia is. At worst, it will come in time for the Holiday season and will likely remain unnoticed in the storm of superphones that will be spreading the iOS and Android love all over the world.

Will the Nokia N9 play the role of a savior for the company, or will simply turn out to be a sweet delusion, an image of reality that will never be? As you can tell, it depends on too many factors, but all that are still well within Nokia's reach. We do presume it will still remain focused on Windows Phone 7, since it's obviously the safer way to go (or at least it seems so), but who knows, an unexpected turn of events might very well await right around the corner. What do you say?

58 Comments
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posted on 21 Jun 2011, 09:05 1

1. android_hitman (unregistered)


it's nice indeed, but will i buy it? don't know for sure.. the apps are keeping me tied to android and especially the buyed apps ..

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 10:00 3

10. Mat4Maemo (unregistered)


I wander what Nokia is thinking: are they going to produce three high end device a year with three operating systems: MeeGo, WP7 and symbian or 40 E-series?? Besides, N9 spects are not realy competetive with todays market...

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 14:12

28. snuxoll (unregistered)


Nokia has already made their platform strategy clear. Symbian handsets will continue to be released for quite some time, however they have made it abundantly clear Windows Phone 7 is their way forward (for better or for worse, which sucks because MeeGo looks awesome) for their smartphone platform. S40 has always been for low to mid range feature phones, a market Nokia still capitalizes on and it will be going nowhere.

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 23:52 1

43. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


i think it is the right decision to keep wp7 for their super high end, this as a side project, and symbian as low end... but, wp7 is the better option for them as they wont have to spened large amounts of mony on developing it, and they will be the main supplier...

posted on 22 Jun 2011, 16:11 1

54. ryk (unregistered)


It is important to understand that just a flashy UI doesn't make an OS or a smart phone. Its the ecosystem. And the most important thig that Meego, Maemo or even symbian lacks is a proper marketplace / app store. To setup an app store and expect developers register their apps there in a short time is near impossible. Win Phone7 seemed easier as it provides a platform whose development is the headache of another company which by the way is a software powerhouse.

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 16:09 1

36. Dark4o90 (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Feb 2011)


booooring

posted on 23 Jun 2011, 16:18

59. Jeromeo (Posts: 135; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)


I was foolish to buy a N900 out of shock and awe at something 'new & different'. Nokia will NOT provide updates, future support, repair support, or anything else 1 year past date of release. Android devices get OTA updates constantly, only the N8 gets few and far between updates.
I should have learned when I bought the N93. The N95 was a far better seller, so Nokia abandoned many other relative N-Series devices and only focused on support for the most popular device.
Do not make the mistake I made by sinking $650 into something that Nokia would soon abandon.

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 09:07 5

2. and1one66 (unregistered)


Why is it always that this site makes Nokia just negative? I mean, can't you give them some enough time to show what they've got? This site always in favor of Android and most of the time iOS, my goodness, are you really professionals? Do you think this kind of question will make consumers decide what to buy and what not to buy? Please, for the love of God, be fair enough for all cellular phone manufacturers and its OSes!

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 10:58 1

15. jthiagesan (Posts: 104; Member since: 20 Apr 2011)


yes you are correct, they just mention the cons of nokia mobiles and they rise market for android and ios.

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 17:00 1

37. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


They just spread the truth. Nokia hasnt been relavent in the cellphone world for about 3 years. If it wasnt for their extremely strong support in 3rd world countries to where they are basically the go to phone brand, they would be in the same position as RIM. Its always nice to see a new OS but it looks like its a little too late for it to be good.

posted on 22 Jun 2011, 00:32

45. NT (unregistered)


you forgot to say ..in the USA .. Nokia is pretty much still relevant in the rest of the world. I happen to be away from the USA for 3 years now. Yes I use android but Nokia still sells with the other people here.

posted on 22 Jun 2011, 16:21

55. ryk (unregistered)


Thats right. Nokia make sturdy and usable phones. Agree they no longer create a stir in the market like for eg. an N95 or N70 but their phones are reliable. If every thing around you falls apart you know you will have a functional phone, cause its a Nokia. They know how to make phone.

posted on 22 Jun 2011, 19:43 2

58. Diego! (Posts: 642; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)


There is no third world you mother F face!

I hate when people say that.

Anyway, Nokia N9 looks awesome! I love it. Hopefully it will get released soon worldwide. :)

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 09:11 1

3. phbelov (Posts: 124; Member since: 25 Mar 2011)


After I read some of the Eldar Murtazin's tweets, I think that the Nokia N9 won't be a savior for the company...

posted on 22 Jun 2011, 00:35 1

46. NT (unregistered)


Eldar bashes everything that is not Samsung. People say he hates Nokia and maybe that's true but he pretty much hates others too like LG.

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 09:17 7

4. 3gs (unregistered)


i dont get it when phone specialist like this sites write such articles. we all know single core or duo core doesnt matter if its not well implimented.iphones dont run a duo core processor yet they out perform most android phones out there with no lagg and ease of userbility. am strongly looking forward to a success story from this meego device and please phonearena there wasnt any lagg or so in the video. atleast thats what i see.Goodluck nokia

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 09:19 3

5. WirelessCon (Posts: 311; Member since: 11 May 2010)


Nokia, 2 years too late.

How long did they work on the N9? Concept to selling floor needs to be under 9 months to even compete in today's markets.

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 09:20 7

6. 3gs (unregistered)


and less i forget, hate it or luv it. this is the most beautiful touchscreen phone i av seen so far.

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 11:03 1

16. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 408; Member since: 24 May 2011)


i second that bro...

posted on 22 Jun 2011, 16:29

56. ryk (unregistered)


I would have third-ed that but I guess there are some phones from Samsung (Omnia7, Wave), HTC (Diamond2, Legend), LG Viewty Smart, even Nokia's C6-01. And yes I love the design of HTC Flyer too.

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 09:25 2

7. Xpple (unregistered)


The UI looks as thought it is uber simple and I think many people will like that. Really, three different screens that organize basically everything you do. That's simple to understand. So, you have the great multitasking of WebOS, with the simple icon app launcher of iOS with a dedicated section for messaging.

In other words, they have iOS cover with great multitasking ;)

The real question is, how does it actually perform? Will the battery die as fast as an Android or iPhone? Will it be smooth? Apps? Well, they'll most likely use Android apps along with their own so they will have enough.

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 09:28 1

8. WirelessCon (Posts: 311; Member since: 11 May 2010)


Will the screen scratch?
What's the battery life?
Does it do flash during browsing?
How is signal reception?
Does the GPS work effectively?
HDMI out?
Free tethering?

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 22:28

42. Charlie (unregistered)


Its gorilla glass so not unless you have diamonds in your pocket.

its got a larger battery than the N8 so at least a day's worth

It supports HTML5 heavily, so flash is probably 50/50

Its a nokia, signal will be fine.

Again, Nokia, GPS should work fine.

Why do people want HDMI on phones, i'll never understand.

tethering is supported, free? depends on carrier doesn't it?

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 09:56 4

9. bluechrism (unregistered)


One or two quick things:
"One thing we should all be thankful to MeeGo for is that it finally brought Nokia out of the 360x640 world. The N9 will sport a contemporary resolution of 480x854 pixels"Check the E90 communicator, and the N900 out, plus the E6 to some extend.

"Nokia has been opting for AMOLED tech in its high-end smartphones ever since the N8"
Did the N95 have one? I know my N85 did so at least since then

There are a couple of things to hope for and a couple of points that might detract from it. On the plus side are Qt apps which means it should be easy for developers of apps for N900 and Symbain to have their apps also run on the N9. This willl bring a longer life to the device and certainly make it more appealing then N900.

ON the down side, no widgets, minnimal landscape support and has anyone see a landscape qwerty on a screenshot/demo video yet? In many ways this is the anti-n900 which was landscape only with a widget based set of home screens and a hardware keyboard, so as the N900 successor, perhaps N900 users will think twice about upgrading - any idea if X-Terminal is an app?

The biggets X factor in this is nokia's response to sales. If sales are strong, will they release future devices with this OS (or an evolution of it)? Perhaps even if it's only 1 per year. A slab version of N900 with capacitive screen would have been an excellent addition to their line up and seen Meamo have much more success. I hope, if the N9 is well received and sells well, they release follow up devices. Windows Phone will be their primary smartphone OS of course, and launching one MeeGo based device/year wouldn't change that.

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 10:08

11. Thomas Verbraken (unregistered)


If the browser has Flash, the app store is as good as (or better) than with Symbian, de camera is as good as (or better) than Nokia N8, than I will surely buy it...

Waiting for first reviews...

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 10:14

12. soo (unregistered)


Carl Zeiss 8mp is good but without shutter key for camera ~.~

i have to reconsider...

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 10:16

13. hepresearch (unregistered)


Nokia N9-01? Cool idea and implementation, but hardware is a little behind the ball... meh...

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 10:54 4

14. PhoneLuver (Posts: 481; Member since: 05 Jul 2010)


I am impressed. But why did they have to make it look like Symbian? It just doesn't scream quality software.. (Even though it appears to be..)

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 11:13 2

17. mado (unregistered)


no other phones can compare iPhone..............
Nokia is wasting his time and money...........

posted on 21 Jun 2011, 14:20 3

29. digitaljedi (unregistered)


mado, you obviously don"t know what the hell you're talking about. There are about 2 dozen phones on the market that far outshine the iBrick. get a life dude!

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