Nokia World 2009 Live Report

Nokia World 2009
Hello and welcome to Stuttgart, Germany! We are here live for this year’s Nokia World 09. As you know, the manufacturer is holding the two-day Nokia World event annually, revealing lots of its hi-tech mobile devices to the world. In addition to what we already expect to see this year, we also hope that the leading company will show off some new and exciting products that were previously unseen. Hold tight, PhoneArena users, because we are all in for a wonderful journey!


Nokia N97 mini

We have been hearing a lot about that “mini” version of the Nokia N97 and finally – here it is! In a dramatic-looking video presentation, the leading manufacturer has announced the N97 mini. The S60 smartphone has a smaller touch-sensitive screen – 3.2-inch as compared to the 3.5-inch one of the N97. Of course, this has allowed the designers to keep the device’s overall size a bit more compact and thus it has gotten the name “mini”.

What other changes are there to be found regarding the phone’s design? Unfortunately, the answer is not much… Sliding the QWERTY keyboard out will still make the screen tilt, but we found the D-pad of the N97’s keyboard to be missing here. Other than that, the manufacturer has incorporated some stainless steel elements on the body.

Except for flick scrolling, the Nokia N97 mini doesn’t feature other interface changes. However, it will come with Lifecasting with Ovi, which will allow the user to publish status and location updates in Facebook directly through the homescreen. These software enhancements, as well as a number of new widgets will be available for the N97 as well, via software update this October.

Nokia N97 mini Specifications

It seems Nokia is no longer into long names (just as we are) and thus it has finally dropped the XpressMusic label in favor of the new Xseries. So, what this means is that the future music-oriented phones of the company will come under this branding. Today, we got to see the first two Xseries handsets, the touchscreen candybar X6 and the slider X3.

Nokia X6

Equipped with a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen, the Nokia X6 is certainly the more interesting of the two. At first, we’ve got to admit that it catches the eye with its straight lines, but after spending a few minutes with it we found its build quality to be subpar and we really find this quite unpleasant, especially having in mind its rather high price.

When it comes to specifications, the X6 is heavily-armed and ready for battle with the competition, offering a 32GB of internal memory, 5MP Carl Zeiss camera with a dual LED flash, A-GPS, 3.5mm jack, TV-out and a battery that should guarantee 35 hours of continuous playback. The screen is also optimized for a great multimedia experience with its 16:9 widescreen format.

In terms of software coming on board, the X6 will introduce the Playlist DJ app that is able to quickly create a playlist for you, depending on your mood. Otherwise, the version of the operating system is the same as the one found in the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic that we have thoroughly reviewed.

Keep in mind the X6 will be a “Comes With Music”-only device, meaning you won’t be able to get it without the service. Comes With Music allows you to download as many songs as you like from the Nokia Music Store for either 12 or 18 months, depending on the package you buy.

Nokia X6 Specifications

Nokia X3

A glimpse at the Nokia X3 is enough to notice that it is successor of the XpressMusic phones. Either in black/red or black/white blue, it looks as “aggressive” and youthful as the previous models. We like its size and weight but although parts of it are made out of metal, it still has that rather cheap feel (which isn’t that strange for an affordable model). The music shortcuts on the front are handy, although a bit hard to press. However, we’d definitely like to swap them for a bigger screen, as the 2.2-inch QVGA unit here is definitely not impressive these days.

Unlike the X6, the Nokia X3 is not a smartphone, but uses Nokia’s Series 40 interface. It is the first such phone to take advantage of the Ovi Store, which offers multimedia content and applications. There aren’t many bells and whistles but features worth mentioning are the stereo speakers and the built-in radio antenna, which allows for listening to radio without plugging a headset in.

Nokia X3 Specification


Nokia Booklet 3G

Netbook sales are skyrocketing and everyone wants to take a piece of the pie. Nokia is no different. What Nokia also has is great connections with the network operators (US excluded). The company has learned their lesson from the multimedia tablets and realized that making good hardware and selling it are two different things. Not to duplicate their mistake again, the new Nokia Booklet 3G is pretty much a netbook with 3G connectivity built-in. This way, selling it in large quantities will be a lot easier task – give it to the carriers, which will subsidize it, the users will buy it at a very low cost, pay their monthly data plans and everyone is happy! 

We always credit where credit is due and Nokia did a superb job with the design and appearance of the Booklet 3G. The whole body is one piece aluminum alloy; making is lighter and sturdier. We wished we had an Apple Mac air to snap a few comparison shots, but all we had was Samsung NC10. Take a look at the pictures and you’ll see what we are talking about – about 0.78 inches (2mm) width. Despite utilizing a huge 16 cell battery, the weight is about 2.65 pounds (1.2 kg). 

In terms of connectivity options, it has everything one can expect like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3 USB ports and interestingly HDMI port which we usually see in more mid-range laptops. In addition, the Booklet 3G also packs a GPS receiver.

The first time we saw the keyboard, we were like – that is very small. Once though we actually used it and compared it to the NC10’s, we were relieved. Typing is extremely easy and comfortable once you get used to it. The actual keys are smaller compared to the ones on the NC10 and are very similar to the Mac Air’s keyboard. 

When it comes to screen size, it is all about personal preference. We would have been happier with 11.6”, but still 10.1” is great. The actually screen quality is good, but not extraordinary and set at the highest brightness is pretty much the same as on the NC10. What we liked how the screen could be tilted to become almost flat with the table. 

The battery life is touted to be about 12 hours, which of course really depends on what you do. If you start playing 720p video, it would be less. Still, that is about an hour more compared to ASUS Eee PC 1101HA (it is only 1.3 GHz though). As of now, Nokia does not have plans to offer extended batteries. Because of its design and aluminum construction, the Booklet 3G does not need a cooling fan, which of course saves energy as well. 

In terms of processing power, a Z530 single CPU processor running at 1.6 is used. The clean Windows 7 ran very snappy like is does on most netbooks. The memory is 1 GB with no possibility for expansion. The same goes for the hard drive, which is 120 GB. 

Even though the netbook features a GSM module, phone calls cannot be made. The hot-swappable SIM card is used only for data connections. 
All things considered, we like the Booklet 3G mainly because of its design. If you are constantly on the road or need connectivity places where there is no Wi-Fi, and don’t want to plug those external data USB keys, you should consider it. If you just like the cool and sleek design and want to pay more for it – consider it. If you demand to watch 720p content on it – consider it. Everyone else can get similarly equipped one for twice less money. 

Nokia N900

The 770, Nokia’s first Internet Tablet was announced about 4 years ago. It did not have keyboard or a GPS and was primarily designed for Internet browsing. The N800 brought some improvements, then the N810 come with a keyboard for more convenient typing. In our reviews we liked them as devices to put on your bed table and read something before falling asleep, but didn’t think that a lot of people will like the idea of carrying one with them just to be able to browse the net when in a Wi-Fi area, chat and play any of the few games available for the Maemo platform. Everyone was trying to converge products into one, not make us carry more and more stuff.

With the new Nokia N900, the Finnish phone manufacturer goes the right way. The most important change in our opinion is adding a GSM module to it. This way Nokia takes down two rabbits with one shot. The first one is having it sold through carriers (subsidized). Secondly, there is no need to carry a tablet and phone any longer. Using the carrier’s GSM network, the N900 can browse the net anywhere, and can be used as a handset as well. Add the completely revamped interface and you actually get a very decent internet… computer (no, Nokia does not call it that way). Even though Nokia tries to present the N900 as yet another part of the tablet family, with just added phone functionality, we actually see it as an experiment to see if they can get the developer community on-board (Ovi Store will feature Maemo applications, so devs will finally start making money for their apps) and how the consumers will react to the “new” operating system.

Starting with the design, the N900 looks just as a regular phone with a large display. That is because instead of the 4.1” screen of the N810, the new one is only 3.5”, as big as on the iPhone. This helps for rather normal dimensions, allowing it to be fit into a pocket. Luckily, the screen resolution is kept the same as before and is WVGA (800x480 pixels).

Being an internet device with just added phone functionality, the regular on most phones send and end keys are missing here. Actually, there are no keys on the front at all. In order to make a phone call, you have to go to the phone menu and do it from there. Still, it packs an earpiece and a microphone, so you can hold it right next to your face while in a call, instead of using the speakerphone or a headset, as in the HTC Advantage X7510. Thumbs up for Nokia.

Stereo speakers are located on each side of device.  The 3.5mm headset jack and the stylus are on the right. Our only gripe when it comes to the design is about the top key row on the sliding QWERTY keyboard, which is too close to the edge of the top slider.  Well, we’d prefer a 5-row keyboard instead of a 3-row one, but it is better than nothing. The 5-megapixel camera with a kick-stand around it are located on the back.

The N900 runs on the new Maemo 5 platform, which offers revamped user interface, looking sleeker than before. There are total of 7 home screen pages, very similar to the Android ones. They house different widgets, which can be moved around and arranged as you like. Clicking on the top left corner of the home screen invokes the task switcher, which also looks very contemporary. The Mozilla-powered Internet browser is better than before, with a more intelligent zoom that can be controlled with a circular gesture (kinda funny, isn’t it). It packs Flash 9.4 and can be used not only for YouTube videos, but also for Vimeo or almost any Flash content, including our 360-degrees view!

The whole UI is very visually pleasing and easy to use. We really like a comment from a fellow journalist here at the show – “Maemo 5 looks like what Symbian should have been”.  Still, it is not nearly as popular and the apps for it are not all over the place. If Nokia keep on pushing new Maemo devices (including real phones), we think it can definitely find its place under the sun and become one of the smart phone operating systems, next to the other newbies.

Nokia N900 Specifications

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