Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nokia Unveils MeeGo-Powered N9 in Three Colors

While the mobile Relevant Products/Services world waits to see what the first Windows Relevant Products/Services Phone 7 device from Nokia looks like, the Finnish company is giving its MeeGo platform a go. On Tuesday it unveiled the Nokia N9.

With differentiation in mind, the Nokia N9 replaces the home key with a simple gesture -- a swipe. When a user is in an application Relevant Products/Services, a swipe from the edge of the display returns to the home page. There are three home views of the user interface to provide fast access to what's most important to a user, whether it's apps Relevant Products/Services, social networking, or some other feature.

"With the Nokia N9, we wanted to design a better way to use a phone. To do this, we innovated in the design of the hardware and software together," said Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia's head of design. "We reinvented the home key with a simple gesture: A swipe from the edge of the screen."

A Distraction for Nokia?

The N9 is built from a single piece of polycarbonate and features scratch-resistant curved glass with a 3.9-inch AMOLED screen. The polycarbonate body is supposed to offer superior antenna performance, which translates to better reception, better voice quality, and fewer dropped calls.

The N9 comes equipped with an eight-megapixel Carl Zeiss autofocus sensor, a wide-angle lens, and HD-quality video Relevant Products/Services capture. Users can watch videos in a true 16:9 widescreen format. The phone also features turn-by-turn drive and walk navigation with voice guidance in Maps. With a new dedicated Drive app, drivers can start navigating to a destination right away. And with Near Field Communication, the device lets users share images and videos between devices by touching them together.

The Nokia N9 will come to market later this year in black, cyan and magenta with storage Relevant Products/Services options ranging from 16GB to 64GB. But Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, said the N9 could be a distraction for Nokia.

Even Dangerous?

"The bottom line is that MeeGo is at the end of its life, to an extent. This is not the next platform that Nokia is building on. They are putting out some devices, they are planning to continue investing in the platform, but not planning on a huge number of MeeGo devices," Greengart said.

In fact, he said a device like the N9 could be dangerous for Nokia. That, he said, is because there could be plenty of interest in the device. He called the hardware "gorgeous" and the user interface "attractive."

"There will be some who will think, why is Nokia building Windows 7 devices when they can use MeeGo? Nokia cannot afford to listen to those voices, whether they are internal or external," Greengart said. "In terms of feature depth of applications, the application-development community, and cloud Relevant Products/Services services, Windows Phone is much farther along. MeeGo may look fantastic and in fact may be fantastic, but it can't compete on those metrics, and those are the metrics on which consumers are evaluating their phone."

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