At Nokia Convention in Singapore, Nokia unveiled its upcoming N9 mobile phone. The N9 features Nokia’s typically gorgeous hardware paired with the MeeGo operating system. Judging from the numerous videos the company posted, the N9 looks like a wonderful phone — so wonderful that many people are wondering why Nokia committed so extensively to Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.
On the hardware side, the N9 features a 3.9-inch AMOLED screen with a resolution of 854×480. The screen is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass for extra durability. The N9 is powered by a 1GHz OMAP 3630 processor, which is based off of ARM Cortex A8 architecture. While that seems dated compared to the dual-core chips found in Android and iOS products, MeeGo doesn’t require as much power to run at a snappy rate. Apps, particularly games, are another matter and it will be interesting to see if the relatively modest processor limits the N9’s app potential.
The body of the N9 is made from a single piece of polycarbonate, which is a fancy word for expensive plastic. Nokia chose polycarbonate instead of metal or glass so as to avoid signal issues. I’m curious to see how the N9 feels compared to the luxurious N8, which uses an anodized aluminum casing. The phone packs an eight-megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss lens. Nokia’s high-end phones feature the best mobile cameras in the world and I’m expecting great images from the N9.
The good news for American customers is that the N9 supports the 3G bands used by AT&T and T-Mobile. This also makes it a compelling option for world travelers.
The software side of the N9 surprises. The N9 will be the first mass consumer product using the MeeGo operating system. This particular version of MeeGo runs on top of Nokia’s Harmattan skin. At first glance, the OS seems really elegant and intuitive. It uses three panels — one for an app locker, one for notifications (including social networking), and one for apps that are currently running. It’s simpler than modern operating systems like Android, iOS, webOS, and Windows Phone 7, but it still seems powerful.
As far as apps go, the N9 will run native MeeGo apps as well as QT apps. The good news is that it will launch with robust software support thanks to QT. Remember, QT apps run on Symbian and there are still millions of Symbian phones floating around the globe. Furthermore, Nokia is still committed to launching new Symbian devices. That said, I wonder how many developers will code apps that take full advantage of the MeeGo OS and the N9 hardware.
On paper (and video), the N9 looks like typically excellent Nokia hardware paired with atypically elegant Nokia software. I love Android for my phone and iOS for my tablet, but I’m still highly interested in the N9. The software seems refined and user friendly, which is shocking for a Nokia product. I’m tempted to pick one up for editorial purposes and as my world phone.
How about you boys and girls? Any of you interested in the Nokia N9?