I have never been a Nokia fan, may be a bit during the Nokia 6600 times, but definitely not in recent times. They used to release truckload of similar sounding devices here in India and other emerging countries. A few Nokia
fanboys loyalists, specially here in India, used to go gaga over some of the releases like N900 & E6, but they never really struck a chord with me. And last night when I was seeing some geeks on Twitter getting hyper about Nokia Connection event, I didn’t bother to give a hoot and went to sleep. Things had changed drastically by the time I woke up today.
Nokia N9 was made official. The stunning beauty swept me off the floor, the very first time I saw her. I hate to sound like a fanboy while describing a phone, but mind you, this is coming from someone who never really cared about Nokia. You can dig up the pages of Technically personal, you will hardly find any Nokia related articles.
Nokia N9 Design: Beautifully Simple
The box based design with precision crafted unibody and curved glass without a single button was enough to floor me. At-least one of the three stunning colors – Black, Magenta and Cyan should please each one of you. Nokia has always had the best hardware, best design & best form factor. So, this should not come as a surprise for Nokia fans. But for me, who never bothered to glance at more than a couple of pictures from the press releases, this was too good to ignore.
3.9″ AMOLED display with capacitive multi-touch screen has an aesthetic design as well. The display is 2.5D curved Gorilla glass, similar to the ones you find in those top-end Samsung Android phones. Having zero buttons at the bottom makes the screen look really big. At 3.9″ it is smaller than those monstrous phones like Samsung Galaxy S2 & HTC Sensation and I believe that’s the right size and form factor for a phone.
Nokia N9 Hardware: Amongst the Best
Just go through the hardware specifications of Nokia N9 – 1GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 8MP Camera with Carl Zeiss lens & 4x Zoom, Dual LED Flash, 16GB of inbuilt memory, built-in NFC, 1500mAh battery, 802.11 b/g/n wifi and weighing just 135 grams! Impressive, isn’t it?
Yes, it does lack a few things, specially the front facing camera, which has become a norm these days & also an FM radio. But for me, those are not deal-breakers, not even close!
Imagine taking a 720p HD video on a 8.1MP Carl Zeiss camera and viewing it on a 3.9″ AMOLED screen with 16 million colors! Mind-blowing experience it would be!
Nokia N9: Powered by MeeGo Harmattan
If at all there is a possible weak point, it is the OS. Nokia has always had the best hardware for smartphones, but they lost the race due to their not-so-smart OS called Symbian. But N9 is powered by MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan, the open source mobile operating system with a new UI that would make one handed use a breeze and at the same time, speeding up the access to your favorite apps, and with the all new Swipe UI, Nokia is doing just that.
You just need to tap the screen twice to unlock. And once you do that, you will be greeted with three views – the app view, the events view & the multitasking view. If you had ever used N900 before, you would know how beautiful the multi-tasking is on MeeGo. The event view pulls in things from Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds etc and also act as a placeholder for notifications. The UI experience cannot be explained in words. The way for now is to experience it yourself with the demos provided by Nokia for the developers.
I had attended quite a few preview events of MeeGo in the past and it always looked like a half-baked OS. But with MeeGo Harmattan, Nokia seems to have ironed out lot of things and if you see the demo videos, you will agree the UI looks great. But UI isn’t everything! Core apps like Maps, navigation and web browser are written in Qt. The web browser supports HTML5 and uses the latest Webkit 2 technology giving faster and better browsing experience. Services like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo and Skype are seamlessly integrated with the OS and they all support single sign on and work out of the box.
Nokia N9 comes with several in-built apps including the ones mentioned above. But now, Nokia needs to work its ass off to get enough developers on-board. This will be a huge challenge. No matter how good the hardware is, how great the OS is, the success of a phone and the platform lies in the quality (and quantity) of apps. Nokia and Intel have been working to get developers on board for over a year now but the real onus will be on the success of Nokia N9.
I am sure there will be some people reading this article who will be pointing fingers at the future of MeeGo development, specially after the exit of Nokia’s MeeGo team manager Alberto Torres in February 2011. But Nokia has not officially stopped the development of MeeGo. If at all Nokia N9 hits a bulls-eye, we might as well see some real good stuff coming out for N9 in near future. Ignore it at your own peril.