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Nokia N9: Nokia’s first (and probably last) MeeGo device

Nokia stunned the world few weeks ago when it announced the Nokia N9, the Finnish company’s first (and most probably last) MeeGo-based smartphone. Aside from the operating system, the N9 introduces a new smartphone interface experience that doesn’t require the use of navigation buttons. The only physical buttons on the N9 is the obligatory power button and the volume control rocker.

Simplicity is a prominent theme on the Nokia N9. The device features a sleek unibody design with no physical buttons on the front facia. Nokia calls the N9 an all-screen phone, and it is that, the front portion of the Nokia N9 is indeed all screen.

Looking at the N9, we’re constantly reminded of the Nokia N8 and E7. The design language of all three devices are similar but the N9 goes evolves the language further to produce an outlooks that is as close to a comtemporary work of art as possible. At the front, the screen is a 3.9″ AMOLED screen with WVGA resolution of 854×480 which has a curved Gorilla glass. As comparison, the Nokia N8 had a 3.5″ AMOLED display pushing 640×360. The back is made out of polycarbonate material which is seamless to the overall design. Since this is an all touch screen phone, unlocking the screen is done by tapping on the display. Earlier on, we expected Apple to be the first to offer a button-less front screen device but looks like Nokia is the first to claim this title.

The N9 boasts one of the highest hardware specs we’ve seen on a Nokia smart phone to date with a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 OMAP3630 processor and a 1GB of RAM. Just like the N8, the new N9 boasts on its photography credentials with a 8MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics. Nokia even claims that the N9 camera is the fastest image capturing phone in the market today with a shot taken in just 2.6 seconds between switching a camera on and capturing an image.

Other features include NFC which lets you share files and media by tapping onto another device and Dolby Headphone/Dolby Digital Plus support.

The biggest highlight is the OS itself. While Nokia has pledged its future direction with Windows Phone 7, the new N9 runs on MeeGo 1.2. In its Harmattan implementation, Nokia has reduced the smartphone user experience to three central pillars — notifications, apps, and multitasking — and turned out a UI that’s functional, quick, and right up to date with the very best alternatives.

If MeeGo was a potential platform, why didn’t Nokia align with MeeGo from the get go? If even a small proportion of this vision was available to Elop when he decided to leap into Steve Ballmer’s open arms, could he not have kept his nerve and stood by it? The N9’s basic foundations are beautifully arranged and executed, and anything it may lack in extended functionality could’ve come over time — which offers almost a mirror image of the pre-Mango Windows Phone OS that he signed up for in February.

From our view, the Nokia N9 represents Nokia’s attempt to stay relevant in the competitive smart phone game. To maintain a place in consumer’s mind share, to garner confidence and show the world that is still has what it takes to build a device. That’s of course, until their Windows Phone line up comes full swing.

For more details up close with the Nokia N9, head over to their swipe page.

Head after the break for N9 promo videos, UI walkthough and photo gallery.

Nokia N9

Nokia N9 Design Story

Nokia N9 UI Overview


Full specifications can be downloaded here.