We have heard rumors of a MeeGo device coming from Nokia for some time and late last night Nokia announced the Nokia N9 MeeGo device. As much as I like Nokia products, I don’t know why they want to again have four operating systems to support with Symbian, Series 40, Windows Phone, and MeeGo. I think MeeGo will just end up being another hobby device, like the N900, and according to FoneArena the US is not a launch country so we may not even see it here until 2012.
Their press release states it will ship later this year and honestly I would rather just see Nokia devote these resources to Windows Phone or even improving Symbian rather than spending time on a phone that will appeal only to the most die hard Nokia fan who doesn’t care about smartphones being part of a complete ecosystem.
The N9 specifications include the following:
- 1 GHz Arm Cortex A8 OMAP3630 processor
- MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan operating system
- Penta-band 3G radio (Yeah Nokia, why can’t anyone else do this?) at just 14.4 Mbps
- 8 megapixel Carl Zeiss camera with dual LED flash
- Front facing camera for video calls
- 3.9 inch AMOLED display at 854×480 pixel resolution
- NFC chip
- Bluetooth 2.1
- 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
- 1450 mAh battery
- Dimenions of 116.45 x 61.2 x 7.6 mm and 135 grams
It looks to have specs matching current devices, except for the processor and slower wireless cellular radio and in six months won’t stand out in the crowd at all. There are no buttons on the front and everything is controlled by the touchscreen interface. The N9 will come in Magenta, Cyan, and Black and the design does look beautiful with the curved Gorilla glass.
Check out some Nokia N9 resource sites for more information:
I just posted an article on ZDNet about my thoughts regarding adoption of Windows Phone 7 by Nokia in regards to Zune Marketplace services and as you can read the Windows Phone 7 experience is very broken outside the US. In my opinion, the memo supposedly from Stephen Elop has a very US-based focus which is great for Nokia fans in the US like me, but just doesn’t feel quite right for Nokia.
I now have two Windows Phone 7 devices that I use on T-Mobile, the HTC HD7 and Dell Venue Pro, and I personally find them both to be quite fantastic with Xbox LIVE games, Zune music services and streaming, awesome applications in a Marketplace just getting past 8,000 apps, and a very fun and fresh UI. As I point out though, these services and experiences are NOT what people around the world will see on a Nokia Windows Phone 7 device. If Nokia’s intent with WP7 is to focus these devices on the US and UK, then maybe this strategy will add a few thousand more users. However, Nokia doesn’t have a high end brand association here in the US so they would have to tell the story of both their hardware and the slowly rolling out Windows Phone 7 platform. Going with WP7 is not an easy task and Nokia will have to work just as hard to sell them as they would by putting efforts into MeeGo or Symbian with full Qt support.
OK, let’s start this off by making sure you know that MeeGo 1.1 is intended for developers only to try on their N900. I assume no risk for your N900 if you decide to try out MeeGo yourself. The instructions on MeeGo Experts don’t look too bad, but since I am not a developer I am not going to try it without some more research to ensure I know what I am doing before I give it a try. Any readers out there get MeeGo up and running on their N900?
It looks like it is time to put my SIM back into my N900 and start messing around with the device again. I just uploaded it to the PR1.3 firmware and that went well. We now see that MeeGo 1.1 for the N900 is available so you can dual boot your N900 and check it out.
It seems this process still requires some developer skills, but we will keep an eye out for a process to share with you all. If you find out how we can do it fairly easily, then please share with the group. So now it seems you can dual boot into MeeGo or play webOS games, isn’t it great to have a Nokia N900?
I just read over on The Handheld Blog that PR1.3 for the Nokia N900 is rolling out across different regions right now. This will bring the firmware up to v20.2010.36-2 and is available over the air. I don’t have my N900 with me at the moment so I cannot confirm if it is available in the US yet, but will try when I get home tonight.
I understand the new firmware has some bug fixes, stability improvements, and support for Nokia’s Ovi Suite. It is also supposed to aid developers in dual booting their devices into MeeGo. It is doubtful that any MeeGo hardware will be coming out this year so this should give enterprising users the capability to try out MeeGo for themselves on the N900 and it is something I will be looking into on my N900 soon.
After I get my Nokia N900 updated I will look around and see if I can find any other specific updates and if an official changelog is posted I will include that as well.
I LOVE my Nokia N900 and it is saying a lot for a device if it stays in my collection for a full year or longer and I have now had the N900 for just about a year. I was disappointed to hear it wouldn’t get Maemo 6 or MeeGo, but according to a post on FoneArena the N900 may get support for dual booting Maemo and MeeGo with a PR 1.3 update in November. I don’t know if this is just someone dreaming of the best scenario for N900 owners or what, but if it happens that will make me very happy. I will probably end up getting the N9 or whatever MeeGo device comes out, but if I can try MeeGo on my N900 first that would be fantastic.
Is anyone else around here getting tired of Nokia executives leaving the company? I think the OPK change at the top was warranted, if for no other reason than to give the perception of changes coming. I do not like seeing Anssi go though and today we hear from Engadget that Ari Jaaksi, VP of Nokia’s MeeGo Devices, has resigned. As some on Twitter have requested, will all Nokia executives who are thinking about leaving please resign now all at once so we can move on and reclaim the mind share needed to match the market share?
I am VERY satisfied with the Nokia N8 and cannot wait until my own pre-ordered unit arrives. I am likely going to pick up the Nokia N9 though too since I want to try out MeeGo and really like my Nokia N900 too. Eldar, yeah that guy, apparently has a N9 and has stated that the hardware is near perfect while the software needs works. Obviously the software needs work since it hasn’t been finished yet, but things are looking promising for a device that hasn’t even been announced yet. BTW, his N8 follow up when the software was more refined was quite positive, yet that wasn’t picked up by the major media outlets, was it?
As you know I wrote up my Nokia World 2010 closing thoughts on Nokia Experts and also posted thoughts on the lack of any effect of NW 2010 on the US market and have to admit I was a bit cynical in those posts. I am an admittedly a Nokia fanboy, why else would I run this site?, and was caught up in the joy of awesome hardware last week at Nokia World while hearing little talk about the US market. I had some time to stew over this a bit and wrote these posts last night while fighting off a nasty cold that is overtaking me after returning from my trip to England. On the advice of a friend, Ricky Cadden, I went back through some of my posts here on Nokia Experts and realized I will always be a Nokia fanboy and I cannot be too harsh on Nokia when it comes to the US because honestly it is quite a bit different than other markets and I will give them more time to figure it out.
CDMA and multiple WCDMA frequencies
At first I was going to let Nokia off the hook by agreeing that the CDMA vs GSM and multiple frequencies used by US carriers is a good excuse to skip the US market. Then I realized that HTC, Samsung, RIM, and others have been able to make devices for all of these carriers so there really is no excuse for Nokia not to spend some money and work hard with US wireless carriers to get their devices out into Americans hands. Surprisingly Nokia is doing well supporting the add AWS (1700 MHz) frequency of T-Mobile USA, but T-Mobile is also one of the best carriers for Nokia with limited crapware installation and excellent data and voice pricing plans.
You might be thinking that Nokia will have a better chance when LTE is rolled out, but I believe we will see the same multiple frequency issue even if every carrier will then have SIM cards. To have an impact in America, Nokia will have to work with the carriers to offer subsidized devices or they will always be a niche player with devices only bought by those of us astute enough to understand the power of a Nokia smartphone.
Nokia works with media and bloggers
I have some good carrier relationships with Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile along with relationships with HTC so I have the chance to try out quite a few devices for ZDNet reviews. That said, I have never had any better relationship than with Nokia who sometimes lets writers use their devices for long term loans so that more complete coverage can be provided. In the days when the Nokia Nseries Blogger Relations program was up and running there was no one that could stand up to the way Nokia allowed us to check out early devices and provide honest feedback, both positive and negative.
I have lots of respect for Peter Rojas and everything he has done over the years with Gizmodo, Engadget, and GDGT, but I have to say I disagree with many of his points made in his latest editorial titled Nokia’s Fear of Failure and one of the most glaring problems I have with his article is this statement: “Just wait until you see how bad the new N8 is compared with the iPhone 4 or any of the top-tier Android phones.” Really Peter, have you tried the latest software and hardware of the Nokia N8? It is actually quite good and I am more pleased with it than I ever expected I would be. As a person who has used all of the latest smartphone platforms I would have to say the N8 can easily hold its own against the top smartphones today. Some aspects are the almost the same as Symbian S60 5th Edition, but Symbian users like this familiarity for the most part and keeping some of this will let them use their new device without having to relearn the interface. There are also several new elements to give the customers a feeling that they have a competitive device. The home screens look a lot like Android and the extremely fast, faster than iOS, cover flow media player UI is fantastic. The Nokia N8 will sell millions in countries outside the US and unfortunately I think only a few of us who buy them SIM unlocked here will get the chance to experience a very good Nokia product.
I agree that there are problems at Nokia, as we have seen with their steadily declining market share and falling profits. They haven’t had a good high end smartphone for a couple of years now after releasing the “flagship” N97 with old internal hardware and an operating system not optimized for touch. Nokia fired their CEO and another VP has resigned as they start to show outwardly that they are serious about change. These leadership changes will take some time to have an effect, but I think their decision to move to an OS powered by Symbian (the new Symbian from the Symbian Foundation that is) was the right move last year and it shows in the four new products they announced and are showing off here at Nokia World. The experiences I saw across all four devices were fairly consistent so even a low to mid-range device owner will see fresh UI aspects.
Apple has a single device, I guess up to three, if you count previous generations of the iPhone that can still be found compared to something on the order of 10-20 current Nokia S60 and S40 phones (dependent on region) so the amount of money Nokia spends on R&D is definitely going to run at a MUCH higher rate. Nokia spends money reaching the entire spectrum of mobile phone user while Apple focuses on just the high end buyer who has money to spend. Nokia also spends money on various technologies, sustainability issues, services, and much more to do their part to help the planet. If they spent money on a single device and platform, I would have to say it would be scary how fantastic that product would most likely be.
I understand that large companies like Nokia, and Microsoft too, have trouble bringing all the players together to launch successful products, but I do not agree that Nokia lost their way regarding innovation. I think the innovation judgement is highly dependent on your perspective as a consumer and your definition of innovation. The N8 itself has some pretty innovative functions and capabilities, such as USB-to-Go, 12 megapixel camera with the largest optical sensor ever seen on a camera phone, pentaband WCDMA so we don’t have to worry whether or not it supports T-Mobile or AT&T 3G in the USA, Bluetooth 3.0 implementation, and more. How about the Nokia X3 Touch and Type? This phone may not appeal to the smartphone enthusiast, but what other phone have you seen that is dirt cheap and give you a full phone keypad (millions of people still prefer these) with a decent touch screen display and powerful applications? Nokia still does innovate and I don’t think the US media gives them enough credit for the things they do.
Much of the innovation in Nokia products is related to services too, especially when you look at services impacting developing countries (such as Ovi Life Tools and Nokia Money where Nokia’s innovation has led to families having gained valuable tools to live a better life.
I don’t think Nokia is as broken as the US media seems to think it is and having spent some time today with several new Symbian^3 devices I think Nokia is on the right track with such a consistent mid to high level operating system that should encourage developers to bring products to their platform that will at least sustain the millions of consumers they currently have with products coming in the future running MeeGo and Symbian^4 bringing more from other platforms.
Am I off my rocker and am I looking at Nokia through rose colored glasses? This is Nokia Experts so I am obviously a fan of Nokia products and services, but if you follow my writing you also know I don’t hold back punches when I see mistakes and missteps by Nokia.
We haven’t seen much about MeeGo here at Nokia World, but some encouraging news comes from Engadget that Mr. Peter Skillman, former Palm Design VP, has been hired on as part of the MeeGo team. Palm’s webOS is a very good mobile operating system so it is encouraging to see Nokia bring someone with Peter’s skills to the team. Sorry about that Dieter, I honestly still do with webOS the best of luck.
I understand that the focus at Nokia World is on the mass market and Symbian, but as a Nokia fan I sure would like to have heard more about MeeGo. I am thinking we may not see a device launch in 2010, but after seeing how good the new N8, E7, C6, and C7 are with Symbian^3 I think that Nokia will do just fine this holiday season.