Why you should be excited about the Nokia N9

Why we think the Nokia N9 will please your average consumer, but not serious technology buffs

Nokia N9

Nokia N9

Earlier this week, Nokia lifted the lid on its latest smartphone, the Nokia N9. It is the struggling company's first smartphone to run the open sourced MeeGo operating system, a joint collaboration between Nokia's Maemo project and Intel's Moblin software. It's also the first smartphone from Nokia in at least three years that we've genuinely been excited about getting our hands on.

Read our detailed preview of the Nokia N9.

Predictably, the Nokia N9 was met with a chorus of disenchanted press upon its release. Although still a dominant mobile manufacturer, Nokia has struggled to compete in the high-end smartphone market against slick, touchscreen rivals. Current Nokia smartphones like the N8, the C7 and the E7 are sluggish and unintuitive compared to their rivals — including Apple's ever-conquering iPhone, and a wealth of Google Android smartphones from manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and Motorola.

Read Nokia N9 vs. iPhone 4 at Techworld Australia.

In February, Nokia announced that it would be switching its focus to produce Windows Phone 7 powered smartphones for its premium devices. Its Symbian software that powers current smartphones, including the latest N8, C7 and E7 devices, will continue to be supported with both software updates, and a range of new models, (up to 10 new Symbian-based smartphones will be released within the next year) but Nokia's "primary smartphone strategy" will be Windows Phone 7 smartphones.

This makes the launch of the MeeGo-powered Nokia N9 more than a little confusing. Most analysts believe the success and strength of rival ecosystems like Apple and Google will leave little room for smartphones like the N9, which many expect to be a niche device. Nokia seems to be perfectly happy with that, and says the N9 aims to "showcase new ways to use a smartphone" — the company's CEO Stephen Elop has revealed that many of the N9's user interface features may be seen on upcoming Nokia Windows Phone 7 devices, the first of which are expected to hit the market at the end of this year.

Regardless of Nokia's Windows Phone 7 strategy, the fact remains that Nokia smartphones with Microsoft software are still months away from becoming a reality. In the meantime, Nokia remains well behind its competition, and simply waiting for a Windows Phone device to change the company's fortunes would be a disastrous move. The N9 seems to fill the gap in the meantime, and will at least give Nokia a credible, refreshing and new alternative.

Nokia N9 Both the Nokia N9's hardware design and software will at least give Nokia a credible, refreshing and new alternative.

Tags nokia n9mobile phonessmartphonesNokiameego

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World

15 Comments

Frank

1

First of all, geeks are more likely to be attracted to a Linux phone than one based on Windows!

Secondly, iOS and Android may have hundreds of thousands of apps in their respective stores, but the vast majority are rubbish. Nokia needs to get the top 100 apps on to MeeGo for the N9, and that would keep most people happy - the remaining 99.9% of apps are not worth bothering about.

tzometa

2

why i can find a clean review of this phone, just critics to the company(nokia) and comparitions to other platforms os.These reviewers are not even familiar with maemo5 that is beutiful,
intuitive and do more than play a lot of apps and this phone took a lot from it so it will be great.

Sabaes

3

Haha .. lol .. "Geeks will probably wait until Nokia launches a Windows Phone 7 device" . The author obviously has no clue on what's going on. No geek, I mean NO TRUE GEEK will pick Microsoft's WP7 over a pure linux device like the N9.

nm

4

I have been liking my windows phone 7 and I've been a linux geek for the last 20 years. It's actually very useful. From a phone, the last thing I want is to run shell scripts on it. I haven't used the windows toolkit yet, and I think that's where you will find linux getting in the way of adoption. So unless the geek is writing his own app, i think the argument is a NOP.

The styling is very cool on this phone and if Nokia can get some heads turning with it, then when it updates it with the software innards from WP7 should make it a very attractive combination. It would have to be a new phone though since I think you have to have 3 buttons on the front of WP7 phones: back, home and search.

Abhishek

5

Its a FACT that you are a HORRIBLE reviewer and admin. Where did you learn to review a phone you moron!?!?

samuel

6

Most of the iPhone Apps are useless such as the "Flashlight" Apps which only make the screen ultra bright rather unlike the Ovi Store's BriteLight which uses the phones LED/Xenon Flash for light. The iPhone is pretty much useless without games. You also can't change the battery when the it's worn and loses charge, so you'll have to buy a new one. Android isn't that good since it can get computer viruses like a computer. Android phones/iPhones get really hot (Even with a case[hard/soft, I tried this]!) when you open lots of Apps/watch YouTube for like 1hr even with the charge plugged in and the batt level @ 100%. BlackBerry phones don't have a very good camera. And for Texting addicts, the Keyboard isn't good since the keys are so small. BlackBerry phones has lots of probs: Constant lock-ups, screen flip responds slow, video lock-up if you stop a video mid-play, Motorola bluetooth sync issues, random audio loss on calls, randomly colored pixels on 1/2 the screen when activating the camera, phone randomly reboots, are most of the complaints from users. Definitely fixable via a software update, but the question is when? Anyone who has ever owned a Blackberry before can probably count the number of games they’ve played on their phone on one hand – 1 finger, really? When it comes to gaming, the Blackberry can play BrickBreaker really well, but try to install any other game on it and you’re just asking for a cold experience. Because the Torch is driven by touch input and has no hard directional keys, making games becomes an even worse experience.

samuel

7

It’s clearly not impossible, though. The iPhone has become an amazing blockbuster success in the video game market with developers that have managed to utilize the device’s touchscreen to its fullest extent. I ran through a handful of games on the Torch, though, and was really appalled by how awful some of them were. If they weren’t fast-moving action games that had awful response to touchscreen input, they looked like something I played on my free Samsung phone from 1999.

I ran through all the games that are featured on the phone’s pre-installed settings – games that you would expect to be real highlights and gems of the device’s gaming capabilities. One of those was Sonic 2, a remake of the classic Sega Genesis title. The game, which must be played in portrait mode and will not auto-adjust if you hold the phone sideways, places an on-screen joystick at the bottom-left of the screen and a jump button at the bottom-right.
You wanna know what the problem is? Sonic, the character you’re controlling, happens to be at the bottom of the screen too. It was far too easy for my hands to get in the way of what was happening on the screen. Beyond that, the touchscreen joystick was hideously unresponsive. I would be pushing it to the right and it would register as me pushing it left. And if I wanted to quickly shift directions, forget about it. It really takes a lot to make a bad version of Sonic 2, but the Torch manages to pull it off. It was one of the most terrible gameplay experiences I’ve ever had. Other pre-installed games include Bejeweled and a puzzle game called Word Mole, which literally look like they could run on a 10-year-old phone.To be fair, mobile gaming has historically been kind of an afterthought, especially through the sweepingly vast majority of Blackberry’s lifespan as a brand. But the iPhone has changed that, and Android is stepping up its game. It’s quite easy to tell, though, that the Torch will always be at a significant disadvantage in this field because of the actual construction of the phone. If it can’t game, it can’t compete.

Lovenokia

8

Why we think the Nokia N9 will please your average consumer, but not serious technology buffs?

-- Because average consumers appreciate well design high quality products, Tec. have to criticis in order to make this business going forward.

Whatever Tec. think of Nokia, consumers will buy it because it has good quality hardware, so, there will be more Tec. joining creating app. for Nokia, guess that is the ecosystem Nokia wishes to build, and probably which ios and android don't want to see.

For consumers it is a good news, for competitors it is something bad and danger, would you let a baby grow up if you know later he will be your biggest enemy?

jephthah bobi

9

Why is it that when it comes to Nokia the review is on the down side, always negative?, Nokia has always been a pace setter in both the @dumb and smarthphone business, look at the communicator series, 9300, 9500, E90 and the N95 these phones were game changers in the industry whatever we have in ios, Andriod today are all refined versions of the above phone models

erhus

10

Nokia N9 is a masterpiece from Nokia, cant wait to have one.

harish

11

Wow, all the comments are amazing.
reviews are bad for nokia because - these Android using manufacturers pay(bribe) them in the name of survey and tell them to write negatives abt Nokia n positive abt others.
Nokia you are the true leader, pls bring out such master pieces often.

Commander jao

12

This is one of the few phones that I actually want to own. Not like to but want to.
only bummer is lack of camera button but is only minor, I get used to it :D

Jeaaaaanieeeee

13

Alright, this phone looks amazing. i want it even before i find out the features <3 love you nokia! aha

Too many dudes

14

Isn't it interesting the way tech dudes always look at the tech issues rather than - what the phone is trying to achieve...
There are many unsatisfied smart phone users out there that need access to the main sensible apps and functions without having to get lost in tech ramblings.

I hate Apple - their control of customers is arrogant. Microsoft have a long similar history. Android is great once it is set-up but who truly wants a phone as yet another moving tech tool that doesn't work easily to do the things most users truly want.

Bring on the Nokia N9 - it will show that marketing of arrogance is still arrogance - and if the N9 performs as simply as it appears it will show the Android folk up as simply dudes that want to play their tech tricks rather than get on with using the smart functions.

Bring on the disruption (what language Nokia used in their marketing)

Bianca

15

I have one very good reason it appeals to technical people. In the settings, you put it in developer mode. Now you have root access. Hearing that is what pulled my attention to it, and I previously was intending to stick with my current phone, because there was nothing on the market I wanted.

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