Tag Archives: N9

On The Road To The Lumia 800, Was The N9 A Speed Bump?

The Nokia N9 has been a somewhat difficult subject for Nokia, one that they are, and should be, immensely proud of. But one that has raised more questions than answers. When the February announcement with Microsoft came, everyone wondered what was happening to Nokia’s upcoming MeeGo phone. Nokia was quick to point out that they would indeed release a MeeGo based device. Then word started coming out that the original MeeGo device, which we now know as the developer only N950, had been canned, and replaced by a beautiful new touch only flagship.

Soon enough, Nokia Connections came and Nokia unveiled the N9. The reaction to that device was incredible, ranging from people calling for Elop’s head because of his decision to kill MeeGo, to calmer, saner voices wondering if Nokia should keep the MeeGo project going, if for nothing but just to keep Microsoft in check. Then we found out that the N9 would only be available in a handful of countries, the world was literally shocked. It made no sense, why release a product at all if you weren’t going to ship it to major markets such as UK, India, US among others. While the world waited and hoped that Nokia would reconsider, another thing happened.

In The Lumia 800 Picture, Where Does The N9 Fit?

A device code named Sea Ray, which we now know as the Lumia 800 leaked. Infact, Stephen Elop’s entire presentation to the employees, which was supposed to be shared on the company intranet, got out. Some called it a controlled leak, while most just took the device in and didn’t care as long as the could look at an unreleased Nokia phone, specially a secret Nokia Windows Phone. The result was that a lot of the chants of ‘bring the N9 to my country’ stopped. Nokia’s policy was finally beginning to make sense, they weren’t going to release a device that looked just like the N9 in the same market as the N9, specially when that device would define their foray into the Windows Phone market.

The N9 shipped to positive reviews, mine included, but the consensus among the reviews clearly was that as much as they loved the device, they couldn’t honestly recommend the N9 to someone knowing that the Sea Ray was around the corner. But the N9’s core strengths really came through, a breath-taking design, a unique yet intuitive UI that made sense, and judging by the Maps and browser, Nokia could do software.

Finally, last week the Lumia 800 was revealed at Nokia’s megaevent with literally thousands watching. The stock market liked what they saw and the Nokia stock started climbing. A did a quick hands on and unboxing and then two days later a much more through (p)review. I really seemed to like the device.

This is when we all wondered, if we had not seen the N9 before would we have loved the Lumia 800 even more? The short answer to that question for me is yes. When you first look at that design, most people go head over heels over it and if Stephen Elop got on stage at Nokia World and showed off that design for the first time, we’d have had an even bigger WOW.

In The Lumia 800 Picture, Where Does The N9 Fit In?

Now for the long answer, knowing that the Sea Ray was coming, should Nokia have released the N9? I’d again say yes. Why? First and foremost, the people in the countries where the Lumia 800 is going on sale haven’t seen the N9. So for a vast majority the design is fresh, new and amazing. The minuscule minority, which has seen the design before will still love it, its still less than two months old in the real world and Windows Phone doesn’t make it any less pretty. Infact, I’d say that the jazzy WP UI is a great match to the N9’s physical design.

Next, in various interview Elop’s stated that it was a great platform for Nokia to learn from, see what people like and go on from there. He’s made it clear that none of the N9’s strength’s are going away. We’ve already seen the design used with the Lumia 800, Qt is coming to the next billion and the Swipe UI will apparently make its way to Meltemi, Nokia’s now not so secret platform for low-mid range devices.

Finally, the period between February to October was long and painful. Nokia was bleeding marketshare and on top of that mindshare, which we all know can be as bad as loosing marketshare. The N9 showed the world that innovation was still alive and well at Nokia and that the Finnish giant was far from dead. The message was imagine if this is what we can do alone, think about what we’ll do with Windows Phone in a few months.

At the end of the day, the glory period for the N9 is over. Its all about the Lumia 800 now, no matter how you feel about open source versus the closed Windows Phone platform, its water under the bridge. With the marketing blitz planned for Windows Phone devices, only the die hards will cherish the N9 and don’t get me wrong, it’s a device meant to be cherished. The N9 will keep selling in countries where the Lumia 800 isn’t shipping as yet and I’m sure Nokia will provide great support for it, but its time for the Lumia 800 to hold the Nokia torch.

In The Lumia 800 Picture, Where Does The N9 Fit?

The N9 will remain a crown jewel in Nokia’s arsenal, a hacker’s phone, a Qt device to help prime the developers for the next billion. So I don’t fault Nokia for announcing it and then the Lumia 800, look at what Apple did with the iPhone 4 and 4S, those things even run the same OS! The N950 would never have been able to generate the kind of buzz for Nokia that the N9 did, it bided time for the transition and it was never a lost cause. Nokia’s goals with the N9 were just, lets say, different.

Nokia Sweden Is Looking For 30 People To Test Drive The N9

Nokia Sweden is looking for 30 people to test drive the N9, and by test drive they mean – they give you the device, you play with it, you talk about it, and after all that is done, you get to keep it. That’s not all, they’ll even award one person from the lucky 30 with a weekend in London if they think he or she did the best job in that role. Brilliant.

So whats the catch? First, the contest (English translation) is only open those of you in Sweden, there’s nothing in the terms and conditions about that (as far as Google Translate and I can tell!) but I’m assuming that anyway. Next, to enter you need to make a strong pitch and then get your friends on Facebook to back you up. After August 21, they’ll pick 30 people who’ll get to rock the N9 as test pilots in September and October. There’s also a N9 Summer Tour that kicks off on the 15th of month and passes by a bunch of Swedish cities before ending in August.

All of this at least tells us one thing, the N9 will probably be in stores come September. For the rest of the world, you can still win a N9 here.

Ovi Music On The N9 Supports Streaming Radio

We’ve known that the N9 would come with an all new version of Ovi Music very different from the clients we’ve seen on other Symbian devices. But one thing that comes as a very pleasant surprise is that the client on the N9 in-addition to a new UI, also supports streaming radio.

You can browse music by genre as you would normally, but now you will also see a ‘Play genre radio’ button there and with one tap you can have Ovi Music stream tracks from that genre. The streaming service is powered by by Aupeo! and if you like what you hear, you can buy the track there and then right from within the Ovi Store.

Great for discovering new music and experimenting with genres. The obvious question is, when this functionality coming to the N9’s Symbian siblings? Another thing, why is it still called Ovi Music?

If you’re looking to hear more about how the N9 performs as an entertainment device, hit this post from Nokia Conversations.

Thoughts: The ‘We Want Nokia To Keep MeeGo’ Petition

Its been just about 24 hours since Nokia announced the N9 and since then the interwebs have been going crazy with tons of N9 chatter, every small seemingly inconsequential detail is also being lapped up, every hands on scrutinized and people are still hungry for more. Not for a long time has there been so much excitement about a Nokia device, not even the N8 produced the kind of euphoria that has swept across Nokia fans the world over.

Even Nokia’s harshest critics have come out with words of praise, something that perhaps has come as a pleasant surprise to Nokia itself. Infact I am yet to witness any real negative feedback for the device. The only complaint people seem to have is that its based on a dead platform. Nokia through its language about the N9 helping shape future Windows Phone devices and innovation has virtually confirmed that they have no plans to make another MeeGo device.

Its almost a paradox, Nokia tried pleasing the technorati the last few years and it didn’t really work. Then they decided that MeeGo wasn’t good enough internally and now the media seems to like it.

Once we all saw what the N9 could do, I had a feeling sooner or later we’d start seeing Nokia please keep MeeGo petitions, but it took a mere 6 hours for it to start.

A Twitter petition, Twitition if you will, has already started doing the rounds and in a short period has garnered over 700 signatures, including those of many Nokia employees. You can sign it here if you feel inclined.

The Nokia N9 does make you wonder what if Feb 11 hadn’t happened, I have already blogged my thoughts here. But will any of this change Nokia’s stance on MeeGo? Here’s what I think can happen, Nokia has said that it’ll relegate MeeGo to the future disruption category, what that means is that they could still release one MeeGo smartphone every year and flood the market with their Windows Phone devices meanwhile. Symbian will be supported till 2016, that’s 5 years away. With Qt acting as the bridge and getting better all the time, we should still see a fair quantity of apps around. This way they keep everyone happy.

Thoughts: The 'We Want Nokia To Keep MeeGo' Twitition

But, here is another scenario. The N9 will ship by September, around the same time the next iPhone will ship and people will start to make comparisons. This will also be the time when the noise for Nokia to keep MeeGo will grow stronger as more and more people experience the N9. But slowly the main stream media will start doing comparisons with the iPhone 5’s retina display, dual core processors and what not. The fans’ attention will waiver and it’ll soon be time for Nokia World in October. All attention will be on Nokia’s reply to the iPhone 5 with their first Windows Phone device. It’ll be announced on October 26 and soon people will begin to begin forget the N9.

Some people at Nokia will breathe a sign of relief. After all, MeeGo becoming successful will present more questions than answers for Nokia. They can’t have people begin to start questioning its Feb 11 decisions, not when the shares have already tanked.

Anyway, it can play out either way, I personally would like to see Nokia release one MeeGo device every year, just to keep Microsoft interested, if nothing else.

Is The Nokia N9 Only Coming To 23 Countries? India, UK, USA To Be Left Bereft?

It is still early days and the N9 has just been announced, so may be we shouldn’t be reading too much into the check availability page, but from what it currently states, the N9 may only be coming to 23 countries around the world with major markets such as India, US, UK getting a miss.

So far the list is limited to:

  1. Australia
  2. Austria
  3. Bulgaria
  4. China
  5. Croatia
  6. Finland
  7. Greece
  8. Hong Kong
  9. Hungary
  10. Malaysia
  11. New Zealand
  12. Portugal
  13. Poland
  14. Romania
  15. Russia
  16. Saudi Arabia
  17. Serbia
  18. Singapore
  19. Slovenia
  20. Sweden
  21. Switzerland
  22. UAE
  23. Vietnam

The N900 came to India after ages, months after it was launched in other parts of the world so I could foresee India missing out, in the US Nokia wants a fresh start with operator support so I can understand that decision, but the UK’s exclusion is surprising. Perhaps, they are choosing markets where the operator’s role is underplayed to an extent and the market is more responsive the SIM free devices. But that would make India an ideal platform, where Nokia’s brand is still strong.

May be the list will be updated and the above only represents the countries where the initial rollout takes place, time will tell.

Bringing a device to a country involves huge costs for Nokia, in advertising, promotion, getting the support centers staff trained, repair and so on, and if they plan to sell very little of these ‘proof of concept’ devices, then it makes sesnse to avoid certain countries. But for fans sake, I hope Nokia reconsiders.

You can expect the N9 by the end of Q3, at upwards of the 600 – 750$ (27,000 – 34,000 INR) price bracket for the 16, and 64 GB versions. It will come in Cyan, Magenta and Black.

Further reading: With The N9, Nokia Shows The World Its Still Got It.