Nokia's new flagship N9 gets mixed reviews

Jun 22, 2011 by Philip Lim
Nokia's MeeGo-based N9 handset

Nokia's latest attempt to win back market share with its N9 phone received mixed reviews Wednesday but analysts said the real test will come when it releases new models using the Windows Phone 7 operating system.

Fans lauded the N9's ease of use without any "home" button -- a feature of the and other rivals -- while detractors mocked what they saw as its outdated Meego operating system.

Unveiled by chief executive Stephen Elop at the CommunicAsia telecoms fair in Singapore this week, fans crowded around the company's booth to try out the device.

The N9 has a 99-millimetre (less than four inches), 854 x 480 pixel display and weighs 135 grams (less than five ounces), putting it clearly in iPhone territory.

Its most distinctive feature is an "all-screen" display, with users swiping the screen to switch between applications.

The device also has a function that allows users to link it to dedicated accessories such as a headset or speakers by simply touching the phone against them.

"Being a user of Apple, an iPhone, this is light years ahead of what iPhone does," declared Paul Krzystoszek, operations and marketing manager for Australian .

"The ease of use... the intuitive nature of swiping across the screen instead of using a button, there's no button on it, the plastic casing, I think they're all things that make it a lot better than what we have already," he told AFP after trying the phone at the Nokia booth.

"Awesome" was how Shahiran Jaafar, of Malaysian firm Microtel Systems and user of an iPhone 3G, described the N9.

A Nokia N9 smartphone is displayed at the CommunicAsia exhibition and conference in Singapore. Nokia's latest attempt to win back market share with its N9 phone received mixed reviews but analysts said the real test will come when it releases new models using the Windows Phone 7 operating system.

"The fact that you can just it and it goes back to whatever screen that you need it to go back to, the fact that it can show all the open tasks that's available, that's fantastic," he said.

"It just dwarfs the iPhone, the iPhone is nothing now."

However, some were unimpressed by the fact that the N9 was still operating on Nokia's MeeGo platform despite the company's impending adoption of the 7 platform later this year.

"I have a problem with... the operating system," said Phoosith Ratpiyasoontorn, a Thai systems integration engineer, lamenting that MeeGo lacked user volume and compatibility with many applications.

Technological consultancy firm Ovum's consumer information technology analyst Tim Renowden said the true test of whether Nokia can reverse its sagging fortunes will be when its new handsets using Windows Phone 7 are rolled out.

"The N9 is an interesting demonstration that Nokia can still build excellent hardware, and it shows the progress made on the MeeGo OS," he said.

"But it doesn't change the fact that most Nokia fans will be waiting for the first Windows Phone 7 handsets to arrive later this year," he told AFP.

Nokia senior vice president of design Marko Ahtisaari displays a Nokia N9 smartphone at the CommunicAsia exhibition and conference in Singapore. Nokia's latest attempt to win back market share with its N9 phone received mixed reviews but analysts said the real test will come when it releases new models using the Windows Phone 7 operating system.

"With Nokia's focus shifting to Windows Phone 7 it's hard to get excited about MeeGo on Nokia hardware, despite the apparent merits of the N9 itself."

Ratpiyasoontorn added that the choice for him would be clear if the N9 was stacked up against the iPhone.

"iPhone for sure because the ecosystem, they have a lot more content, more applications," he said.

In Finland, Nokia touted the virtues of Meego as the N9 was unveiled in Asia.

"It reflects a change in philosophy, hardware and software coming together at Nokia in a very specific way to create a device," said Peter Skillman, Nokia Vice President of Services and Design.

"This impacts everything from smartphones to low-end phones right across the board."

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ziprar2
3 / 5 (1) Jun 22, 2011
How can you not get excited over a real linux phone. From the user point of view this phone is brilliant, unlike the wp7 phones
Eikka
4 / 5 (4) Jun 22, 2011
How can you not get excited over a real linux phone. From the user point of view this phone is brilliant, unlike the wp7 phones


Because the reality of the open source world has traditionally been rather different from what the users expect.

You have to remember that only one in a thousand can program, and only one in a thousand of them is competent in programming, and only one in a thousand of them actually bothers to pull a software project and polish it all the way to what is expected by the users when there's no money involved.

So while the open source environment attracts hackers, it won't produce much in terms of proper software for the user. You get maybe a handful of good applications, and a billion shoddily made hacks that look ugly and work like klunk because the developers got bored half way in.

That's what's been happening with Desktop Linux for two decades now. Without a marketplace and commercial developers like with Android or the iPhone, you don't get much.
Royale
1 / 5 (1) Jun 22, 2011
Agreed. Although the idea of Linux on a device like this is nice, just look at what happened with netbooks. Windows XP rolled out on the originals, as did Linux. The linux netbooks were returned at over a 5:1 ratio over the Windows models. User's either aren't bright enough to learn to use an open source OS, or like me simply don't have the time to play around with it. Now if a super polished OS based on Linux came out from a company, that would be nice. Sort of like Apple did with BSD.
sherriffwoody
not rated yet Jun 23, 2011
Nothing wrong with Ubuntu, thats as polished as apple and windows, I know I regularly use 4 or 5 different OS's. People just don't give it a chance. The learning curve these days is no different to switching between apple and windows, and most modern GUIS, as far as the user sees, are so similar except for terminolgy and menu structures. I agree its such a pity meego will go by the wayside. Its the only true mobile computer OS. You could run nearly any software written for linux on it, like open office etc. Dam Shame.
joyyin
not rated yet Jul 01, 2011
N9:Nokia's new flagship high-definition real machine N9:windousphone.blogspot.com.