Nokia’s experimental N9 Meego Smartphone

Nokia’s position on the mobile market seems to have been severely shaken in the past year (or even years!), following a long chain of bad decisions on their part. First, they decide to use the old Symbian on new smartphones, which was a total failure, then they switch to a new and innovative OS that runs on exactly one smartphone before being abandoned.

Nokia N9 Meego Smartphone
Nokia N9 Meego Smartphone

Just recently, they also abandoned their new and improved Symbian S^3 in favor of Microsoft’s Windows 7 Phone, but not before they released a few smartphones that run it, dooming the users to a lack of support and apps in the near future. Nobody’s sure whether the merger with Windows 7 Phone will work, but we may have been shown a glimpse of what’s to come with the newly announced Nokia N9 – the only phone that runs Meego, which is Nokia’s OS for the latest and greatest high end smartphones. And if it’s anything to go by, Nokia might definitely have a chance at regaining the trust of phone buyers in the future.

Carved out of a single block of polycarbonate plastic

Nokia N9 Black
Nokia N9 Black

The Nokia N9 looks simply fantastic – Nokia has always been good at creating amazing hardware that both looks timeless and can last a lifetime. The N9 is made out of a single block of polycarbonate – not the first material you’d think of, and aluminum or magnesium seems to be the preferred high-end metals of today’s manufacturers, but this type of plastic is just as sturdy (you won’t be able to bend it or make it creak), looks very original and has a very important advantage over any metal: it’s perfect at letting microwaves through without dampening them.

This means that the N9 will have the best reception for Wifi, Bluetooth and cellular networks, no matter how you hold it or where you put it – that’s a pretty important advantage for a smartphone, I’d say!

Another pleasant side of the polycarbonate used for N9’s housing is that the material is not painted, but rather has its own color – scratches will leave minimal marks, and the unique texture will definitely ensure your phone stands out from a crowd of plastic, metal or glass smartphones, that’s for sure.

Higher performance than the specs sheet would suggest

The hardware specs are also pretty good, although they pale in comparison to the newest Android smartphones on the market. The N9 uses a single core 1 GHZ TI OMAP3630 processor and a dedicated PowerVR SGX530 graphics adapter, in the best Nokia traditions, which gives it enough performance for almost any tasks – the iPhone 4 uses the same chip combination and it seems to do fine. But where the N9 really shines is the software optimization – Nokia engineers have always known how to get the most out of outdated chips.

MeeGo on this phone is very fast, responsive and just a pleasure to use. Nokia’s philosophy in UI design seems to be the same as Microsoft’s – they want to make it easy, intuitive and simple for people to do most of the things they need without bothering with installing various apps and figuring out how to use them. The gestures are simply great, the icons remind a lot of the iPhone’s UI, and multitasking is better than anything you’ve seen before.

The bad thing is that MeeGo doesn’t have a lot of apps for it, but that may change drastically if Nokia partners with Myriad Group and uses their upcoming Alien Dalvik software, which would enable MeeGo (which is based on Linux) to run any and all Android apps – that would fantastic for both Nokia and Android! Let’s just hope that Microsoft doesn’t get in the way with one of their crazy licensing schemes.

Overall, the Nokia N9 looks and works extremely good – it definitely has a lot of potential. Nokia is targeting mostly people who care about style and want a reliable, functional smartphone, but if Alien Dalvik is released and implemented, it will no doubt attract a lot of Android users and developers, as well. The release date has not yet been set, but Nokia says the device should be out by this fall – let’s hope they don’t disappoint!

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