New Smartphone Tests the Market

October 20, 2011

Nokia has introduced a new phone, the N9, and it’s very cool. It is the Finnish company’s first and possibly last MeeGo-powered smartphone as Nokia has stated it plans to leave Meego for Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system.

Photos on Nokia’s website show that the phone is a sleek, beautiful piece of hardware that could rival any touchscreen smartphone on the market by design alone. The N9 has only two exterior buttons: one for volume control and the other to power the device on and off. The touch screen controls everything else on the phone.

The N9 has three screens. One screen displays notifications from email, text messages and social networking services like Facebook and Twitter. Another, the ‘application screen,’ displays all the applications on the phone. The third screen shows the user all the open applications running on the phone at any given time. The N9 also has a camera and other industry standard bells and whistles. Read Matthew Miller’s great hands-on review in ZDnet.

Although most in the industry are enamored with the N9’s design and funtionality - critics point out that aside from Facebook, Twitter, Accuweather and YouTube - not many apps come preloaded on it. Other apps like Foursquare can be downloaded for free - for now there is a limited amount of applications available in the Nokia Store (it's possible this will not change unless more smartphones starting using the MeeGo OS). Developers are focused on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems because of their clear leadership positions.

So can Nokia compete? The N9 is expensive - costing roughly $650 for the 16 GB version. So the N9 can’t compete on price because a iPhone or Android handset can be bought at the same price or cheaper. A beautifully designed phone like this would have done well years ago - providing mobile phone users another option. Now, Apple and Google are the big kids on the playground - controlling everything.