Nokia N9 - Success or failure depends on two factors

Summary:Nokia has unveiled its Meego-based handset, the N9. This is a stop-gap handset release (one of a few planned) that will happen as the company transitions into being a Windows Phone OEM. Success or failure of the N9 hinges on two factors, and neither have anything to do with whether Meego has a good app ecosystem or not.

Nokia has unveiled its Meego-based handset, the N9. This is a stop-gap handset release (one of a few planned) that will happen as the company transitions into being a Windows Phone OEM. Success or failure of the N9 hinges on two factors, and neither have anything to do with whether Meego has a good app ecosystem or not.

Check out the Nokia N9 image gallery!

First, a quick run-down of the N9.

  • Solid handset, as you'd expect from Nokia. Unibody design. Certainly sexy-lookin'!
  • 3.9 inch curved glass AMOLED display.
  • Comes in three colours: black, cyan and magenta.
  • Storage capacities of 16GB and 64GB.
  • Meego OS, probably a dead-end in terms of gaining any real traction, but that doesn't matter.
  • Clean design, no front-facing buttons.
  • Swipe gesture to take you to the home screen.
  • Three hone views, arranged in a carousel - Applications. Events. Open apps.
  • 8MP auto focus camera with Carl Zeiss optics, dual LED flash and super wide 28mm lens.
  • Browser based on WebKit.
  • Built-in mapping.
  • Dolby Headphone and Dolby Digital Plus support.
  • NFC (Near-Field Communication) enabled.

With the exception of the Meego OS (which I honestly think no one will care about), it's a solid handset. It's exactly what I would have expected from Nokia.

So, what will determine whether the N9 will be a success or a failure? Two things:

  • Pricing This is an obvious factor, but I can't shed that feeling that Nokia will try to attach a premium price tag to this handset despite it having an OS that no one has heard of or cares about, has little or no app ecosystem and is up against stiff competition. Nokia needs to realize its position in the market and price accordingly.
  • Launch markets Who's going to get their hands on this device? When? What about carrier partners? Deals? One of the biggest holdbacks for Microsoft and it's Windows Phone platform has been the carrier's reluctance to actually try to sell the handset to people - there are easier handsets to sell. Nokia needs to make sure that it has the carriers on board.

Get both of these ring, and the no-name OS and lack of apps won't matter as there are still plenty of people willing to pay for a feature phone as opposed to a smartphone.
Given that Nokia has already said that it expects that 'operating margin could be around breakeven' for the second quarter 2011, I don't think even Nokia itself has much confidence in the N9 to change its fortunes that much. Still, the N9 gives us a good idea as to what kind of hardware Nokia will have running the Windows Phone OS later this year.

Topics: Nokia, Hardware, Mobility

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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