Nokia World 2008 is taking place this week in Barcelona, Spain and the event kicked off with the keynote announcing the Nokia N97 multimedia computer. The Nokia N97 brings a QWERTY keyboard and touch screen to the Nseries or you could say it brings a phone and S60 to the Nokia Internet Tablet. The Nokia promotional materials state, "Desktop.Laptop.Pocket" as they bring you a device with a 3.5 inch touch screen display (640x360 pixels resolution) that slides up and at an angle (similar to the AT&T Tilt) to reveal a full 3-row QWERTY keyboard and directional pad. I was expecting to see S60 touch launch on a Nseries rather than the Nokia 5800 we saw last month.
The Nokia N97 packs it all in with the following specifications:
- 3.5 inch 16:9 640x360 pixels resolution display
- Integrated 3G wireless radio
- Integrated 802.11 b/g WiFi
- Integrated Bluetooth 2.0
- Integrated GPS receiver with A-GPS support
- 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics
- 32GB onboard flash memory with microSD for adding 16GB more
- 3.5mm headset jack
- microUSB port used for both syncing and charging
- Haptic feedback
- 1500 mAh battery
The N97 also introduces the concept of social location (so-lo). Using the GPS receiver and integrated compass the N97 has the capability to always know where it is located and with social networking integration it can broadcast that position to authorized friends and family. The home screen has been completely revamped to allow you to manage widgets (much like the Nseries Internet Tablets) for social networks, news, and more.
Unfortunately, you won't be able to buy this device for Christmas this year and will have to wait until the first half of 2009 to get your hands on one. It is expected to retail for EUR550 before taxes or subsidies.
Does this device appeal to you? Robert Scoble said something about this week having to be big for Nokia or else and I think he is taking it a bit too much to the extreme. Nokia is the leader in smartphones across the world and while I see that their marketshare is moving downwards while others (RIM and Apple in particular) are moving up, they won't ever go away (and may never give up the majority) because they have a vision for the future that your personal PC will live in your pocket/phone and I think they are on the right track. I don't think the Nokia N97 is a revolution in the smartphone world that should make everyone else drop what they are doing, but it is a very good device that gives the user more flexibility than they have with the iPhone or a BlackBerry. Nokia makes some fantastic devices and I have always found their RF reception and phone quality to be outstanding and in the end it seems that consumers want a good solid phone that lets them send and receive calls, no matter how much else the device can do.
I'll be saving up for this device next year since I am a huge QWERTY keyboard fan and appreciate the quality and incredible 3rd party application support in the S60 community.
Nokia also has some incredible services and if they can integrate them and promote them successfully people will find that Nokia has an excellent solution available for everyone.
Some of the sites that had a chance to get some hands-on time with the new Nokia N97 include: