By 23 September 2011 | Categories: news


Nokia showcased its first MeeGo-operating Nokia N9 smartphone last night at a function held in Cape Town. 

Nokia’s N9 is precision-engineered from a single piece of polycarbonate and flows seamlessly into beautiful curved glass. The first thing one notices about the MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan-powered N9, is that it doesn’t have any physical buttons on the front, replacing the traditional home button with a simple swipe gesture. You can swipe from any edge of the 3.9" AMOLED (480 x 854) display in order to return to the home screens from within any application.

Nokia’s global head of Nokia design, Marko Ahtisaari, hosted the event and noted that the curvature of the screen assists in making the swipe gesture feel even more natural, as you glide your finger across the display to move in between home screens. Additionally, the polycarbonate body of the device enables superior antenna performance resulting in better reception and voice quality. “You can hold the thing anyway you like. You’ll still be able to make calls and get great reception,” Ahtisaari stated, taking a swipe at last year’s Antennagate issues of Apple.

The Nokia N9 offers three home views designed to give fast access to the most important things users do with their smartphone, namely download and use apps, stay up-to-date with notifications and social networks, and switch between activities. We were surprised about how intuitive it was to navigate the mobile operating system (OS), much more so than on Nokia’s regular mobile OS of choice, Symbian.

Powering the N9 is an ARM Cortex-A8 OMAP3630 running at 1 GHz, with graphics being handled by a PowerVR SGX530 GPU. Also onboard is a 8 MP Carl Zeiss auto-focus sensor, with a wide-angle lens, which captures excellent quality photos as well as HD-Ready videos (720p @ 30 fps). Due to the large lens aperture is able to snap beautiful pics even in low light conditions, with videos viewable in true 16:9 widescreen format.

As the world’s first smartphone with Dolby Digital Plus decoding and Dolby Headphone post-processing technology, the device offers a surround sound experience with any set of headphones. Nokia’s free turn-by-turn drive and walk navigation with voice guidance in Maps is also onboard.

“When designing the Nokia N9, our goal was simple: to blend hardware and software together in order to produce a new and better way to use a phone. The result is an experience that sets the bar for how natural technology can feel,” Ahtisaari explained.

Fitted with the latest in wireless technology, near field communication (NFC), the Nokia N9 allows easy sharing of images and videos between NFC-boasting devices, by merely touching them together. It also allows for the easiest pairing with the available range of Nokia NFC accessories.

“This is just the beginning. The details that make the Nokia N9 unique – the industrial design, the all-screen user experience and the expressive Qt framework for developers – will evolve in future Nokia products,” concluded Ahtisaari.

The MeeGo operating system (OS) was co-developed by Intel and Nokia, but questions about its future have been raised in light of Nokia signing an agreement with Microsoft, to utilise its Windows Phone OS as its primary smartphone OS platform in the future. 

The Nokia N9 should become locally available by November at a recommended retail price of R5999.


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