Sonntag, 9. Oktober 2011

Thoughts on the Nokia N9’s market positioning

The Nokia N9 is Nokia’s last MeeGo phone, so the official statement. It’s just being released and already compared to other high-end phones (which is no surprise, really). In those comparisons, one thing is always being pointed out:

The N9 is beautifully designed and crafted and the Swipe UX is something that wasn’t seen before and is a real joy to use.

However, if you look then on the inner hardware compared to other “high-end” phones, you’ll note the following: The N9 uses only a 1 GHz OMAP3630 (single core) and a PowerVR SGX530 GPU, which were top notch in 2009, and among the highest in 2010. But in 2011, others rule the hardware race: Dual-Cores (Tegra2, OMAP4, Apple A5) with GPUs beating everything that was before by a large margin.

Also, older Nokia “high-end” phones, such as the N900 and the N8 had a bunch of features, which are not anymore included in the N9. The FM transmitter, USB on-the-go (though the N900 had it only inofficially) and the absolutely stunning camera of the N8, to which even today no other mobile seems to come anywhere close to. All these are missing in the N9.

But then you look at the software. You have a deep OS-level integration for so many social services which are to be found on other phones yet, be that Windows Phone, Android or iOS. This means, whether you are looking for Facebook, Twitter, Skype, even Flickr, Picasa and YouTube, you don’t need to download an app for this. You just enter your account information in the N9 and you are good to go.

Then there are the rumours of the Meltemi project, supposedly a Linux with Qt and Swipe on top of it, heading to replace S40 somewhere in the future to feed the next billion. Nokia even just released a Qt API mapping tool, which shows you the equivalents of your iOS, Android and soon even Windows Phone API calls in Qt to make porting from these to currently Symbian and the N9 even easier.

When I see all these developments, one big thought comes to my mind:

What if the N9 is not the last MeeGo phone by Nokia? What if the N9 is the first phone for the next billion?

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